To plan my trip to the UK I used two instruments: Booking.com and Google Maps. Booking.com showed me where I could stay, mostly hotels and pubs, but I wrongly believed to be a Bed & Breakfast person. Whereas in the UK everybody runs a B&B, or at least have a friend who does, these accommodations are quite unusual in Italy. I thought (wrongly – again) that B&B were sort of “friendlier” and cheaper than pubs. Hotels sounded more expensive and houses, despite being extremely attractive, looked a bit too much for a tiny single human being and her dog. Each time I read stuff like “sleeps 6”, I imagined myself surrounded by empty bedrooms and silent sitting rooms.
Thinking of being a B&B person, I started my quest for the perfect the B&Bs. I was fascinated by the fact that, usually, B&Bs accommodate one or few guests only so, given the fact I was going to travel alone, I thought my hosts would have noticed if something had happened to me. Let’s pretend my skin had turned green overnight, I was firmly convinced the B&B lady would have noticed that. Once again, I was wrong: during my stay I also experienced a “ghostly” B&B: the place had owners, but I could hardly see them, breakfast would appear magically in the morning and no human beings would ever show up.
Before my trip, in some ways, I would have felt safer in a house with a few people than in a larger hotel. After one month spent mostly in B&Bs , I have to admit that sometimes I did not feel safe at all in a B&B, and that the perceived advantages of the B&Bs come with a full list of real disadvantages. I came to the conclusion that, if you get along with the B&B owners, you can have a great stay, but if you don’t… heaven becomes hell! The “roommate” you cannot stand – or viceversa – has the power, it is his or her house and some territorial aggression dynamics (the same ones we see in dogs) can take place. These dynamics usually develop slowly, and manifest themselves after you have invaded their territory for a reasonable amount of time: two or three days in a B&B are usually safe, maybe four if you are brave, if you stay more It is at your own risk. You perfectly know that you are a paying guest, and your host does as well, but some instincts are just very primitive. Another problem with the B&Bs can be the lack of privacy: some B&Bs owners are professional stalkers and arrange their house and furniture in order to support their hobby.
People choosing to live in pubs are for sure smarter than me. I sort of avoided booking in pubs because I thought it would have been noisy. Pubs might be noisy indeed but, I was told, later, that they must close at 11 PM so, well I can cope with that. To live in a pub, however, you have to be one of those joyful beings enjoying a good meal and a good drink. If you keep counting calories and you do not drink alcohol, you are basically stealing a pub’s room to someone who deserve it much more than you! My very limited experience as a pub inhabitant and eater, however, taught me that pub owners are usually laidback, open and willing to do their best to satisfy their customers. Pubs, moreover are extremely dog friendly and food is good, not necessarily light, but good. After all, when you had spent a whole day in the rain, all you want is something warm on your table. Pub owners tend to be professional, respect the client’s privacy and be very pragmatic: once, a lady told me that no, they did not have any single rooms, just double rooms, too expensive for one people but, according to her I would have easily found someone with whom to share the room, and yes she was serious!
The third form of accommodation I am going to discuss are houses, more commonly known as cottages. I tend to classify myself as an awful housewife who could possibly set someone’s else house on fire by mistake but, after witnessing the British housekeeping standards, I came to the conclusions that I am “average”, and that Italian’s expectations about housekeeping are simply too high. After one month without a kitchen, I wanted a kitchen more than anything else. I know I always claim I do not cook and that I can’t cook but In reality, on the rare instances I decide to cook, I cook well, especially If I miss healthy food. I wanted a kitchen simply to assembly a decent salad or, even better fruit salad, or just to relax. I love studying and writing in the kitchen, kitchens are cozy and you have everything at hand. I do not snore, do not smoke and do not drink (which means I can drive drunk people around!) and I am quiet and clean albeit not perfectly tidy (I forget and lose things regularly) so maybe in the future someone will brave enough to share a house and a kitchen with me.
According to my standards, three, maybe four (if include hotels) types of accommodations exists but… field trailers are tought people, I underestimated their strength and adaptability. I discovered that some people were living in caravans, sometimes they were even sharing those tiny spaces with a bunch of dogs. I, indeed, had a chance to go and have a venison & French cheese based dinner in a caravan and it was good, but I did not change my mind. I like the idea you can travel with your own “house”, but, I honestly, could not survive without a real bathroom with its real shower (or bathtub). Caravan people say the caravans have showers or that the caravan parks provide these services, yet I remain skeptical.
Given my doubts and concerns about caravans, you should be now easily imagine how astonished I was when, I discovered that some field trailers, despite the cold nights, the wind and the rain, were living in tents and they were doing incredibly well! Hats off to them! Still curious about British trials? Check the section A Month on the Moor or click here.