It took all week, but things are resolved and we have the rest of our trip planned.
We were scheduled to fly from Geneva to London on Tuesday, then have 16 nights in a Rural Retreats cottage near Painswick (Plough Cottage). We spent a month in this cottage in May 2000 and have kept in email contact with the owners, so they emailed us about the floods that happened the weekend before our scheduled arrival (they emailed us to let us know what was going on and that the cottage was okay). From the news reports it looked like the situation was going to get worse, so we delayed our arrival by four nights. We figured by then we would have an idea of how bad things were.
This is the big downside of vacation rentals (and Slow Travel); for most you have to prepay 30 – 60 days before arrival. If you think about it, the business could not run any other way. Vacation rentals are usually individually owned (some owners may own a few vacation rentals, cottages on a farm for example) and booking is done either directly with the owner or through an agency which represents owners. It is not like a hotel with 100 rooms who takes bookings and cancellations up to the last minute. Most vacation rentals are booked months ahead, so if you cancel at the last minute, the chances are that it cannot be re-rented. So we had prepaid 16 nights with an expensive agency in high season, knowing we would not be changing our plans.
We booked four nights in Kandersteg to wait while we figured out what was happening. On Wednesday the cottage owner emailed to tell us the water had been shut off to their area. This made our decision for us – we were not going to the Cotswolds. Rural Retreats tried to find another cottage for us, but did not have anything so refunded our full payment.
I am on hold right now with British Airways changing our flights for a second time. Now we will fly from Geneva to London the day before our flight from London to Dallas and on to Albuquerque. I think we can even check our bags all the way through from Geneva since the flights are less than 24 hours apart.
I used the Gstaad Tourist Office website to find available vacation rentals and picked one in Gstaad. I emailed the owner and booked it for 12 nights.
So, back to Gstaad for more hiking! But I need to take a day or two off because I am tired and feeling like I have had a bit too much sun. Plus, I need to go through my photos.