Travel frustration

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Today (13 October) has been a very frustrating day! Firstly it was very foggy and cold so we decided to only take the dogs walking a bit later. Of course one gets too involved in other things, (like booking / changing flights) and then suddenly there is no time, and one has to leave to fit in the important dog walking and get back in time to do my Palfish classes (I had four English online classes with Chinese children and cannot be late). Luckily I had prepared for classes and I made it by the skin of my teeth.

But it set the scene for the day. We had booked train tickets to Paris and then to Stuttgart about a month ago. We planned to stay in Stuttgart for a few nights before making our way to our second housesit in Selbitz (near the Czech border). We have SA friends who live in Cordes sur Ciel and have invited us to stay there for a few nights between sit 1 and 2. We thought it would be lovely to see them and their new house so we checked how long it would take to get from here to Cordes (4 hours) and agreed happily 😊

We then booked the train to Cordes and cancelled our two previous train tickets but the Stuttgart ticket was not refundable. Then the next step was to book to go from Toulouse to Germany and then onto Selbitz. Bus or train options would take 28 or 20 hours and were suddenly expensive. I rechecked the price of the TGV fast train from Pau to Paris and it had now jumped to EUR 100 each as oppose to EUR 50, and that only got us to Paris. The one big issue is we are so far South in France and need to get to North East Germany (1400 kilometres by car).  So, we decided to look at flights to Germany. I started looking at Toulouse – Frankfurt. Of course, all tickets are advertised without luggage and we each need 23kg luggage which adds on at least 50 EUR each. I set up an alert on the flight and then looked at other options. Toulouse – Dortmund, Munich, even Berlin (the logic was getting the bigger section done with a flight and then go by train), they were more expensive. So, I decided oh well go with Frankfurt. I started doing the booking and then realised the lack of time and had to abort it, so we could take the dogs walking.

Four hours later I tried again and the flight tickets had suddenly jumped in cost 100 EUR each! Nothing was cheaper. I didn’t know what to do. In frustration I booked the Frankfurt flight tickets and then the train to Selbitz, for both of us with luggage, costing us a huge amount! Almost half of what it cost us to get from Durban to Bordeaux.

Some of the interesting things to consider are:

Toulouse to Frankfurt – 1149km, takes 11.5hrs by train

Frankfurt – Nuremberg – 225km takes 2,5hrs by train

Nuremburg to Selbitz – 142km takes 1,5 hours by train. Giving a total route of 1516km  

Toulouse to Selbitz by car is 1385km and takes 13 hours

It states that is takes 10 hours to fly to Frankfurt and then catch the train to Selbitz. But you also have to be there an hour before, especially in these covid checking times.

If we had done the whole journey by bus it would have been far cheaper but would have taken 28 hours. If we had done the whole journey by train it would have taken 19 hours.

A FANTASTIC website to get a good comparison of air, bus, train and drive options is

I felt hugely frustrated. Transport is very expensive. What could I have done better? Well book earlier, I suppose, but sometimes we will accept house sits within a shorter time frame to fill a gap and they will have very little time notice. Perhaps not book sits such a huge distance apart?

Do any other house sitters have any suggestions? Maybe we shouldn’t have changed plans last minute, but I know we will have a lovely time with our friends. I guess it’s all just learning.

I think we might buy a small car!

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