Probably a philosophical rant today.

Just realized that the Independent (UK) has gone fully online at the end of March. It appears that much of ‘mainstream’ media is moving away from print. Somehow, it feels different. While for writing I prefer the use of electronic means such as I am doing now (as opposed to really pen and paper), there is a gravitation towards the print when it comes to reading (I collect and read history books!).

Such is the Juxtaposition!

However, the post today is more about the juxtapose in travel.

Just last week we have Airbnb launching the use of a room (one-off) at the Aquarium de Paris for a few days in April. A competition will get you a night’s stay. You get to sleep on a circular bed knowing that the denizens of the deep are swimming around you. By the way, that’s sharks we are talking about, all 35 of them!

You know I had posted about quitting your job to go traveling as part of the YOLO theme (click here to read). That theme is the epitome of budget travel. Now at the other end we have a proliferation of luxurious rooftop hotel rooms for let.

The independent listed six of them here, with the igloo pad in Val Thornes (southeast France in the vicinity of Mont Blanc) and the Train hostel in Brussels standing out for us. Glamping is really a more recent phenomenon, as some folks yearn for an experience in the outdoors with none of the luxuries missing. Kind of like the kids setting up a tent in the spare room at home, pretending they are camping outside. Except this is for adults.

On the opposite end of the scale we have Izy, the new low cost offshoot of the Thalys (operating that high speed train servicing Amsterdam-Paris). This service is said to run the Brussels-Paris’s 312km route. We used to drive the 500+km from Amsterdam to Paris in about 4.5 hours (at a speed of ~130-140km/hr) non-stop. This Brussels-Paris train ride is only 90 minutes! Really interesting read here if you are keen to find out more.

The interesting thing about this service is that it intends to offer 4 classes of travel. While first and standard classes are probably norm, third class comprise of foldup seats…how that looks like will surely be something to watch out for! Then there is the ‘standby’ or 4th class ticket with no guaranteed seat (wow, stand for 90 minutes?). You will probably use the buffet carriage as I guess sitting passengers would not like someone “hovering” around their seat throughout the journey.

The article mentioned that lucky passengers on 4th class may be granted a seat by the train manager where available. Do they serve any food there in the buffet carriage? What if there is a crowd hungry looking for some chow? Will there be enough standing room?

The service started on 4-Apr. Book your ticket here!

Lifted off the Izy site. Competing with bus travel that costs just 8 Euros!

Would the train ride be really more comfortable than the bus ride of ~4 hours? On the bus at least you’ll have a seat! And as in any ‘budget’ carrier, there are numerous add-ons. Caveat emptor!

This is the juxtapose in travel we observe. The seeming commoditization of mass travel at the budget corner, as opposed to mass customization at the other end of the spectrum.

Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

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