So, the very day I wrote about how frustrating it has been to wait to hear what tickets I "won" for the 2012 Olympics in London, I got my notification of how I did.
I got nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I think this qualifies for entry into the "Epic FAIL! Hall of Fame," because I never expected to come away totally empty-handed. I knew the chances of getting tickets to the opening ceremonies and swimming finals ranged from doubtful, to the longest of longshots (Americans ended up having a 0.13 percent chance of getting opening ceremonies tickets, per the American ticket retailer).
But, surely, I thought, I'd get a ticket to opening day, early qualifying for men's gymnastics. First off, it was an early qualifying round, and it was men's gymnastics. That's not exactly the marquee of the gymnastics world, so it seemed like a sure bet.
But, I now have to wait for a "second chance" round, for any Americans who applied for tickets, but came up completely empty-handed the first time. It's a first-come, first-served deal, and oh, by the way, it's for the best of what's left over. In other words, it's a second chance ... to win tickets nobody probably really wants in the first place, like early qualifying round equestrian judo fencing (in sailboats).
This has pretty much deflated my enthusiasm for going to London next summer. The whole point of going next July was to go when the Olympics were taking place. I'm no fool. I'm not going to, otherwise, go to London for a holiday when the city is surely going to be at its most expensive.
As it stands, I am now re-evaluating my options. I want to go to Europe next year, but if there will not be any good tickets to the Olympics, then I may go in March. April to September, or October, is the most expensive time to travel to Europe (you might be good if you go at the very beginning of April), because that is the continent's prime travel season.
It's best to go in early spring, or in mid-to-late fall, or in the winter, when tourism is out of season in Europe. Everything, from airfare, to hotel rooms, is cheaper at that time.
If I don't go to the Olympics, though, I will not be visiting London next year. That much is certain. I do want to go back there someday, but I also want to see other parts of the continent as well, such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Caen, Marseilles, Copenhagen, Berlin, Frankfurt, Salzburg, Vienna, Milan, Venice, Madrid, Barcelona and Athens.
So, If no London, then I will likely tackle the Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels route either next March, or sometime in the fall of 2012. I'd fly in to Amsterdam (which is the cheapest part of that area I can find to fly into), spend some time there, then take a train down to Antwerp, and spend some time there, and then take another train to Brussels and spend some time there.
Then I'd take a train back to Amsterdam, and fly back here.
I guess it's good to have contingency plans ready in case the travel gods throw you an Olympic-sized curveball (OOPS, I forgot, they have dropped softball and baseball from the Olympics).
Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.