Why we love holidaying in Spain

13 Apr

A view from Lo Tast Pati de Menjars

This is our third holiday in Spain together, although the first one on our own with no offspring. Jessica made the decision during last year’s four-week jaunt to Spain that she no longer wanted to come on holiday with us. As we decided to try a different season and take a shorter, two-week break this year at Easter, it was probably a good thing that she wanted to stay at home, with the pressure of AS exams looming on the horizon.

I run a school library and so am tied to school holidays, despite no longer having young children. This suits me fine, as it is the only way I can see of having regular holidays and longer ones if we wish to. It also means that some holidays can just be spent lazing around at home without rushing off on a holiday as such. Add to that the prospect of not having to bring any work home or do any marking, and I think that I have the perfect job; okay, I’d be better paid as a teacher, but who wants all that stress? Twelve weeks holiday a year, with eight of them unpaid, suits me well! I am also good at finding good deals on holiday accommodation without it costing a ridiculous amount of money! My main source is ‘Owners Direct’ which we have come back to again this year, having not used their website last year.

Spain has so many advantages, and once we have brushed up our Spanish it will be even more fun! We are at the stage of being able to read menus, road signs and information boards to a reasonable level – reading is so much easier than understanding locals! We can say a few words, but we really need to study that language course. Now that we are in Catalonia, Paul is also trying to learn Catalan too, as not all Spanish people in Catalonia have Castillian as their first language. The language is actually easy to learn; it would have been easier when we were younger though! I passed ‘O’ Level at school and then seriously neglected it.

So, to the advantages of this wonderful country. Well, it has an agreeable climate, and if one owned a property in the South it would be pleasant all year round. This is something to consider if one is considering buying property in Europe – more letting months available. Visiting in August it was as hot as we expected, if not hotter! You just have to accept this and pace yourself in a sensible way. April is a good month to visit as it is warm enough to walk around in shirt sleeves, but you do not tire out as much when walking over the hills or round Roman or Iberian ruins. For me, the one disadvantage of April is that the water is not really as warm as I’d like it to be, and I do love to swim! August is fantastic, as you arrive home hot and sweaty and there is nothing better than immersing yourself in cool water. This year we have a property with a pool, and I have been swimming, but it does not have quite the appeal that it would later in the year. May and June would be perfect, so that will have to wait until retirement…..

Everything is so cheap here, especially the food and drink. Eating out is a pleasure, and is not something we do very often back in England. Why eat out, when the food at home is so much better and better value too? On holiday we have many lunches out, and this time we have found some really fabulous places for tapas, paella and so on. I still do not find that the Spanish are great at making a salad or providing a wholesome plate of vegetables to accompany your meal; however, the food is good value and we can always eat copious amounts of vegetables and salad back at the villa.

This time we have also found that the petrol is ridiculously cheap; the cheapest so far has been 117 euros, which at the current exchange rate works out at 87.75p! Now if only there were some way of bringing some home with us…….

We love the environment and scenery; there are mountains all over Spain, and if you have a willing chauffeur husband to drive you round them (as I do) or you like driving, then you are in seventh heaven in my opinion. There is something uplifting about being able to see the sea and the mountains at the same time. Roman and Iberian Spain is also fascinating and there are so many ruins and old city walls to enthrall a historian like Paul, and an amateur enthusiast such as myself.

The best thing about Spain is that it is not too far away. As I have mentioned in my other postings, we have a serious loathing of aeroplanes and flying, so at the moment are enjoying Europe – travelling by sea and land. Future holidays could involve some long rail travel, and we have dreams of going to New York by boat. Paul is not quite so sure about trying to get to Australia by boat….. This year we travelled by the 24-hour ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao. To be honest, with all the hanging around and delays at airports, I can imagine that on occasions it could take as long to fly to Spain! With the boat, you have a lovely cabin with proper beds, a choice of restaurants and menus, and it is all so spacious. We had the same seats by a window for the whole journey; we spread out and played Blokus, as well as having time to read and do crosswords. It was not crowded though, and we did not feel the need to save the seats, as there were plenty of others available.

Our return journey will be via France, so more hotel stops and lovely scenery, returning on the boat from Caen to Portsmouth. Just a shame that I’ll be back to school on Monday, the day after our return…..

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2 Responses to “Why we love holidaying in Spain”

  1. Back to Life Blog April 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more Sarah, it sounds like you’ve had a fab trip. We love Spain too, we last went 2 years ago. This year we are flying to Italy and coming home on the train via Como and Zurich, I can’t wait, you see so much more of a country by train and it’s so much less stressful.

    • happysarahthecook April 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

      Thanks for your comments Sarah! I really do not write enough blog posts. I have some ideas in my head, and then time gets in the way! Your trip to Italy sounds as if it is going to be an amazing journey.

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