Our last European holiday for the foreseeable future was by far the laziest of them all. We came to the place that we knew quite well from the previous year. We spent time alternating between the beach and the pool. We went to a few nearby picturesque locations for brief excursions, but not to a single place that we have not visited before. We dined out a reasonable amount of time, but not daily. The longest drive we took throughout the two weeks on Costa Brava (not counting getting there from Barcelona and back) was, actually, to one of the restaurants which specializes in suckling pig.
We had smashing time! I don’t cope well with the concept of a lazy, do-nothing holiday, but sharing it with friends makes such a vacation enjoyable, my personal desires to wander forth and about notwithstanding. And we had a grand company, meeting up with three families of our old friends from America, hosting a family of our friends from London, as well as hitting it off with a Muscovite family of friends-of-our-friends. Who are now our friends directly as well, we hope.
Great food, good wine, excellent weather, welcoming Mediterranean waters, striking vistas and beguiling little towns were a given. Add to that regular opportunities to engage people whom I like to talk to in discussions of topics that I care to discuss; or to park in a chair on a terrace with a sweeping view of majestic coastline with a good book in my hands… and it turns out, I can handle two weeks of doing-nothingness.
To be honest, Arthur, one of my oldest friends and the person who turned us on to L’Estartit (he and his family spend several weeks there every summer), did suggest a couple of “serious” excursions to interesting destinations during our stay. We declined, for various reasons, and, while I have these little pangs of regrets at having willingly passed opportunities to explore new locales, I don’t think our decision diminished our overall enjoyment in any way. More time for the girls to spend in the water, anyway.
We did spend several hours in Barcelona on our day of departure, but little of that could be called sightseeing. On children’s preferences, we first went to the Aquarium, and then hooked up with our vacationing friends from New Jersey, spending more time in a couple of cafés than walking.
And then, we were sad. It was – no doubt about that! – our very last family trip in Europe for probably years to come. The quantity of European vacationing that we did in the last three years is easily the biggest item in the “loss” column of our relocation ledger.
The return trip home was its usual worst part of the trip. The flight was ok, and the passport control wait was bearable, but the car company mishandled our reservation, nobody waited for us in the arrival hall, and the guy who showed up half an hour later was an obvious infrequent washer. Natasha, who sat in the front passenger seat for the hour-and-a-half ride home, suffered considerably. We used to recommend JustAirports.com to our acquaintances in London, but the last couple of occasions of using them were less than positive, to say the least. We’ll take our business elsewhere. Even if it is for one very last trip to Heathrow…