Every month, as part of a lovely group of bloggers aged 40+ we choose a topic on which to talk about. Now, this month what better to talk about than Summer Holidays!
With the children just breaking up, the sun shining and the paddling pools being dragged out, it is a wonderful time of year. This takes me back to the summer holidays of my childhood.
I was always a fortunate child when it came to going on holiday. Whilst we were not a very wealthy family, my Mum and Dad worked really hard to make sure we had a summer holiday each year. This was especially hard given the amount of people in the family and their needs.
My Mum’s family have a genetic disorder which meant that at the age of 21 she was left as the sole guardian of her 3 siblings, 1 brother in law and a nephew, all with differing mental deficiencies.
Dad worked in a local factory which wasn’t amazingly well paid and so they scrimped and saved all year to take the 8 of us away on holiday.
As a small child these were trips to a caravan at Caistor, Jaywick or Great Yarmouth. Quite often we would meet up with my Dad’s parents and relatives and spend pleasant hours before going to the pub or clubhouse and I would be sequestered outside with a bottle of pop and a packet of crisps.
My best memories of those holidays are days spent playing on the beach, funfair rides and hot sugary donuts fresh from the fryer. Dad always had to have his cup of whelks and cockles, and I would get some prawns on a little styrofoam tray, sprinkled with a bit of vinegar. Even now, a day trip to the seaside has to end with seafood and donuts.
My favourite childhood photo of me is when I am approximately 3 years old and I had just been taken to my first fun fair and I spotted the Ferris Wheel. Apparently I was just transfixed by it and stood on the spot watching it.
Things eventually progressed with the advent of cheap package holidays. This was the era of coach trips to the Costa. Sun, Sea and Sangria!
Mum and Dad again scrimped and saved and booked tickets with a local coach company and when factory fortnight rolled around we got on a coach and headed for the sun.
Now for some people these trips would be a nightmare! 36 hours on a coach across the channel, through France, over the Pyrennees before arrive on the Costa Brava. But I was in my element. I loved the whole aspect of travelling through different Countries and seeing new sights.
There would usually be a stop over in Paris. Baguettes and Crepes Galore. Little cups of coffee for the adults and a very grown up Orangina for me. One year the courier from the bus took me under her wing and we went exploring the City for the afternoon. I remember ordering a sausage baguette and was disgusted when I was presented with a roll containing Saucisson, or French style Salami. In my ignorance I expected a good old British Style Banger!
We then had Two weeks in Lloret De Mar, the most exotic place I had even been to as a child. This is the very early eighties and the Costa’s are full of English people seeking the sun. Literally Y Viva Espana!
This became an annual trip. Every year we would look forward to our two weeks away. We stayed at the same resort, in the same hotel year after year. We became a part of the hotel’s family and we were remembered everywhere we went because of the unusual combination of family members.
One year we were on the coach on the way to Dover for the sea crossing and the travel company went bust. We got diverted to Margate and spent the night there in floods of tears. Dad went straight out the next day and got a cheap package to Majorca. This was the first time I had ever been on a plane. It was lovely, but it wasn’t Lloret.
Eventually the coach trips died a death with the rise of cheap low cost flight holidays and we started going away by plane. Three hours later, instead of the 36, we landed in Girona and headed to our favourite hotel and our favourite people.
Most people would say “Don’t you get bored of going to the same place every year?” And we would all answer No!
Lloret De Mar, for me was a safe place. As an only child I spent a lot of time alone. When I got a little older, around 11 or 12 years old I was allowed to go about on my own. I wandered the town like a local.
I knew the town like the back of my hand. I knew how to get around and where the best places to go were. I would pop into the old town, go to a “pub” where I knew the family and eat whitebait sprinkled with a paprika based sauce.
On the way back I would stop at one of the cafes and have a big ice cream sundae and a glass of Lemon Fanta. I felt so grown up and responsible for myself. My parents trusted me to be safe and not do anything silly.
I would swim like a fish, go as brown as a berry lying on the beach and then spend my evenings in the hotel or at a friends bar with all my family. It truly was a lovely time, year after year.
Eventually I grew up, bought a house and got married. My last trip with them was at the age of 16. Again to Lloret De Mar. I hadn’t met my husband at that point, so I didn’t know it was the last time I would go away with my family.
I returned again to Lloret De Mar with my own family when my children were 3. It was their first foreign holiday; and they absolutely loved it. Spain has always had a reputation as being family oriented, and this was no lie. The twins were fawned over and asked about and even had their pictures taken.
It was amazing to take my own children to meet the families that I had known for nearly 20 years. To go to the places I had always visited and loved, and they did too.
We went the following year again, It seemed like I was doing the same with my own family as my Mum and Dad had done. Sadly it was not something we were able to keep doing.
That was 16 years ago, and I have never managed to go back again in that time. Finances have not permitted a lot of foreign travel in the past few years, but now the children are starting to fly the nest, that won’t always be the case.
Where do I have on my agenda first?
Well….. I always did love Lloret De mar……..