Holiday

Back in Spain

It's about 25 degrees Celsius here on the Costa del Sol as I type this blog.  While I haven't kept away from Spain entirely; I've had a jaunt to both Barcelona and Alicante in the last six or so years; I've deliberately kept away from Benalmadena and the Costa del Sol given the fact that I spent a lot of time here as a kid and I believed that "I'd done it all".  

Returning to a place that I'd spent 6 to 7 weeks of my life each year between 1987 and 1994 was odd; I calculated that the last time I would have been here was in 2004 when I did a few things for my grandad, and brought a close friend with me.  I had no wish to come back after that, but recently I had a hankering to walk down memory lane and look at some of the old places that I used to hang out in as a kid.

While the apartment that my grandparents lived in was in a tourist area, Nan and Grandad were sufficiently resident enough that we were relatively isolated from many of the touristy things.  I'm staying in a hotel here this time, and a tourist one at that which is a bit of an eyeopener for me.  I tend to go to places off the beaten track, so to be in a hotel with a large number of Brits is for me, at least, quite unusual.  I'm honestly unimpressed with my kinfolk - loud, rude and inconsiderate are all adjectives that come to mind, and it is a shame for me to see the Spanish culture being eroded by these idiots that come out here for a cheap package holiday.  Few people I saw could even order a beer in Spanish, and often all people wanted to do was lie around a pool and not really move outside of the hotel complex.  

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Benalmadena

My family have had a long relationship with Spain, and in particular Benalmadena.  In the late seventies and early eighties, my grandparents on my mother's side had apartments in Arroyo-de-la-Miel and Torremolinos.  Both died before I was five years old, and one of the apartments stayed in the family.  In 1986, my grandparents on my father's side decided to move out to Spain to live.  I remember the day that they flew out and how devastated I was, but the perk was that when the six week school summer holidays, both my sister and I were shipped out on a plane as unaccompanied minors to spend the entire holiday with Gran and Grandad.  Sun, a pool and a fairly long leash meant a lot of good memories, good friends and fun.  

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Hello North Wales

There's no doubt that I'm a fan of North Wales; the rugged coastlines, tall mountains and winding country roads can give the sense of isolation you need when you need to 'get away from it all'.  My love affair with this part of the British Isles started back in 1996 when I went up to Bangor for an interview at the University there and continued as I spent three years of my University life in the city.

Fourteen years after leaving the city I've tried to go up there every couple of years but as things get busier at work, making time for a jaunt to my favourite places can be hard work.  The last time I made it up there was in 2008, so being very overdue for a look around, I headed up there for a long weekend.  

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