Y viva España!
current mood: tired
I decided I needed a break.
It hasn't been the best of times, in many ways, and things began to get on top of me. I was feeling burnt out, I had very little left to give. The germ of an idea sprouted in my mind.
We would go away for a weekend. It would be a surprise for Mr J too, organised by me.
I began to look for a nice hotel.
Shortly afterwards I decided to phone the bank and arrange a second mortgage.
None of them were quite right. We've stayed in B+Bs and little places before, and decided WE DON'T LIKE THEM! We were always much too aware that we were staying in someone's house and didn't like the feeling of trying to be on our best behaviour - not that we're loutish or anything, but hey, it's hard to relax if you're worrying about whether your late night tv habit is keeping your hosts awake, or whether you're going to accidentally splatter ketchup across their supernaturally white linen tablecloth. So I was looking for somewhere big enough to be fairly impersonal and anonymous, preferably with room service, and a swimming pool.... but some tiny amount of character too. I mean, I didn't just want to go and stay at a national hotel chain (albeit that we have done that before just to get away from the kids. We slept, A LOT, we woke up, we swam, we went back to the room, we ordered dinner up, we watched some crap tv in companiable silence and we went back to sleep. It was fantastic.)
But this time I wanted something a tiny bit more special. And I tell you this, it's hard to find, unless you want to take out a small loan to pay for it.
As I searched through the same lists of hotels for the millionth time hoping that something that fitted the bill and didn't cost more than a week's wage had magically appeared in the five minutes I had been away from the computer making a coffee, and my brain went into an almost-terminal spasm, I idly began clicking on links to hotels ANYWHERE. That was when it occurred to me that it might be an excellent idea to go abroad instead.
OK, there was the matter of whether my Mother in Law would appreciate the idea of babysitting whilst we actually left the country.... hmm, oh and I didn't have a valid passport. That would bump up the cost. And where would we go? Mr Jaded is very well travelled... it seems almost every time I mention going somewhere he's already been there.
It was when I saw flights to Amsterdam for 4p!!!!! that I made my mind up.
So then I began searching for a hotel in Amsterdam. And THAT is even harder than finding one in this country. I read review after review. They were all either;
A. At the airport
B. In the suburbs miles from the city
C. VERY expensive!
C. Had reviews saying things like, " Glad I didn't bring my cat, wouldn't have been able to swing it!", "Staff rude, surly and uninterested," and "Vomit on blanket from previous occupant - took two days to get it changed!"
FINALLY, I found one.
By this time my original idea had morphed into going away for Mr J's birthday. Now Mr J REALLY doesn't like the cold, so I began to wonder about the idea of taking him to Amsterdam in the late spring. I mean, it might be OK, but by the same token it might snow for all I know. I don't know quite what I was thinking, but I began to look into a longer break in two places, a few days somewhere warmish followed by a quick blast to the Netherlands. Well it had to be Spain, didn't it, of all the places I considered it was by far the cheapest. I found a hotel, all inclusive, with a heated pool and a sea view. It was CHEAP and the reviews were OK. Granted, it might be full of Spanish grannies at that time of year but who cares?
So I'd found the lot. Flights, hotels, everything.
And then I realised that his passport had run out, so my hand was forced - I could tell him or forget it. I told him. He thought it was a good idea.
We should've just left it there, I shouldn't have done any more idle browsing, but I did... and I discovered how cheaply it is possible to rent a villa.
To cut the story slightly short, a weekend away has turned into a week in a Spanish villa. I have now become obsessed with webcams and weather reports, legroom, insurance, exchange rates, car hire details, airport parking, the frequency of unprovoked shark attacks in the Med (v. rare in case you were wondering) and the likelihood of encountering scorpions/large spiders/poisonous centipedes (not so rare, alas.)
There is so much to sort out. I will need a holiday to recover. I should've just stayed at home and hidden in the bedroom.
Oh and if anyone wants to know where looks to me like by far the best bet for accommodation in the Dam... ask nicely and I shall tell you!