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en España

September 1, 2009
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Early Saturday morning I returned from my holiday in Spain – what an epic 12 days! However before I even begin to try and explain some of the amazing experiences I had, I’d like to firstly thank Naomi, my best friend, and her incredible family for giving me the opportunity to come with them on their holiday this year. This holiday, even before it began, was such a big deal for me. You see, for various reasons my family don’t go on holidays much, so I’m mostly limited to going on school holidays and trips, the last of which was a 1 week trip to Greece 3 years ago. I’m sure you can imagine just how excited I was when Naomi and her family asked me to come on holiday with them this year. Another reason this holiday was important to me was the fact it was going to be the longest time I had ever spent away from home, which silly as it may sound, was a scary thought for someone who used to get really badly homesick. However, being my formula 1 obsessed self, my first priority before even agreeing to come was to check that I could watch the grand prix that took place the weekend we were away for.

With confirmation that I would definitely be able to watch the European Grand Prix, we headed off to the airport on Sunday morning. Nothing out of the ordinary to head off to the airport early for your flight, however when we arrived and checked the departures for that day to Alicante, we realised our flight was later than we had thought… consequently 5 hours, a trip to the north terminal, a meal and several drinks later we boarded our plane (which was called JB by the way!), the holiday had begun!

I’m not going to give you a day by day account of what happened, because that would get really dull. I will however, talk about some of my highlights of our trip with the aid of some photos.

Once in Spain our priorities for the first day were to get some food in the villa and figure out our surroundings so that we could head off on an adventure the next day. At the end of the first day we sat round the dinner table and discussed where we wanted to head off to in the morning. A few discussions and games of cards later we settled on the idea that we would try and find a beach that had been recommended by friends who know the area well. So Tuesday arrived and after a relaxed breakfast we entered the beach into our sat nav and got going. Now, there are many things I feel that I need to point out about our rented car, the most important of which is that the air conditioning was annoyingly temperamental, and by temperamental I mean, working one minute and then suddenly not working the next! (We figured out later in the holiday that this was due to the car thinking the outside temperature was -25°C not 35°C – not exactly helpful!). Despite the air conditioning, and bad Spanish radio station that only seemed to play 90s music, we were making good progress in our journey, that is until we noticed that we were heading in the direction of the mountains and not the coast. Disaster!…

Okay well maybe not disaster, but it certainly changed our plans a little, so instead of the beach we headed to a lovely city that was nearby called Orihuela, where we came across some beautiful water fountains and some stunning churches…

© Lou Johnson

© Lou Johnson

One of my favourite moments in Orihuela came when we took shelter from the afternoon heat in some church cloisters. Naomi’s family are a musically talented bunch of people, and her Mum and Sister couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the most of the amazing acoustics of the cloisters. Sitting on the ancient steps, looking out at the pretty garden at the centre of the courtyard, with blue skies listening to them fill the area with relaxing song was a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

© Lou Johnson

Another day that stands out for me was the day we went to the zoo. I’m a huge animal lover, and adore going to zoos and aquariums, in fact we were all looking forward to it. Looking through the leaflets the zoo looked amazing, and I’m sad to say it wasn’t the case. I’m lucky enough to live near to two amazing animal parks in Kent (Port Lympne and Howletts), which both founded by John Aspinall, and are dedicated to protecting animals, and giving them the most natural environment possible. Sadly, although Rio Safari promised many things, it was a severe disappointment. We didn’t expect to see monkeys in tiny cages, gorillas in small pens, buzzards without any water, and a parrot show were the birds were made to do silly tricks and thrown about. We were all shocked by the conditions the animals were made to live in. I’m not sure any of us enjoyed it much, but i suppose it showed us all how lucky we are not to live near any places that mistreat their animals in such a way.

© Lou Johnson

I feel like I should explain a little about our accommodation next because I’m not sure how they managed it, but Naomi’s parents managed to find a perfect little villa in a housing estate just outside of Algorfa. The section that we lived in was reasonably empty (end of the holiday season?) but the villas that were occupied were full of lovely, friendly people who we spent time with by the pool and went out with of an evening, a perfect little community.

My absolute highlight of the whole holiday was the day trip we made to Valencia, I won’t go into details now as it deserves an entire post of its own, but I would just like to say a huge thank you to Naomi and her amazing family for taking me on holiday with them! The few events that I have written in this post about barely begin to convey the incredible 12 days I had (I didn’t even mention the wild flamingos! ) and i can’t thank them enough!

More photos from my holiday can be found here.

x

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2009 18:45

    It’s a shame to hear that the Zoo didn’t live up to what you hoped, but the conditions do sound very rough for an esteablished zoo. Still, sounds like you had a wonderful time! I’ve just been browsing your flickr photos now and the archiecture in some of the photos from Orihuela is simply gorgeous!

    Great to hear how lovely everything was for not just you but Nay and her family too. You still managed to check out the F1 whilst getting away and relaxing in what sounds a lovely environment. Can’t wait to read your later post about the trip to Valencia!!

    Trust the plane to be called JB! 😀

  2. Naomi! permalink
    September 1, 2009 20:14

    awwwwwwwwwww lou. it was a pleasure to take you with us… we had a brilliant time 😀 😀

    Naomi’s family are a musically talented bunch of people, and her Mum and Sister couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the most of the amazing acoustics of the cloisters. Sitting on the ancient steps, looking out at the pretty garden at the centre of the courtyard, with blue skies listening to them fill the area with relaxing song was a wonderful experience that I will never forget

    that made me giggle…. the post and the actual moment. haha

  3. Amy permalink
    September 2, 2009 09:15

    I WANNA GO TO SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN. So jealous!

  4. Christine permalink
    September 2, 2009 12:58

    Boo for the zoo being rubbish. Do they just have lesser standards in Spain d’you reckon? Cos you wouldn’t get away with that here.

  5. Lou permalink*
    September 2, 2009 19:23

    I WANNA GO TO SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN. So jealous!

    aw there is still plenty of time to go to Spain Amy. Maybe have a huge trip next year when you come to Belgium? 😉

    Boo for the zoo being rubbish. Do they just have lesser standards in Spain d’you reckon? Cos you wouldn’t get away with that here.

    I think maybe Spain, or maybe just the area of Spain we were in is less conscious about animal rights than places such as the UK. They said on their leaflets and tourist information that they were dedicated to helping endangered species and stuff… sadly we didn’t see any evidence of this. Maybe it used to be very good? There are a few zoos in the area, so it could be to do with competition, either way it really wasn’t good 😦

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  1. Valencia! « Photo Finish

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