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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Holidays and Heritage


I've always thought there are three kinds of holiday (asides from good, bad and bloody awful!).

There's the slobbing by the hotel pool or local sun-scorched beach, with nothing for company but an iPod, a bottle of sun screen, an ice cold beer (temporary!) and the odd relative or two. The most worrying thought is whether to have lunch at midday, or 1.00pm...or whenever... and to have it at the pool bar, or wander into the local Taverna and do things in style. No, it's by the pool and maybe 2.00pm, or perhaps skip the food and just slob under the sun's rays. There's are, of course, a small number of drawbacks:-
- Kids always scream and splash. They're never happy to on a sun-lounger and get slowly brown.
- Kids always want something just as you're dropping off to sleep (an ice cream, a pee, a game)
- The beach sand, or concrete by the pool is red hot by the early afternoon and you forget. The trouble is you feel such an idiot putting shoes on to walk the fifteen feet to the pool. So it's blisters,because you can't run...that would look stupid!.....SPRINT!
- As the sun sinks slowly over the horizon and the temperature drops to a manageable 25 degrees, out comes the waiter with your evening drink and out come the mosquitoes for theirs.
- The promised satellite TV in you room has CNN, BBC News, 5 German channels, 1 Greek, 3 Spanish and lots of adverts extolling the virtues of Kuwait and other vastly expensive Middle East and Far East resorts.
- The air conditioning in the room is always so noisy you switch it off at night and swelter, or it's so cold with no visible controls you want extra blankets.
- The food is foreign. Gosh!
- The stomach upset is down to the food, never the amount of alcohol, or over-indulgence in sunbathing.
- The first 2 to 3 days seem to go by nice and slowly with lots to ndo and plenty of time to do it in. Explore the town. The rest of the holiday is a blur right up to the coach picking you up to go back to the airport and an interminable wait for the plane (which hasn't yet left Gatwick due to an engine problem).

Then there's the holiday where you base yourself in a pleasant village and drive out to beauty spots to see the sights and walk. In the UK Cornwall, Yorkshire, Scotland and South Wales and favourite. It's the views you go to see and the landscape can be fantastic to wander around, but even here there are drawbacks:-
- It rains in the UK. Either that, or we have a drought. Sea squalls can hit in an instant and be gone just as quickly, but once you're soaked to the skin, you remain soaked for the day.
- Someone has to have a back-pack to put waterproofs in (when not needed, though when they are needed suddenly, they're always at the very bottom of the pack), plus of course a couple of bottles of water, spare socks, a couple of Mars bars and an orange.
- You leave the map back at the hotel and depend on the SatNav which takes you into the next country and over a cliff.
- All views are seen through a camera viewfinder.
- The promised cafe at the end of the long trek up the mountain, or out to the remotest cliff point is closed for renovation. "Come back and see us soon. We're in Greece on holiday!".
- The car petrol gauge is running dangerously low and there's no signs for the nearest station anywhre, at least not on the desolate moor you've just entered.
- Your mobile signal is NIL and getting the AA out to see to your car is going to depend on flagging down a passing car. The attraction of this place though is that no one goes there. Doh!

The lastly tthere's the holiday to see the Heritage Sites. In Peru that's anything over 300 years old (amazingly Machu Picchu is only 400 years old....fairly modern by UK standards. There's so much to see around the worls and that's part of the problem...it's all over the world. It would be so much better if they were all within a car's drive of each other. No matter. Seeing sights of Peru, the Lost City of Petra in Jordan, the Egyptian ruins and the Greek and Roman temples are a breath-taking honour. Seeing the thousand year old cathedrals and 4,000 year old Stonehenge is spellbinding and the ancient civilisations of the Far East in India and Cambodia are spectacular. Drawbacks? One or two.
- Who's got the passports and why didn't we know we had to buy incredibly expensive visas to see this place?
- £75 just to get into the Petra ruins? YOU MUST BE JOKING!
- Remember to tip the driver / the tour guide / the waiter / the camel driver / the local police / everyone!
- "I told you not to wear flip flops!"
- I wonder if there's a cash machine in Machu Picchu?
- "Damn! The camera battery's run out!"
- "It's smaller than I thought. It looks bigger in the brochure photos."
- "My feet hurt. Can we go back?"

Don't get me wrong. I've been on all trypes of holiday and loved them every one of them. I take my dog walking along the coast of the Gower Peninsular in South Wales every year and we walk 10 miles a day along the cliffs. My wife and I have been to Egypt, Peru, America, Greece, Spain, Italy nand Jordan to see the acient Hertiage sites and loved them. I even enjoy getting a tan while reading a good book by the hotel pool. Let's face it, I love holidays. They just never last long enough. Life should be one long holiday interrupted by the odd day of work.

Blog on, Dudes!

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