Let us take a brief trip back in time to those halcyon days gone by of about six weeks ago with a selection of blogs what do detail moments from my recent family sojourn to a small town about 80km away from Barcelona.
The flight to Barcelona airport was blessedly uneventful - let's face, a trip in a metal container several thousand feet up is something that you really do want to be free from events (unless you count "mild surprise that even a cheese sandwich can be rendered inedible by airline chefs" to be an event). Upon arrival at the airport, however, there seemed to be a strange phenomenon in effect. For some inexplicable reason (presumably known only to the shadowy upper echelons of airport management), the preferred method of transport for airport staff seemed to be The Segway. Yes, one of the most ridiculous modes of transport known to man is somehow deemed appropriate for zipping about between crowds of holidaymakers and their bulky luggage.
This isn't to say that every member of staff who works there gets to use one. Oh no, far from it. It would appear from my limited observations that there is a definite hierarchy involved. The main official that we saw using one appeared to wield the mighty Segway as a weapon of seniority. She majestically hummed over to two members of staff who cringed slightly at the approach of the proud machine. Lady Segway then proceeded to imperiously circle her cowering minions whilst pointing and gesturing forth imperative decrees. Her important delegating done, Lady S then zoomed over to the information point, maintaining her position on the glorified unicycle the entire time she conversed by gently easing herself back and forth in a faintly foolish fashion. Wise words of information dispensed, she was then off, nipping forth to disseminate further instructions at an electric speed that only the near silent Segway can provide.
As is traditional for a holiday, the trip form the airport to the villa is marred by an expected amount of completely failing to follow the nearly useless directions. Fortunately, through a careful combination of zen navigation, going straight on, the occasional wrong way trip down a one-way street and a healthy dose of good, old-fashioned "we're pointing in pretty much the right direction" style navigating, we actually manged to find our way up a mountain in the dark and to the villa.
Villa might be a mild way of putting it. It's listed as a castle on the booking site (maybe slightly talking itself up a bit, although it does have a turret) and is divided into two sizeable apartments which sleep around twenty people overall (so a little under-utilised as there are seven of us). However, it's the grounds where it becomes really impressive. There's the swimming pool (pretty standard), the barbecue house with dart board (getting better), the long veranda with ping-pong table (nice) the full-size tennis court (yes, really) and vineyard area with sheep and chickens. Add to that the fact that the local bar/restaurant is next door (but that the place is big enough that you can't really hear it from the villa) and this might well have been one of the finest holiday residences ever.
More notes from Spain to follow...