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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Avoiding Crowds and Drawing Closer

For the first time in a long while, I had the energy to plan a holiday properly. Research and planning started 12 months ago. Bookings started 9 months ago. The highest rated AirBnB properties get booked up fast and I wanted to make sure that we could get the nicest lodgings at reasonable costs.

I had a lot of time to dig up lesser known attractions. It turns out that the whole family enjoyed the holiday because we went to places with no crowds and we were not ambitious in trying to squeeze in too many sights into the itinerary.

These holidays were not stressful. We had days when we did nothing but chill out together in the apartment, eat and sleep. We all wanted to rest. There was no drive to squeeze in as many sights as we could. We just made sure we were very selective about what we wanted to see and do.

Early December Is Low Season
More often than not, we were the ONLY people at the sights. Early December is low season in Spain. It isn't yet X'mas so the Spanish are not yet on holiday. Hence, if you pick sights and activities that appeal to the Spanish touring their own country, you can really be ALL ALONE enjoying the guide or the venue.

Surf TripAdvisor In the Local Language
I managed to find these lesser known sights by surfing TripAdvisor in Spanish. It takes a bit of effort to copy and paste into Google Translate but it was well worth it.

The trip went so well that I realise that it has drawn our family very close together. It was all happy. There were no disagreements nor any bickering even though there was laundry to do, dishes to wash, meals to prepare and things to pack away. It was just so much love.

When you have teenage children, you realise that having teenagers who spontaneously choose to spend time with the family is a rare blessing. Before the holidays, my heart ached because our children and we, seemed to live separate lives. They had their own friends and their own activities. They made time to spend with the family but out of a sense of duty. Smelly Boy spoke in grunts.

After these holidays, I think our children discovered that the 4 of us can have a rip-roaring time together. We clown around, laugh, tease and make jokes. It was non-stop happiness for the whole trip. Since our return, Smelly Boy lounges about in our Master Bedroom. The Daughter organised a family cake-baking activity today. We had a blast.

I think we have become addicted to each other! We really like hanging out together. I do hope this lasts. It is so precious that I shall tend this like the sacred fire of Vesta. I am so motivated to start planning the next holiday now!

The village square in Alarcón: we were alone there.

The citrus orchard at the Mesquita de Cordoba. There were so few people that it was easy to take pictures with no one in them.

Inside the Mesquita de Cordoba: not a soul in sight.

No one else at the Christopher Columbus' ships: we could play Pretend Pirates of the Caribbean to our hearts' content.

Just the pigs and us. No one else on the dehesa.

We went to Casa Battló at about 7.30pm (1.5 hours before closing time). By 8pm, the front desk will stop letting people in. As earlier people left Casa Battló and later entries were not allowed in, Casa Battló emptied out. It was almost empty as we walked around.

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