Not only did it rain all the way to our villa, Casa Sola, it rained all the while we were unloading the car and all through exploring the villa and getting the kids in bed. The only hiccup came in my instructions having a typo in the key safe number! Fortunately we were met by the guy who maintains the place who looked at it, laughed, and placed the blame squarely on the person who’d written the email.
I’ve been self-catering in villas before. You know the kitchens – there’ll be a single pan that’s too large for most things but too small for the actual job you need, a potato masher that bends if you even show it a spud, five knives but only three forks and no teaspoons. Casa Sola is not like that. It has a kitchen almost as well equipped as my own. Induction hob, a collection of useful -and sharp – knives, two drawers of cutlery, kettle, huge fridge/freezer… We wanted for nothing. Even better was the welcome pack! 2 baguettes, a round of Brie and a couple of bottles of very nice rosé. That took care of dinner!
Youngest kids safely tucked up in bed, we began going through the mountain of leaflets for attractions in the surrounding area – and there is a lot to do.
Our daily plan for holidays works something like this:
- Up at a reasonable hour for breakfast
- Morning away doing something
- Lunch out
- Perhaps another attraction on the way back to the villa
- Rest and relaxation at the villa, use the pools
- Dinner in the villa
- Games – Carcassonne, Magic: The Gathering, cards. Forgot to take the cribbage board!
- Kids to bed
- Write up holiday diaries and drink fine wine while eating cheese and leftover bread from breakfast.
Now I’m not going to go through each day in extreme detail. Over the course of the week we did…
- The beach, twice.
- Aqualand at St Cyprien
- Les Gorges de la Fou
- Prats des Mollo and a stroll up to the huge fort above the medieval town
- The Kingdom of the Elves
- Arles-sur-Tech’s abbey
- Some stunning geology at Ille-sur-Tét
- Lunch at some excellent restaurants – go for the plat-du-jour every time.
Tomorrow, links, photos and ratings for the places we visited and restaurants we ate at (when I can remember the names!)
One thing we didn’t do was visit Carcassonne. This was always going to be part of the plan but (a) it was a longer drive there from the villa than I’d expected and (b) how much fun would it’ve been to drag 5 kids around a medieval city when they could be at Aqualand instead? Carcassonne will be there for another year.