Hol­i­day haggle of ap­po­site op­po­sites

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - THE IN­CI­DEN­TAL TOURIST Bir­git Collins

T is that time of year for me to dust off suit­cases and hunt for pass­ports. My longed-for an­nual hol­i­day is just around the cor­ner: four weeks of bliss, when ris­ing at 6am and putting out the rub­bish bins will fade to a dis­tant me­mory. Af­ter many months of plan­ning and heated dis­cus­sions with my hus­band, it’s hard to be­lieve the mo­ment has al­most ar­rived.

Each year, count­less hours are spent at the lap­top, search­ing for the per­fect des­ti­na­tion. The choices seem end­less: a sa­fari in Kenya, see­ing the Great Wall of China, visit­ing an­cient ham­lets in Greece or join­ing the glitz-andglam crowd in the south of France? Af­ter a hard year’s slog, I de­cide that a bit of lux­ury at a French sea­side re­sort would be per­fect for restor­ing my en­ergy lev­els. But my more en­er­getic hus­band is lured by pretty pic­tures of the Ap­ple Isle and thinks a rather vig­or­ous walk­ing tour around Tas­ma­nia may be just the thing.

Nat­u­rally, we want to go some­where we both will en­joy. So Europe it is, but with a com­pro­mise. While my need for rest and re­lax­ation has been taken into ac­count and will be catered for in France, my hus­band’s wishes for a more ad­ven­tur­ous so­journ also will take us to Al­ba­nia. He has bought an arse­nal of solid walk­ing boots for the more moun­tain­ous ar­eas. Ac­cord­ing to the guide­book, he as­sures me, there are don­keys that can be hired to take the more frag­ile tourists up the steep bits. So my mind is on padded pants rather than sturdy footwear.

It has taken months to get our­selves or­gan­ised, and I think this time-con­sum­ing sched­ul­ing is what makes it eas­ier to last the long dis­tance from one hol­i­day to the next. But plans also have to be made for those left be­hind, like our great dane, Bonza, as de­mand­ing in ac­com­mo­da­tion as his mistress.

This is also his once-a-year treat, so we want him to have a good time. With lux­u­ri­ous pet ac­com­mo­da­tion shoot­ing up ev­ery­where, I have dis­cov­ered a place where ev­ery woof is catered for.

Look­ing around the large sin­gle rooms (no cages here), I am as­ton­ished to find air­con­di­tion­ing, fluffy cush­ions, piped classical mu­sic and a hy­dro-bath for the geri­atrics.

The ser­vice they of­fer also in­cludes peti­c­ures.

The pets are bet­ter catered for here than are cus­tomers at some five-star ho­tels. While half my an­nual salary is pay­ing for Bonza’s stay, I can only hope we will be as well looked af­ter at our choice of des­ti­na­tions.

And of course, once back home the ques­tion beck­ons: how in the world will I sur­vive the next 12 months? I sup­pose I could start by plan­ning next year’s trip right away or, to break up the year, book our­selves a spe­cial week­end re­treat where we will be as pam­pered as Bonza. The least I have come to ex­pect from any ho­tel th­ese days is to be car­ried to the pool in a sedan chair, should I suf­fer a sore toe.

But for the time be­ing it’s up and away. There will be plenty of time in France and Al­ba­nia to con­tem­plate the next es­cape.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.