Whilst I’m out of the country on a trip to a mysterious undisclosed location, the daily blogging will be achieved through a series of travel-related posts, thanks to the kindness of my friends and family, and the wonders of post-scheduling technology.
This installment of The Travel Diaries is brought to you by Vic Hawkins. Vic has the enviable joy and delight of being my flatmate. She studied journalism at Sheffield University, works for a Christian charity, and blogs here.
My Favourite Holiday
I’m using my guest post for Ellidh’s blog to talk about one of my favourite holidays. I’m not going to talk about long flights, jet lag, learning different lingo, seeing the seven wonders of the world, 5* hotels, views of the riviera, room service and top restaurants.
No, the story of one of my favourite holidays starts with myself and a mixed group of friends (6 of us aged 16-21) trying to trying to find somewhere to stay for a summer holiday. It turned out to be pretty tricky. In fact, the only place that would take us and didn’t think we were going to get drunk and wreck the joint was Pontins. (Or maybe they thought we were going to get drunk and wreck the joint and they didn’t care).
You heard me right: Pontins. The not-as-good-as-Butlins low cost holiday resort for families. The average clientele couldn’t have been further removed from our party – working class, salt-of-the-earth, 2.4 children families. The apartment block we were in felt like a barack. I half expected someone to do a roll-call or force us to march somewhere. One person in the group distinctly said with some enthusiasm as he looked out of our lounge window: “Doesn’t it feel like we’re in a prisoner of war camp?”
Accommodation, as you can imagine, was basic. We had a second floor mid-range appartment (I honestly dread to think what the budget flats were like). The two guys shared the double bed in the lounge (fairly uncomfortable by all accounts) and us four girls split into two twos to share the twin rooms.
The kitchen area had the essentials – OK, the bare essentials. OK, there was only one pan, no tin-opener and no freezer compartment in the fridge.
The bathroom consisted of a shower (over the bath) which seemed like it had been removed from a local leisure centre’s swimming pool changing rooms and planted in our appartment. And there was zero ventilation, no bathmat for the floor, no soap/hand towel etc.
You might be wondering how a stay in this dump turned out to be one of my favourite holidays. Let me explain why. It was a laugh. From start to finish, we found the whole experience hilarious – having a rubbishy appartment and feeling like we were in a prison camp just contributed to the fun!
Add to that the fact we were minutes from a lovely beach, we had fantastic weather for the week and good day trips to nearby sites and you’ve got yourself and pretty good holiday.
On the last evening, the two guys designed a treasure hunt for the girls with clues that had us traipsing over the entire Pontins site. One clue involved saying an embarrassing code word to the security guard at the entrance. It was epic, and us girls got a tad competitive about the whole thing. It was all cryptic, all hard to decipher but I honestly felt like I was a British spy about to save the country from invasion if we solved the clues and got the treasure (a bag of sweets I think it was?)
The clincher for the holiday was the price. Four nights for £38. Yep, £38 total price (food/outings on top). That’s what I call cheap.
So what’s the moral of this guest post? You don’t need to spend lots of money, go somewhere plush and experience amazing things to have a great holiday. What you need is a good bunch of friends who you know well and can have a laugh with – and the rest is what you make it!