A breakfast buffet, followed by hours of lounging by the pool or on the beach, a short break for lunch, afternoon by the pool with maybe a few pool games thrown in, topped off with another buffet for dinner and some cheesy evening entertainment: That pretty much sums up most days of my typical childhood vacations. We’d pick a place down South – very often Spain, sometimes Turkey or Tunisia – and book a week or two of package holidays with a big tour operator. It was always the highlight of the year.
Now, I’m usually looking for something more exciting, and my trips are individually planned adventures rather than group tours and big buffets in resorts. But two years ago, on a trip up the coast to Santa Susanna from our current home Barcelona, we rediscovered a hotel my boyfriend’s family had stayed in for a summer holiday many years ago, and we went in for a sentimental beer by the pool, reminiscing about our childhood vacations. We found ourselves back there a month later, jealous of the people who got to stay the night when we had to return to the city and go back to work the next day. So the next time one of our parents planned to visit us, instead of preparing for a weekend of walking around Barcelona for the hundredth time, we brought up the idea of spending the weekend in a holiday resort up the coast. It’s become a “thing”. Since then, family visits have become holiday weekends for us as well!
The hotel from my boyfriend’s childhood hasn’t aged as well as we have (humour me, I recently turned thirty…) so we picked a newer hotel chain with Aquahotel and have been to their hotels a whopping four times in the last two years.
Impressions from our Santa Susanna holidays
The train journey itself is beautiful. The track runs right along the beach and coastline from Sant Adria (just north of Barcelona) all the way up to Santa Susanna and beyond. This is a great train journey even if you’re just looking for a day trip from Barcelona.
Made it! I tend to go to Santa Susanna straight from work and meet the rest of our group at the hotel. It usually doesn’t take me long though…
…to switch into vacation mode and join them for a drink by the pool! The classic tourist drink is obviously Sangria, I usually prefer a Clara (Beer with lemonade, typically Fanta lemon in Spain). Or try ordering a Tinto de Verano (literally “Red summer wine”), which is a mix of red wine with Gaseosa (a Spanish lemonde brand which tastes a bit like Sprite).
The pool in the morning, still fairly empty. I won’t get into the great pool lounger towel discussion here, that’s probably a post of its own and frankly, way too political for a beginner blog.
Me attempting to shoot a rifle, not very successfully. There’s a reason they do this all the way in the back behind the hotel parking lot, on an empty field with nothing around. That reason is people like me who really shouldn’t shoot anything other than a water pistol.
I tried archery instead. Suits me much better I think! Shooting a bow and arrow feels more real, more adventurous… even in a hotel parking lot.
And look, I actually hit the target!
What did you do on vacation during your childhood? Do you sometimes still travel that way today?