Tuesday, March 5, 2013

While the Cat's Away

In this case, cat refers to the girls and so that makes me the rat.  Figures.

Later this month, the senior heads to Paris for a long weekend with her humanities class. That same weekend, the sixth grader heads to Seville with her Spanish class. I figured out they would both be gone at the same time just recently and decided it couldn't hurt to take a little trip of my own, some place I've never been. I'll be back in Texas soon enough, hopefully teaching full time but unable to hop on a plane and fly to Europe for a long weekend at the last minute. And by last minute, I mean more than a month out because that's how my neurotic planning, slightly OCD mind works. Those fab last minute travel deals you see advertised for cruises and other fun things? I'll always end up paying more for my boat ride or flight because I'm not a spur of the moment sort of gal.

I'm an experienced traveler, but I didn't want to head to some country I've never visited on my own. Thankfully, a Texas friend that has lived in Holland for years (and her Dutch bff) could also use a break from the kids and pets and partner. And so we're all flying to meet up in southern Portugal, Lagos in the Algarve, for a relaxing little ladies weekend.

It looks really pretty in pictures. There are a plethora of house hunting type shows in the UK and one of my faves is "Home or Away". They follow house hunters who are considering two options - buying a house somewhere in the UK or relocating to another part of Europe. That's where I first saw the Algarve and realized it's home to some beautiful beaches.  

Virtually every trip we've taken since moving to Europe has involved a daily itinerary and touring schedule that allows for no R&R because we've always got a lot of ground to cover. You can't go to Paris without seeing Versailles. It's unthinkable to visit Munich without riding over to Neuschwanstein Castle. And you can't tour Naples without also hitting Pompeii. You understand this predicament, right? We can sit around and be lounge lizards by the pool at our Texas house once we've taken advantage of our travel opportunities in Europe.

The reality is that I'll no doubt con my travel buddies into poking their heads into a couple historic churches. However, the rest of my time I plan to spend strolling around the old city center with no real destination in mind other than an outdoor cafe that serves glasses of chilled white wine beneath an umbrella so we can people watch. Or down by the beach with my toes in the sand and Kindle in my hand, taking it easy. And that will be a lovely change of pace for me.

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