Our different holiday has changed our perspectives: OPINION

Gualdo Cattaneo in Umbria, Italy. Picture: Shutterstock
Gualdo Cattaneo in Umbria, Italy. Picture: Shutterstock
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We’ve just returned from a five-night break to Umbria in Italy. We booked it months ago to celebrate my mum’s 65th birthday.

Usually Matt and I either go long haul on big holidays, like adventure travel trips, or we book an all-inclusive break away where everything’s included and you don’t really have to worry about anything other than getting the on plane.

On this trip though, it was a little different. Firstly we flew from London Stansted. I know what you’re thinking, why on earth would we want to fly from there? I get it – in fact we flew from there a few years ago and I swore to never do it again, but it was about £160 per person cheaper than flying from Gatwick.

Secondly, we didn’t book hotel transfers, choosing instead to hire a car – something we’ve never done on a ‘normal’ holiday (I mean, we have when we were driving from LA to Vegas or hiring a campervan in Australia) but never on a short haul holiday.

Thirdly we didn’t go all inclusive and instead, we went half board.

Lastly, we booked a rather unusual style accommodation – a kind of medieval type castle-esque hotel set on the side of a mountain overlooking spectacular views. It was nowhere near a strip of bars and restaurants that we usually opt for so it was a totally different experience, but it was absolutely marvellous.

It was different but in a great way. Our first outing was to the local supermarket – which was an experience in itself because we had to meander down the mountain with sheer drops either side – to simply get some basic provisions for lunch and it was something I’ll never forget.

That and my poor attempt at trying to communicate with the Italian supermarket worker who found our shopping basket full of bread, cheese and booze to be rather amusing (of course, the booze wasn’t for me). It was also a little strange being in a country that prides itself on some of the best wine in the world and being stone cold sober…

But it really was a lovely break and one of the last ones we will have before our baby arrives in February. Then our holidays will be in the form of Butlins or Pontins!

I don’t want to get in a car with my mum again – sorry!

On my mum’s birthday, we drove to Florence which took two-and-ahalf hours.

The heavens opened up and it poured for the entire day which made navigating around a busy, foreign city an experience. My mum is a terrible passenger, in fact I never knew quite how bad, so driving for a return trip of five hours where she flinched at every passing car and upcoming roundabout proved problematic.

The drive back from Florence in the dark was a little hairy. By the time we got back to the hotel the others couldn’t wait to have a glass of wine and relax. I, however, opted for the only thing I could which was a nice hot bubble bath.

I already regret having our bathroom re-decorated…

Whilst we were away we decided it would be a good time to get the plumbers in to start our bathroom. 

In theory this would have been a good idea however what I didn’t foresee is that by the time we got back the bathroom wouldn’t be finished, so we came back to a toilet and nothing else.

They’ve started back on it today so by the end of the weekend we should have a bath or shower – I hope – but after all that travelling all we wanted was to bathe our pits and we couldn’t, opting for wet wipes instead…yuck!

We’re having to go to my mum’s or the gym to have a shower. I can’t wait to be able to have a bath but one thing’s for sure, I’ll never take our bathroom for granted again!