Saturday, May 9, 2009

The countdown is on.

Five weeks from now we'll be on our summer holiday.

Every other year we take a big family vacation. This is the year. We have a formula and it seems to be working. We rent a large home with a pool someplace interesting for two weeks and invite our extended family and friends to join us.

Our first trip was to Siena, Italy, in the Tuscan countryside. We called this trip Nine under Nine because we had nine children with us, all girls and all nine or under. The Pinks were 3.5 and 7.5. The travel there and back was brutal but the trip was amazing. So amazing that the same group of people came two years later, plus a few more. Our second rental was in Provence, France. Again, it was a great time. This summer we're going to Malaga, Spain.

People frequently ask me about this way of vacationing. All I can say is that it works for us. We get quality time with our extended clan, a good dose of culture, and there are a lot of kids around to entertain each other. I am incredibly picky about where I put my head down at night so the search begins more than a year in advance as we are looking for lots of beds and baths on at least a few acres with a pool.

What exactly do we do? Most days we leave the house 10ish and sight see. (The housekeeper tidies up while we're out.) We return around 4p and swim or nap. We strategize over dinner and either go out, have the chef come in or take turns cooking. The kids go to bed around 10p and the adults stay up late, drinking whatever we bought while we were out and about. Some days we all go out together. Some days we split up. Some days we go further afield and stay through dinner. But most days we regroup at the house in the late afternoon and compare notes.

If you don't have a friend like Neeracha to travel with, you need one. She speaks four languages fluently and picks up the ones she doesn't very quickly. She can also read a map while driving, which is good because I dislike doing both overseas. She blogged exhaustively while we were in France, which thrilled Thom and Sara because they came a week later and thus got a sneak preview. She's already on the ball this year and got us advance tickets to the Alhambra.

Highlights of years past:
1. An entire day shopping the Italian outlets with Neeracha, Amanda and Ice Cream SIL.
2. Being the only Americans at one of the pre-Palio banquets. (This is the first picture, above. Our banquet, one of 13, had tables set for 600.)
3. Having Chef Ronald prepare and serve us meals at the house in Provence. (This is the second picture, above.)
4. Daily gelato
5. Pont du Gard
6. The open air markets

Yes, I'm excited to be doing this again. I will be more excited once I get on the plane and crack open the travel books.


Polka Dot Moon said...

I can't wait to hear of this years travels :)

Paige said...

I'm excited for you and will live vicariously!

Thom Singer said...

Wow, that picture from Italy,,,, the kids were so little. Everyone thought we were crazy to take them, and yet they were all superstars. My kids cannot wait until they can see The Pinks.

Sara Singer said...

Our girls aren't the only ones who can't wait to see y'all! Thom gets to see you a few times a year, but I don't, so I'm extra excited about this trip - Spain AND The Morris Family! Can't wait!

Neeracha T. said...

LOL - you're too kind. I'm listening to a podcast of Coffee Break Spanish even as I type this!!