To open your eyes on waking and realise you actually are on holiday is one of the finest sensations there is. A torrent of joyful thoughts crowd your mind, inundating you, for a few seconds, with a feeling of complete happiness: finally, no stress, no responsibility, pure relaxation, languid enjoyment, goodbye to work and the boss, hello to the beach, beer, family, afternoon naps, books, sparkling conversation, friends, gin and tonics… this is the life, and I’ve earned it. It was my first day of the holidays and I was already playing that wonderful, staple game you end up playing on holiday: “wondering what day it is” (@Oursouls).
I wasn’t sure if it was Monday or Thursday, or if I’d woken up at nine in the morning or if it was already two in the afternoon. The feeling of having escaped the tyranny of time made me feel invincible, and once more, delighted. I rolled over between the sheets and looked around my hotel room, with its stylish decor that invited relaxation: yes, I could definitely be very happy here. It had been a ‘year waiting to unwind, enjoy and escape from the daily routine. A dream to be turned into reality in the finest @Vincci_Hoteles’ (@mardevinez).
But being on holiday wasn’t the only reason for my feelings of euphoria. Because today was my wedding anniversary, I’d been ‘married for 10 years to a wonderful woman and a great mother; 10 years of true love’ (@josem699).
I’m not one to idealise marriage, living together can be tough at times and it can wear you down, but on days like this you take stock of reality, and in balance things were very good. That’s why I wanted today to be unforgettable for her; I wanted her to know how happy it made me to have her by my side. I’d thought of lots of little things to surprise her with throughout the day, and I was as nervous as a young child celebrating their birthday. No doubt she’d think I’d forgotten, I always told her that celebrating anniversaries was sentimental nonsense that wasn’t for me and we’d never celebrated our anniversary, in spite of the fact that sometimes I thought I’d seen a hint of disappointment in her eyes when the day was over and, effectively, it had been just like any other, without a card, a present, or a joint reminisce or our life together. In fact without any celebration whatsoever.
Wrapped up in these thoughts, I settled into the pleasurable routine of the summer days: a relaxed, sumptuous breakfast in the hotel, a morning on the beach playing with the children and reading the newspaper, and for lunch, nothing better than a “a succulent paella, washed down with well chilled fine white wine’ (@Cocobarcelona) on the shore.
Although lots of people around us had plumped for fried fish and classic line-caught Cadiz tuna, that rice tasted glorious to me. The food was the perfect opportunity for the first of the surprises I had prepared – the waiter brought us a bottle of wonderfully cold cava, with an envelope tied to the cork. My wife looked at the waiter, without understanding, but when he said, “congratulations madam, I hope you enjoy your special day very much” and she opened the envelope to find a photo of our wedding day, it all became clear and she threw her arms round my neck, laughing, hugging me like never before.
After lunch, and with the children taking a nap on the hammocks under the sun umbrellas by the pool, we took our chance to lie down and read for a while. I’ve always said there’s nothing more pleasurable: my favourite thing in summer is ‘to be under a parasol with one of my favourite books’ (@HelenGloverP).
I decided to take a walk around the hotel where we’d be staying for the next few days, to get to know the layout, and during my wander I noticed the following poster: ‘Enjoy the most exclusive and complete thermal spa, right at the beach on the Costa da la Luz’. A spa! How had I not thought of that?! She loves that kind of thing. And in our own hotel, without having to get ready to go out, or even leave the building. The sound of the sea and the scent of the flowers in the air was the perfect combination to make me ‘think only about the holidays and to leave the stress behind’ (@Duapara)
I didn’t think twice and I made a reservation for her for that very afternoon. With the sun going down, I went to wait for her in the garden with the children. Seeing her come out of the spa looking relaxed and with a tranquil smile playing on her lips I knew it had been a complete success. Her warm embrace confirmed it: ‘you can’t imagine how good that was. A relaxing massage and a cherry scented foam bath (@MariaRRub). An absolute dream. Thank you!”.
She suggested we take advantage of the relaxing moment and enjoy the unrivalled sunset of the Cadiz coast. And, this time, it was luck that did the rest; I hadn’t prepared it but it couldn’t have been better. We sat on the outdoor terrace, refreshing cocktail in hand, watching the sun set over the sea, like something straight out of a film, when they started playing the music from ‘Life is Beautiful’ (@luisa_mon), one of her favourites. She looked at me enchanted, but I had to admit it: “This time it wasn’t me, it’s just the hotel”.
She turned to her lightning wit, the sense of humour that had had me hooked me from the very first moment I met her: “Well then, they’ve made another of my dreams come true, a perfect summer is one without any King Africa music’ (@Cocobarcelona). We all laughed, knowing we were enjoying one of the magical moments of the holidays.
The day had left us all tired, and the children were falling asleep where they were, so we decided we would skip dinner and head straight to bed. The little ones were asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow, and just as we collapsed on our bed, the doorbell rang. She looked at me, surprised, and hurried to open the door. A waiter, with an elegant table decorated with flowers and candles and a delicious dinner from the delicatessen, appeared before her eyes. She turned and looked at me doubtfully. ‘Yes, this time it’s me’, I said, with a wink.
The last few hours of the day were pleasurable and delightfully relaxed, talking amidst laughter about our first wedding anniversary celebration in ten years. ‘The surprise of a romantic dinner and a candlelit bath was the crowning touch to the night’ (@latikaf_f), she said as she hugged me.
‘You’re going to have a hard time beating this next year’, she then said, somewhat brusquely. I didn’t find that quite as funny, but she soon had me laughing again: ‘Relax, I’m joking, this has been unbeatable’.