I recently got engaged to a fabulous guy. One of my favorite things about him is his willingness to check out uncharted territories. He's a great traveler too - good sense of direction, go with the flow attitude about experiences - which makes life awesome. What bugs both of us is that we have never been on a large scale adventure together. I've spent the summer in London, visited Norway and Paris, all while in college studying abroad. He's been to China, seen pandas and walked the Great Wall, all with other friends while I worked in DC.
Naturally, we want to have our first major adventure together for our honeymoon. I'm thinking a tour of the Spanish paradores.
Paradores de Turismo de España are a chain of Spanish luxury hotels. They were founded by Alfonso XIII of Spain as a means to promote tourism in Spain, with the first opening in Gredos, Ávila in 1928.My parents met in the south of Spain. My mom was traveling with girlfriends, fresh off of a stint in Australia and my dad was stationed in Rota, Spain with the U.S. Navy post-Vietnam. They knew each other for approximately three months before my mom went off to Norway on a road trip with my dad's cousin. When she returned (by plane) he greeted her at the airport, and there it was decided that they'd get married.
A profitable state-run enterprise, the hotels are often in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. They stretch from Galicia in the North West through Catalonia to Andalusia in the south of Spain, the Canary Islands and to the Spanish cities in North Africa. (Thanks, Wikipedia)
So, Spain has definite appeal to me. What better place to start a marriage, than the Mediterranean coast? And on top of that, in the country where my parents met, and kicked off a happy 30-year marriage? There must be something in the water there.
My parents always used to talk about driving up the coast and having fancy dinners at the paradores - paella and fresh fish. Yum. And it looks like they're still at it with the food (uh, YUM!?)
The other day I began my online parador research and discovered the amazing, comprehensive and completely tantalizing Web site. Seriously considering going to the courthouse to push this marriage thing through so we can honeymoon next week. Ha. There will be some saving of the money before any of that happens, though. But if we do decide to go this route, I will have a goal to push me through the bitter Alabama winter: sunny May skies in Spain. :)
Here's what I'm thinking for the vacay: the site offers rates for routes, scheduled for either three or seven days. (Hello, did I not say that their site is amazingly comprehensive? It's an internet planning addict's dream). All of the routes are themed - culture, nature, WINE, legacy trails through other cultures... Anyway, one of the seven-nighters is a coastal trail. All the way from the northeast corner of Spain, down the Mediterranean coast to the southern tip.
They say on the site that this route takes visitors to some of the best beaches along the Mediterranean coast in Alicante, Murcia, Almería and Malaga. This area is well-known for its tourist attractions but still harbors many pleasant surprises.
I like it. Beach vacation plus culture in Spain. Beach honeymoon meets global trek. And they drive on the right side of the road, don't they?
By the way, I promise this isn't going to be a wedding planning blog from now until May. I have lots of other exciting stuff going on that I'll be posting about, including a Social South new media conference in Birmingham next Friday and Saturday and a trip to San Fran for the Dreamforce (Salesforce users) conference in November to learn how to integrate my work's Facebook, Twitter and other social media efforts with our Web site as well as with our non-profit Salesforce software. Interesting stuff. AND I just signed up for Santa's Village PR again. Whoooeeeee, here comes fall and winter. May will be here before I know it...