Renting rural farmhouse for summer holidays in Costa Brava, Spain
Mas les Cabretes
Our family wanted to recreate our Midi and Burgundy boat cruises a few years ago (Enjoying boating holiday in Burgundy, France! and Enjoying the Canal du Midi in France!, but it was not to be. My brother Will could not come from New York City and my sister Susie thought that it was time for us to try something different, so she volunteered to search on the Internet and soon found a large farmhouse, not far from Barcelona, which would be big enough for our family group of nine people and which was also close to the beach!
We made the reservation and we were all looking forward to our 2010 summer holidays in Spain! In addition to the beach, there were also interesting sites to visit, diving, walks and even parachuting in the area!
The end of August finally arrived and to the tune of Que Viva Espana on our car radio, we finally left Graz and set off on what we knew would be a long drive. The Michelin Guide estimated it would take us 13 hours to get there, so at exactly 7:15 am one morning we left and just a few minutes later we heard on the 8 o’clock news that there was a gigantic 30km traffic jam. At first we thought it would be people returning home from holidays before the start of the school year, but they turned out to be people just like us, going on a late summer holiday!
Our first traffic bottleneck was just past Udine, Italy, where the highway turns to go to Venice and we lost about an hour there. We continued without any problems for a long while, but then came across an even bigger jam on the border with France. We were stuck inside a few tunnels, having to breath the exhaust fumes from the cars and buses in front, as it was too hot to keep the windows closed!
Soon we reached the Provence area of France and we could recognise many names from our Canal du Midi cruise a few years before. We kept on driving until it eventually got dark, but we continued on until we finally crossed the border into Spain. The navigation system helped us find the farm we were going to and well after midnight and many hours behind schedule, we finally arrived in our rented Mas les Cabretes farmhouse! We greeted my sister, her two boys and a friend of them, who had driven their rented car from Madrid. Unfortunately, Danny and his wife Natalia had to cancel the holiday, as Danny lost his job at the very last moment.
We talked for about two hours sitting outside and we caught up on the latest news, but that was after Susie had shown us around the place first! She was very proud of her find, as the place was not only beautiful, but very big too! Alberto & Nico also used the opportunity to tell us all about their skydiving experiences and I think it was that talk the one that finally inspired Gisela to search on the Internet the next day for a place to do a tandem jump!
Staying in Les Cabretes was like being in a hotel, as we all got separate bedrooms with bathrooms and most of them even had a big Jacuzzi in them! Next morning we got up to a nice cup of hot coffee and some fresh bread and it was then that we found out that we could not only enjoy music and television, but also Internet access for the computers we had brought along! Walking around the farm we also discovered that there were not only dogs, but also some horses in the back, including a baby one. Just outside our huge bedroom window we also found a huge fig tree with ripe fruit on it!
To one side of the farmhouse there was also a swimming pool and next to it an area to have barbecues, which we enjoyed on a few of our evenings there! Our reconnaissance trips in the neighbourhood revealed a bakery close by and also a few big supermarkets, so we all went shopping to get supplies many times.
Sure enough, Gisela did get to jump the last day of August and she admitted the experience had been kind of bizarre, but was quite eager to do it again sometime! (Parachuting in Costa Brava, Spain). She had waited a year and a half to get her chance, as the one in Cairns in 2009 had not worked because of the weather, but this time everything worked to perfection and there was a bright blue sky.
We went on many drives around the area and the coast and found lovely villages, perfect for taking pictures. One day we also went shopping and I was lucky enough to find just the perfect bag to replace mine and it was made of leather too!
Advantages of a boat cruise
When we went on our last boat cruise there were six of us, we went for a week and we decided to go just one way, so that we would not have to repeat a stretch to return to the starting point. We were together on the boat for breakfast, lunch, drinks, and any walking tours we decided to go on. Then in the evening we would go out to a restaurant on shore for dinner. We just had to follow the canal or river and we had to make no decisions really, as it was just a matter of following the water. Some of us liked to sit outside upstairs, under the umbrella, watching the scenery, others preferred to read, write, or listen to some music under cover downstairs, while others were happy getting involved with food preparation, which was basically salads and baguettes with assorted cheeses and hams for lunch. The boat was big enough for everyone to do what they enjoyed, but when it was time to cross a lock, then everyone had to get busy with whatever was their chore. The only place where we could go was straight ahead and on the boat, as we did not have the use of a car anymore.
In the farmhouse we had two cars, but we could not fit all of us in just one, so we needed to take two if everyone wanted to come along. There were many choices as far as places to go and the boys preferred the beach, of course, as there is no beach near Madrid. The other people were happy driving along the coast, or visiting various villages.
The Madrid weather is very hot in summer, so people like to stay up late to enjoy the cooler evenings, while Austria does not have such problems, so we could get up early in the mornings. In a way it was as if we were living on different time zones while we were in the farmhouse! Those living in Madrid would wake up at midday, then go to the beach after breakfast and they would return when it got dark, while those living in Austria were ready to have dinner when the sun had gone down!
Regardless of time zones, we all enjoyed the chance to get together in Costa Brava and we are already thinking of the next chance we will get and where it will be! Last time we all got together in Spain it was in a flat called Tio Tango, near the town of Avila and that was for Christmas 2007!
So as to break the return journey in two, we decided to go back to Austria via Riomaggiore, Italy, but that will the topic for my next hub!
Address to get to Mas les Cabretes farmhouse, near Vila Sacra, Spain