August 19, 2014. Well, surprise! Surprise! We got to go on another vacation! My husband had some vacation time that he needed to use, before his anniversary date. So, away we went! This time, however, although it was only for 4 nights, it turned out to be one of the best adventures I could have ever imagined.
For this vacation, we tried a few new experiences. First, instead of driving all the way to Florida, we decided to shave off a few hours of travel time by only going as far as Gulf Shores, Alabama. We began by booking through a local real estate agency at our intended destination, rather than using Expedia.
The online booking experience was surprisingly easy, and the really great off-season rates available for condos were an added bonus. A one-bedroom unit, with private beach access, a pool and an outdoor hot-tub, for four nights, and five days, was available for the price of a moderate motel room, with one night free.
And, to top it all off, the condo complex was located right across the street from the Gulf. We could see it’s sparkling blue waters from our living-room and private balcony, with the added bonus of a view of a lake from our bedroom window.
The beach at Gulf Shores turned out to be every bit as good as Florida’s, with nearly-white sand and brilliantly turquoise water. And, it was wonderful to find that the marine life in the area is making a comeback, after the devastating effects of the 2010, three-month long Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. (The only sea life we had seen, on previous trips to Florida since the oil spill, were manta rays surfing in the shallows.)
We began each day, after enjoying coffee and breakfast on our balcony, with a leisurely swim in the clear blue ocean. It may be my imagination, but I think the water is more buoyant than it used to be, because I had no trouble keeping my feet afloat. And, there was not that all-over feeling of stickiness that I remember I used to notice after getting out of ocean water.
After our morning swim, we’d head back to the condo to shower, look through the myriad of tourist attraction brochures, and watch a movie. Following a light lunch, we’d take an afternoon nap, then head out in the car to take in the sights nearby. I even started sleeping at night (for the most part), and staying up (for the most part) during the day!
We talked about doing several things, like playing miniature golf, or riding go-karts, and even kidded about going parasailing, but we never actually followed through with any action. Instead, we spent the entire time loafing around, just relaxing! I cooked more on this vacation than I normally do at home, but I actually enjoyed it. We did eat out a couple of nights though, and spent an hour strolling through a huge souvenir shop. But other than that, we just loafed. It was wonderful!
When it came time to leave, we very surprisingly felt the inviting pull of leisure life beckoning us to remain, all cozy and content, right where we were. It was a real struggle to pack up, and leave the sand, and sea, and tranquility behind. The only way I consoled myself was to remember that my husband gets more vacation in October. So, as I was checking to make sure we’d left nothing behind, I was busily planning our next excursion!
But, hey! Why just settle for Alabama, or even the Florida coast? I’m thinking too small. Why not another cruise? (I guess I’ll have to quit procrastinating about getting my passport, though!)