Where to go for the perfect post-vaccination getaway
Yes, I’m old, I’m running away and I’m going big, leaving behind my offspring and this terrible year just because I can. At least I did my part … like many grannies, I formed a care bubble with my offspring and have been taking care of my 17 month old granddaughter now from 8am to 6pm two days a week since August last while his parents work full time from home.
Frankly, I need a break. Granddaughter Olive is adorable (except she calls me GaGa, which is too close to the bone); Daughter-in-law Flick is cuteness personified, but my son Fergus, who comes down too often to “see if you’re okay,” makes me feel like Edina in Ab Fab. “Mum, were you upstairs with your shoes on? … Mum, I can’t believe you still don’t know how those stroller straps work … Mum, why is Olive in the laundry basket? … Mum?” … ”
In the playground we nanny grannies tie up and discuss our fear of doing something wrong, how much we hate stroller straps and how knocked out we are. We nostalgically speak of a vacation alone in the sun with nothing more stressful than a book or a round of golf. Now it seems our dreams are coming true – the Balearics, Malta, the Azores, the Canaries… oh, please bring them on.
Where to go and what to do this summer … our guide to the best “grandcations”
History and heritage
The beloved island nation has expressed its intention to revive its tourism industry before midsummer – and has announced it will welcome fully vaccinated Britons, without further testing, from June 1. This should give the opportunity to explore a country. which represents one of the oldest civilizations in the Mediterranean. Insight Vacations (0800 533 5620; insightvacations.com) offers a six-day ‘Easy Pace Malta’ group tour that examines the medieval wonders of Valletta and the ancient capital Mdina – all while basing yourself on Sliema Beach. The trip is popular – its high season departures are already full. But two October editions still have seats, starting at £ 1,616 per head (extra flights).
Sun and serenity
Malta’s determination to attract visitors is such that it is willing to pay them. Last month it announced it would offer a reduction of up to € 200 (£ 174) to international visitors who stay more than two nights this summer. The caveat is that booking should be made directly with a hotel rather than through an operator – but there are plenty of options. For example, The Phenicia (00356 2122 5241; phoeniciamalta.com) is a five-star oasis in Valletta where a week-long stay for two adults, checked in July 17, starts at € 1,365 (£ 1,187) in total (flights in addition) . For more ideas on where to stay, check out our guide to the best hotels in Malta.