It’s that time of year again. The time when the Joly family pile into a vehicle and set off on what some call a road trip, many call a divorce tour. Last year, we were pretty ambitious and drove to Istanbul and back. Surprisingly, we all got on, and had a blast.
If we did that this year we’d probably be picked up for attempting to join Isis. Instead, therefore, the idea was to drive down to the Sahara. Sadly one member of the family vetoed this at the planning stage due to fears of her being beheaded. I tried to argue the case for Morocco’s relative political stability but there was no compromise. Eventually we had to agree on a rather more sedate tour around the Iberian peninsula.
I have an unfounded bias against Spain and Portugal. I admit to being a travel snob, and somehow it doesn’t quite feel like the adventure that I’m after. My Spanish travel history doesn’t help. It includes a trip to Alicante in the 1990s when I infiltrated the England football team’s training camp. I ended up in the front row of a Glenn Hoddle press conference, having placed a comedy microphone box that was about five times the usual size on the table so that it blocked a perplexed looking England manager from TV viewers.
Another Spanish visit took me to Benidorm for my Fool Britannia show. I got into an altercation with a local crime boss who was not only armed but also very prepared to use his weapon to settle our petty dispute. I was forced to spend the rest of the day hiding in my hotel pool. Fortunately, when the incident took place I was dressed as a Spanish lothario and thus was able to return to the streets the following day without fear of a second round.
At least my kids won’t worry about being dragged around too many museums. Neither Stacey nor I are very good at them. I think I might hold the record for “doing” the Prado in Madrid. Admittedly I was a grumpy twentysomething Goth at the time, but I think I did the lot in about 12 minutes.
As with our trip last year, we have done our best to keep the kids entertained in other ways. We have micro-scooters for when we want to wander aimlessly around cities looking for the big tall thing and the very old building. I’ve also downloaded an app called Geocaching, which is like a global treasure hunt. People have hidden little boxes all over the place and you have to try to find them. I’m not sure what is in these boxes, so I’m hoping that I don’t find myself unwittingly involved in some shady European dead-letter drop fiasco.
Personally, I’m particularly keen on devouring as much wonderful jamon Iberico as possible. This is a little delicate given that we now live with Wilbur the pig. I’m going to try to not mention this part of our holiday when we return. Like a smoking adolescent I shall spray myself with aftershave and look all innocent. I don’t hold out too much hope – Wilbur is a very smart pig and not much gets past him.