Airport security shouts as he pushes the plastic trays: "Anyone with pills?" My mother holds up her plastic medicine bag. Collective eyes roll and laugh – even from the security woman before continuing: anyone Laptops anyone? Cell Phones?
Fortunately, this does not reflect, fortunately, our inaugural multigenerational holiday, consisting of my parents – who are in their 70s, my partner – who is in their 50s – and our five-year-old daughter. We all lived abroad and traveled well, but how would that work for us on vacation together?
Spoiler: It worked well – forensic planning was key with a hint of psychology. Without looking very attentive, I learned about patience.
Haven: Villa Vermentinu Primonte, where Sarah Hartley took her parents, partner and five-year-old daughter
The priority was to find a new place and, after discussions, Corsica marked the boxes for award-winning white sand beaches, sensational French and Italian food and stunning scenery. Also, there would be only a handful of British tourists, as most go to Sardinia.
A holiday in the village, it was agreed, would be economical, as well as giving us some privacy so that we could truly relax without having to interact with the staff or hotel guests. I asked and Simpson Travel came out on top.
It was worth taking some time to deliberate about the village for all of us. Was it idyllic enough? Was the garden on a gradient too steep for my parents to enjoy? Was the pool very accessible for our five year old? Could the chef be getting ready and still talking to everyone? We chose Vermentinu Primonte, a true gem of a village near the elegant port town of Porto Vecchio in the south east of the island and a short drive from the beaches.
Perched on a hilltop, it had fascinating views of the vineyards toward Santa Giulia Beach, less than a ten-minute drive away. Four bedrooms slept seven – so there was a free room (snoring retreat) as a precaution. A teak terrace around the villa gave each room a private area with sun loungers to sit quietly with a book. A WhatsApp group was created and it was brilliant to answer questions quickly and share photos later. To ease the way for the plane, we booked long-term parking at Stansted and quick security.
We chose a rental car (called a tour bus) to accommodate seven people so we could spread out. My partner was the designated driver, as cornering turns would have been intimidating for older drivers. We also changed seats in the car every day, because even a grandfather can get tired of a five-year song.
Corsica itself was a revelation. It was like a warm Cornwall with craggy rocky shores and small sandy coves. We could walk to the sea on stony paths lined with yellow gorse, heavy woods, lavender and myrtle – an indigenous herb used to create a liqueur that makes a perfect aperitif mixed with prosecco.
Pleasure on shore: Santa Giulia beach, 10 minutes' drive from Sarah village
Beach life is chic and discreet; If you want bling and blinis, go to Sardinia. This is where the elite French vacation – if you look sideways, you can see their homes scattered across the hills – and there are no high resorts.
In our village we were greeted by the scent of sweet jasmine that curved up the white walls. A green salamander shot across the terrace, where blue vases of red geraniums framed the perfect shot to the sea.
The interior was expensive, with every detail – from dust to a basket full of local chestnut cookies and other goodies. The superbly equipped kitchen made the kitchen a joy, and Joelle, the local Simpson representative, stopped armed with restaurant tips and advice.
A separate TV room meant that a Chelsea football game at full volume did not disturb readers. A petanque plot shaded by olive trees was ideal for relaxing with our daughter at the end of the day. The pool on a lower terrace had its own bar and outdoor kitchen, and the loungers were a favorite to enjoy the view.
Sarah says beach life is chic and discreet in Corsica (image)
Independent villa and boutique specialist Simpson Travel offers villas in Corsica and has local representatives to help while you are there.
Villa prices start at £ 520pp for seven nights, based on four shares including flights, car rentals and seven nights accommodation. Visit simpsontravel.com/corsica.
We set up a breakfast buffet, eaten on the terrace, which meant that my father – who reads a book daily before 9am – wasn't wagging his thumb before we got up. We took turns cooking and shopping in markets that, when all the ingredients were fresh, were more of a treat than a chore.
Eating out just for lunch made sense – we could enjoy a day at the beach or explore the city of Bonifacio, and then the night flop 'at home'. Even lunch at a beach club was sophisticated, with heavy silverware and wine glasses. Think of aromatic herb salads with goat cheese, figs and black chestnut honey or local seafood dishes. This elegance comes at a price (£ 13- £ 25 per head), but all meals and beaches were memorable.
We agreed that Simpson's package had great value and when my mom asked if we could stay for another week she expressed what we all liked.
Of course there will be flash points, but the only flashes came from me: ‘Why are you hand washing when we have a dishwasher? And you have a dishwasher at home and you're on vacation? & # 39; Daddy: & # 39; I want to wash my hand. I had to learn a Gaelic shrug. A long time ago I taught my five year old son about patience and now it was my turn.
"What's patience?" I shout toward the pool where she and her grandmother are splashing water.
"A VIRTUE!" She shouts back.
KEY TIPS FOR TRAVELING A "MULTI-GEN"
- Set aside more time for everything. Whether deciding where to have lunch or walking around town – will always take longer.
- Find out what everyone wants on vacation – a spa, a villa with a pool, sports facilities – because if one person is not happy, no one is happy.
- Different generations do things differently. No one is right or better. Some people are determined to wash their hands even if there is a dishwasher.
- Nothing is worse than worrying about money, so agree on a budget and try to stick to it. Travel with cash and credit cards (and consider paying with a kitten) to make it easy to split taxi fares and restaurant bills.
- Alright just wanting to relax at home. Older generations may not want to go out and explore every day.
- See transfer times and flight times. There's nothing like two or more hours on a bus with hungry and tired kids to get things started badly. Consider paying for a private transfer if you can afford it.
- Remember that not everyone is joined at the hip and should do their own thing occasionally. Meet for lunch or dinner to share your experiences.
- Don't fall into the trap of assuming that grandparents will always be happy to take care of children – it's a holiday too.
- You will find your pace. On the third day, everyone will find a natural rhythm and a natural role.
- Your idea of a smooth ride may not be so kind to everyone!
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