At James Villas we’re believers that your holiday is a bigger part of your life than the week or two weeks you’re away. Your relationships, your views of the world are all shaped from just these kind of experiences!
Pam and Mike Newton from Leicestershire are two of our customers whose zest for holidays (something we definitely have in common) represents just that. Their James Villas journey has taken them on 23 escapes in 14 different destinations; this is their story so far…
You both clearly love visiting new destinations, what do you get from your holidays?
Our holidays are an intrinsic part of our lives, they allow us to relax and reconnect. They widen our life experiences of places, cultures and people and they open our minds. When we return home we enjoy reliving the holiday with our family and friends through the photos, stories and souvenirs that spark happy memories.
You mention when you’re back home, do your travels have an influence on your daily lives?
Having recharged our batteries we enter back into our busy lives with more vigour. We also find that our wider experience of other cultures has given us a better appreciation of the world, its people and the differences outside our own country.
What prompted your first villa holiday?
We wanted to explore new countries, but we also wanted a base to call home. Villa holidays were a great solution, giving us the freedom to spend our holiday as we wished. That holiday was in Frigiliana in Andalucia, the villa was on the mountainside with spectacular views. It was there that we fell in love with Spain and Spanish culture. We wanted to see more of it, so we visited the Costa Blanca’s Jalon Valley the following April and Lanzarote in the autumn.
You’ve visited Lanzarote many times. What is it that keeps drawing you back?
Lanzarote has a spirit you can’t find elsewhere. Stopping for lunch in a fishing village is like visiting old friends, the locals are so welcoming. We like to visit the Sunday market in Teguise, buy some provisions, practise our Spanish and maybe stop for tapas. It’s almost home. We love to discover the culture and history of the island – the Manrique Foundation is a favourite and the Mirador del Rio has breathtaking views we never tire of.
Has Lanzarote changed over time?
It’s getting greener. We were staying in Tías a few years ago and there was a storm one night. In the morning we saw the owner and discussed the changing climate, he said the rainfall was encouraging growth from the volcanic rock.
We hear you wrote part of your novel in one of our villas there?
Yes, Pam always said that when she was retired she wanted to write a book. Our travels have had a big influence on our lives, so it was only natural that some of those experiences crept in. Pam wrote part of ‘Doppelganger’ on one of our Lanzarote trips and villa Casa del Faro in Playa Blanca features in chapter 18. There’s something about being at a villa that really made the words just flow. Not just the general peace and privacy, but in having a relaxed state of mind.
You’ve mentioned the local people a few times, do you have any stand out memories?
We recently visited Puglia in Italy just as Leicester City won the Premiership. Leicester City has become very popular in Italy, not just because of their unlikely win but because their manager, Claudio Ranieri, is Italian. When the Pugliesi found out that we came from Leicestershire we were treated like royalty!
How do you choose where to go next?
Mike does the research – he enjoys the excitement of planning and finding out about destinations before we go. We choose a sunny climate and a villa within easy reach of restaurants and shops. We like to explore the area though, visit sights and attractions and really experience the local culture – shopping at the markets for local products, trying speciality dishes then recreating them back in the villa or at home.
What about choosing a villa?
We normally go on your website – it’s got all of the information we need. There was one trip though to Lanzarote when the Resort Manager had picked up on a later booking we had that year. She said she didn’t think the villa was a good choice for us and offered to show us some alternatives while we were there. We were able to visit the vacant villas and, on her advice, we changed our booking. It was so kind, but then we’ve always found the staff in resort have “James Villas” written through them like a stick of rock!
What are your travel plans coming up?
We’re returning to Menorca. Their small island culture is fascinating. It’s very low key and laid back. We’re looking forward to revisiting Torre d’en Galmés, a prehistoric settlement of villas on the island, and we also want to drive up El Toro. It’s Menorca’s highest point, around 358m above sea level and you get a fabulous 360° view of Menorca at the top. On the way up we want to stop at the 17th century sanctuary, Mare de Déu del Toro.
You’re getting a lot in!
Yes, we like to keep busy and explore on holiday, but we never go home feeling tired or drained. Having a villa at least gives us somewhere to explore from, and it’s always relaxing when we do get back there, or when we just decide to spend a quiet day by the pool.
BEST MEAL EATEN – Fish meze at a seafront restaurant in Latchi, Cyprus.
MOST DELICIOUS WINE DRANK IN – Menorca. We visited Bodega Binifadet vineyard and liked it so much we had a case shipped home!
FAVOURITE SOUVENIR – Holiday snaps turned into coasters
THE MOST BREATHTAKING SUNSET – Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
FAVOURITE VILLA – Los Sanchez overlooking Nerja, Andalucia