I appreciate this final installment is a tad on the late side. Summer seems to have upped and buggered off a fair while ago now. But my OCD tendancies would not allow me to skip one, so here we have our final week of the summer holiday diary. Better late than never, yes?
So for a final week of summer, before the biggest sproglet returned to school and we were forced back into the daily drudgery of routine; we hopped aboard a plane and flew to Southern Spain. It was a brief visit. Four nights to be precise. Five glorious days of soaking up the sun, firmly wedged in between cricket matches (I wish I was kidding).
We flew from Leeds to Malaga. A 3 minute journey to the airport on the one side, but then a 2 hour drive to our destination on the other. We were headed to Novo Sancti Petri, a small town an hour or so from Jerez. My Mother-in-Law has a house there that she lets out and we managed to snag a few days between paying guests. The flight was uneventful (a small miracle with three kids) and the car hire and luggage collecton was seamless. We arrived at our Spanish home at about 2pm and headed straight to the pool. The house sits amongst many others in a residential development. There’s a shared pool and private gardens.
It was our second visit. We first went when Ralph was just five months old. He cut his first two peggies out there. This time we were a little more adventurous and explored further afield than just the areas in our immediate locality, with trips to Cádiz, Conil and a local waterpark. We even considered taking the ferry across to Morocco for the day, but decided to save that for a visit when we had more time.
Novo Sancti Petri itself is a very residential area and a far cry from the touritsy climes of Benidorm, for example. There’s a lot of golf courses and a lot of the sort of people that like to frequent golf courses. It’s very Spanish, which might sound obvious, what with it being in Spain and all, but because it’s not a tourist destination, it isn’t remotely Anglicised. The restaurants don’t generally open for dinner until gone 9pm, the menus are all in Spanish. It’s quiet, homely and an ideal place to immerse yourself in true Spanish life.
We arrived on the Monday and on Tuesday we drove 30 minutes to the city of Cádiz. It was beautiful. Labyrinthine streets, large open squares, traditional architecture, markets. Just stunning. We spent the morning allowing ourselves to get lost as we wandered the winding alleyways and enjoyed Spanish fayre, al fresco, for lunch. We meandered through the many markets and enjoyed the glorious sites and sounds. And ate lots of ice cream, obviously.
On Wednesday, we journeyed back in the direction of Cádiz, but this time to visit Aqualand Bahia. A waterpark, high up on a hillside. I was hesitant when the Spouse suggested going here, but I really needn’t have been. We had a fantastic time. Especially Madame Daisy, who was in her fearless little element. She must’ve gone on every ride there. Twice. The boys weren’t quite as ambitious, but whiled the day away, splashing about in the ample kid’s pools. Ralphy even found himself a slide that was slow enough to avoid getting any water on his face (essential for him) so he went down that 7000 times (ish).
Thursday was spent closer to home, walking along the beach from Novo Sancti Petri, all the way to Playa la Barossa where we ate and drank and played in the sand. We drove to Conil de la Frontera that evening and ambled through the beachfront market before taking the kids to the fair. We enjoyed fresh paella as the sun set and in that moment, I could have stayed there forever.
Friday was our final day, but our flight wasn’t until the evening so we were determined to make the most of it. We decided to leave early to begin making our way back to Malaga, but we stopped about two thirds of the way and spent our final day in Marbella. We. Loved. It. It was a complete departure from where we’d spent the last week, but it’s an incredible place. Beautiful blue shores, buzzing with noise and laughter. The sea was far more vivacious than we’d been used to, but the kids (well, one of them at least) loved leaping amongst the waves. The day flew by far too quickly. The whole week did, actually and befoe we knew it, it was time to board our flight home.
A perfect end to a perfect summer. Having lost Daisy to school the year before, I had a whole new appreciation for time spent together with my three. I thought it’d be hard work. I thought I’d be desperate for school to begin again. But actually, I loved it. They loved it. And I can’t wait for next year.
You can watch the final Summer Holiday Diary video, here. It’s my favourite one!