We recently returned from a week in Spain, our first foreign trip as a four and Leo’s first time on a plane. He handled the travel remarkably well, bar a few moments of tiredness.
Spain was everything we needed it to be. The weather was gorgeous throughout the week, the beaches beautiful, the water warm, and no one was stung or burnt. Bonus.
Joel quickly got used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road and by the end of the week had mastered roundabouts. (There were initially some hairy moments driving from the airport, then attempting to find our apartment in the dark, including a very steep road and some agitated barking guard dogs. Welcome to Spain indeed.)
We would take it in turns to swim in the sea each day, one of us staying with Leo as he quite contentedly filled a bucket with sand, patted it, and emptied it out over and over again, not so much building a sand castle as a sand mound. (The very definition of “enjoying the process” instead of focusing on the outcome there).
He eventually got used to the sand on his toes, but consistently refused to immerse himself in the water, allowing only his feet in.
On day four we purchased a blow-up swan for Maia to float around on, which Leo took to fondly. (As did I.)
On day three Joel spotted an octopus “IT WAS HUGE!” and abruptly left the water.
“They don’t sting you know..” I smirked.
“Would you want one of those giant tentacles on you?!”
Our last day involved a trip to a small activity park, situated amongst an idyllic mountainous landscape, where the children could play whilst we sat with our books and drinks. Twas a parents’ haven. (In between chasing after Leo, who decided to take his pedal bike along the mini-golf-course as other people were trying to play..)
We sat that evening slurping ice creams on the promenade, gazing out at the ocean and its glorious surroundings, wishing we could stay a week longer. It was then that a small group of Spanish children took a liking to Leo, following him in a small line as he walked along the wall by the sand and asking him questions:
“Como te llamas?” One little girl, dressed in her Halloween attire, said to him. I half-expected him to reply in Spanish, the amount he comes out with that we weren’t aware he could say.
We arrived back at Gatwick welcomed by the heavy pitter patter of torrential rainfall, exactly as it should be on return from a gorgeous sunny foreign holiday. – Wonderfully British and a stark reminder that we were back to reality now.
“Hola!” I said cheerfully, without thinking, to the passport control officer.
He looked back at me as though I’d lost the plot.
Joel and I laughed in embarrassment.
“I mean..hello! Sorry I got used to saying it..”
“Have you been walking around saying Hola to everyone in Spain?” He said, a tad snarky.
“Yep pretty much..”
We caught an earlier train home than anticipated and munched on leftover brioche, Leo making an impressive crumb-mess of epic proportions for me to clean up later. (Cleaning a train floor, with a baby wipe, as a man stands next to you waiting to sit down so he doesn’t have to place his feet in a pile of brioche, was not something I pictured on my journey home. But you just never know with the toddler.)
I will miss the views, the beaches, the paella and the cocktails (not to mention the weather) but it is, as always, nice to be home.
Now to tackle the inordinate pile of post-holiday-laundry rearing its ugly head in my direction. The abundance would annoy me, were it not for its highly just cause.