Holiday Diaries 2017

By now all my readers know that we are a wanderlust family and 2017 is shaping up nicely in terms of holidays. 2016 was a good year for time away as a family and with friends and this year is going to be no different.

This year I would like to take BattleKid home to Ireland for his first ever Saint Patrick’s Day. However, that’s not going to happen as I didn’t realise it’s Ireland’s game of the Six Nations against England and it just happens to be in Dublin. So as you can imagine the price of flights for that weekend has sky-rocketed. Instead, I have decided to take BattleKid home the weekend before to visit family and maybe visit somewhere nice (and maybe scenic) while we’re there. Plus Mum needs to get a shopping trip in tsome point too!

Soon after that it will be Easter and we have a trip to Portugal to visit my Mum and Dad’s new home near Tavira, where BattleKid and I went to last Easter and which I blogged about in the Portugal Diaries. I’m so happy my folks have finally found a place for their retirement and we are more than happy to have it as a place for some holidays. Even better that BattleKid gets to see his grandparents in the process too!portugal day2

In June we were supposed to be heading to our first ever festival, the Wychwood Festival. I read about this when Kerry of All About A Mini Norris was lucky enough to attend last year. Her post set me thinking and very soon after reading her review I booked our tickets. However, due to personal circumstances we have had to postpone it until next year. Luckily the operator allowed us to defer our tickets rather than lose them as they are non-refundable which I thought was very kind of them. So June 2018 it’ll be! BattleDad and I have never been to a festival, can you believe that, and so we are really looking forward to it.

After a long wait during the summer our trip of a lifetime will soon be looming. We are doing a two week road trip in America next September, starting and ending in Portland, Oregon. We will be spending five days exploring Yellowstone National Park. Soon after we will be visiting Lolo National Forest. As soon as I found out there was a forest with the same name as my Dad, albeit a nickname of his, I knew I had to visit it. And to find it so close to Yellowstone and en-route to and from Portland was a bonus.  I’ve blogged about wanting to visit Yellowstone before and we had considered waiting until BattleKid was old enough to remember it but we just bit the bullet last October and booked it. Sometimes you just need to be spontaneous!

BattleDad wants to take a drive down part of the Pacific Coast Highway from Portland so that will be a day trip for us. There is also an amazing waterfall 30 minutes drive from Portland, the Multnomah Falls, that I definitely want to photograph. So it’s easy to see why this is going to be the trip of a lifetime for us. It’ll be a busy two weeks but I’m hoping we come away with great memories alongside some awesome pictures. I’m just not looking forward to the 11 hour plane journey to and from Portland with a three and a half year old.

Multnomah Falls

In October we have another trip to Bluestone planned with our friends who we go there with. It’s a mid-week visit this time and I cannot wait. October seems like such a long time away though! We will most likely visit Folly Farm while there and perhaps a few castles in West Wales we don’t get to visit due to the distance.

Then sometime before Christmas we are intending to visit Euro Disney with W and S (of the Bluestone Diaries) with their 2 children who will be just turning one and just turned three. BattleKid won’t be far off his fourth birthday so we felt that this year in November or December it would be the right time to bring him to Euro Disney for the first time. We invited W and S and they jumped at the chance. Both families are looking forward to it and we will also take a day or two to go into Paris as it’s been a few years since BattleDad and I last visited Paris and I need my fix, haha.

So 2017 isn’t looking too shabby when it comes to holidays for the Battle Family. It’s always nice to start the new year with something to look forward to and I think we can safely say we’ve got things to look forward to. What are your holiday plans for 2017?

Cath x

*Updated 19/03/2017
WANDERLUSTKIDS

Portugal Day 6: 29/03/2016

After a relatively ok night’s sleep we got up and had breakfast with everyone before getting ourselves dressed. I left BattleKid in his pyjamas so as not to ruin his clothes over breakfast, which he can do. Our flight home to Cardiff wasn’t until 1.15 and my dad had arranged an airport transfer for us for 10.30 so we had a bit of time to kill. I let BattleKid play on the terrace which we all had a cup of tea. My dad had offered to come to the airport with us but I said there was no need as it would have delayed them getting their bus to Olhao.

Just after 10 I changed BattleKid, closed up our suitcase and made sure everything was ready. I had pared down my hand luggage to as I had a good idea what BattleKid would and wouldn’t need on the flight. It also has me more mindful of what I’m going to pack in our hand luggage for the flight to Lanzarote.

We went downstairs and our taxi was waiting, so we said our goodbyes and off we headed. BattleKid got about a 10 minute nap on the way there which wasn’t ideal. When we arrived we were a little early for check in and the boards were saying our flight was half an hour delayed which I wasn’t too happy about. Once we checked in I got us through security and went in hunt of something to eat. BattleKid was glad to be out of his buggy for a bit. We had lunch and wandered around the shops to kill some time before I got us through passport control into our departures lounge and got a bottle of water for us.portugal day6

We boarded out flight at 1.15 (our original departure time) and the crew were very apologetic and got all the passengers in great spirits with their funny antics just before the safety demonstration. Surprisingly the flight wasn’t full and BattleKid was generally quite good, getting a bit bored again during our descent into Cardiff. I’m going to have to stock up on more stickers for our flights to and from Lanzarote as he ploughed through them during the descent. He didn’t nap at all which wasn’t ideal as I’d hoped he would but he never had napped on a flight, too much going on around him I think. It doesn’t help that he’s a nosey parker!

After landing, collecting our bags and making our way to the car we headed for home. This is when BattleKid decided to nap, typical! Plus as we landed later than originally planned we hit rush hour traffic coming out of Cardiff. I was glad to get home and see BattleDad.

All in all, our trip to Portugal was a lovely one, very relaxing and it was so nice to spend some quality time with Nico and my parents. Tavira is a nice town, not too built up and is definitely somewhere I’d recommend if you are after a bit of quite time in the sun. Next on the holiday agenda is Lanzarote. We’re headed back to the same place as last year in the hope of a better ending to the holiday than last year (and BattleKid’s chicken pox).

Portugal Day 5: 28/03/2016

We woke at 7am and had our bop in our bed as usual. BattleKid was in quite good form thankfully. We joined everyone out in the living room once they were up and I let BattleKid watch the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom on his tablet during breakfast, which encouraged him to eat well thankfully. I was worried he’d still be off his food but he wasn’t. Even Lolo enjoyed the two programmes. After breakfast we got dressed and headed to Tavira Gran Plaza shopping centre.portugal day5

Our first stop was a shop called Mo to get Nico some trousers. He had picked up a pair in there but wanted a different colour so that’s what we did. I picked up a top, a scarf and a pair of shoes for myself but had to run back to change the shoes as I’d stupidly picked up a 37 (4) rather than a 38 (5). I don’t know what I was thinking. Next we stopped into s kids clothes shop called Zippy where I got my niece Leah (Nico’s sister) a nice Minnie Mouse top and shorts set. I hadn’t gotten her anything for Easter so thought the little set would be nice. Once we’d finished browsing the shops we headed up to the food court for a drink and some cake. It was a lovely day out so we relaxed on the balcony with our tea and cake before letting BattleKid ride one of the amusement rides inside before heading to the Continente supermarket for supplies and walking back to our apartment.

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portugal day5We had lunch and BattleKid ate well. He then enjoyed playing on the terrace with his cars before I out him down for a nap at 1.30pm. I had a cuppa with my mum and then started to fall asleep in the sun so decided to climb into bed just after 2 for a nap myself. I got a much-needed hour. I woke BattleKid at 3.30 and we headed down to the pool for an hour for the final time to chill out. Nico pointed out the noisy neighbours and I was very surprised as the lady looked to be over 60 years of age. She should have known better than to clip around in heels late at night on tiled floors!

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portugal day5

After a lovely hour by the pool, which I was going to miss terribly, we got dressed and head to Gran Plaza for dinner. There are a number of different food retailers in the food court which meant we were all catered for easily. BattleKid, Lolo and Nico had something from the burger place while Nana and I went for salads, which were huge! Afterwards BattleKid had a ride on the amusement bus again, the first one he’s ever stayed on one while it was moving! We stopped by C&A for Nico as he wanted to pick himself up something as this was his last chance and then on our way to the exit BattleKid had a ride on a Bob the Builder ride, again staying on it.portugal day5

Back at the apartment I finished up packing, called BattleDad and then got BattleKid into bed. I had a few cups of tea with Nico and my mum before retiring myself in hopes of a good night’s sleep. The noisy neighbours started again but didn’t go on for an hour! It wasn’t a very exciting day but a ncie one to end our few days in Portugal with my parents and Nico.

Portugal Day 4: 27/03/2016

We woke at 6.30am (7.30 new time as the clocks had changed overnight) and had a bop in our bed. Once we heard others stirring we joined them in the living room for a cuppa. BattleKid watched an episode of Curious George, tucked up with Nico who had slept on the sofa bed due to his sunburn. We got some breakfast into us and then wandered into Tavira town to check out buses to other destinations.

Tavira is a quaint little town situated 17 miles east of Faro on the edge of the Algarve. It is not a very touristy place like I’d image the rest of the Algarve is, but still seems to be popular with, let’s say, older tourists. It still comes across as a traditional Portuguese town and definitely isn’t somewhere to go if you are looking for typical tourist holiday things. I’d imagine it probably does get busy in the summer but with a mixture of European tourists if Easter weekend is anything to go by. It comes across as a place where older Europeans retire to, which explains why my parents like it so much. There aren’t many tourist bars, there isn’t a water park and no big holiday hotel resorts that I could see. Tavira Gardens where we were staying seemed to be a mixture of holiday apartments and retirement homes.

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That said Tavira has charm. It has lots of narrow, cobbled streets in the centre of town and near the boats/harbour areas of town the streets are lined with shops of all manner selling things like cork bags to traditional tablecloths to gifts and clothes. It is a proper mish-mash of shops.

The plaza beside the Roman Bridge is a nice area with a big open area, cafes on the edges and a nice garden off it leading to an old market building. At the end of the garden there is a market once a week selling things likes smoked meat to handmade wicker baskets to honey. There are lots of old buildings around Tavira with colourful doors and a definite feel of old Mediterranean about it.

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Cobbled streets of Tavira

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Roman Bridge of Tavira

After a wander to the bus station to check out bus times to Olhao and Ville Real, we headed back to the plaza and stopped for a drink and some cake in a café, not one of the tourist-type ones. The waitress who served us on Day 2 served us again and she was lovely, particularly with BattleKid as, she had explained before, she has a little girl of 2 and a half herself. Afterwards we had a another quick wander around the garden, spotting fish and terrapins in the fountain which had BattleKid in amazement. We hopped into a taxi back to our apartment and gave BattleKid a light lunch before I put him down for a nap. The fresh air and running around had him pooped.

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Fish and terrapin spotting with Lolo

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Myself and my mum caught a bit of sun while we could on the terrace while Lolo did some prep for dinner (he just can’t tear himself away from the kitchen) and Nico soaked in the bath. We had checked out bus times for the next day (Bank Holiday Monday) but they looked few and far between due to the day that was in it, so we planned to visit the Tavira Gran Plaza shopping centre on the Monday morning and Nana, Lolo and Nico would head off on a bus on the Tuesday, when I was gone to the airport, to visit other areas of the Algarve.

I think they were worried I’d want to see more but I didn’t mind not going anywhere else, especially if it meant a very long day for BattleKid the day before we were due to travel home. I joked that we would see more of the Algarve the next time we went on holiday with them! To be honest I was enjoying just relaxing with them and spending some quality time with them, Nico and BattleKid.

As BattleKid napped I got about 15-20 minutes in the sun before opening his door to try to get him to stir. He slept for two and a half hours in total! After a bit of a play on the terrace we went inside to get ready for dinner and a toddler tantrum started. I left him crying in the hall while I started my dinner as he wouldn’t apologise or stop whingeing. He then refused dinner once he’d calmed down, so after us adults finished we moved outside to the terrace and I made him toast and fruit to see if I could get something into him. He ate the strawberries, one bite of toast and banana, and that was it. So I left him, I didn’t want to force him to eat if he didn’t want to. I’d just give him extra milk before bed. I decided to bath him and he was in relatively good form afterwards, playing hide-and-seek with Nico and with the balloon he’d gotten on Friday. I had to keep him up a bit later to account for the change in the hour and his long nap and near 8pm I gave him his bop and stories.

He didn’t settle right away but was quiet so I had a cuppa with Nico and my mum before turning in myself. I’d been to bed earlier this weekend than I had in a long time but it was much-needed to catch up on the boy. The next day was to be a packing and shopping day. However noisy neighbours came in at 10pm and someone in high heels spent an hour walking back and forth. They did our heads in which meant my early night wasn’t so early after all.

Portugal Day 3: 26/04/2016

Thankfully BattleKid had a better night with just two brief wake ups at 4 and 5am. We woke at 6.15am and I got him his bottle before we went into the living room of the apartment to see Lolo and Nana. We had tea while BattleKid played with his bikes, ten made some breakfast. BattleKid tucked into scrambled egg and thoroughly enjoyed it.

After breakie we had a cuppa on the terrace, enjoying the morning sunshine, BattleKid in his ‘office’ and all this before 9am. Our plan for the day was a bit of shopping in the local shopping centre and that was it but we had to wait until 9. 40 to leave as the shops don’t open until 10am.portugal day3

We got to the Gran Plaza shopping centre five minutes before opening. Getting there from our apartment at Tavira Gardens is easy enough except having to cross a busy main road. We had a short wander around before going into C&A as soon as they opened their doors. I loved the C&A that used to be in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre many moons ago, so was excited when my mum told me there was one there. portugal day3I picked up a few tops for myself and some shorts and t-shirt sets for BattleKid.  We then dropped into the toy shop where I got BattleKid a new Thomas train and a Hot Wheels car. He was chuffed. We stopped into another clothes shop called Mo where I got a new pair of shoes for all of €8. We then popped upstairs to the food court for tea and a cake.

For once BattleKid didn’t like the cake I got so I had it all to myself and it was lovely, although I couldn’t tell you what it was. BattleKid did enjoy car and bike spotting from the outdoor terrace balcony. portugal day3After our pit stop we went to resupply in Continente, the supermarket, where BattleKid ended up falling asleep in his buggy, a pretty rare thing to happen. I think the outdoors and fresh air was knocking him out.

We walked back to the apartment and magically BattleKid stayed asleep. We chilled out until he woke up after 1pm and them had lunch together before playing outside for a while. portugal day3The clouds had rolled in so we all got a hoodie or Cardigan on. After a while we went back inside and while Nico had a bath, Lolo and I took BattleKid down to the playground. He wasn’t keen on walking around it as sand was getting into his sandals so we only spent a few minutes there before heading back up to the apartment.portugal day3

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We had decided to give Lolo a break from cooking and went down to the restaurant in the complex. The menu wasn’t extensive and although we had to wait an hour, my linguine was actually really nice, so much so BattleKid wanted to tuck in but I had to limit him as it had chilli in it. BattleKid and I shared a chocolate mousse, after which we hightailed it back to get BattleKid into his bed. Because of his early nap he was dead on his feet, poor egg. I got him changed, got his bop and read him his stories. He actually turned over as soon as I finished the last story and was ready to go to sleep. I had to ask him for a kiss goodnight. He was asleep straight away.

I had a couple of cups of tea with everyone while waiting to speak to BattleDad who had been out on his bike in Snowdonia all day with a mate. I was knackered with BattleKid having had the early nap and was looking forward to my bed. At 9.15pm I gave up and went in, leaving my phone on vibrate. BattleDad called shortly after and I then went to sleep. BattleKid woke briefly at 12 and 3 but did go back to sleep each time thankfully.