Mmmm, it looks as though someone switched on Autumn while we were away. I felt the annual spark of joy this morning as I was wheeling the microbe to nursery and surveying the fallen leaves and crisp September sunshine. Still, it all feels very sudden after a scorchio week in Portugal, with full-on sunshine and daily temperatures between 27 – 30 degrees.
As far as I can tell the microbe had a splendiferous week away. I think we might become newfound converts to resort-type hols while the boylet is young. Above all else, it was worth every penny for the ‘Toddler Club’ childcare, which seemed to be pretty much identical to nursery except with shorter hours. The microbe loved it so much that we had to eat breakfast and lunch every day to a refrain of “I want to go back to play groooooooup!“. Some days we even had a job convincing him to take the afternoon off and come to the beach or the zoo with us instead.
The other pleasant surprise for G and I was how good the food was. I had a vague idea that the resort food might consist of an identical dried-up buffet every evening, but it was full a la carte dining, with lovely outdoor tables and a range of fresh fish and seafood options each day. Best of all was evening childcare thrown in, where all of the tired microbes were gathered together to watch a dvd and then the nannies put them to sleep on a row of little beds while the parents had dinner. (Apparently our microbe entered the land of zonk within 10 minutes of being dropped off each evening).
Most mornings G and I bimbled about Luz, buying food to cook for lunch and enjoying the beach before the mega heat kicked in, then spent the afternoons loafing on our shady balcony before taking the microbe back to the beach in the late afternoon. All in all a very peaceful and slightly gluttonous week in a beautiful town.
I think it would have been a very different experience (and three times the price) if we’d had to go during the school holidays. We heard that the place was mobbed one week earlier, whereas there were only 4 or 5 playmates for James in the toddler club for our week. (G felt a pang when he heard that the following week there was only one child arriving and at risk of having no playmates at all!)
I found the contrast in the local Algarve landscape quite interesting. I think they must have lots of sophisticated underground irrigation going on in Luz to create the view from our balcony, which was a mini-paradise of lush greenery, lemon trees, blossom and sea. There’s something delightful about using the colours of blossom as a way to navigate back to your apartment.
By contrast, the route out of town was arid and barren, like something out of a spaghetti western. It reminded me of those sci-fi films where people try to leave town and discover that the virtual reality world suddenly ends and on the other side is nothing but a wilderness.
The only thing I would change about the hol was the INTERMINABLE time spent waiting around on the last day (which rained obligingly, as if to prepare us for our return to England). We had to check out of the apartment at 10:30am but our flight was not until 6:30pm, hence we spent hours lolling about in the resort bar & playroom while it bucketed down outside… and more hours at Faro airport… and more hours on the flight, which was prolonged due to turbulence. As if to round off a fun-tastic day, the microbe vommed in his seat during an especially turbulent bit and had to have a full change of clothes and a new seat cover. Ach. C’est la vie.
So – after a week of beaches and zoos and sunshine and playgroup, James’s favourite anecdote about his hol is that he got his arm scratched by a local tabby cat during a batting/thwacking contest. He’s been reliving the glory of this war wound ever since, telling anyone who will listen all about it. Unfortunately the two soft dollops at home have done nothing to prepare him for the outside world of catitude. Truffle eludes his grasp at all times, while Harriet seeks him out for regular doses of strokes, dive-bomb cuddles and clumsy pats, all the while lying on her back, purring and kneading the air. As it turned out, the discovery that some cats scratch did nothing to deter the boy from cat-bothering at every opportunity. Anyone would think he was his mother’s son…
As usual I took a lot of pics. Here are a few more…
This is the promenade in Luz
Late afternoon beach sunshine
Crystal clear sea water
View from our dinner table at Fortaleza restaurant
Fun at the zoo
Sleeping through the entire afternoon at Lagos
Rock-pooling (we found one shrimp!)
More beachy fun…
Getting a Puzzle Master award on the last day of Toddler Club, for top jigsawing
In post-holiday news, I put the microbe’s new bed together yesterday. A teeny tiny bed of cuteness, in need of a visit from Goldilocks. I do so love assembling flat-packs, though it is much easier when I am not ‘assisted’ by a toddler who keeps feeding screws into random holes and running off with key parts. Once the bed was assembled, the boylet was so excited by it that he insisted on sitting on it while I was still putting the bedding on. Alas he was less excited by it at actual bedtime… *sigh*