Having had a lovely week in Portugal we returned to England. The weather was miserable. I was sat at home one wet and cold summers day (the joys of living in the UK) with my toddler stuck inside for yet another day. My husband was working a lot of hours including a number of weekends. I decided that I needed to get away again (I am a sun worshipper!). My parents have always owned a touring caravan and as a child I spent the school summer holidays somewhere in Europe enjoying the freedom of a campsite with all the facilities they have to offer. A quick search of sky scanner revealed that the flights out to Barcelona weren’t overly expensive. I rang my parents and asked if we could join them for a long weekend (ok, 5 nights!). They were delighted (or at least that’s what they said!).
A week or so later we packed up our bags and got on a plane! (and they say that you can be impulsive as a parent!). My husband flew out with us (even he couldn’t resist a weekend away before a week of nights!) and we would return solo a few days after him (yikes – flying with a toddler under 2 on my own – i must be mad!). My parents met us at the airport and they drove the 2 hours north to Camping El Delfin Verde. I’d been coming to this campsite on and off since I was 9 years old – it was lovely to return with my own daughter. A dolphin shaped pool, a safe, clean beach, a well-stocked supermarket and a wonderful play park – just some of the amazing things on offer.
For older children there are some incredible sports facilities on offer – tennis courts, football pitches (and weekly teams), skate park etc. The campsite, whilst remote (and therefore quiet) is around 20 mins from the nearest train station (and on the direct line into Barcelona). The ticket is pretty cheap (I can’t recall the exact amount but something like €15 return). They run fairly regularly and there is free car parking at the station – great potential for a day trip to the city. The campsite also offers various organised trips. There is a huge range of accommodation options at the campsite – lodges, glamping etc.
Anyway, back to our holiday…
Now we were fortunate to meet my parents so we didn’t need to lug out a whole load of stuff. We simply took clothes and some toys out. This was a totally different type of holiday for us. I actually love trying to do different types – city breaks, skiing, luxury hotels, camping – variety is the spice of life!
Our daughter relished the freedom. The campsite is so safe that we weren’t overly worried. She loved taking her new little pram for a walk (and it was so noisy that we always knew where she was!) and we often found her heading off to the wash block! She would walk down the paths and we’d find her playing with other children from all over Europe (the linguist in me loved that she was exposed to so many languages!).
I wondered how our daughter would get on with walking to the wash block for her baths (she was still in nappies so we didn’t have to worry about that!). She loved the daily adventure of walking up to the wash block for her bath (they have children and baby baths but you do need to remember your own plug!).
Days were spent enjoying the various swimming pools. We also took out our faithful paddling pool and this was invaluable- our daughter was able to splash around whilst we relaxed around the pitch (or perhaps did a few jobs). I guess the only downside to this campsite was that it actually a reasonable walk up to the pool. The campsite is also located directly on a very flat, clean beach (literally a 5 min walk – well more like 10 with a toddler in tow!). It’s not tidal so that takes a major worry away. The sea was really shallow so she was able to paddle without too much worry. She enjoyed building sandcastles on the beach with her grandparents and was able to run around to her hearts content. It was lovely not having to jump in the car to get to the beach.
There was plenty to keep her (and us) busy during our stay. She loved the play park, the mini disco and the land train (also enjoyed by her grandparents!). She also developed a taste for ice cream!
We did manage a meal out – to Pals beach – she loved being able to run around whilst we ate our dinner. I’d forgotten how child friendly Spanish restaurants are…they were quite happy to modify a meal for her (like most toddlers she can be fussy at times!) and were equally happy with her squealing (well at least they didn’t make us feel awful!).
This was a whistle stop tour – you’d need a longer stay to fully appreciate the area (this is so far removed from the Costa Brava of old). There are some beautiful coves to explore and some wonderful hill top towns. We’ll definitely aim to return at some point.
Now to the real point of this blog. How to survive a flight with an under 2 year old (i.e. with one seat!). I was massively impressed with Barcelona airport. Having used this airport loads (I have family living in the city), I have never noticed how child friendly it is. There was a designated area for families. They had thought of everything….there were play pens for the children for when you were sorting out your bags for security and toys for the children to play with – amazing! Passport queue was slightly more problematic. The queue was ridiculously long. My toddler was bored and ended up throwing her etch a sketch over a balcony (yikes!). Staff were quick to help and rushed us through the queue (so perhaps there is a perk of travelling with children!). The flight was actually remarkably easy. A fellow passenger kindly moved seat, freeing up a seat (so we had 2!). This was a life saver (for him and us!). I was laden with snacks and entertainment options. 2 nappies later we landed in Birmingham and were met by my husband. Phew.
All in all a successful trip and one we’ll definitely repeat.