Little H has now used her passport! Last week we took her to Spain with Granny & Grandad 🙂
Surviving the airport
Mrs Heatho (aka Super-mum) got us super prepared. Having read a zillion blogs and even more forums we made sure we were as ready as we could make ourselves. By making sure that all bottles were prepped and easy to access, getting through security was a breeze, even with the extra checks they did on the formula. Security were super helpful with everything. When you’re packing, go through things in order and pack accordingly!
We’ve been fortunate in that we have never really had to work around Little H’s naps. Of course it’s always useful if the time they need a sleep you’re going out in the car… this time we managed to keep our little one awake all the way to the plane… which meant by pushback she was fast asleep, which is how she stayed for the first hour or so of the flight!
Little H also dozed off just in time for landing, after spending a fun-filled hour and a half flashing her beaming smile at everyone and playing with her toys. To be honest, she was more interesting in the in-flight shopping magazine than her toys, which doesn’t bode well for later in life….
Of course, our arrival in Spain was greeted with torrential rain, along with thunder and lightning. 3 dry months and it chose our holiday to end! We didn’t let it dampen our spirits too much though and the weather largely picked up for the rest of the week.
River Gorge Walking
This was brilliant and I would recommend this to anyone visiting this part of the Costa del Sol. The walk along Rio Chillar starts as a somewhat boring trudge down the road and through the old quarry, but before long you are ankle-deep walking through the river itself, with the gorge narrowing in on you as you go. With the heat of Southern Spain it’s actually quite refreshing, and as the gorge gets narrower, the air gets cooler as well. I’d recommended parking on the giant parking area on Calle Mirto – plenty of room and free! There is no parking closer to the start, not without risk of fines anyway!
It took us about 90mins to walk up to the first set of pools, which are reached through a really narrow bit of gorge – only about 4 or 5 feet wide. It was such good fun! Mrs Heatho and I hadn’t done anything like this in such a long time, and Little H seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself as well! This was the longest she had been in the carrier in one day and the little trooper took it in her stride.
We had a bit of a snack and a bit of a swim, surrounded by like-minded people (and the odd one or two modelling for that perfect picture!) before wandering back. It’s a “there and back” walk – but well worth doing if you’re up for a bit of adventure. Definitely not flip-flop friendly… but certainly do-able in decent walking sandals or in my case my walking trainers – you’ll want something with grip. Ankle support isn’t entirely necessary based on when we did it (after the hottest summer for a few decades), but if the water was much deeper then in places it might have been challenging to keep your feet.
There were families with kids of all ages ranging from babies in carriers (us) to kids with minds of their own – so it’s a really good family fun day out. The GPX file is here, if anyone is interested in going: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0z3bxcd1ikehjq1/Cahorros_Rio_Chillar.gpx?dl=0
Exploring The Mountains
A few overcast days meant exploring the mountains. Stepping just a few miles inland as the crow flies requires a good 30-45min drive up mountain tracks to arrive at picturesque little towns tucked away at the heads of different valleys.
We visited two; Competa & Frigiliana. Competa was the destination for Sunday whilst dodging the thunderstorms. Competa is a pretty little town of narrow streets and wonderful mini courtyards of green. Perched high up in the mountains it’s worth a visit for a stroll round. Despite visiting on a Sunday, there were a few bars open to grab a drink and a bite to eat on the square by the church.
Frigiliana is about the same size and a little lower in the mountains – consequently it’s a little more touristy. That doesn’t take away from its charm though, as the narrow, patterned streets lead you to forget that you’re only a few miles from busy & bustling Nerja.
Beaching & Pooling
On the hot days, the only way to keep vaguely cool was to stay relatively close to water. This meant either being by the pool, or by the sea. We ended up spending more time in the pool, only making it to the beach once. Little H loved the beach, instantly getting herself a good fistful of coarse sand, and finding herself a good pebble she could attempt to eat. Thankfully, we managed to prevent Little H from ingesting sand, largely through distraction techniques and allowing her to try to eat her rake…
Things were a bit simpler by the pool. Little H floated around in her boat (closely supervised at all times – despite what the pictures might suggest!) and practised what she has been learning at swimming. The villa pool was even the venue for Little H’s first attempt at splashing! She is now very good at splashing, as I found out to my cost during bath time yesterday… 😂
Whilst away, I was allowed and consequently managed, to find time to get on the bike. I figured I’d rent myself a carbon frame and see what difference it made. Turns out, having an expensive bike is better than having my bike. I could really tell the difference; the bike was lighter, smoother and seemed to be more responsive. Of course what this means is that I need to find a way of affording a new carbon frame….
I managed to get a few rides in along the coast and up into the mountains. One particular ride north from Nerja, through Frigiliana and skirting the edge of the mountains took me on my biggest continuous climb to date – 450m (ish), in 11km. This sort of long but fairly shallow climb, whilst punctuated with the odd sharp bit that got the muscles burning was oddly enjoyable, and the view back towards the coast from the mountains was epic. Sadly, the circular route round to Torrox wasn’t possible due to the road surface – I didn’t want to trash a rental bike – so I stopped where the smooth tarmac turned to a rougher road. One of my favourite ever rides, even though it was only 20 or so kilometres and it only lasted a little over an hour!
A Holiday of Firsts
As well as learning to splash for the first time and flying for the first time, Little H also managed to stand up! Admittedly, whilst holding onto the bed, but this is progress none the less. Little H is now definitely mobile. She isn’t crawling yet, but if you put her somewhere, you can no longer be confident that she will stay in the same place… her cheeky little smile lets you know that she knows she isn’t far away from being fully mobile!