Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Callum's First Foreign Holiday

Overall, we had a lovely time on holiday in Portugal but, like Callum's Birthday, there were disappointing moments.

Firstly, I just can't help but say 'I told you so' to Stuart. Stuart had booked a taxi to take us to the airport. Already, a couple of days before the airport I was feeling anxious about it getting us to the airport just 2 hours before we were due to take off. For me, this is unthinkable. I usually aim to get to the airport 3 hours before we fly but actually end up getting there nearer 4 hours before. There have been a couple of times where the check in desk hasn't even been open yet. Stuart did remind me of when we went to Gatwick (which is where we were flying this time) when going on holiday with my family and there was nothing open early in the morning. As we were getting to the airport early again this time (aiming to get there for just after 5am) I could see his point but I was still uncomfortable with it. I was worried there would be a big queue, as the check would have already been open for an hour. I had this vision of our usual eating breakfast somewhere with a drink, doing a bit of shopping and then going through to departures to see the aeroplanes with Callum.

In reality - The taxi turned up a few minutes late, we got to the airport about 30 mins later than planned, in fairness, the check in queue wasn't too bad and moved quickly and likewise for security but then we got Callum dressed, I bought some glasses, grabbed a MacMuffin from MacDonalds and they were calling us in to departures. We put Callum on a little ride and they were calling last boarders - we had to do the run to departures (why does your gate always appear to be the furthest possible gate away when you are running late?) and there was no one left in the departure lounge. I was hastily, in a more haste less speed type of way, trying to close up the pushchair and shove it in the buggy bag. We eventually did it got on and sat down, and to my relief another couple of passengers got on after us - we weren't the last, hoorah!

Because we had got Callum up so early (about 4.15am) he wasn't in any mood to fly. We didn't have a window as it was between the seats. My hopes were raised when there was a little boy in the seats behind us who was all keen and wide eyed. He held a little of Callum's interest but not for long. Callum wasn't fussed with his breakfast and was generally grumpy. Thankfully, it wasn't a long flight but by the time we were landing, we were that family with young child you didn't want to be sitting near! It was then, I realised we hadn't dosed him up with calpol. It was too late by then but I tried to give him some at that point. He ended up squeezing most of it over me!

Flight finally over and we collected luggage and found our coach. Callum enjoyed the coach journey then fell asleep - yay! It was only a short coach ride though - both fortunately and unfortunately.

When we got to the hotel it was about 12noon and the rooms weren't ready until 2pm. They had a luggage storage area though so we dropped off our luggage and quickly changed into shorts and then had a nose by the pool. We had a quick drink by the pool and Callum was very excited to see the pool and wanted to go in it there and then. We decided to explore and find somewhere to have lunch. Callum then began his hunger protest! He hardly ate anything at all for the whole holiday unless it was a crisp, chip or cheese!

After some lunch, we could check into our room so it was a quick unpack and change into swimming stuff so we could go jump in the pool. Frrrrrr - it was cold. But once you were in you got used to it. It was hard for Callum being so cold though. He wanted to stay in but he would be shivering and turning blue around the lips.

That evening we walked to find the bars and restaurants and somehow managed to find Albufeira Old Town by following some dolled up girls. Callum fell asleep on the way down there which we thought was a result - only to wake up halfway through our meal - and wasn't a happy bunny. We threw the end of our meal and drinks down our neck and got him to sleep again eventually.

We had our Welcome Meeting the next morning. The scary shark mascot was mildly interesting to Callum for a bit but, as long as these meetings always are, their inevitably became a point where we had to tag team - one of us had to stay in the meeting and the other one had to take Callum out. However, we did find out in the meeting that their was a 'strip' as it was actually called in the other direction to which we walked the previous night. We thought we would check it out that evening. Yep, we found Brits Abroad Street. We weren't impressed and made the decision to go to the Old Town. We got a taxi and we didn't go back except to hire a car!

Rather than going into detail about every day, I will now try to summarise.

We ate out in the Old Town every night except one night where we ate just outside in a posh restaurant for Stuart's Birthday - believe me it was brave going there with Callum with the mood he had been in all holiday.

Callum's mood was mainly grumpy with happy moments. At the beginning of the holiday, Callum loved the pool and was quite confident but by the end of it it took some time to build his confidence. We took him in the sea a couple of times too.

Some nights we managed to get Callum to sleep in the pushchair quite easily, other times it took a little more work but we usually got some time to ourselves (with Callum in the pushchair of course).

Callum's highlight of the holiday was this little train that went in a circle round from the Old Town, near our Hotel and The Strip and back to Old Town. We managed to go on it 4 times in one day!

One day we went to a water park. It was the coolest day and quite windy which meant it was particularly chilly getting in the water and took us all a little while to warm up to it. There was a kiddy playground bit for Callum with lots of little slides and he was allowed to go on one of the bigger slides on our laps. Then we tagged team again with one playing with Callum in the playground bit while the other went on a couple of big slides.

As previously mentioned, we also hired a car. We hired it for 3 days and one day drove to Spain - why not do 2 countries in one holiday. Found a lovely gorgeous beach at this little place called Isla Christina.

We also tried to do a couple of other sight seeing bits but there isn't really much to see in the South of Portugal.

As I said at the start, overall it was a good holiday, but it also had its moments.

Thankfully, the flight home was at a more decent hour of 11am. We had enough time to eat some breakfast and do some shopping at the airport and still get to show Callum some aeroplanes. We had a window seat and pretty much managed to entertain Callum for the whole flight (still didn't really eat his meal again. A couple of nibbles here and there!). We had also remember the calpol before the flight this time. Then minutes before we started the descent, he fell asleep. Stuart was disappointed Callum didn't get to watch the plane land out of the window but at least he was crying this time.

Home Sweet Home.

Callum appears to be much happier to be home and has mainly been in a fab mood (except a small hiccup this morning). Long may it continue!

Portugal again next year....someone accidentally booked this year's holiday for next year. We purposely avoided the area we are going to next year just in case we saw it and didn't like the look of it. To be honest, I just hope Callum enjoys it more. We kept a few things back to do next year so I'm sure it will be fine.

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