Last week I was soaking up some last-minute 2018 sunshine in the gorgeous Costa De Sol. Back in July, I won 2 free plane tickets to Malaga through work to celebrate the NHS turning 70 years old. Not a bad prize at all! When I entered that competition, I had always planned to give the tickets to my mum and her partner. 2018 has been a particularly difficult year for my family so it seemed the perfect way to escape.
A trip for 2 people turned into a family trip for the 6 of us: Mum, me and my sister plus my mums partner and his 2 kids.
This was my first every trip to Espania and although I’ve seen pictures, nothing quite prepared me for the outstanding beauty of black sanded beaches, Palm trees lining the roads and random cacti scattered around the pavement. From the moment I left the airport, I was taken back.
We were staying in a family friendly, all-inclusive resort hosting an impressive waterslide collection, countless pools, evening entertainment and just a general great vibe. With spacious rooms, 2 restaurants and backing right onto the beach, this place was heaven.
Most of our days were spent pool side, nursing a range of free drinks from hot chocolates to Coke to San Miguel. This was a life style I had never experience and it was quite a shock to arrive back in England and not having drinks on tap.
When we weren’t sunning ourselves, we were out exploring the neighbourhood. Littered with white-walled houses and beautiful mountains that coated the horizon, this was nothing like home and I experience a huge sense of longing on what I may be missing around the world. I have only been going abroad since 2015 so seeing all these picturesque views in real life still blows my mind.
On our 4th day, we decided to go on a day trip to Gibraltar, a tiny controversial country on the south spanish coast that remains part of the UK. It is effectively a rock which could be seen from our hotel room back in Spain. It was ever so surreal to cross the border and suddenly see street names in English, our trademark red busses, shops typical of a british high street and even a strange version of our currency. Home away from home.
Our goal for the day was to see dolphins in the Gibraltar bays. Boarding a little catamaran boat (so proud of myself for not panicking) and joining 15 or so other tourist, we headed out of the harbour and into the bays. The sight of the other boats like the huge tankers and cruise ships did make me feel quite nervous. You don’t realise how big they are until you are in a dinky boat right underneath them. At first we could only see a few dolphins in the distance, too far to really distinguish what kind they were. However, the further out we got, the more pods we spotted. Dorsal fins were popping our of the water from every angle, it was hard to know where to look, in fear of missing one close by. The closer we got, the closer to the boat they got, until they were swimming and jumping right beside us. I have honesty never seen wildlife look so content, so natural and so majestic. When it was time to go back to shore, the Common Dolphins stereotypically swam in our jet streams, giving us a fantastic view of them both under and out of the water. It was a moment without cameras or phones, just a treat for us to treasure.
During the evenings of our holiday, we were audience to several different performances. Flamenco dancing was mesmerizing, so many foot movements! There was a Motown group from Cape Town who were very good and got the audience singing along. One night there was a magic act but unfortunately I spend too much of my childhood dedicated to watching Breaking the Magician’s Code: Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed, so had learned a lot of the basic tricks however it was still an enjoyable night.
All in all, Spain was fantastic and blew my expectations out of the water. A beautiful culture full of bright colours, amazing food and soft language. It was a much-needed break at just the right time of the year with temperatures settling at a comfortable 24/23 degrees celsius. Thank you for having us and if you find my mobile phone, please sent it back, it had my original thumb nail on it.
Another country to scratch off my map, now to prepare for January!
Anyone who is curious as to where we spent our week, the hotel is Globales Playa Estepona. I am not being paid to promote them, credit where credit is due and we had a fantastic time.