TRAVEL: A Winter Week in Tenerife
It was always going to be a very different kind of holiday.
I mean, it was our first foreign holiday with a baby, so we knew we wouldn’t exactly be sipping cocktails by the pool, or dancing the night away in a club, you know? (Er, not that we EVER dance the night away in clubs, mind you, because #OLD.)
What I didn’t quite imagine, however, was that it would also be a very different kind of holiday for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we had an 11-month-old in tow.
Like Terry getting food poisoning, for instance.
Or me coming down with some weird 24-hour flu-like bug.
Oh, and there was also that time we got locked out of our apartment, and the maintenance man had to actually remove the door handle to get us back in.
Or, well, the SECOND TIME we got locked out of our apartment, and the maintenance man had to ONCE AGAIN remove the door handle. We were popular guests, for sure.
All of these things definitely made it a different kind of holiday from the one we’d imagined, no question. It was also, however, a really fantastic one. As in, it was an, “I totally cried when I said goodbye to our apartment,” kind of one. (What do you mean you don’t say goodbye to your hotel room/apartment? What kind of monster ARE you?) And here’s how it went…
Terry and I have visited Tenerife in winter many times now, and I had a whole list of things I wanted to do, filed away in my head: favourite places I wanted to re-visit, and new ones to discover.
Honestly, though? We hardly did any of that. Partly due to the whole food poisoning/flu bug fiasco, which basically took out a couple of days of our holiday, but also because holidaying with a baby is very different from holidaying as a couple, as we quickly discovered. We generally found that by the time we’d got up, got all three of us dressed and ready for the day, and had breakfast, it was almost time for Max’s morning nap, so we’d hang around the apartment until that was over (He resolutely refused to nap in the pushchair, despite our best efforts…), then head out for a few hours, before coming back in time for the afternoon nap… after which it would be almost time for dinner, and then bedtime for Max.
We didn’t stick too rigidly to the routine we have at home, but we realised after the first couple of days that Max would get up at the same time every morning regardless of what time we put him to bed, so we tried not to stray too far from it, either. All of which didn’t leave us with a huge amount of time for exploring, obviously, but you know what? It was absolutely fine. The week before our holiday had been particularly cold and dark at home – in fact, there were some days when it just didn’t seem to get light at all, and it was just so utterly depressing that when we arrived in Tenerife to blue skies, and hot, sunny weather that remained perfect all week, I’d have happily just sat on the hotel balcony all day, every day.
That wasn’t quite what we did, obviously – I mean, we did get out and about as much as possible – but, rather than heading out all day with an agenda, we mostly just wandered and relaxed, and that, I think, was exactly what we needed.
We stayed in the Costa Adeje area of Tenerife South, which is our usual stomping ground: it’s a lively resort, which is a bit more upmarket than neighbouring Playa de las Americas and Los Christianos, and packed with restaurants, bars and shops, as well as miles of beautiful coastline. As luck would have it, my brother and sister-in-law were also in Tenerife at the same time (Although at a different hotel: I promise we didn’t just crash their holiday): they live at the opposite end of the country from us, so it was a good excuse to catch up with them, and we had dinner together most nights – including the fateful evening which led to both Terry and his brother Niko coming down with food poisoning the next day. (It was a carbonara pizza. Never again…)
Luckily for Terry, he didn’t actually throw up, but he felt really, really ill for at least 24 hours, and still wasn’t 100% the next day… by which point I’d developed a sore throat and aching muscles, which I tried to tell myself were just from walking up all of the hills in our apartment complex, but which, nope, totally turned out to be some kind of bug: awesome!
It was at this point in the holiday that we realised we hadn’t packed any paracetamol – or, indeed, any medication, other than Calpol for Max – and that all of the ‘pharmacies’ we visited in search of painkillers were, in fact, just pretending to be pharmacies, and didn’t actually sell the stuff. In the end, we headed back to the apartment, where I had 8 shots of Calpol (Which amounts to one adult dose of paracetamol), and felt almost instantly better. Thanks, Calpol! Love you!
Thankfully, by the time we woke up next morning, we were both feeling a whole lot better (Although I was left with a cough/cold, which continues to this day – lucky, lucky me!). The problem with that, of course, is that, by that point, we were now over halfway through our holiday, and still feeling like we were just getting started. Next time, I’d love to go for two weeks (I said this pretty much the second our plane touched down, mind you…), but for now, we just concentrated on enjoying our last few days in the sun. I know I’ve said this before, but I get very down during the winter, and last winter was so relentlessly awful, in so many different ways, that I’ve actually found myself feeling quite panicky at the thought of having to go through another one like it. So, this break was more than just a holiday to me, and more than just an opportunity to see how we’d get on travelling abroad with Max: it was probably the last time I’ll feel like myself next Spring, and, for that reason alone, it was worth every minute of feeling ill, worrying about the flight, and coming home to five loads of laundry. I mean, I’m not sure Terry would say it was worth getting food poisoning for, exactly, but when we WEREN’T ill, we very much enjoyed ourselves, is what I’m trying to say. And so did Max…
One of the things we learned from this trip is that this boy absolutely loves the water:
Much to my shame, I didn’t actually have a swimsuit for him: well, we’d booked the holiday at the last minute, and none of the places I usually shop for him were selling swimsuits in December, so… I’m sure I could probably have found one if I’d tried hard enough, but, the truth is, I knew from past experience that the water temperature in Tenerife is normally freezing at this time of year (I think the average temperature for December is about 21 degrees, which isn’t nearly hot enough for me to want to go swimming…) so Terry and I don’t normally spend time at the pool/beach anyway, and I figured Max probably wouldn’t want to go into the water if it was really cold. Of course, it turned out that not packing a swimsuit for him was the best possible way to guarantee a week of glorious sunshine, and above average temperatures, wasn’t it? Well done, Amber: awesome parenting job there!
The water was still too cold for me (It has to feel more of less like getting into a hot bath, or I won’t do it…), but I put Max in a swim nappy and romper, and I’m pretty sure he’d have stayed in the pool all day if we’d let him. It looks like some baby swimming lessons are in our near future. And a trip to buy a swimsuit, obviously…
Our trip to the beach, on the other hand, was slightly less successful – for Terry and I, at least. Max, meanwhile, had the time of his life: he loved the sand and the water, but got instantly caked in wet sand, and then OF COURSE he pooped in his swim nappy when we took him into the sea to wash him off, and, well, let’s just say that changing a soaking wet, sand-covered, poop-covered baby on a beach, comes second only to changing a baby on an aircraft in my list of Things I Never Want to Repeat. But that’s another story for another day. (The aircraft bit, I mean. I’m guessing you probably don’t need any more info about Poop on the Beach, right?)
But still! Max enjoyed it, and we enjoyed watching him enjoy it, so I suspect more beach trips are looming in our future, too. You can feel free to pray for us, when the time comes.
On our final morning in Tenerife, we had to check out of our hotel at 11am, but our flight wasn’t due to take off until late afternoon, which left us with a few hours to kill before we had to be at the airport. “I know!” said Terry. “Let’s have a drive up Mount Teide!”
I was just a little but dubious about this plan, I have to admit. On the one hand, I knew the car ride up the volcano would be a good way to make sure Max had a nap before we got on the plane, and I DO love the drive, which we’ve done a few times now. On the other hand, though, well, it’s the highest peak in Europe, and the last time we went up, our car window got mysteriously smashed. We’d already, as I mentioned, managed to get locked out of our hotel room twice on this trip (Through no fault of our own, I hasten to add: there was something wrong with the door, which the maintenance man repeatedly referred to as “Bad Door” any time he had to speak to us about it. Which was often, unfortunately…), and I felt like this idea of Terry’s had all the makings of one of those holiday horror stories that would only seem amusing to us a long, long time after the fact – and maybe not even then.
“I dunno,” I said. “It just sounds like the kind of story that’s destined to end up on my blog, you know?”
So, obviously, we did it.
And, OK, it IS ending up on my blog, but only because it ended up being a pretty cool way to spend the last few hours before our flight home, really. We didn’t take the cable car all the way to the top this time, because we just didn’t have the time, but we did make it to Los Roques de Garcia, just in front of the volcano, and got some quick photos before heading back down to the airport.
As I mentioned, this is a place Terry and I have visited a few times now: we have tons of photos of the two of us standing in almost the same spot, and I also have some of me with my parents, from when I came to Tenerife as a teenager, which I’ll have to get my mum to dig out for me sometime.
(Um, yeah, it was WAY colder in 2010, apparently…)
It was while we were on holiday in Tenerife two years ago that we first started to think seriously about the idea of possibly having a baby – I can remember constantly staring at other holiday makers with their children, and thinking how that would never, ever be me, because I was just too scared for it to ever happen – so, I have to admit to having all the feels while we were taking these photos with Max. It was one of those, “If my younger self had known that the next time she had her photo taken in this spot, she’d be holding an 11-month-old baby…” moments, and I had quite a few of those throughout the week, as we revisited some of our favourite spots. So, in some ways, this was as much a “banishing the ghosts” trip as anything else – although I have to admit that, on this occasion, the ghosts did have to take a bit of a backseat to the food poisoning and the flu episode. I guess we’ll just have to go back soon, and do it all again, then?
For now, though, we’ve been back home for almost a week, and I’ve already started thinking about our next trip, in between coughing fits. Well, if I’m going to keep on getting sick every couple of weeks (Now onto my third cold/bug in 6 weeks: not impressed…), I might as well do it somewhere warm, right?
[For anyone interested, my dress is from ASOS, and the gold sandals in the first photo were from Kurt Geiger. They’re long-since sold out now, but there are tons of similar styles at Spartoo…]