Being 6 months pregnant means that there are a limited number of holiday options available at the moment, especially if you are craving some sunshine and more importantly, warmth. After much debate, we settled on Spain as our preferred destination – not too far to fly, warmer than London, and most importantly, somewhere we hadn’t been before.
We booked 3 days in Seville, with a day trip to Granada to see the Alhambra and then 5 days in Barcelona. We did lots of research about what we wanted to see and experience and tried hard to achieve as much as possible without breaking ourselves or the bank.
In Seville, our top things to see and do were: The Seville Cathedral, The Alcazar, Flamenco dancing and Tapas, all of which we ticked off. We also managed to visit the Seville Bullring and walk along the Guadalquivir river. The sun shone and the days were warm for winter and it was a pleasure to be out and about. The Flamenco dancing came highly rated, but without any explanation of the dances and what we were watching, it was a bit lost on us. The Cathedral and the Alcazar on the other hand were fabulous and the gardens of the Alcazar a beautiful place to while away an afternoon.
Granada and the Alhambra
When planning our trip we knew that we would have to choose between visiting Granada to see the Alhambra Palace and Cordoba to see La Mezquita as we didn’t have enough time to do both. We decided to wait until we arrived in Seville before finalising any plans and so ended up choosing Granada and the Alhambra Palace while there. I am so glad we did because, aside from being a World Heritage Site, it is an amazing mix of cultures and religions and its history is fascinating. We spent the day getting there, walking around the Palace and gardens, having lunch in Granada and then heading back to Seville so there wasn’t time for any other sightseeing but we were pretty knackered after that 🙂 It was also shockingly freezing… and I forgot my coat back in London so the exercise was necessary!
So many positive things were said about Barcelona before we left that I think my expectations were slightly distorted but I am happy to say that there is definitely something for everyone in Barcelona and we managed to find the things that excited us. I am not the world’s greatest clothes shopper, but I do love food, culture and history and we certainly indulged. On our list of to do’s in Barcelona were: La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Mercat de la Bouqueria, Las Ramblas and the beach. We managed all of those and a few more including a visit to Parc Guell to see more of Gaudi’s inspired works and the Bari Gothic for the architecture and historic sites as well as the boutique shops.
My best surprise was Gaudi and his creations. I was both surprised and inspired by his architecture and where he drew his inspiration and creativity from.
Overall, this holiday was probably a little more adult than we would normally have planned. Phillipa was a fantastic travel companion though and managed to enjoy all of the historic buildings just as much as we did (probably for different reasons but thats ok). She loved the outdoor spaces and the opportunity to run around and take her own photos. It always amazes me how kids can make friends even if language is a barrier and she certainly made the most of the opportunities she had to talk to local or other travelling kids 🙂 We tried loads of new foods, got lots of exercise, had some hit and some miss experiences and just relaxed together as a family.
We tried to travel light this holiday as we had luggage restrictions on our internal flights. We did make sure that we had lots of entertainment for Phillipa for those times when we were sitting around waiting. She had her Mobigo, some colouring in books, some sticker books, a few small character toys, some story books and her teddy. It all sounds a bit bookwormish when you read it like that, but Phillipa is really into making up her own stories at the moment and using stickers to do so was really easy. She could tell stories while she did so. She also kept a short diary of what we did every day and took photos too so felt part of the experience.
On the subject of one of my favourite things… food… I felt like I spent the whole holiday searching for what I thought was authentic Spanish food and never feeling that I quite found it. Sometimes it is hard to avoid the the tourist draw, but in the end, I think that we tried enough restaurants and enough different tapas dishes to make a call. We were still trying new things at Barcelona airport while waiting for our flight home 🙂 I do think that I will lay off ham and cheese for a while though!
Unfortunately, we arrived back home to some Heathrow chaos (staff shortages) and for once, I was REALLY grateful to be travelling with a child… we managed to skip the queue for passport control and head straight through.
And after all that, it is great to be home again 🙂 with our little pup Misty who is lying snuggled up against me on the couch. Oh, and apparently spring is knocking…