Camping in Granada: Güejar Sierra, Camping Las Lomas

camping in granada

The superb pool

We decided to spend the first few days of our 3 months,12 weeks, 78 days summer holidays 2015, camping in Granada.

We had originally thought of going to our favourite campsite in Tarifa but as we have several beach destinations planned already for this summer we decided to head up into the mountains. And we were really glad we did.

Having asked local friends and acquaintances on Facebook for suggested campsites, we opted for Camping Las Lomas in Guejar Sierra, Granada.

It was our first time camping in Granada. We are more used to visiting the neighbouring valley, the well-known ski resort of the Sierra Nevada in the winter months.

We decided on Camping Las Lomas for 4 main reasons:

  • It is located within 2 hours easy drive of where we live.
  • The views looked stunning.
  • It has a large swimming pool.
  • The plots are private and not too regimented.

We were not disappointed!

IMG_6498

Güejar Sierra is a village and municipality located in the province of Granada, Spain. According to the INE, it had a population of 2,988 at the start of 2010. The village is situated in the north-western part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, at an altitude of 1,088 metres.

The municipality borders Pinos Genil, Dúdar, Quéntar, La Peza, Lugros, Jérez del Marquesado, Trevélez, Capileira and Monachil. Its boundary with Trevélez and Capileira runs along the highest ridge of the Sierra Nevada, and over Mulhacén, making these the three highest municipalities in peninsular Spain. The Genil and Maitena rivers rise in Güéjar.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BC%C3%A9jar_Sierra

Stay in Camping Las Lomas #Granada for stunning views #familytravel Click To Tweet

We spent a great few days, relaxing and discovering the surrounding area…

 

camping in granada

A typical local dish: Plato Güejareño

If you are planning to go camping in Granada, we’d happily recommend Camping Las Lomas. We will be back again, for sure.

Spanish Christmas Quiz : How Much Do You Know?

The next in our @FamilyinSpain ‘s Quiz About Spain series is our Spanish Christmas Quiz. We are going to help you learn more about this wonderful country where we have chosen to make our family home.

Spanish Christmas Quiz

In future @FamilyinSpain ‘s Quiz About Spain series quizzes, we’ll cover topics such as:

This is a fun way to test your knowledge about Spain and to learn more.

If you have any topics you’d like us to cover, just Contact Us and we’ll be happy to oblige.

Do you have a quiz about Spain that you’d like to share with our readers, please send it in and we’ll post it for you.

Ok, let’s get this Spanish Christmas Quiz on the road …  Scroll down and click the “Get Started” button below! 

Good luck! ¡Suerte amigos!

Don’t forget to share your results on our Facebook Page or Tweet us @FamilyInSpain

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

I took @familyinspain 's Spanish Christmas Quiz and got Spain Expert. Challenge on! Click To Tweet

School holidays in Spain 2015: 3 months,12 weeks, 78 days …

Woo hoo! It’s finally here. The first day of our twelve week long school holidays in Spain. We’ve been waiting for this day for what seems like ages. As crazy as it may seem, we know these holidays are going to be over before we know it. We have so much planned. So much to be enjoyed.

Many people are shocked when we tell them that the children have twelve weeks of school holidays in Spain in the summer.

“What do you do with all that time?” “What about work?” “How do you cope?”

school holidays in spain

The pool is up and the kids are in 🙂

As we said in our post, School Summer Holidays in Spain: To Enjoy Or To Endure?:

  • We make plans in advance (saving money on flights, hotels etc by booking in advance)
  • We throw all routines out of the window
  • We ensure we are ready to head off anywhere at the drop of a hat
  • We prioritise family time, fun and enjoyment

School holidays in #Spain 2015: 3 months,12 weeks, 78 days to go ... Click To Tweet

So, what do we have planned this year, summer 2015?

As I said at the beginning, today is day 1, it’s Tuesday 23rd June 2015. We have 3 months, 12 weeks, 78 days of holidays and family fun ahead of us.

I’m writing this post, sat in our VW Transporter, with hubby at my side at the wheel, the children in the back, Joshua, Francesca and Mika (our football playing, trampoline jumping, German Shepherd). The boot is jam packed with tents, scooters, games, beach gear and far too much camping stuff. It’s amazing how much you pack just because you’ve got the space, isn’t it?

We’re leaving the 30ºC heat of the Costa del Sol and heading towards the stunning scenery of the Sierra Nevada in Granada. We’d originally planned to head back to our favourite campsite in Tarifa, but as we already have a delicious 5 weeks of bohemian beach living already booked in Cadiz this summer, we opted for a change of scenery to start off our 2015 summer holidays.

school holidays in spain

Stunning mountain scenery

We will add links to the details of each trip as we write them. Remember to let us know if you visit the places and what you thought too! (We also share lots of pics on our Facebook Page: CLICK HERE)

As much as this is an exciting time, it is also a slightly sad time in our lives here in Spain.

A time of unexpected change.

Today was the last day that, Mari-Tere, Francesca’s wonderful teacher, the one with the smiling eyes, will be Francesca’s seño 🙁

In the Spanish state colegios, students often have the same seño for 3 consecutive years. However, due to an unusual placement allocation system, it is not unusual for teachers to be moved to different schools at any time.

Mari- Tere is from Alhaurin. She applied for a position in her home town. She got it. She’s going. And that is that.

Gutted does not go anywhere near how we feel right now. But that’s life. We move on. The disturbed nights and unexpected upsets for our daughter have already begun. The nervous, maybe tearful return to school is 3 months, 12 weeks, 78 days away …

school holidays in spain

Fiesta fin de curso 2015

On September 10th, Joshua will enter his final year at our beloved CEIP San Sebastian. Eeeek! We will be making decisions about his future education. Will he continue in the Spanish state system, change to private or manage to secure a place in our first choice which is a colegio concertado?

On September 10th, Francesca will state 3º with a new seño.

On September 10th, I, mum, won’t be in Spain. I’ll be in London, preparing to spend 2 days talking to families considering moving to Spain at The Expat Show – Living & Working Abroad.

The Show is open on the 11th & 12th September 2015 at Olympia in London. Single tickets are £10 with family tickets at £15 however, thanks to OGC there are 2,000 free tickets available for anyone registering before Wednesday 1st July. Registration is quick and easy plus you will receive advanced information the free seminars, interactive features and exhibitor offers to help plan your time at The Show. To claim your free ticket click here. – http://theexpatshow.co.uk/free-tickets/

The trips we have planned so far are:

  • Camping Las Lomas, Güejar Sierra, Granada
  • Camping Torre de la Peña, Tarifa, Cadiz
  • Babysitting 3 guinea pigs in Vejer de la Frontera and a Campus Acuatico
  • 1 week in a 4 star resort in Sancti Petri, Cadiz
  • 2 weeks in our holiday house in Roche Viejo, Cadiz
  • A trip to London in September (theme parks and city sightseeing)

Oh, and work? Did I mention that?

As we are “lucky” and in a fortunate position to work for ourselves, we let all our lovely clients know that we are closed for our 3 months, 12 weeks, 78 days summer holidays. We check in from time to time and meet up with the odd person, but we are basically on skeleton cover until mid September.

Do they complain?

Never.

After all, that is one of the many reasons they too want to come and enjoy their own family life in Spain.

Have a fantastic summer! ¡Felíz vacaciones!

moving abroad with children

Crazy Valencia Burns €100.000 Statues For Fun: Las Fallas Valencia

The Fallas Valencia fiesta is one of the crazy Spanish traditions and festivals that we are really keen to experience for ourselves. Stunning and intricately designed statues are designed, built and then literally set fire to, in the streets.

How crazy is that?

I’ve heard the rumours about Valencian politicians so-called “burning money”, but there is no secrecy to this festival. It takes place in full public view.

As we have not yet managed to visit the Valencia Fallas for ourselves, we have invited the lovely Sarah from My Destination  Alicante to tell us little more about this fiery tradition.

fallas valencia

Over to you Sarah. Tell is what this crazy festival all about …

Valencia is a noisy city at the best of times, but the bar is raised even further during the fiery Fallas Valencia Fiesta in March.

For a few days leading up to St Joseph’s Day, on March 19th, the streets come alive with satirical, colourful statues standing several storeys high. Some are poking fun at celebrities and politicians, others look like gigantic cartoon characters while a few will be making a political statement.

These papier-mâché statues take all year to build and cost €100,000 or more. But, come St Joseph’s Day, they will be set alight with just a pile of ashes remaining. Thousands of spectators gather as each statue is burnt in turn.

The ‘elf and safety brigade in the UK would be having a blue fit by now. Not only are these giant statues set on fire close to thousands of revellers and near to high-rise buildings, the ceremony also takes place in the middle of the night.

It’s a fabulous fiesta and a great money spinner as tourists head to Valencia each year to enjoy a walk around the statues, called ninots, to stop off at a few bars for a quick refreshment and dance along to the bands leading the parades.

The women are dressed in elaborately-embroidered dresses with hairpieces which look similar to Princess Leia’s hairdo in Star Wars. The dresses are very heavy and the women – and little girls – wear them from morning to night during the fiesta.

fallas valencia

Another wonderful part to the fiesta is the mascleta. Twice a day, thousands crowd into the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (town hall square) to see and hear one of the most important events of the fallas.

It’s an incredible show of firecrackers which are let off in sequence to make a thunderous noise, together with the powerful smell of gunpowder and smoke filling the square. It can reach 130 decibels or more with the whole square seeming to vibrant. The windows of nearby buildings can certainly be seen to be shaking.

fallas valencia

The fiesta heralds the start of Spring. It hails from humble beginnings in the Middle Ages when the carpenters burned off old bits of wood and furniture during their Spring cleaning. They then started to carve little statues and dress up the sticks before burning them. The statues became bigger and better to turn into the fun festival we know today climaxing on St Joseph’s Day, the patron saint of carpenters.

Valencia is the best place to see the fallas fiesta but other towns also take part including Gandia, Denia and Benidorm.

ABOUT ME

Sarah Farrell is a journalist living in the Alicante region of Spain. She also runs the My Destination Alicante – www.mydestination.com/alicante – online travel guide and takes HD 360º virtual tours for Business Streetview to be included on Google Maps.

GRACIAS Sarah!

Graham, our colleague at Spanish-Property.net sent us these great pics from the 2015 Fallas Valencia. Which one is your favourite?

fallas valencia 2015

fallas valencia 2015

Here is a great video from this year’s Fallas that was posted on our Facebook Page 🙂

If you have a local festival near you that you’d like to share with us,

please get in touch and let us share your story 🙂

Costa del Sol Family Days Out That Don’t Cost The Earth

A Great List of Costa del Sol Family Days Out from Marianne.

As parents, our children are the centre of our world. We love them unconditionally and there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for them. Living in Spain is one of the choices that most of us have made in order to give our children a happy, healthy lifestyle. We all know the advantages of living here; the climate, the opportunity to learn a new language, the value placed on family and so on.

In our family, we especially value the opportunity to spend time outdoors and in the Málaga area there is no shortage of fabulous activities and attractions aimed at families, but they often come at a cost. Some of these places are very expensive for the admission price alone, and then they frequently require additional payments once you are inside. Extras such as food, activities, souvenirs and photographs can quickly add up and a fun day out can end up being prohibitively expensive.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are numerous places in the Málaga / Costa del Sol area where you can have a fun family day out for little or no cost which is one of the things that we appreciate most about living here. These are some of our favourite things to do and places to go.

costa del sol family days out

Parque La Batería, Torremolinos

1. Parque la Batería, Torremolinos.
This park is full of fun things to do, there is no admission charge and ample parking is provided inside. My boys love to climb to the top of the Torre Mirador, look at the cannons, splash each other at the fountains, run around on the many open, grassy areas and play in the fantastic, large playground. The park doesn’t have a cafe, but there are some vending machines next to the playground. Rather unusually a ‘dummy tree’ gives you a place where you can hang your child’s dummy to give them an incentive to stop using one when they are at an age to do so, which I have never seen before or since but I think it’s a great idea. There is a huge, old-fashioned carousel which you do have to pay for, but it is only 50c per ride. There is also a big boating lake where you can hire a rowing boat for only €1 for 30 minutes and you can have a pleasantly relaxing sail in the sunshine. Or, alternatively, you can do as we usually do and spend the whole time trying to avoid crashing into other boats, shouting “look out!” and “sorry!” rather a lot, embarrassing yourself by getting wedged in under the bridge in front of amused passers-by, before eventually being called in at the end of your allotted time and trying to reverse rather amateurishly into one of the numbered bays!

2. Paloma Park, Benalmadena.
This is another place full of big, open spaces for energy-filled children to run around in and if you stop and look under the hedges and bushes there is a good chance you will see some rabbits hiding underneath! There are also freely roaming chickens, geese and peacocks as well as various other animals housed in enclosures which are located just behind the big playground. This has equipment suitable for younger children as well as other more adventurous climbing apparatus for the older ones. The park has a few cafes and some other smaller playgrounds scattered about, along with a big fountain and some rather wonderful metal sculptures of heads lying around on the grass which are large enough for children to crawl into. The lake is home to lots of ducks, geese, swans and turtles and you can hire segways and pedal powered carriages if you fancy travelling around the lake at a slightly faster pace! We love it here! There is lots of parking around the outside of the park, but it can get a bit busy at the weekends and in the Summer.

3. Los Pedregales Park, Estepona
There are two parts to Los Pedregales. There are the more-developed bits with playgrounds, picnic tables and open-air barbecue facilities which are very popular with families and which can get quite busy at the weekend. It is a good place to hold a birthday party if you aren’t averse to carrying all your party paraphernalia through a bit of overgrown terrain. This bit is also due for further development in the future as there are plans to create a dinosaur-themed park there and a go-karting track too. Or there is our favourite bit which is the wilder, undeveloped side of the park. We go in through the smaller side gate with the Adana sign (the rescue home for dogs is also through this gate and further up the mountain track a short way) where there are lots of pine trees (great for pine cone collecting missions but not good for dogs in the Processionary Caterpillar season) and rocky tracks leading down to a stream that rushes over the pathway at the bottom in the rainy season. We take our dog up there and we all love to clamber over the rocks along the stream and climb up the tree covered slopes at the top of the hill. Great fun for bracing walks, rock climbing and for burning off your children’s energy in the fresh air!

costa del sol family days out

San Pedro Boulevard


4. San Pedro Boulevard, San Pedro
The fantastic new boulevard is an ideal place to go for a walk/scooter/skate with the children, stopping en route at one of the many playgrounds. There are a couple of cafes too if you fancy stopping for a drink while your children play. My boys especially love the big skating park at the far end where they can ride their scooters in the large, open space and also the undulating bridge which they love to run over.

5. Parque Tres Jardines, San Pedro
This park is relatively new and hidden away in the industrial estate of San Pedro. It has a lagoon with some hungry ducks always eager to be fed, lots of open spaces, two playgrounds (one aimed at older children and the other ideal for younger children) and a kiosk which admittedly I’ve never actually seen open but maybe I’ve just been unlucky. There is also an adjoining area set aside as a dog park so its a great place to go with your dog too! This is another popular venue for birthday parties and it can get quite full with party goers at the weekends and competition to reserve the picnic tables can get quite fierce!


6. Paseo Walks
Our favourites are the San Pedro and Estepona paseos, both of which have playgrounds on the beach and on the paseo itself along the course of them, as well as chiringuitos and cafes if you want to stop for a drink along the way. Paseos are a great way to spend a few hours on foot or on bikes and scooters.

7. Benahavis Parks
Benahavis has two excellent parks for children. The first one you will come to, which is on the left just as you drive into the town has a lovely little playground, a lake, a waterfall, open spaces to play on the grass and even an amphitheatre where children can put on a ‘show’ on the big stage area. There are pathways that you can walk or ride along, beautifully tended gardens and picnic tables too. In the lake we have often seen turtles and even a water snake. The second park is further into the town, right opposite the school and this has a nice little kiosk. There are lots of play facilities for all ages and it is also a popular location for birthday parties.

8. Duquesa Castle and Park
My boys love visiting this castle. They like to climb up to the top to see the great views and enjoy going into the little exhibition rooms. There is one room where you can have a try at fencing and others that offer historical information and displays of relics. Next door to the castle is a park with a playground and a wishing well. It is all nearby to the beach as well so there are lots of opportunities for playing here. And if you happen to find an orange frisbee somewhere in the trees at the back then it is ours!

costa del sol family days out

San Pedro Golf Club


9. San Pedro Golf Club Driving Range
This is located opposite the Bárcelo hotel and for just 1€ you can get a bucket of 25 golf balls to use on the driving range. It is suitable for adults and children and there are golf clubs that you can borrow if you don’t have any of your own. There are a couple of putting greens where your little one can practise their finer golf skills and a big grassy bunker where they can whack the balls with a little less finesse! Golf lessons are available if you discover that your child could possibly be a golfing genius and there is a cafe where you can enjoy a drink while watching all of the golfing action.

costa del sol family days out

Pedal boat rentals at Parque Fluvial, Fuengirola



10. Fuengirola Castle and River
The castle grounds are a great place to run around and there is the added opportunity to have fun on the water for the more energetic types. There are pedal boats that you can hire for a few euros for 30 minutes (30 minutes has never seemed longer than when I was pedalling a swan full of excitable children with my rapidly tiring legs, to the shouts of “faster, go faster mummy!” coming from the smaller passengers in the back!). There is also a zip line going over the water and a cafe on the water front. We have never actually seen the castle open so I can’t comment on what is inside those elusive walls as that remains a mystery to our family!

NOTE: Here’s a video we made at the end of last year by the river at Fuengirola … (Lisa)


11. Benahavis River Walks
Just before you get into Benahavis town you can park up on the right hand side and explore the river walks. There are places you can swim as well as more adventurous routes that you can follow through rocky terrain and water. In the Summer it gets very busy and it can be difficult to park but it is a fun way to spend a few hours and get some exercise too, all for free!

So keeping your little ones entertained needn’t cost the earth. These are just some of our favourite things to do and chances are you have your own family favourites. I would love to hear about them as we are always looking for new, fun and more importantly, inexpensive things to do!

NOTE From Lisa: Click on the Google map below to get directions to these places and many more. Where else should we add to our @FamilyInSpain Costa del Sol Family Days Out That Don’t Cost The Earth map?

Don’t forget about a trip to the Lakes

Send us your suggestions 😉

Thanks Marianne! Why not pop over and have a look at Marianne’s website and join in her Facebook page 😉

Marianne Hill is a primary school teacher who, in those rare, quiet moments when she is not surrounded by children at work or at home, can usually be found either writing articles or blog posts, reading, listening to music or posting on Facebook. Alternatively she could be out running or cycling around the Estepona area of the Costa del Sol of Spain, where she lives with her partner Neil and their children Sam, 6 and Henry, 4.

Web: www.mariannehill.com   Twitter: @marianne4373    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lifewithmychildren

quiz about spain

CLICK HERE to take our fun Quiz about Spain

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Our Christmas in Spain 2014 : Traditions, Recipes & New Ideas

christmas in spain

Christmas Shopping in Malaga

What child wouldn’t love the fact that we get to celebrate, not once, nor twice, but three times, during the festive period here in Spain? (And that isn’t counting New Year celebrations!)

When our children were born, we felt it was important to return to the UK for Christmas once every two years, so that the children could celebrate it with our families. However, we didn’t want them to think that Christmas had to be spent in the UK to be fun. Luckily, in recent years, Spain has embraced more Christmas traditions so it is easier for us to make it fun for the children. 

This year we should have gone back to the UK and yet we opted to stay home. Our home is here. 

So, what are our usual Christmas in Spain traditions:

On Christmas Eve, we enjoy our own Spanish-style Christmas. We always buy a full 5 to 6kg Serrano ham which is sliced and served until there is almost nothing left on the bone. (See our Sopa de Picadillo recipe, one of our children’s favourites,  where we use the leftover bone to make stock for this scrummy soup).

We also have typical cold cuts such as salami, cured pork, chorizo, cheeses, olives and pickles. This is washed down with a good red wine, usually a Ribera de Duero, and sometimes finished off with an anis (sweet aniseed liquor). (The alcohol is served only to the adults of course 😉 )

christmas in spain

Our Spanish Christmas Eve

In previous years the children opened one present on Christmas Eve, as is traditional with some Spanish children. However, this year we have added a new Family in Spain Christmas tradition.

Our New Christmas in Spain tradition: Introducing Our Christmas Eve Box

This year we’ve prepared a special Christmas Eve box for them, as a gift from Nana. This year the box contained a pair of pyjamas, some socks, chocolates, a Christmas mug with a selection of hot chocolate drinks and a book. They loved it!

This is our way of spreading out the gifts and helping the children to appreciate each gift they receive.

Why?

I really feel that children are too often inundated with too many presents that the true appreciation of the presents is difficult to control. As long as there is still another present to open, the opened gifts are not of so much interest. It’s like a race to the finish line …

Ready. Steady. Go. Do not stop until the last gift is opened. You never know what is in that last box … the last box is the focus.

Do you agree?

Back to our usual Christmas in Spain traditions:

On Christmas morning, we have a family stocking that we open together. These are fun gifts that Santa brings the children and the parents 😉 

We enjoy a cooked breakfast with a glass off Bucks Fizz , then I’ll spend most of the morning cooking a traditional roast meal followed by mince pies, pudding or christmas cake. The main meal is almost always  a turkey with all of the trimmings. For our Christmas dinner ideas I usually rely on Jamie Oliver magazines. We are lucky where we live as the foreign supermarkets over here, such as Iceland,  stock most typically British festive ingredients, although I often have to improvise.

After our main meal we distribute the presents from beneath the tree. These are a mixture from overseas family members and Santa 😉

This year we spent lots of time making things for the festive season. We will share our recipes for homemade: mince pies, christmas cake, ginger biscuits, chocolates, truffles and lots of decorations.

Festive Pantomines and Belens …

As Spain is a catholic country, the nativity is a very important part of the celebration of Christmas. We always make time to visit them wherever we are. We did get a shock once when we came across a Barbie and Ken nativity scene: Barbie was belly dancing for Ken who was sat in an arm chair drinking beer. It wasn’t quite the earnest religious moment we were expecting! It was challenging, to say the least, trying to explain the alternative interpretation of the religious nativity scene to our children who appeared quite shocked at scantily clad dolls and men with drinks in their hand…

christmas in spain

The Ten-tacion Belen in Malaga plaza!

This year, 2015, Malaga surpassed itself. The nativity scenes and festive lights were amazing. People flocked from far and wide to see them.

christmas in spain

The stunning lights in Malaga Capital

We also love the Panto season. When we are in the UK, with my husband’s family, we go to High Wycombe with all the cousins. When we stay in Spain we go to Malaga Capital. Last year we enjoyed a show by Cirque du Soleil in Malaga and this year we went to see Pinocchio performed at the Cervantes Theatre in Malaga Capital. It was magical.

One of the most memorable Christmas pantos we saw, in Spanish, was the Wizard of Oz. During the show, the lion spontaneously broke out singing Spanish flamenco (the traditional Spanish custom style of singing) and proceeded to skip down the yellow brick road, in full voice, with Dorothy, the scarecrow and the tin man! 

Keeping the belief in Santa alive:

As the children grow older it is sometimes a challenge to keep the story of “Santa” alive. Is it important? I don’t know but I just imagine the discovery that he doesn’t really exist would be quite a blow to a child.

As a result, I’m always looking for fun activities to keep the Santa Claus story alive. Wherever we are, the children leave a note for Santa and their stockings on the chimney. A plate with a carrot for Rudolph, a mince pie and a glass of PX sherry for Santa sits by the chimney too.

christmas in spain

Setting the fireplace for Santa …

I always order the PNP santa message to be delivered to the children, adding an upto date photograph and something personal that not many people would know. 

The ability to track Santa online nowadays also makes his existence more of a possibility for Joshua, our 10 year old. We often discuss how it is possible to deliver so many presents to so many children in so many places.

We know it would be impossible just for Santa … that is why he has his elves 😉

And then come the Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos):

We then celebrate again on the 5th and 6th of January, which is called Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings). This the day that Spanish children most look forward to during the festive season. This evening “Los Reyes Magos” will deliver them either gifts or coal, depending if they have been good or not.

On the evening of January 5th, we head up to the village, Mijas Pueblo, to:

  • listen to rather out of tune music, played extremely loudly by the local brass band
  • join the crowds, young and old, as we follow the Cabalgata (floats) through the streets
  • desperately try to avoid getting hit on the head by rock hard, boiled sweets that they lob from the floats
  • help the children gather as many sweets as possible only to secretly dispose of them before arriving home

It’s all fun and it’s all part our our Family Life in Spain.

This year was extra special for us as our son, Joshua, was on one of the floats with the village football team.

And last but not least, on the 6th of January, whilst most Spanish children are finally enjoying their gifts, we are taking down our decorations and getting ready to start an exciting new year. We do however enjoy a Roscón de Reyes ( a traditional Spanish cake filled with fresh cream). This year we had not one but two lucky charms inside. We are taking this as a sign 😉

The children love the festive season here in Spain because they get to enjoy the best of all of the traditions. 

It’s not quite the same  as back in the UK, but it’s our version of Christmas and we really rather like spending Christmas in Spain !

Here’s to getting back to normality after almost 3 weeks of festivities … 2014 was a great year and we are excited to see what 2015 has in store.

¡Feliz Año 2015!

Dates for your Diary: Spain Public Holidays 2015

espeto

If you’re planning how best to use up your holiday entitlement in 2015, or simply trying to work out the most economical times to travel, then you’ll need to take into account the dates for Spain public holidays 2015.

In Spain there are national holidays, regional holidays and local holidays. The dates on which the national and regional holidays are to fall are communicated each year via an Official State Bulletin or BOE  (CLICK TO ACCESS).  Among other regulations, this Bulletin specifies which of the national holidays are obligatory and which are optional on a regional basis, as well as defining the rules surrounding those days which can be celebrated the following day in the case when the holiday itself falls on a Sunday.

Don’t forget that most towns in Spain will also have two local holidays per year when they celebrate their feria and Saint’s day. You can find out more information about these days on your local Ayuntamiento website or by checking the Calendario Laboral for your town on Seguridad Social’s website (CLICK TO ACCESS). 

Spain Public Holidays 2015

Plan your days to relax …

In 2015, the eight national public holidays will be as follows:

1st January New Year’s Day

6th January Epiphany (Three Kings)

3rd April Good Friday

1st May Labour Day

15th August Assumption of Mary

12th October National Day

8th December Immaculate Conception

25th December Christmas Day

If you look at the dates for Spain Public Holidays 2015 noted for your area (below) you will see that each of the Spanish regions adds a further three or four days to these obligatory national holidays, especially at Easter when it’s usually two holy days which are observed.

Andalusia

28th February Andalusia Day (followed by Semana Blanca)

2nd April Maundy Thursday

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November) 

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Aragon

2nd April Maundy Thursday

23rd April St. George’s Day

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November) 

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Asturias

2nd April Maundy Thursday

8th September Asturian Regional Day

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November) 

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Balearic Islands

2nd April Maundy Thursday

6th April Easter Monday

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November) 

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Basque Country

19th March St. Joseph’s Day

2nd April Maundy Thursday

6th April Easter Monday

25th July St. James’ Day

Canary Islands

2nd April Maundy Thursday

30th May Canary Islands Day

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November) 

Cantabria

2nd April Maundy Thursday

6th April Easter Monday

15th September Virgen de la Bien Aparecida (Patron Saint of Cantabria)

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November) 

Castilla-La Mancha

2nd April Maundy Thursday

6th April Easter Monday

4th June Corpus Christi

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Castile and León

2nd April Maundy Thursday

23rd April Castile and León Day

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November)

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Catalonia

6th April Easter Monday

24th June St. John’s Day

11th September Catalonia Regional Day

26th December Boxing Day

Ceuta

2nd April Maundy Thursday

25th September Festival of Abraham’s Sacrifice

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November)

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Extremadura

2nd April Maundy Thursday

8th September Extremadura Regional Day

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November)

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Galicia

20th March St. Joseph’s Day (being celebrated in lieu of 19th March)

2nd April Maundy Thursday

25th July St. James’ Day (Galicia Regional Day)

2nd November All Saints Day (being celebrated in lieu of 1st November)

La Rioja

2nd April Maundy Thursday

6th April Easter Monday

9th June La Rioja Regional Day

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Madrid

19th March St. Joseph’s Day

2nd April Maundy Thursday

2nd May Community of Madrid Day

4th June Corpus Christi

Melilla

19th March St. Joseph’s Day

2nd April Maundy Thursday

25th September Festival of Abraham’s Sacrifice

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Murcia

19th March St. Joseph’s Day

2nd April Maundy Thursday

9th June Murcia Regional Day

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

Navarre

19th March St. Joseph’s Day

2nd April Maundy Thursday

6th April Easter Monday

25th July St. James’ Day

Valencia

19th March St. Joseph’s Day

6th April Easter Monday

9th October Valencian Regional Day

7th December Constitution Day (being celebrated in lieu of 6th December)

So, there you have the list of Spain Public Holidays 2015. Don’t forget you can check the School Holidays for the academic year 2014 2015 in Andalucía, HERE.

Have you grabbed your copy of our book  about Moving to Spain yet?

To BUY on Amazon.es Click Here!

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A Visit to the Lobo Park in Antequerra, Malaga

This weekend we revisited the wolf park in Antequerra, Malaga. Our last visit was over five years ago when the children were very young.That visit was cut short as the heavens opened and the torrential rain fell for hours, making visibility almost impossible, especially with a baby buggy! This time, even the weather was on our side and a great time was had by all.

On our way to the wolf park we passed by the historical town of Antequerra and ensured we had time to stop off and enjoy a typical breakfast from this region

lobo park

Molletes con aceite

The grounds of the wolf park and the surrounding countryside are simply stunning. The staff are very passionate about all the animals and the way they talk about them demonstrates this. The talks and explanations given throughout the visit highlighted the ethos and mission behind the foundation of this centre.

The idea behind the Lobo Park:

Since the beginning the main focus of the work in the Lobo Park has been the research of the social behaviour. This area has been treated either with very little attention or to a certain extent very amateurish. The fact is that it is very difficult to observe wolves in the wild over time leads to the consequence that most studies on wolves and their behaviourism are done with wolves in captivity. The way wolves have been and are still being kept in captivity de-socializes the animal to a great extent. All well known ethologist went too far in the way they keep the animals and “domesticated” them more than it would have been good for research and for the animals.

The “domesticated” wolf shows his natural behaviour only very fragmented, wherefore it is completely absurd to even study these animals. This is similar to doing research on patients in a closed department of a psychiatric institution. The obtained findings are hardly useful for a transfer to the whole of humanity.

The wolves in Lobo Park are to a great extent being hand reared to take away the innate shyness of people. However we never interfere in their natural behaviour. The enclosures are very spacious (25.000m² – 35.000m² each) to ensure enough privacy for them. The animals’ show no stress behaviour and no human will interfere falsely or be dominant to these animals.

Since several years we allow scientists biologists, zoologists and ethologist to optimize their research in our park.

Our visit started off at the Petting Zoo …

Petting Zoo … Have fun while you are learning and experiencing!

Our Petting Zoo is an interactive area where kids as well as adults can feed and also pet some of our friendliest animals.

It was especially set in place for our visitors to get closer to animals and nature. The Petting Zoo will show you animals that share our daily lives, from companion animals and livestock to the wildlife of Spain.

Where does the milk and cheese come from? How does a fox live? How many eggs does a chicken lay? And how does the wool of a sheep turn into a sweater?

These questions as well as many others will be answered in an interesting and simple way.

Take your time for this area – kids and as well as adults will have a lot to see and to experience!

Next it was the Guided Wolf Tour …

Guided Wolf Tour

The guided tour (Spanish and English) with a wolf expert takes place several times daily. Here you have the possibility to learn more about these fascinating animals and get an impression of the complex pack structure of the wolves.The path features observation platforms, where visitors can enjoy a clear view and come into close contact with the animals. Your questions will be gladly answered.

A highlight is naturally the feeding, which is always an occasion the wolves look forward to and impresses visitors again and again.

It is important to understand that almost all wolves that you observe in the Lobo Park were raised with the bottle by the owners. This is necessary, in order to take to the wolf’s instinctive shyness of humans and ensure the possibility for stress-free observation by visitors. Since the wolves are accustomed to humans, they are not disturbed visitors and offer outstanding study possibilities of their social behaviour.

The wolves in the Lobo Park are socialized but NOT domesticated or trained.

No human interferes with the social development of the pack therefore one can observe the natural behaviour in the enclosures. The enclosures, in which the wolves live, are generously laid out and integrate outstandingly into the existing topography. The animals have more than sufficient space for play, hunt and relaxation. Sunny spots alternate with shady places under the numerous stone oaks. Each enclosure has a natural pool with water cascades in which the wolves can take refreshing baths. – One can become quite envious.

You reach the enclosures by a path, which leads you not only to the different enclosures but also to the individual platforms that offer you an excellent view of the wolves.

You are almost lulled into a false sense of security by these beautiful animals. However, once the natural pack instincts kick in, you are soon reminded how wild they really are …

Guided Wolf Tours Timetable:

Monday to Sunday (incl. bank holidays):

11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:30

Special guided tours for groups, students and instructors are also offered at request.

FAMILY IN SPAIN TIP: You cannot visit the Lobo Park by yourself. You must attend a tour. Plan your arrival time based on the tour you wish to attend.  Arriving too early will mean young children are impatient and agitated before your tour begins!

ADOPT-a-WOLF Program

Since the Lobo Park is a private initiative it is also dependant on its income through visitors and their support. You can help the park by becoming a patron of one of the wolves.

The Adopt-A-Wolf Program enables wolf lovers to make more substantial contributions to the preservation of our wolves. You can adopt any of the wolves per year for 80€ or 120 € for each wolf.

More info: http://lobopark.com/en/support-the-park/adopt-a-wolf-

How to get there:

LOBO PARK, S.L.

Ctra. Antequera-Álora (A343), 16 km

Apartado de correos 244

29200 Antequera, Spain

Tel. +34 952 03 11 07

info@lobopark.com

GPS coordinates:   GPS: 36.986822, -4.622471

Opening hours:

Open all year round from 10:00 – 18:00

(Closed on all Wednesdays, December 25th and January 1st)

Guided wolf tours:

Monday to Sunday and public holidays:

11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:30

Prices for the guided wolf tour:

Adults 11,00€

Children (3-12 years) 7,00€

#FamilyFun Activities in Cadiz: Entre Ramas Aventura

Entre Ramas Aventura is an adventure park nestled in the pine forests in Roche, Cadiz. Just 1km from some of the best beaches in Spain (Calas de Roche, Sancti Petri, la Barrosa…)

entre ramas aventura

It is great fun (if you like that sort of crazy thing 😉 ) for both, children from the age of 6 years old, and adults.

There are 58 obstacles, such as zip-wires, bridges, tarzan swings, hanging bridges, a flying car, a spider’s web and much more, divided into 5 separate circuits of varying difficulty, spread over an area of 18,000m2 of pine forest.

The signs and monitors clearly explain who can take part on which circuits, subject to age and height restrictions.

One morning, during our recent family holidays in Cadiz, feeling adventurous, we arrived at our pre booked time and put our safety in the hands of the equipment and very helpful monitors and prepared to swing through the trees …

Upon arrival, we were allocated our instructor who spent time carefully explaining the correct way to wear and use our harness and anchor lines. We must admit, we very impressed with the attention to detail and the ease of use of the equipment. We had previously visited a similar park in Elviria, Marbella and the equipment there was not as easy to use.

There are monitors around the park at all times keeping an eye on you.

After their demonstration and test run on a specifically designed trail, you are then able to control your own individual safety equipment (harness and anchor lines), which enable you to move, completely on your own and in total safety across the bridges and obstacles located at different levels in the trees.

Here are a few pics and a video of our adventure …

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning at Entre Ramas Aventura and will definitely return. It was lovely to see the children learning and working together to get around the different challenges on the circuits. Even though it was August and pretty hot, the trees meant we were almost always in the shade.

So, what did we each think of the morning?

  • Joshua loved it and playing his role as big brother, did us proud!
  • Dad didn’t stop smiling and is itching to hit the black circuit.
  • Francesca loved it and hopes to be big enough to enjoy the blue circuit next visit.
  • And mum … Hmmm. Let’s just say she hopes to do better next time 😉

You can find more details, prices, opening times et at the website: www.entreramasaventura.com

¡Have fun and enjoy!

Legoland Windsor: Don’t leave it too late!

In the last week of our 12 week long summer holidays we enjoyed a quick trip back to the UK. The trip was to finally visit Legoland Windsor, something we have been planning to do for years. We chose to travel the first week in September as that meant most of the UK schools had already started their new school year and queues would be shorter.

We are very glad we did it this year as otherwise we would have left it too late.

Why would it have been too late?

The Legoland® Windsor Resort is advertised as the ideal destination for families with children aged 2-12. However, our children are aged 7 and 9, and we felt that if they had been any older, they may not have enjoyed is as much.

We felt that the marketing and descriptions of the rides should be clearer about suitable ages for each of the attractions and activities.

Saying that, we entered the park shortly after they opened their doors at 10am and walked out at 4.55pm. shortly before they closed. We were shattered but had enjoyed a superb day of fun, shrieks and laughter.

Oh, by the way, it wouldn’t have been the same without the use of the Q-Bot*

The attraction park, offers over 55 interactive rides, live shows and attractions including the famous Miniland (see our video) plus building workshops, driving schools, splash and play in DUPLO® Valley and NEW for 2014, set sail on a swashbuckling adventure to Pirate Shores – there’s a whole LEGO world of playful fun and learning to discover.

For Bookings & General Enquiries:

Tel: (00 44) 0871 2222 001

Email: legoland.enquiries@merlinentertainments.biz

Some History about Lego and Legoland:

1934: LEGO® is born

LEGO® was founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1934. The name comes from the Danish words “Leg godt”, meaning “Play well”.

1968: The launch of the first ever LEGOLAND

In 1968 the idea of making a permanent exhibition of LEGO models was hit upon and the first LEGOLAND opened in Billund, Denmark.

1996: LEGOLAND Windsor openins

In 1992 Windsor Safari Park went into receivership and four years later in 1996 LEGOLAND Windsor opened on the site, using 25 million LEGO bricks.

September 2014: @familyinspain finally visit Legoland Windsor

Watch our video (shown above) that takes you around the various attractions that we enjoyed… (warning: contains shrieks and screams 😉 )

Walking around the park:

The Beginning

This is the entrance and welcome area to LEGOLAND Windsor, there are some stunning larger than life lego models and youc can catch the Hill Train down to the rest of the park… We caught it on the way back at the end of the day which saved our legs 😉

Miniland

This was one of our favourite parts of the park Josh’s comment was “It just blows my mind”. Miniland contains the greatest concentration of LEGO® bricks in the park.  Nearly 40 million pieces have been used to recreate scenes from the USA and Europe, all bustling with sounds, traffic, trains and boats.

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DUPLO Valley

We didn’t visit this are as it was a cloudy day and we, of course, are used to warmer climes. There were however loads of young children, in swimsuits screaming and splashing around, having lots of fun. This area is designed for the littlest tots in your party.

Traffic

The excitement of obtaining a driving licence is probably again geared to the younger children. The speed of the cars and the too. You are invited to “climb in the driving seat and steer your own course on many of our interactive rides in Traffic.  Sign the whole family up for some high energy fun”… Hmm, I think the marketing team got a bit carried away about this activity.

Great for little ones. 

LEGO® City

Come and visit LEGO City by the harbour but watch where you go as the Pirates have invaded… The live acrobatic pirate show was excellent. Be careful not to sit in the “soak” zone if you don’t want to get wet!

Adventure Land

Young explorers seeking an adventure will find just that in this land.  Join the LEGO divers on a fun fishy mission that the whole family will enjoy!

Kingdom Of The Pharaohs

Battle your way through this ancient land in search of hidden treasure….

Pirate Shores

Set sail with us on a perilous swashbuckling adventure to Pirate Shores! Be prepared to get wet!

Knights Kingdom

Calling all Knights and Princesses, explore the Knights Kingdom, soar through the castle and over the moat, beware of the red dragon though… The Dragon roller coaster was the best ride for us! Theanks to the Q-Bot we always managed to sit in the front carriage 🙂

Land Of The Vikings

Vikings Wanted! Set sail through these uncharted waters and you’re sure to make a splash!  After a good soaking head back to dry land and unravel the mystery of the Nordic maze… Watch out for your friendly spectators who shoot water at you as you pass them too 😉  Waterproofs required if you don’t want to get wet!

Imagination Centre

A free play area where children can build and play with Lego toys.

So, there you have it.

Have you been to Legoland in Windsor or anyhwhere else? Did oyu enjoy it? Do you agree with our feelings about the best age to visit? We’d love to hear your thoughts …

For more information:

For opening dates and times, see here: http://www.legoland.co.uk/Plan/times/

To book your tickets and check out latest offers, visit here: http://www.legoland.co.uk/Ticket/

*Q-Bot is a ride reservation device and it allows you to reserve your place in the queue line for your favourite rides without having to actually stand in line! Read more here: http://www.legoland.co.uk/Plan/qbot/How-It-Works/

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