Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Benalmádena, Spain

You may have noticed if you have looked on my Instagram recently that some of my pictures were definitely not taken in miserable England. Despite the fairly respectable weather we've been enjoying in our home country recently, I have certainly not been taking pictures of peacocks and turtles in local lakes and parks.

A couple of weeks my family took our annual family holiday, and although we often have staycations we decided that because it was very likely this would be our last family holiday together for while we should treat ourselves to going somewhere with slightly nicer weather and somewhere with a change of scenery.

Benalmádena is situated on the ever so sunny south coast of Spain in the Costa Del Sol, which translates into "Coast of the Sun", which I would agree is a fair statement. It's a coastal town not too far from Malaga and it's airport so certainly makes it a good holiday spot for tourists. If we were to have hired a car then I'm sure we would have also gone a bit further down the coast to investigate why all of the celebrities love Marbella so much and to survey the natural beauty of Gibraltar as well, but maybe I'll just add that to the places that I want to visit.

The day we arrived was Tuesday 12th July, and it was remarkably hot on this particular day. To get off of a well-ventilated aeroplane (which we nearly missed, but more on that in a moment) into sweltering 40-degree heat is a little bit of a fright to the system, to say the least. Particularly when you arrive early and have to wait out of shade for hours before getting your key to your room because you had an early flight. Speaking of early flights now would be a good place to talk about our very stressful airport experience.
Plane selfie!

Half decent plane food for once!

Airports have never been my favourite place, mainly because they're just places where you anticipate flying, which again is not my favourite thing. However, traffic going into Luton airport was terrible, so we already had a nightmare trying to actually get into the long-stay car park which meant we would be in a hurry to get to the airport, and then the shuttle bus took flipping ages to arrive. This meant that by the time we were at the bag drop the woman was all like "You're late, you have 7 minutes until your gates close." We knew then that we'd have to run, particularly as my Dad has a replaced him which makes security a slightly lengthier process for our family. Long story short, we did make it to our plane in time, but we didn't have time for a pre-flight toilet stop or get a chance to grab a bottle of water so I had to dry swallow a travel sickness tablet which was then stuck in my throat until the plane was in the air and we could actually purchase one.
Some weird paper windmill sculpture.

First dip in the pool!

Best rack of ribs ever!

Back to the actual holiday, most days were spent lazing about really, which to be honest is just what my family needed considering the fact these past few months have been very busy. I went swimming practically every day and even got a little bit of a tan (which was still paler than all of my friends' when I returned home). As a family, we spent a few nights in and made our own dinner, before heading to bars and enjoying cocktails, but many nights were also spent in our newly discovered favourite bar Liquid Lounge, both just drinking but also occasionally having dinner from them too.

Vodka slushies!!
I only ever went on the beach in Benalmádena once when I was away, which was a shame but also something that I didn't mind too much. As much as I love the beach, when you go to big tourist places like Benalmádena you find the beaches are too packed with sun loungers and parasols to actually enjoy its natural beauty. I did, however, get my lovely white converse very dirty when I took a risk and got a bit close to the sea... it was funny, though. Despite this, we did walk along the seafront a few times to discover what food places were there, which we soon learnt were ridiculously expensive. But really I was just enjoying watching the surfers do their fancy tricks in the waves.

My favourite part of the holiday, however, was Paloma Park. Apparently rated the 5th best park in Europe, it was beautiful. Thriving with wildlife and greenery, it was certainly a very tranquil place to be. It's not often you find places like Paloma Park when you are in a foreign country, and although it took us a few days to actually venture into the park to discover what it was all about, I was very pleased with what we found when we did go in. There were roosters and hens all over the place, as well as peacocks, prudently showing off. We even saw some turtles in the lake which was amazing. Despite the fact, I did not find the donkeys that the park apparently houses I did see some goats, and not to mention the parakeets which are a beautiful green species of bird, which are sort of like small species of parrot. My favourite places in the park, however, were the cactus garden, because although garden centres in England are now full of tiny cacti, it isn't often you are surrounded by ones 4x the size of you. I also loved the café which sold the amazing drink called a frappalatte which I will one day find again!

Overall, I had an amazing holiday, and it certainly has given me wanderlust all over again.
Emily x