Our first holiday abroad was one we’ll always remember. We booked a half board holiday to La Pineda, Spain. It looked perfect. Relatively cheap, two water parks nearby, a theme park too. It was on the beach, and was a beautiful modern hotel. In summer it would’ve been exactly what we were after. However we went in the October half term, 2018. The water parks shut down a week before we arrived. It was also cold for most of the holiday, not freezing but cold enough to need a big hoodie most days, and a coat some days. We had a day, maybe two of nice sunny weather, we were just unlucky.
The area we stayed was nice enough, the hotel was near a building site but that was okay, we had a 3 year old who loved cranes and diggers so that was a nice experience for him. The beach was long and beautiful and the town in general was obviously modernised with tourists in mind. We stayed in the Aparthotel Four Elements Suites and were immediately impressed with our accommodation. We were on the ground floor looking out at the pool which was stunning. Unfortunately it was far too cold to enjoy. Being Yorkshire folk our kids and my other half decided to try brave it anyway one day, even they couldn’t bare it for more than one width. The food was fantastic, I am a very fussy eater but there was no complaints here and there was a different selection each night.
We travelled by public bus to the nearby town of Tarragona, this was very much outside our comfort zone as most of the people did not speak English but we were able to buy tickets and get there and back without issue. Tarragona has an amazing ancient amphitheatre – Amfiteatre Roma – which is well worth a visit. I absolutely love history so this for me was probably the highlight of the trip.
We visited some typically Spanish shops in Tarragona and ate in a lovely little cafe. We had hoped to return to explore some more before the end of our holiday but unfortunately this wasn’t meant to be, but maybe some time in the future.
We flew with Ryanair. It was the kids first time flying, my first time flying since being a child, and after seeing lots of negative comments about Ryanair I was somewhat nervous. This was why we picked a short flight of 2.5 hours. Travelling with an autistic child too was a worry. However he coped brilliantly. We didn’t ask for any special treatment for him although I believe we could have. We also didn’t pay extra for priority boarding or for hand luggage. This actually worked out really well as when we arrived at Barcelona Reus airport we were straight off and ours was the only luggage on the carousel. We were through the airport in minutes. We didn’t fly in luxury, there were no TV’s in the head rests, but you could buy food and drinks and we were comfortable enough and had no complaints. It’s definitely left the kids with a lust for travelling again in the future.
My overall thoughts on our first foreign holiday were that we’d have had an incredible time if we’d gone a month earlier. We could’ve experienced the water parks and we would’ve been more inclined to go to the theme park. We couldn’t use all the facilities at the hotel due to the weather but that was the risk you take going at the end of October/beginning of November. If I was to rate it I would rate it as around 6/10, but would probably have been far closer to 10/10 in the summer months.