If you have read part 1 and part 2 of my holiday adventures then you will know that a lot has happened in the first few days.
Our next adventure took us to the Aquaopolis water park, just outside Denia. The sheer scale of the park isn’t obvious from the outside, but when you get through the gates, to see a sprawling outdoor park with water slides and swimming pools.
There were water rides for all ages and small fountain play areas for the youngest children.
After bracing the initial dip in the kids pool, I decided to attempt something a little more daring. This came in the form of a three slide ride called the ‘Race’. The three different slides take different routes down through the mountainside.
My daughter, wife and I took our places at the top of the water slides, not sure what to expect. When the marshall gave us the all clear, we began our decent into the unknown.
My slide seemed fairly sedate at first, a gentle twist and turn through the trees, then there was the tunnel. As I entered the black void, I felt a sense of trepidation that was soon to be validated as I felt the slide drop below me. The near vertical drop ends with the finish of the slide, so everyone waiting at the bottom would have seen a very scared 40 something hurtling out of the tunnel.
Before braving another slide, we decided to take a break in the hut that our friends had rented for the day. This was a very welcome shelter from the beating sun and heat. It was also a great place to have our lunch, which was a wonderful picnic with bread, cold meats and nuts.
My next opponent was the very fast blue slide. The three of us again decided to climb the steep hill to where many of the slides begin. By this time, the sun had really warmed the ground and out feet were getting very hot. We were searching for any available ground that was still in shade.
Now my problem with the blue slide, was that my feet didn’t realise they had to go first. As I descended the slide at a far greater speed than I was happy with, my head started to overtake my feet. This resulted in my head hitting the bottom of the slide and skimming along the water like a stone.
That was the last of my big slides for the day, but my wife and daughter tackled a couple more before the day was out.
The day ended with my daughter and I in the pool during the wave machine which was great fun. It was a fantastic day at a place that could only have worked in a hot country. It was like a theme park mixed with a swimming pool – awesome!
The first evening at our friends beach house was amazing. Soon after we arrived, they took us the short distance to the beach.
The sand was clean and warm, nothing like the local Whitstable beaches back home. The water was very clean and also warm after basking in the sun all day. You could see fish swimming in the water and your feet moving through the sand like two stingrays.
It was already more than we could have imagined, but more was to come when we went out to dinner.
We went to a lovely restaurant that was near the harbour in the centre of Denia. Although there was a breeze by this time (9pm),it was still very warm and the fresh air gave some respite to it.
Our host told us that is was a kind of tradition for Spanish people to share meals between them, rather than have an individual meal each. We were very happy to take part, so they ordered a selection of courses for us to share.
First up was razor clams…now you may not know that I have a healthy respect for seafood and I usually avoid it altogether. But I didn’t want to offend my friends, so I bit the bullet (or the clam).
The flavour wasn’t as bad as I expected, it was fishy and slightly salty. As I continued, soon I realised that my teeth were not capable of turning this length of clam into anything I could swallow. Like a contestant in a bush tucker trial, I fought with all my might to swallow this slippery and slightly rubbery clam.
However, my stomach had now overruled my brain and was refusing to accept this strange food. I would consciously think about swallowing, reinacting all the steps required to successfully complete it, but there was no response from my throat. Finally, I had to admit defeat and spit the battered clam into a napkin.
To my surprise, it looked a lot like it had before I started chewing it!
After that, the following salmon, beef, squid rings and potatoes were easy peasy. I was very proud of myself for trying the razor clam even though I didn’t swallow it.
We got back to the beach house just after 1am, which we soon realised would be the norm in Spain. There were still children playing outside in the ‘Fresco’ period as our friends said. This was really great to see all the local children being able to play outside with no fear until the early hours.
After a long day, we were glad to see our bed, and looking forward to the next day.
For any that have read my previous post Up, Up and Away, you will know that I have recently been on a holiday in the sun to Spain. I was soon to realise, that my anxiety was the least of my challenges on this adventure.
It was a bit of a worry for me leading up to the trip, I wasn’t sure how I was going to be on holiday. It is the first time that I have been on holiday somewhere really hot.
Previous holidays have been busy, with lots of trips and sightseeing. This time it was to really experiance the Spanish lifestyle as we were staying with friends in their house. This is always the worst thing for me, as I am not good around people that don’t know I have anxiety. This is because when I get anxious, I like to take myself away and deal with it, but I can’t with others around.
We arrived in Madrid Airport to a balmy 30 degrees, where everyone was milling around looking for bags and loved ones. We soon spotted our friend and host for the next 9 days, Ventura. He was also going to drive us the 4 hours to Denia in the east of Spain.
Now I haven’t really delved too much into the Spanish way of life. I don’t want the Ibiza type of holiday which as Ventura put it ‘Is the little England and New York in Spain’. I don’t see the point of going to another country and then trying to make it like home but with sun. People looking for a full English breakfast and a local nightclub while getting drunk on cheap beer. What I experianced was not at all as I expected.
I want to see the local places and sample the local foods. The latter was to take me to the limit of my food comfort zone. The first stop was roughly half way to Denia, in a motorway service station. This is not the greasy, poorly cooked examples you would find in the UK. This was a huge restaurant with nice dining area and polite staff.
The menu was not surprisingly in Spanish. Ventura recommended the local pork chops and both my wife and I decided to try it. Our friend had fish that came in a big round slice covered in batter. Our pork was delicious and full of flavour. This was the first of many times that our host would introduce us to local food and drink.
A couple of hours later, we would arrive in the beautiful coastal town of Denia. This is where we would begin our amazing holiday. Not only would there be hot sun and great beaches, but also delicious local food and a few surprises.
I have resisted the urge to see what all the fuss was about with Pokemon Go. Almost every member of my family are into it, going on Pokemon walks and posting their latest catch.
I have even read reports of people losing weight with all the walking they are doing. I do a lot of walking with my dog anyway, but I thought I would give Pokemon a try while I was walking my furry companion.
This is a video I made of my very first Pokemon walk. It wasn’t too bad, although I did feel a bit self conscious. Not that anyone was really watching what I was doing, as they were probably hunting too.
There are still a lot of things that I don’t know about this game. I am going to have to speak to my daughter or young niece to find out the best way to play!