A Holiday Within our Adventure - Family Visits in Cabo de Gata Natural Park

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Monday 19 January 2015

A Holiday Within our Adventure - Family Visits in Cabo de Gata Natural Park

It feels like only yesterday that Esther's parents entered the arrivals lounge at Almeria airport before boarding our motorhome and joining us at Camping Los Escullos for a fortnight. All of us were very excited to see each other and, since we were all set up for hosting guests in our temporary mobile home base, we were eager to make them feel comfortable. But in what felt like the blink of an eye, we soon found ourselves stood in the road outside of our campsite waving farewell as their hire car rounded a corner and disappeared from sight.  It had been a wonderful fortnight, eating together, playing cards, sharing the beautiful places we had discovered and finding some new places together as well.  Such a distinct change from the motorhome life we had settled into over the last 8 months, it felt like a holiday within our adventure.

Us all outside our Bungalow
We have often reflected that one of the most difficult parts of being away for a longer adventure like ours this year is that we just don't get to see our loved ones back home in person and, given our passion for remote places (where we don't get phone signal), are often out of touch for long periods entirely.  So, having Esther's parents as guests and being able to spend lots of quality time with them was both exciting and fun.

Enjoying having dinner guests!
In the first week, there was much catching up and just relaxing together around our campsite base. We were quickly immersed in the simple pleasures of just sitting together talking over many cups of tea cooking together, sitting round the dinner table discussing the new foods and recipes we'd been trying over the last 8 months and on an evening, laughing and enjoying some fun family competition during several hands of the Dutch traditional card game Klaverjassen.  Esther's parents quickly settled into the bunglow and Esther in particular was very happy to see her parents unwind and relax in the sunshine on our terrace with a book. They also quickly settled into the campsite community, getting to meet the new friends we'd made during our stay so far at the weekly coffee morning and also on an evening in the restaurant during the campsite's popular 'happy hour'.

Sharing the beauty at Los Escullos
Although we didn't stray far from the campsite during this first week, we took Esther's parents several times to the local coastline at Los Escullos, to Playa del Arco and to Punta de Loma Pelada, excited to share our wonder and passion of the natural beauty of this remote area.  The quickly saw why we had chosen this area as a base over Christmas.  Sadly towards the end of the first week, Esther's dad came down with a severe cold, forcing him to rest up in bed.

So while he rested, Esther's mum and I went to collect a hire car from Almeria and we also took the opportunity to restock our supplies, meeting Esther on our way back at the San Jose market. Esther and her mum had many happy childhood memories of holidays exploring French local markets and supermarkets together and although the San Jose market was quite a lot smaller they enjoyed once again looking at the different fresh produce available, smelling and picking the ripest fruits.

Monsul - one of the many excursions!
Because of the hire care, the second week was filled with excursions further a field, exploring the Cabo de Gata Natural Park together (we've written about some of the excursions we enjoyed together in more detail).  As Esther's dad still wasn't feeling very well, the week started with Esther and I being encouraged to make use of the car to enjoy a wonderful hike in the Sierra Alhamillas. As Esther's dad got better we began exploring the beautiful beaches of Cabo de Gata altogether: Aqua Amarga, Monsul, Media Luna, Genoveses, with much time spent in peaceful companionable silence as we took in the beauty of the area, each in our own thoughts.

Esther's parents also enjoyed several trips to the little fishing town of San Jose soon finding a lovely spot overlooking the harbour and beach to enjoy the sunshine with a cup of tea (which during the week we returned to several times). Esther's mum was very moved by the beauty of the hike into the Caldera de Majada Redonda and our car tour into the Sierra Nevada mountains, and we very much enjoyed sharing this connection and passion of ours with her. We all enjoyed the trip to see the flamingoes at the salt flats, explore the rocky outcrops at the lighthouse and watch a wonderful sunset over the Mediterranean sea at El Cabo de Gata.  

Reflections of our family visit
Enjoying sharing new
hobby with Dad
Sharing the happiness that we've discovered during our adventure and especially recently in the peace and tranquility of the Cabo de Gata natural park really enhanced the whole experience for us in many ways. The main reason we enjoy writing this blog so much is that recording our feelings and experiences helps us to remember and relive them ourselves. In the same way being able to discuss our adventures with Esther's parents, tell them about the places we had visited and the things we had learnt about ourselves without struggling over a crackly Skype connection made them feel even more vivid and real as we recounted them face to face. Similarly seeing Esther's parents enjoying places we had recently discovered deepened our own appreciation of those places as well.

But with guests arriving to live with us, the slower and more measured pace of life we had finally settled into after shifting out of 'holiday mode' had to be adapted.  Esther's parents would be with us for 2 weeks and as we'd not seen them for 8 months there felt like so much to share, see and do together.  It was almost like we were on a holiday within our own adventure. At first this shift back into 'holiday mode' (a time bound period where you want to make the most of every minute) was a bit of a shock to our systems. On the first night, for example, we stayed up talking until 1AM as we were all so excited to be together  Similarly having the hire car for only 8 days, it made us feel compelled to get out and about in the car every day whilst we had the opportunity.  For the first time in several months we were aware of a deadline (Esther's parents return flight) and having to make the most of the limited time.

Also, during the visit, we found ourselves occasionally hearing about things back home that we hadn't been exposed to at all like politics, TV shows and unnecessary bureaucracy.  After spending so much time enjoying a slower, more reflective mindset, suddenly being reminded of all of the busyness back home gave us a strange feeling.  With family visiting, our minds started to drift to thoughts of returning to Britain.  We started to think of our plans and make arrangements for our return home, like booking a boat, MOT, service etc. It was a reminder that the world was still getting faster and busier and that we would soon be returning to it.

Evening walks with Mum
But, even though the visit left us a little more tired than we were used to, it was a marvelous 2 weeks. With both of us feeling more relaxed from our adventures we felt we connected to Esther's parents more closely than we had been able to during UK visits in the past, when we would usually arrive for weekend visit tired from work, stressed and worrying about the week ahead.  Esther's mum also commented how nice it was to see and spend time with us in a more natural and relaxed mindset.  We'd never before had the chance to share the activities we love the most with Esther's parents.  On many occasions during our travels we have had strong thoughts of "we wish you were here" to share in this with us and for the first time this came true.

So, as we waved goodbye to their hire car disappearing into the afternoon sun we felt very sad that the holiday within our adventure had come to an end.

Related Posts:
10 Reasons to Visit the Cabo de Gata -Nijar Natural Park - Andalucia, Spain
12 Places to Visit and Things To Do in Cabo de Gata Natural Park
10 Hiking and Walking Routes in the Cabo de Gata - Nijar Natural Park

Mum & Dad leaving for the airport from Los Escullos

Farewell to family - the final goodbye waves

At Camping Los Escullos

Aqua Amarga - one of the many excursions together

Dad & Dan on our walks along the coastline at Los Escullos

Exploring Cabo de Gata together -Flamingo watching!

Fun family card competition - Klaverjassen

Dad enjoying the evening sun (with Felix the campsite cat!)

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