Childhood travel adventures (part 2)
9th August 2016
Before I begin I should start by apologising because this post wasn’t suppose to be so late. It was suppose to go live a week after my first “Childhood travel adventures” post. However, I accidentally left half of the photos for this post on my laptop at home so I had to wait until I went back to Shropshire again to pick them up!
If you need a refresher, the first post is right here.
In this short series I am sharing all the holidays I went on as a child and the memories I have from these trips.
Cyprus & Egypt
For the next two years after our very first visit to Portugal we went to Cyprus. We fell in love with the hotel we stayed in which is why we decided to go back the following year. The picture above is me at a water park just outside of Ayia Napa.
Because of the close proximity of Cyprus to Egypt, it is possible to go on a “mini cruise” from Cyprus over to Egypt with excursions to Cairo and the Giza Plateau. Egypt was a lot safer back then than it is now, but even so it was a pretty scary experience.
It was my very first taste of the cruise lifestyle and guess what? I hated it! Can you believe it! Now I can’t get enough of cruises but once upon a time my guts got the better of me (I threw up in the dinning room) and I vowed never to get on a ship again after that trip.
Aside from journey there, the trip to Egypt was incredible. We visited the pyramids and sphinx at Giza and even went inside one of the pyramids (I tripped up and cut my knee in there!). We also visited the Cairo Museum to see the treasures removed from Tutankhamen’s tomb.
For reference, I’m now about the same height as my dad!
Back to Portugal
After two years in Cyprus we decided to give it a break. I think the fact we had a 24 hour delay when travelling home after the second visit put us off returning.
I had major surgery on my hip shortly after we returned. I’ve wrote about this surgery before and how stressful it was for my parents and I. I had the operation in October 2004 and in February 2005 we went to Majorca for a much deserved break.
Because I was still recovering from my hip operation it made sense to go on holiday somewhere familiar. We decided to return to Portugal to the same town we had stayed in the first time we visited (Alvor) but this time stay in a different hotel.
As I mentioned in my first post, the first time we went to Portugal I saw dolphins in captivity for the first time and I completely fell in love. The park that we saw them at, Zoomarine, had the opportunity for you to pay extra to swim with dolphins. The first time we went we thought it was a little bit too expensive, but as a treat for getting through my hip surgery when I was 10, my nan offered to pay for me to swim with dolphins during my second visit to Portugal.
We didn’t really do our research so I was disappointed to find that they had a huge waiting list and that we should have booked in advanced. Unfortunately that carousel was the closest I got to a dolphin that holiday. You can tell from my face I was devastated.
The following year we went to the island of Rhodes in Greece. My parents had been there the year before for a week to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and they promised to take me there because they knew I’d love it to.
They were right. I loved it.
Admittedly, I was a pain in the arse on this holiday. I was heading into my teenage years and I just wanted to stay by the hotel swimming pool for two weeks. However, my parents did managed to drag me away from the pool to get some culture during this holiday, including one day when we took a boat trip to Lindos.
One of the most famous sights of Lindos is the Acropolis which is on top of a hill, and so the best way to reach the top is on a donkey. I have to say, this was a pretty terrifying experience as the donkeys like to walk on the very edge of cliffs or right up against walls where they can get some shade. But I really did enjoy it!
Back to Portugal…again!
You might have guested already but we became quite fond of Portugal. What helped matters was the fact our family friend purchased a villa in the town of Lagos on the Algarve. Here’s a photo of my dad and I at the villa trying to pick grapes…
Of course, I was over the moon when my parents said we were going back to Portugal because it meant I had another chance to go swimming with dolphins. My mum rang up and booked months in advanced so there would be no disappointment this time.
You’ve probably all seen this photo before but it never gets old…
I loved swimming with dolphins so much that when my parents announced that we were going back to Portugal the following year I decided to do it all again. And was just as special the second time around.
We continued to go to Portugal every year from when I was 13 up until I was 19; sometimes we even went at Easter too. I had many happy holidays in Lagos and it will always have a special place in my heart. But as I said in my previous post, I need a break!
Egypt & Jordan
The last trip I’m going to mention is the Red Sea cruise that we went on when I was 15.
After my first experience on a cruise ship I wasn’t too keen when my parents were talking about going on a cruise to Egypt and Jordan, but it would mean time off school so I was up for it.
Please note, I’m totally behind parents who choose to take their kids out of school in term time. I’ve learned more from travelling than I have ever learned in a classroom. Just don’t do it in the exam period!
I’m not exaggerating when I say this was one of the best holidays I have ever had. The sights I saw and the things I experienced are just overwhelming. We started in Sharm el-Sheikh and headed up towards Jordan. In Jordan we visited Petra. I’d seen photographs of the famous Treasury but honestly, I didn’t know that was what I was going to be seeing that day. So imagine my surprise when I turned the corner and saw it…
Next stop on the cruise was Cairo. We visited the Pyramid and Sphinx at Giza again but this time we also paid a visit to Memphis and Saqqara. The last stop of the cruise was the port for Luxor (which was about 5 bloody hours away from Luxor!) where we went on an excursion to the Valley of the Kings and Karnak
But my god was that hot!
Here’s a picture that my mum will kill me for sharing online but honestly, we both thought we were going to die it was so hot. I’ve never drank so many bottles of water in my life.
That tree is doing well, isn’t it?!!
I quickly fell in love with the cruise lifestyle that I had previously hated, and I actually found it really emotional when it came time to come home. Although that’s probably because my waiters were incredible and I wanted to take them home with me!
And there we have it. Every holiday I went on abroad from the age of 3 to 19.
I feel so grateful for my parents taking me to all these incredible places and teaching me that investing in travel is better than investing in material goods. They have fuelled my passion for travel and I’m excited to explore more of this wonderful world.