Last autumn, Granny and Grandad made the suggestion of a winter sun break to Lanzarote all together. This was new territory for us, as we have never purposefully gone on a “sun holiday” before, nor have we travelled with two kiddies, and their grandparents.
We weighed up the pros and the cons, and there were many pros: A weekly direct flight from Ireland West Airport, meant that there would be no long car journey to Dublin before the flight, and we could be guaranteed that parking and check in would be easy. We fancied the bit of sun. We would be travelling with “babysitters” ;). There would be lovely beaches, and we would enjoy the break from normality. We could think of only one major con: Little Miss 19 months on a Ryanair flight for 4.5 hours!! But, all things considered, we decided to take the chance on the little miss, and book our flights for the February midterm.
A careful perusal of Airbnb directed us to a villa in Playa Blanca. A 20 min walk from the main strip – but our own heated pool, outdoor kitchen, outdoor couches and plenty of indoor space for all 6 of us. Using a local hire-car company “Cabrera Medina” we got a 7-seater car for the week for an absolute steal. Bags packed, cat-feeding duties given to the neighbours and off we all set to Ireland-West Airport.
Once again, like all our previous flights, checking in was a breeze. The only complicated aspect was finding a trolley for our buggy/car seats and bags. We spent a comfortable hour in the departure lounge and were among the first to board with priority check in. Travelling with grandparents, Ryanair’s “family plus” option gave us especially good value for this trip. We had 2 20kg bags to check in, a 10kg cabin bag each and priority boarding – as well as the 4 pieces of child equipment allowed if travelling with 2 children.
I won’t lie: the 4.5 hour journey on a Ryanair plane (with 2 small kiddies) wasn’t the most comfortable, but at least the little miss had Grandad across the aisle to play with. There was an unlimited supply of snacks and a lot of cartoons downloaded on the i-pad. Mr 4 is an old pro at travelling, and Little Miss surprised us with her good behaviour! Before (too) long we were descending into Lanzarote airport. As Granny and Grandad helped me to collect all the baggage, Daddy sorted out the hire car right there in the terminal, beside the carousel. We didn’t have far to walk to find our “holiday car” and I had the two car seats installed before anyone lost patience.
Having learned our lesson last year, Daddy had pre-downloaded the map of Lanzarote for use offline, so when mobile-data seemed dodgy, we were unfazed. Google maps brought us to our holiday villa, where we let ourselves in and settled in for the evening.
Our week passed quickly. We explored Playa Blanca, enjoyed coffees, tapas, pizzas and ice-cream and even some British fish+chips. We carefully drove the dirt road to Playa Papagayo, and spent a beautiful day on the gorgeous, secluded beach there. We enjoyed a day at the (quite overpriced) Rancho Texas Zoo, where we saw dolphins and eagles, and had a quick dip in the zoo’s water park. We enjoyed lunches out in Playa Blanca and had fun in the local playgrounds.
Of course, if we weren’t accompanied by our two small travellers, we would have loved to see the vinyards, the volcano park and a couple of the nearby islands. But alas – we keep our expectations low these days!
Granny and Grandad had a few days exploring by themselves, and, truth be told, would probably have preferred to be based around Puerto Del Carmen, with all the extra activities to do there. However, Playa Blanca is the more family-friendly area, and this trip, suited us better as a whole. Mammy and Daddy were spoiled over the week, and had three nights out, which made us feel like young, free travellers again – such a treat!
We didn’t experience a lot of culture on Lanzarote, but perhaps we didn’t need to. It was easy to see why it’s such a popular winter destination. We saw so many multigenerational families travelling together – and with widespread English spoke, English speaking doctors, BBC on the television, and most favourite foods in the supermarket – it was understandable why people feel so at home there!
The 11am flight home was at such a reasonable hour, that Little Miss 19 months slept for a good chunk of it. Mr 4 was impatient to get home to his cats and his Lego.
Lanzarote will not replace our yearly trip to Europe. However, every February, as the winter drags on, we may be tempted by those blue skies and sunny beaches… Especially if Granny and Grandad are interested in coming along too!
Plus we heard Ryanair have added a new route to Tenerife for Winter Sun!