We were delighted to make contact with Denny Wise at the Forces Children’s Trust, and be offered the opportunity of a sunshine holiday to Spain in August 2023. This came as a wonderful distraction and an opportunity to make some family memories. Chris who continues to serve in the RAF, was sadly diagnosed with terminal Cancer earlier in the year.
We have little family experience of foreign travel, having taken all our recent holidays in the UK in “Bubbles“ our touring caravan, which we have sadly recently let go due to Chris’ illness. Our opportunity of a trip to Spain was very exciting for all. We were thrilled to shop for luggage, summer clothing and all manner of holiday essentials. After dropping Rosie the Labrador and Lucy the yappy terrier at the kennels we departed for Bristol Airport where we stayed the night at the Hilton and enjoyed a yummy breakfast.
We flew early Friday morning, and by lunchtime, watches adjusted, we found ourselves land in Malaga airport. Denny had kindly arranged Mick (Malaga Airport Transfers) to collect us. Mick is ex forces and has emigrated to Spain. He was lovely and full of lots of useful information that would help during our stay.
After an hours transfer we arrived in the resort of Bena Vista, about 10 km from the beautiful town of Estepona. The apartment was lovely, and spacious. James age 19 (also serving in the RAF) was delighted to have his own bedroom instead of having to share with his little sisters! The air conditioning throughout the apartment was very welcomed as the temperature during our stay peaked at the mid 30’s. The hoodies the young people had packed did not get worn!
The apartment was in a gated community, with its own shared private swimming pool that we used every day. It was lovely to watch the children’s water confidence grow, and learn to dive. On the door steps was shops selling holiday essential, Spanish souvenirs and pool inflatables, bars and restaurants. Sadly, the local beach was either rocky or with sand so hot it would burn your feet unless you wore beach shoes, so our preference was to stay by the pool. We had a few meals at the apartment, and to the children’s delight a brand new MacDonalds was situated next door to the apartment complex. The novelty of ordering a beer with a big mac , tickled James immensely.
We had heard wonderful things about Estepona, and so we decided to hire a car to get about . A squash and a squeeze in a fiat punto, and the air conditioning was the windows open , but we got about just fine. The town of Estepona lived up to its expectations Market days are Sundays and Wednesdays and a really nice pace for a potter about and lunch.
We were sadly unable to go to the Flamenco /horse dinner show, which was on or “must do” list as it was a very late on our last night. As an alternative we had a big day out in the nearby Benalmadena. It reminded us of St Tropez, with its millionaire boats and lavish water front apartments. We visited the local sea life center, and enjoyed a delicious meal. Poppy not one for adventurous food, boasted eating margarita pizza at every meal out during out stay.
The children enjoy using up their euros buying exotic Spanish sweeties, and the grown-ups enjoyed spending their Euros on boozy cocktails at the local bar, which catered well for British families.
7 nights went in a flash, and before we knew it we were up at 03:00 waiting for our taxi to take us back to Malaga airport. Sadly, we arrived in Bristol, almost exactly 7 days to the hour after we had left. The sun was shining on us as we landed which was lovely. Daisy in her Liverpool kit showing off her bronzed Spanish tan.
The 5 of us had a really super week. It has been an unexpected lovely kind gesture for a family that is going through a very sad difficult time. The 5 of us have made some lovely memories which we will hold forever. Our sincere thanks go to Denny Wise at the Forces Children’s Trust for making this holiday possible.
Kate, Chris, James, Daisy and Poppy ( 12 )