For novelty's sake, we went out for a walk on Friday morning, heading to the market. Whereas the others were interested in their fragrances and knock-off trainers and wallets, I only cared for books. As it happens, the man with the second-hand book stand told me he had a shop in town, so I set off. Oh, how I cursed my linguistic ignorance -- there were whole sections of books in Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. But I sort of know enough now not to buy books in languages I don't speak; I have three months to learn Portuguese before we head over there (I already have a bunch of novels in preparation), plus it's my job to learn Finnish, since Lapland has become our new-year tradition and I've not even made it to chapter 2 of the Teach Yourself book. Plus the one language I wish actively to learn, which is Romanian, has been on hold for months so that I can get ready for this trip to Spain and, before that, theoretically learn Finnish. Anyway ... there's lots of room in my case (I have an allowance of 23kg but only 12kg of luggage), so I might have bought a few books.
The afternoon was no different to every other afternoon; it was spent by the pool. Over the last few days we've been joined by Max, Mia and Oscar in the grown-ups' pool too. Lots of good progress.
Dad had booked us some sessions of tenpin bowling in the onsite amusement area, so we split into two teams for that. Pam's dad, Terry, whooped the rest of us, with his daughter, Rosy, coming a close second. Even the niblings had their own gos:
We decided on the spur of the moment to go to a restaurant, particularly to thank Mum and Dad for bringing us here. (In something of an unusual approach, they decided that since they'll turn 65 this year, they'd give the rest of us £500 towards the cost of the holiday.) We didn't account for the OAP-factor, however; they decided that eating at 20:00 wasn't for them, so declined to come. (I don't think they were aware that it was intended to be a treat for them.)
So we set off without them and found what looked to be a nice restaurant. Indeed it was. The staff were very attentive, the food was delivered at more or less the same time, and everybody was very happy with what they received:
Considering that people had been eating steaks, the bill was wonderfully reasonable for, say, ten of us. It came to around 150€. Whilst we were working out how much to pay (I'm a big proponent of splitting equally so that we all put in a little something for the niblings, though I always seem to run into resistance, usually from the niblings' parents), Rob ran off and paid the whole lot for everybody. I knew what he was up to and ran after him to try to stop him, but he was too quick for me! I tried to shove a 50€ note into his hand, and then into Shanie's, but it was a lost battle. Nice fella, my brother.
The next morning started with some learning. Max had been asking me during the previous evening's meal to tell him about wolves, cheetahs and a few other things, so he came up to my room after breakfast and we made use of YouTube. In the afternoon most people headed to play golf, minus poor Max, who blew his top at not being invited, especially after he managed to get twice as many shots as everybody else the previous time, so thought he was the best!
We'd agreed to go out for a meal again, this time at 18:00 so as not to exclude Mum and Dad. Whilst the boys played pool and the girls went off to have their feet picked by starving fish, Mum, Max, Oscar and I set off to find the place. Max's good eyes spotted where we'd eaten the previous night:
This time we were all nineteen of us and they still took wonderful care of us:
The bill came to, I think, 260€ -- wow! I may have overestimated in the heat of the moment what my cost was (I handed over 50€ and then after calculated that mine came to about 17€) but the staff ended up with a 40€ tip and they really had taken excellent care of us, so it was worth it.
Afterwards we walked to the beach for one final visit:
Since the tides were out there were plenty of rockpools to explore:
In the distance the Isla de los Lobos was visible:
We briefly managed to get Oscar to be still for a family photo!
And then we set off home. Oscar and I were the first back (except for the cheats who took a bus!) and, most importantly, he saw two buses on the way home. He has a thing for buses -- there's always one within reach:
One of the reasons we got back so much earlier than the others was that they stopped at a giftshop. The niblings presented me with a surprise present: Fatboy wine!
So, that's the end of our holiday. It wasn't much of a secret that lounging around a pool isn't a typical holiday for me. And I don't cope well with hot temperatures. Or people. But it's worked. It turns out the all-inclusive really does mean that you can grab food or drink as you please. The apartments have been perfectly fine. (People keep telling me that they're old fashioned, but I can't complain. I suppose I did have to explain to Alfie that the big black box in the room was a television.) And it's been lovely spending time with the niblings and seeing how much fun they're having. And that's the important thing; three of them had never flown before, so this was a real novelty.
The family are now discussing locations for next year. I pointed out that I didn't think I was particularly well equipped to recommend something for children. I don't know that I'll be back as early as next year (I've missed Clare terribly and a week on a sun lounger is a week not doing something else) but I'm not against the idea, and I'm glad to have come this time.