Seaside in Spain (part 2)

This post has taken me a bit longer to get published that my first recap of our vacation to Spain but here we go.

The main reason we planned this trip was to meet Mike’s family – namely Wendy, his sister, and her 2 kids – in Javea, a town a little north of Alicante. Since Cam was born um, the month a global pandemic was declared, he has only met his cousins briefly on a layover Wendy and family had on their move to Australia at the end of 2020. So, it was exciting to finally get all of the cousins together for some quality time!

We arrived in the late afternoon and pretty much immediately walked down to the seaside for dinner. We ate most of our meals off of the Arenal Promenade, which had a bunch of trendy beachside cafes and amazing views of the Mediterranean sea. Noteworthy were the duck and guac tacos (I heard, Mike and Wendy spilt these); a great pad Thai Mike’s dad and I both ordered for dinner one night; an amazing breakfast deal that included a hearty meal, a coffee or tea, and a juice for under 10€; and my one (how?!) Negroni I indulgently sipped on one lunch.

Back at the airbnb, we were spoiled with another amazing pool. The shallow end was completely separated from the deep-end by a footbridge, which was perfect for kids! We still had to watch Cam closely because he doesn’t know how to swim but being able to let him walk around on his own was nice for us and him. Plus, we didn’t have to worry about him going into the deep-end. Instead he just threw toys through the pillars of the bridge, instructing us to “go get it!”

Andy, Wendy’s husband, arrived from Australia the day after we all did. Despite his jet lag (and maybe a bit of ours still…) we decided to go for a Parents Night Out! Our tagline is lost on me now but it was something along the lines of: 2 drinks and your drunk, time for bed! (But catchier, I swear. Or maybe we had already had our 2 drinks and thought it was catchy…)

Much to all of our surprise, we stayed our past midnight. Wendy, Mike, and I actually doing 2 rounds of tequila shots in addition to our cocktails. It was so fun catching up with Wendy and Andy after YEARS of not seeing them.

For the next few days we alternated between spending time seaside (the little ice cream shack there getting a lot of our attention); splashing in the pool; hunting for a cafe that would serve me iced coffee with more than one ice cube (seriously, how do you order iced coffee in Spain?! I never nailed it); loving all of the cousin play time (and all of the adult wine time); hitting up the local grocery store (“masymas!!!” said over and over again every time we passed it) for goods like berries, bagels, and treats; navigating traffic circles; and trying to get around with our so-so Spanish.

Wendy recommended The Beach House for brunch one day and it was one of my favorite places of the whole trip. Located right on the sea, there were gorgeous views. The restaurant itself was dreamy with great food. Wins all around.

After noshing on chocolate croissants, smoothie bowls, and scrambled eggs, we bobbed around in the sea for some time. Cam was loving the waves and splashing around in the shallow shore. The water reminded me a lot of our honeymoon in St. Barts – so blue, warm, tranquil, and amazing!


We loved the Beach House location so much, Mike and I went on a date there while Cam stayed back at the house enjoying the pool with his cousins, Nana, and Papa. (Real perks of vacationing with family is being able to steal-away for a few adult only activities!)

Mike and I spent an hour standup paddle boarding. Being out in the middle of deep, unknown water (the the sea or ocean) tends to freak me out but I surprisingly felt comfortable almost the whole time we were out there; despite the waves getting increasingly rougher and falling off the board. After burning some calories out on the sea, we went to lunch before heading back. It was such a nice time to connect one on one during our vacation.

After packing up and putting Cam to bed on our last night, we played the game we bought for Ella’s birthday outside on the patio. Shortly after all the kids were tucked in bed so we could enjoy one last glass of wine in Spain before flying back home.

We had to wake up at 4am to be to the airport in time for our early morning flight. I was so relieved that we didn’t have any flight delays coming home but let me tell you, it was a hard day of travel. Cam spelt even less on the flight back, it was an hour longer because we were traveling east to west, and we were running on about 4 hours of sleep. I was able to finish House of Gucci (so good!) and watch The Eyes of Tammy Faye (so crazy!) (in between giving Cam snacks, playing play-dough, apologizing when he through little puff balls at people – proclaiming “oh! bouncy ball!” every time – taking turns walking up the aisle with him, and just generally willing the hours to tick away faster than they seemed to be on that flight).

Aside from a long and tiring trip home, our time with family was wonderful and we’re so thankful that we were able to take this trip!

Seaside in Spain

We’re back from spending 10 days in the southeast of Spain. Now, the time change is affording me a few hours in the early morning to write about it. Here we go!

Via an eleven hour flight to Madrid and a quick one hour flight to our final destination, Alicante, we had about 16 hours of travel from San Francisco. This was Cam’s first overseas trip and the longest flight he’s been on (Mike and I were also very out of practice because of the pandemic!). Since we took a redeye from SFO we had high hopes that he would sleep at least half of the first long flight to Madrid. Instead he slept for a total of 3 hours (!!!) the.whole.flight. Needless to say, Encanto was pretty much on loop for that flight. Plus, snacks. So many snacks.

We finally arrived in Alicante and drove about 15 minutes, a welcome short distance after long travel, to check into our amazing airbnb. The place we booked had a little waterpark pirate ship feature in the kids pool area that we were excited about. Traveling with Cam obviously meant we would be spending more time at our accommodation vs. out on the town so it was great to stay somewhere with something exciting for him.On our first night we found a small beach shake restaurant and cheers’d the official kick off of our vacation over cava, spicy potatoes, and jamon with melon.

After a rocky nights rest – time zones! – we didn’t have the best luck finding a place that was open for coffee the next morning. Instead, we walked the marble paved beach walk for longer than desired before finding the one single cafe that wasn’t still closed. Complete with a small spattering of smokers and espresso drinkers starting their day; we could barely communicate but managed to order coffees and whatever pastry they had available.

After exploring the town a bit, it was time to try out the kids pool! Sure enough, it was a hit with Cam! The water was shallow enough that he could walk the whole area on his own (with us closely tailing him), there were slides, a splash pad, and fountain that he loved going in with Mike. There was also an infinity pool that was gated off with lounge chairs, a bar, and hot tubs! We spent some time there too, discovering that the ice from our finished mojitos made for great entertainment for Cam. 🙂

After a fun afternoon swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, we were able to sneak in a nicer dinner, with Cam even napping in the stroller for most of it. Full and feeling festive from fresh fish and paella, we weren’t quite ready to end the evening so decided to grab a beer at the poolside bar and dip our feet in the hot tub instead. It was probably my favorite night in Alicante, complete with Cam making friends with another niño by speaking some Spanish back and forth with him. All in all, the pools at this airbnb were spot on.

Overall though, we found the location where we were staying to be sleepy. We loved being right on the sea and all of the small playgrounds that dotted the streets (something that is true of a lot of Spanish towns we later realized) but it wasn’t exactly an energetic town. There was a small strip with a few restaurants but aside from one lunch (that I shakily ordered for take away in my less-than Spanish; “yo como la casa?” (yes, Mike reminded me that translated to “I eat my house” but, nonetheless, my sentiment did land)), the food wasn’t spectacular. We couldn’t find a proper supermarket either, which made breakfasts back at the airbnb interesting and patchwork…

We rented a car on our last day in Alicante and set off to explore a neighboring town, Elche. Specifically, I was eager to check out the Palmeral of Elche, a seemingly oasis of palm trees from what I could tell online. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite figure out where we should actually go to see all of the palms. I read about a museum, a park, a garden, and an old canal system and thought we could go there to piece together what looked fun. That wasn’t the case and we couldn’t find out where exactly we should go, despite lots of Googling and looking at Maps. On top of that, it was a holiday and basically everything was closed. We were aimlessly walking the ghost town streets, hoping to eventually find something that looked intriguing and, honestly, bickering a bit along the way. Finally, we stumbled upon an open pastry shop that set us right. We ate our sugary treats on a bench facing a pretty fountain and started to feel a little better about the day.

We never found exactly what I was looking for – which, in fairness, I’m not sure if I was searching for a museum or canal ruins – but we did find the most amazing park shortly after our pastries. There were so many fun and new things for Cam to try out that the day didn’t end up being a total bust.

Next up was driving to Javea to meet Mike’s family! On the way we stopped in Alicante proper, which turned out to be a welcome adventure in a more bustling city than the small, tired town we had just spent a few days in. We immediately found a cafe with decent coffee and the best avo and tomato toast (again, ordered in rocky Spanish…). We also walked around this cute pedestrian area, Calle San Francisco, that had giant mushroom statues and tiny toadstool houses for Cam to explore. The vibe in the city was a lot more lively and we had so much fun exploring.

Luckily, Javea was also a great town to be in – I’ll write about our days there soon!

Want more? Read about the last time I was in Spain here.