This week I will be discussing the final drive to Ericeira (before we started heading back), and reasons why you should do a driving holiday, gulp, with children.
I often get asked: why do you drive for your holiday? What are the benefits? Are you mad? Among many other things. I mean why would you drive? There are many reasons why you wouldn’t: it takes a long time, it’s a lot of effort and with a baby, I must be mad. But the truth is any journey is more about the getting there and getting back and less about the destination. Over all we were going to stay at our ‘destination’ for all of a week. I here you gasp, what on earth was the point? Well what if I told you we also stopped at least six other times if not more, at places worth seeing along the way and the way back. Then maybe you ask why bother with a destination at all? Well, we used it as a base to explore one particular area in depth; also this particular time we were heading to the 2cv world meeting.
It is honestly not even slightly as boring as it might first seem. We spent all week going to places we wanted to see and in the evening we came back to cheap alcohol and free babysitters (all of our parents, who were also there) either that or we would take it in turns to watch the children. On top of that it is a massive celebration, more of a festival to be honest. I will be talking about it in much more detail next week.
– It’s all about the journey! Being in many places rather than one means you get to enjoy the journey
– You get to see all the little places you wouldn’t necessarily see otherwise, for example the lake at Ferreira Do Zezere, which I discussed in my previous post.
– You get to visit more places along the way, you generally see much more and get to do more things.
– It can be cheaper, it cost us around £2,000 pounds for all of us to go, including petrol, accommodation, food, trips and everything else. We didn’t really do this on the cheap either we went to some pretty nice campsites and went on some spectacular trips! (obviously it would be probably be a bit more if you stay in hotels).
– Driving isn’t always boring, there is some amazing scenery (just take a look at Victoria Langfords photography, a lot of which was taken out of the window of a 2cv!).
– Potentially you could go anywhere, your journey is only as limited as the open road and the time you have. If you can make time anything is possible (we have friends who have driven to Australia!).
Some considerations to take on board are:
– It is not always safe, on this particular journey (from Ferreira Do Zezere) we actually encountered a forest fire; it’s good to remember that the authorities always react quickly and efficiently in these cases. In all honesty any method of transport to holidays and holidays in general have their risks.
– We always look up the areas we are traveling through to preempt any issues before traveling, the .gov travel advice is well worth looking at.
– Do trial pack (and if you have children) and a trial run as a weekend in the UK. That way you figure out any issues you are going to have.
The forest fire was scary, we didn’t know about it as we were on the road when it happened and do not speak Portuguese. The winds dragged smoke for miles, which made it seem a lot bigger than it was. As scary as it was it was an amazing experience on its own and really, really made me respect the devastating destruction nature can cause. Portugal is dense with forest, but also, luckily, lakes; the lakes were used for putting out fires as planes and helicopters picked up huge water stores and deposited them over the forest. We stopped at a service station just past the forest fire, I couldn’t help feeling incredibly paranoid about this; what was particularly bizarre was that the Portuguese were stood outside having a cigarette (I obviously majorly over reacted to this forest fire!).
Supplies I suggest (other than the obvious)
– Definitely have a look at the .gov website I linked above as it gives advice on what to take in the car, for example some countries ask that by law you carry: A warning triangle, first aid kit, hi-vis jacket and other bits and bobs.
– If taking children, take something to keep them entertained, my little girl as she was only three months old was more than happy being entertained by a few sensory toys and slept most of the way. My friends with older children took their IPad, with a few films downloaded on, so the kids could watch something whilst in the car; or play on something.
– Things to keep your kids cool: I took an electric fan plugged into an inverter which was in turn plugged into the cigarette lighter (we had a leisure battery too), a mobile fan with rechargeable batteries and a charger for said batteries, a gel pad to put at her back (which worked brilliantly) For older children, aloe vera gel is cooling, a water sprayer (which pretty much gave Joanie her own air con system) and last but not least a sunshade (preferably one that fits to your travel system and is spf 50 or above.
– More sun cream than you will ever need.
– Tea, abroad doesn’t do tea how we like it (I don’t like Lipton).
If you have any questions on anything I’ve missed pop it in the comments and ill reply (im sure I’ve forgotten somethings.
What to drive in?
Anything is the answer to this! We drive a total of three thousand miles in a 2cv with 3 adults and one baby in the car. One of our friends drove the same with three fully grown children and two adults in the car. 2cvs are amazing (I am bias).
So the journey down to Ericeira was short compared to the other journeys we had done, we didn’t really drive through very many places we couldn’t go back too, once settled in Ericeira, so next week I will be discussing all the places in Lisboa we went to, and any others I wish I had gone too.