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Albufeira – holidays for 18 year olds

My big girl, aged 17 and 9/10ths had just come back from her first solo holiday with her best friend.  They looked at Magalluf and decided against it, I suggested Ibiza as that’s where I’d have gone as I love clubbing and that would be my idea of heaven….again a resounding ‘no’.  Big girl is off to uni in Sept to study physics and engineering, she definitely takes after her Dad, I’m an art school drop out.  Her idea of clubs is ‘hell’ as she wants to discuss theoretical physics and solve the question of life the universe and everything which is difficult to do in a very loud environment.


They settled on Albufeira in Portugal and got a last minute cheapy in a self catered 1 bedroom apartment in a hotel miles away from the beach but with its own pool.  She’s never experienced ‘normal holidays’, for the past 17 years of her life her holidays have consisted of:

  • Beach clubs, you know, the ones that are all inclusive with fab kids clubs so the parents  have a holiday and funnily enough all the ‘do not disturb’ signs go on the room doors for the first hour of kids club opening.  In places like Lemnos, Turkey, Kos, Corsica, Greek mainland, Sardinia.  The activities are amazing (sailing, windsurfing, tennis), the food is amazing, the childcare is amazing.  We had beach club holidays until she went to big school and we could no longer take her out during term time (too expensive for 5 of us during summer hols).  We’re off to Lemnos again soon with Neilson.
  • Glamping in France, consisting of the biggest flipping caravan you can get, 3 bedrooms with 2 power showers and a dishwasher.  Right on the beach so we could have surfing lessons every day and for the rest of the time the kids whizzed around the campsite in a collective dirt cloud of bikes and you took your life in your hands trying to signal to your child that it was time to come in for a shower and food.   Food consisted of wonderful fresh produce from the local hypermarket, a fabulous selection of fish and the competitiveness of the communal bbqs with the biggest hunk of beef, most amazing marinades and small children bringing assorted nibbles on bikes to the blokes slaving over hot coals.
  • Le Touessrok in Mauritius – this was a one off, we were married there and went back a couple of years ago with the kids for my husband’s 50th birthday and our wedding anniversary on air miles flights.

You can see the holiday standard she has been set, hmm, Albufeira?  It would be an experience.  They had a list of things not to do:

  1. No quad biking
  2. No motor bikes
  3. No scooters
  4. No drinking things that they hadn’t seen poured or opened themselves
  5. keep thumbs over bottle tops at all times
  6. No drugs
  7. Use condoms (better than the alternative)
  8. No jumping off the balcony, or actually even going anywhere near it for that matter.
  9. Hold each others hair up when the other’s vomitting into the toilet.

This is what happened over the next 4 days

Day 1 – text – “in Portugal, it’s freeking beautiful, just been shopping for supplies, have boursin, lovely bread, some fantastic meats and wine” – hah, proud Mum no take-aways or rubbish food.

Day 2 – text – “loads of 40 year olds and kids but not many our age so we’re getting loads of free drinks from the bars so we agree to go in, loving strawberry daiquiris, the strip is full of awful restaurants, there are no Portuguese people here just loads of Irish and people from Liverpool, lots of crap food restaurants”

I ought to add that both and her and her bestie are tall, slim, gorgeous and intelligent, by tall I mean with heels on they are probably around 6’2″ and scary as hell to any chaps.  Some chap put his arm round her in a bar and without thinking she did one of her judo moves (she did judo for years) and he ended up on the floor surrounded by a load of his mates who were completely awestruck and a little in love.

Day 3 – text ” found lovely seafood restaurant in the old town”

Day 4 – text – “jumped off the balcony loads of times, the flat isn’t on the ground floor or anything!” Their flat was on the ground floor with no balcony just a patio.

Day 5 – text “Not dead”

She got home today, the two of them had a fantastic time but couldn’t believe the behaviour of some parents in the hotel (swearing at small children and each other in front of small children) and some of the other people they met.  They were appalled by the ‘strip’ and the food the restaurants had to offer plus the lack of any locals, all Germans and Dutch with a  few Brits.  They got talking to a bunch of guys in a bar and weren’t giving them the time of day until one of them sheepishly admitted that he’d studied Maths at Oxford and that was it, in a corner with drinks talking about her favourite subjects – Maths and Physics, this lad couldn’t believe it, he’d been hiding the fact that he’d gone to Oxford and studied maths all week as most of the girls he spoke to saw it as a right turn off.

The pair of them sounded so middle class retelling their adventures, it was really funny, her present to me – a bottle of peri peri oil, love it.

They had a great time but she’s looking forward to a ‘proper holiday’ soon, see you soon Neilson.