Bahiazul Luxury Villas, Fuerteventura

The Bahiazul Luxury Villas in Fuerteventura were our home for one week. The complex was stunning, with friendly and helpful customer service throughout the week.

The barbecue allowed us to cook food outside for the whole duration of our stay. There was room for 6 in our villa, plus potentially another two more with the outdoor bed upstairs.

Having a pool in our house one day has always been a dream, so to have one for a week is a nice taster for what the future may hold. I made great use of our private pool and swam for around 2 hours per day.

Mornings tended to involve a light breakfast in the restaurant close to reception followed by a dip in the pool to awaken the senses. There was virtual silence in the villa for most of the day and it is hard to imagine finding a more relaxing holiday anywhere in the rest of Fuerteventura.

The atmosphere was so perfect for the relaxing holiday that we were looking for, that we struggled at first when arriving at the H10 Esmeralda Hotel because of the amount of people in reception as we checked in.

Oasis Wildlife Park in Fuerteventura

We ended up visiting the Oasis Wildlife Park in Fuerteventura twice during our 2-week trip to the island. The huge size of the cactus garden meant that we were not able to see everything on site in the first day, and so returned later on at a discounted price.

The main attraction was always going to be the animals, but the plants served as an excellent bonus. Racoons, Elephants, Giraffes, Meer Cats and Otters were probably the highlight. The Sea lion show made us feel a little uncomfortable, but the children around us seemed to enjoy it, at least.

There were two buses a day straight from our hotel to the park and return routes at around 5pm. Most tourists seemed to have hire cars, and for the rest, the taxi each way would only be around 15 or 20 Euros.

Fuerteventura did not appear to have as many tourist attractions as other islands in the Canaries, making this wildlife park particularly popular. Water sports seem to be the main attraction here.

I am always a bit wary of safari parks and zoos in general, particularly abroad because of fears over the way in which the animals are kept and treated. Some of the enclosures here may have been a little small but everything i saw over the two days seemed happy and healthy. There were also areas of the park which were given up to protecting rarer creatures which is always a good sign of the intentions of the site owners.

We had some really excellent food in the restaurants available here, with the Lamb Stew being particularly tasty. The service could be slow and a little overrun at times, but both days the food was well worth the wait.

Those visiting the island should certainly check out this safari park and the cactus garden offers enough for plant lovers just on it’s own.

Fuerteventura Villa & All-inclusive 2 Week Holiday

We split our two weeks between a stunning villa and an all-inclusive hotel stay. The Bahiazul luxury villa has persuaded us to try this option more often on sunny holidays, rather than standard hotel rooms.

This was our first trip to Fuerterventura. Having previously visited many other islands in the Canaries, we knew pretty much what to expect. After trips to La Palma, Madeira, La Gomera, Tenerife and Lanzarote this was the last of the large islands in this peninsula.

The parts that we saw, with much left for future trips, suggest that this island doesn’t have quite as much to interest as we had found in Lanzarote. We still enjoyed the two weeks immensely, though, and would be happy to return.

The areas between the touristy spots on this island seem almost completely barren, aside from the occasional small village where locals have probably been for many generations.

The two week break here has recharged my batteries exactly as I had hoped. Our stay has been mainly quiet, with only the odd tourist getting on our nerves. The island offers plenty of sports, and the usual canaries’ strips of bars and shops. Windsurfing, diving, surfing and kite surfing are all on offer but I couldn’t muster the energy to do anything that active.

One slight regret was that I wasn’t able to find much food specific to the island, what with barbecuing in the first week and then being limited to international cuisine in the all-inclusive restaurant. We did have a stunning goat stew at the Oasis Wildlife Park in Fuerteventura and various seafood dishes such as grilled shrimps and squid. There was also some local cheese which was on sale in the shop.

Fishing Success at Last!

Four good-sized carp was my successful catch in a day’s fishing in Crawley. Having been to the same lake last year and caught absolutely nothing, it was a great relief to do better this time around. The four carp themselves were stunning fish, we took good care of them and cleaned any existing wounds from fish bites and the like. They were then released back into the lake just as soon as we had taken the customary photo.

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I must say that it will take more practice to be comfortable in handling the fish, certain types of Carp seemed particularly feisty and i was always conscious of balancing their safety with my desire to capture a nice posing photo before we put them back into the lake.

That day’s fishing was much busier than previously, with barely a moment passing where we could sit down and relax. There was constantly a catch on one of our rods, or something else that needed our attention.

It was a day that made me realised i could well enjoy this sport, with my new rod also coping well with each of the fish that i caught. Naturally, we celebrated our success with some good old fashioned street drinking, this time randomly in the backstreets around Clapham Junction.

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Rafferty the Cat – King of Greenwich

Rafferty spent a good few weeks in our flat, helping my sister to concentrate on her upcoming garden show.

The cat was polite and friendly, causing no real problems during his South East London holiday. Uneasy at first, Rafferty settled in well after a few days and would even welcome us at the door whenever we returned from work.

Ruby spends much more time at home than i do, and they became best buddies. She was very sad to see him go, but hopes we can have a cat of our own in the future. Although not allowed by our building’s freeholders, i don’t think anyone would even notice a small cat popping about on the first floor.

Rafferty

Rafferty-The-Cat

One problem with Rafferty is that my sister didn’t drop his scratching post around when she dropped him off. We had to buy several as well as re-training him with the new ones before he would consistently use them rather than clawing our carpet. Aside from that, and the odd toilet misdemeanor, he was a joy to have in the flat for a short while, and we hope sister will drop him off again in the future.

Rafferty clearly enjoyed his time in Greenwich, and when my sister turned up to take him back to Kingston Upon Thames, he fought hard to avoid capture. It took quite an effort from all three of us in order to finally drop him into his carry box. As he left, we could see him clawing at the door to escape.

Update for July 2015

It has been a hard-working few weeks since my last post. I have recently received an extension in my current contract role at Game Account Network, which keeps me occupied until November. A few things have happened recently, so this is more of a general update than anything specific.

20:20 at The Oval

Yesterday i took Ruby to her very first cricket match, in a 20-20 game between Surrey and Gloucestershire at the Oval. She enjoyed the evening, but is still completely lost when it comes to cricket. Tickets were £40 a go, but it was a one-off so probably worth it. We also had an excellent view from the Oval’s newest stand and were just behind the bowler’s arm.

Azhar Mahmood smashed a six off the last ball to win the game for Surrey, so it was a fairly good match to have picked. The best players on show would have to have been Jason Roy and Kumar Sangakkara.

20:20 Oval, Surrey V Gloucestershire

Ruby at the Oval

England V New Zealand at Lords

My friend from University, Mathew Butcher, was popping down at short notice as his team had got to Wembley. As such, we quickly made a good bank holiday weekend of it. I got a ticket for Lords for the Saturday and enjoyed seeing some of our new test players for the first time, such as Wood from Durham.

Mathew then arrived on the Sunday and we went off to see Macca at the O2, who is one of his favourite artists.

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Paul McCartney at the O2

Macca did a terrific set comprising of Beatles classics, Wings hits plus some of his own solo stuff going back several decades. I already new his latest album well, and of course all the Beatles stuff, though Matt was able to make sense of the remainders. The set was around 3 hours in total and worth every penny.

Macca on stage

Paul McCartney O2

Middlesbrough V Norwich Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium

The finale to the weekend was the trip to Wembley, where i was sat amongst the Middlesbrough fans. Sadly for Matt, his team lost and they will remain in the Championship for at least another year.

Norwich played well on the day, and never really looked like losing. Their new manager seems to have worked some magic on the team, but they’ll still struggle in the Premiership next year without some serious investment.

Wembley looking glorious

Matt Butcher, nervous before kick-off

Dreaming of Redcar