Posts Tagged ‘Isla Magica’

One of the awesome things about living here in the Algarve is not having to look too far away for some amazing places to visit. (I appreciate that the UK has some amazing places too. I’m talking about amazing places with guaranteed sun!)

One place which we had been repeatedly advised to visit was Seville, and with the existence of Isla Magica, this made it even more appealing to us as a family, so we decided to do the trip for a long weekend (Thursday to Sunday) to celebrate El’s 11th birthday (and hopefully quash our yearning for Orlando, which, until we moved, we were used to visiting every 2-3 years!)

It’s always a bonus when the place is driving distance too.

We booked a 2 bedroom apartment through AirBnb and arrived there about 5pm. The apartment manager met us, when we eventually sorted the car and parking. The apartment had its own parking but the direct route to it was blocked by road works and a lot of one-way streets had been reversed to accommodate this. Now, just imagine us, with our sat nav, trying to find the apartment and parking in a maze of backwards one-ways and streets barely wide enough for our 7 seater Sharan!
Yeah, that!

Anyway, the manager met us, and she had a nice little surprise for Eliot. I had mentioned that it was his birthday on the Friday and so she had obtained 4 tickets for Isla Magica from a friend who works there.

4 FREE tickets!


Saved us over €100 which meant that we could eat out a little more and not have to worry about packed lunches. Yay!

She also advised us that, because of our fairly central location, it was as easy (actually a whole lot EASIER) to walk to Isla Magica than to drive, so on Friday morning we did that. It took about 20-25 minutes, which wasn’t bad at all, and we actually ended up spending almost the entire day there. We arrived about 11.30am and left about 9.30pm, I think!

When we first arrived, it wasn’t very busy at all, which meant the boys (and by “boys”, I mean all 3 of them!) didn’t have to queue very long for anything really. They did multiple rides on various wet things, including goodness-knows-how-many on the Anaconda log flume ride. Dozens, at least!

This about summed it up!

The boys even went on this on their own, each time aiming for a different photographic experience!

I love this one!! Jake actually ENJOYING himself!

There were a few like this too!

I know, right?

They did go on other rides too though! Nik wanted to go on, and Eliot eventually decided to go with him, the tall 68m free fall tower thing called El Desafio. No way either Jake or I were going on it though!

The Rapids

A bucking bronco thing!

Eliot also got himself a temporary spray tattoo.

5-7 days it was supposed to last. Well, obviously that quote didn’t take into account a) my son’s desire to keep his tattoo and b) the frequency and inadequacy of boys’ showering!
He loves it though, and he spent much time walking around Seville with his t-shirt sleeves rolled up so he could show it off! (That’s my boy!)

All in all, we had an excellent day at Isla Magica, but we did decide that it was the only thing about Seville that really blew us away. We really weren’t that bothered about the city itself.
I think there are two reasons for that.  Firstly, we live in an amazing place! The bar is set high right there. Secondly, Florence. Florence was such a jaw-droppingly beautiful place that it will take a lot to beat it.

Actually, I can think of a third reason. The fact that we were holidaying with kids! Ever tried the whole “aimlessly wandering” thing with a teenager and an 11-year-old?
Well don’t! Leave ’em at home and go do it alone!

The boys were, on the whole, very good though. Particularly Jake who, being a “teen” and all that comes with that, didn’t much moan at all really. Except when his feet were hurting from walking all day on the second day but, given that I then bought him new trainers (which he needed anyway) a size and a half bigger than the ones he had been wearing, I think I have to bear some of the responsibility for that!

They both enjoyed the trip though, and I’m 100% sure that they would both do Isla Magica again. We all would. Not that I go on many of the rides. I “mind bags” and take photos. It’s my job!
I did go on a couple of things. A spinning barrels ride (and no, you’re NOT seeing the pics of video of that!), a smaller coaster (nobody braved the big one!) and an interactive 4D shooting-aliens thing which was kinda like “Men in Black” (at Universal, Orlando)’s poor cousin but it was fun enough that we went on three times, I think! Anything that gets us all squealing can’t be bad, eh?

We didn’t even get to the newly-opened water park section. Two reasons. Firstly, our free tickets didn’t cover it, and secondly, by the time we got there, it was late afternoon and we just didn’t see that we’d get our money’s worth for a few hours. This was confirmed by the fact that everybody wanted to do at least one more lap of the main park before we went in anyway, and it was decided that we could have more (and cheaper) fun by just going back on the rides they enjoyed most.

Like the Anaconda!

Just before I finish, a quick note about food. As is always the way with a new place, food was hit and miss depending on where we ate. Mostly, it was good though. I had an amazing “Salada Sevilla” in one place and a decent “5 tapas for €9.95” deal at another. The kids didn’t complain about their choices at all, so I guess we did ok.

Theme park food wasn’t bad either. €6.75 for a jumbo hot dog and fries. It really WAS jumbo too: a foot-long french stick with a giant sausage! I think only Nik ate all of his. We saved some of the leftovers for munchies time later on.

One other thing about the theme park was how much bottled water we got though! We took a frozen 2 lt bottle of our own to begin with and, when that was gone, must have bought another dozen bottles from the very-frequently-placed vending machines. At €1 a half-litre bottle, we didn’t mind too much. As it was well over 40C, we needed it!

We’d do Seville again, but I think next time we’ll just skip the city and do Isla Magica. Maybe we are just big kids really.

There’s one thing I will say though, even though it is only a 3 hour drive between Lagos and Seville, it’s always nice to be back on “home turf” halfway when we see this and everything becomes Portuguese and “normal” again!



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In some ways, it feels like we have been here forEVER, but in other ways, it’s hard to believe that four whole years have gone by already!

I suppose I should do a bit of a general update really. It has been a while and, while much of the past months have been “same old, same old”, stuff has happened as well.

For example, school finished for summer – over a MONTH ago!

Jake’s last day was 3rd June, I think, and El finished classes on 30th May, only going in on the Monday and Tuesday after that for half-day events and school trips. That already feels like YEARS ago!

Actually, I should start with school updates, shouldn’t I?

Eliot passed his year 4 exams – BARELY! Like, by 2%. God knows how he is going to cope with year 5, but I think he is ready for the change of school. The big school (which now does years 5 through 8 – more about that in a minute!) is right around the corner from us, and I think even he is ready to move onwards and upwards, although how he will do with a year 5 curriculum is anybody’s guess.
At least he is starting in year 5 with a decent knowledge of spoken and aural Portuguese, which is more than Jake had when he plunged in at year 6!

So yeah, that’s good anyway. Eliot moving school is definitely a big step.
He’s a big boy now. Hardly my baby any more (although I still call him that, and he’s fine with it!)

My big boy! Now, who put that beer there??!!

My big boy! Now, who put that beer there??!!

Jake is repeating year 9. He actually could have taken exams and probably passed all of his failing year 9 subjects, but we (Jake and I) both decided that it was better that he repeated the year. At 14, he is quite young to be moving into what is the equivalent of doing 3 year A-levels/college, so I’m pleased to have him in year 9 for a bit longer.

That news would have been even better if it wasn’t for the fact that they are stopping teaching year 9 (academic subjects anyway) at Das Naus (the school next to us).
We were quite looking forwards to having both boys in the same place, with no worries about transport, but now Jake will have to go elsewhere for year 9.

He’s chosen Gil Eanes (there was more than one choice in town) and we’re fine with that. Hopefully, we’ll get him signed up in a few weeks without any problems (hahahahahahahahahahaha – no, seriously!) and he’ll just have to use a bus for school. He’s quite old enough to do so, and the whole experience of having to actually “commute” to school will do him good.

Fortunately, he isn’t bothered about it all. He’s quite content to repeat year 9, not at all bothered that he’ll be repeating it in an entirely different school (a lot of his friends are going to the other one) and isn’t bothered about using the bus.
Oh well, I suppose indifference is better than him hating the idea!

My "mature" teen on a rare sighting outside the bedroom!

My “mature” teen on a rare sighting outside the bedroom!

What else has happened?

Wendy (my sister) came to visit for my birthday, which was nice. We spent a few days eating, drinking and generally lounging about, all of which was great fun! She then flew home and signed for her first ever house! Having lived in rented accommodation since she left home, finally putting down roots and buying a home is a HUGE step for her!

Way to go, sis!

My new skinny sis on her visit (well, she’s not a new sister, obviously, but she IS newly super-skinny!)

We’re super-busy with work (always good) and we have very few visitor bookings this year. None who need to stay with us anyway, which is even better, because it means that the boys get to keep their own space. Recently purchased bunk beds for El’s room make it slightly less disruptive if we have to move Jake into there, but it’s much nicer not to, obviously, and for Jake to keep his own room.

Not that Jake is much bothered really, because, well, he’s an indifferent teen and doesn’t much bother about anything (except chores. Boy, does he mither about those!)

Oh yes, we went to Jerez for the MotoGP at the beginning of May (I really HAVE been slack about updating this blog!).
We left Jake at home (with plenty of food supplies) and drove over from Friday to Sunday.

We had a completely awesome weekend. Drive took us about 4 hours, we stayed in a decent enough apartment (rock hard and creaky beds aside!) in Jerez and watched fabulous racing, including a race from the unstoppable Marc Marquez!
We took soooooooooo many photos, I don’t even know where to start, but here’s a few.

It’s weird to think that Marquez is now 8 wins for 8 races! It’s quite mind-blowing really. Am looking forwards, as always, to the race this weekend to see if he can make it 9 for 9!

And speaking of this weekend, we are off to Seville for a long weekend (we go tomorrow: Thursday) for Eliot’s 11th birthday.

Having driven past it twice now, first en route to Gibraltar and then on the way to Jerez, we’ve realised it’s actually quite close, and there’s an apparently very good theme park and water park, called Isla Magica, there which should a) make a great day out for El’s birthday and b) quench our long-deprived need to a return to Orlando!

We’re doing Isla Magica on Friday and have Saturday free to either go for a second day or mooch around Seville a bit. Even Jake is coming with us this time. It wasn’t optional (being a birthday celebration weekend ‘n’ all) but he doesn’t seem to mind. A few days in the “real world” will be good for him. Even if he doesn’t own and refuses to wear a pair of shorts. So he’ll be baking and melting in the 40C which is forecast in Seville this weekend!

Teenagers, eh?!

I think that’s our news really.

I know I’m behind with my Gibraltar A to Z, but quite honestly, at this point, it probably won’t get done. Don’t hold your breath anyway. It’s not THAT good LOL

I’ll try to do a Seville post sometime after we’re back. Maybe one for the trip and a separate one for Isla Magica. Depends what we get up to and whether it warrants more than one post. Might just do a picture post. We’ll see.

And speaking of pictures, let’s have some sunny, blue sky posts. I know the UK has been enjoying some (can I say “unseasonably”?) summer weather lately, and our summer pretty much here to stay until about October now, so I’ll try to keep sharing the sunny pics for when the “real” British summer arrives (you know, the one where it rains for days on end.)

Just so y’all know what you could be visiting if you popped over to see us!

It’s always nice when people come here on holiday and we get chance to meet up. A school friend of mine recently came to the Algarve with her family and it was fantastic to see her again, after 20+ years, and meet her brood!

So yeah, if you ever visit the Algarve on holiday, give us a yell and we’ll show you this lot!

View from the pool table at our local – The Lighthouse on Lagos Marina

Across Praia de Batata, Lagos

Our beautiful “green tiled shop”, complete with the Jacaranda tree in bloom.

View from the Science Centre and roof of the market building on the Avenida

Nik’s bike when he took it up to the Autodromo race track for the World Superbikes last weekend

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