Experience Alpacas in Andalusia
The luxury of living in Europe is the ability to detour off the beaten trail. This is almost a necessity with three young children who aren’t quite ready for the traditional Grand Tour. Not only do we have the time to explore lesser known destinations, we also are so lucky to learn through word-of-mouth of destinations that have been hits for families much like ours. One such find was Experience Alpacas in Andalusia. This bed and breakfast farm stay, run by an expat English couple, has become a hot destination for the preschool set in Rota. Each weekend in spring and fall, the couple hosts one family at their olive mill. Weekends fill fast, and we were so happy to snag Spring Break weekend 2018.
Our hosts did an amazing job of providing just enough entertainment balanced with enough time to unwind and explore. In the mornings, we got a hot breakfast to include eggs the kids helped to gather. Then Charlotte and Henry were handed the lead of their own alpaca. They led their creatures up the dirt road until Galaxy and Eduardo stopped to eat roadside flowers before heading back home. They each took their charge seriously, loving the responsibility and chance to sneak pats on the surprisingly soft wool of their alpaca friend. Even Cora had the chance to handle an alpaca. And let me say, alpacas are great animals for young children to walk. Slow and steady.
Our hosts also crafted with the children. They painted wooden spoons with their faces to hang on the kitchen wall to remember each child. And to point out the faces of their friends who have come before. Then, they painted wooden treasure boxes, which were filled with bags of their very own alpaca wool. Quite the treasure.
We also had dinner cooked for us. Need I say more. Except to say that this trip is tailor made for kids, however, Dennis and I were still so proud of our gang. Charlotte has such insightful questions. They held conversations. They listened to rules and instructions. And used their best table manners while eating in someone else’s home. And then they got ice cream. The weekend was so well done by all.
An alpaca farm is just one of those places you probably wouldn’t make it to if you didn’t live in Spain, or if you didn’t have young children, but what a view. There was no end in site of olive trees, completely covering the hills that ebbed and flowed forever in front of you. We were able to take it slow, to really appreciate the landscape of this land where we live. To be quiet. To watch our kids climb trees. And fall out of trees. To hike to the top of a hill just to see how far you could see.
We built a fire both nights in the living room. Henry helped to stoke it. Charlotte colored and colored. And everyone went to bed fast and slept well. Well, everyone but Cora who was just so excited. But two out of three isn’t bad.
Sometimes, this adventure is tough, and it certainly isn’t an extended vacation. But, sometimes we are rewarded and reminded that an adventure it is. And some day, when they look back on living in Spain, hopefully our kids have some amazing memories about olive groves and alpacas and what it feels like to get out and wander.