6 #freeelectrons.family fun things to do with kids in… BOLONIA, NOT Bologna (Italy) … and certainly NOT Polonia (Poland)!
Not far from the better-known surfing capital of Europe of Tarifa in the coastal region of Cadiz, Spain, Bolonia is a hidden gem of a destination for both individual and family-oriented explorers. Only 30-or-so kilometers away, Morroco’s coastal mountain can be seen from Bolonia—an off-the-beaten-path destination for most foreigners that is easily worth a 3-day visit. So, what to do here with your small children?
1. Just chill and do nothing in particular. For parents with small children you can understand how this is at the top of this #happyhouseband’s list of things to-do… everything we do as a family for that matter. But here, you can simply wander along the long beach. Watch fishermen stare silently towards the horizon, dogs running free, or kite-surfers learning to skim over the waves, while horses walk on guided tours. Or, you can be up the nearby mountain and gaze over the village and towards Moroccan Africa from where the 500-year Muslim conquest of Spain came. Chilling is an artform. And in a world of over-scheduled parents, it’s not easy, is it?
2. Beach play and sand dunes. The beach is the perfect babysitter of our small children. They can runaround, fall, get dirty as they wish and it’s all good, for the most part. Of course, gotta keep eyes on them and make sure they are within running reach. There is at least 300 days of sunshine in Andalusia and the prefect time to go to the beach is NOT in the summer when there are too many people and too darn diggy hot. In the middle of winter, as I write this, it’s 20 degrees Celsius in Bolonia! There’s plenty to do with sand, sea and sun! Climb to the top of the continuously forming sand dunes and enjoy sandboarding (this, we saved for the next time).
3. Feast on fresh seafood, freshly caught off the coast and bay of Cadiz. There are only a few restaurants and chiringuitos in this area, especially during off season. We recommend those as far south of the main road as possible, with an added pleasure of being right on the beach where your children can play as you sit and stare in the distance (or at each other)–hopefully with loving eyes… romance, re-activated. Watch out! 😉
4. SPQR? Discover the ancient Roman city of Baelo Claudio…. you know, the Romans… Senatus Populus que Romanus? K+K (our kids) like to play Roman soldiers and yell, “Shield Wall!…” (yup, I know, I gotta tone it down a bit and have a more peaceful kind of play with them. But hey, we’re learning teamwork, right?
Built by the Emperors Agustus and Claudius starting in the 2nd century before the common era, this is apparently one of the best examples of Roman urban development. FREE visits to the archaeological complex for European Union residents. You can see the water delivery system (aqueduct), forum, ampitheater, the impressive ordered layout of the small “city”, the fish-salting industry that produced special sauce called “garum” which gave the city commercial importance at the time. This is easily a half-day tour for the family with plenty of facts and stories to spark a fountain of imagination for the little ones… and the not-so little ones too!
5. Go for a mini trekking or hiking along a semi-wild, off road trail, up the mountains of Del Estrecho Natural Park that form the backdrop of Bolonia beach. Watch the glorious eagles and Egyptian vultures fly and perch atop their rocky peaks. Explore the wild and you might just run into… an albino cow (as shown in the video below). Cows, sheep and donkeys share the road here with you. There is limited rough parking areas up the mountain. We think licensed hunting is allowed here. So, check with the tourist information center, before you explore. Safety first.
6. Then chill some more and maybe discover your inner artists (just like our boys in the video below). We recommend renting an idyllic, low-key house on the southwestern side of the mountain for a view over the beach and towards Africa. Our children enjoyed exploring the wide and wild garden of our casa rustica, with its little homemade playhouse, treehouse and improvised swing. An orange grove was also a curiosity as much as it provided our daily dose of fruits. Then they played guitar, danced, played Roman soldiers, and chased “Masha” a semi-feral, friendly cat (in the video too).
That’s it! Plenty of quality, chillaxing time with the family. You may also walk to and wear your birthday suit in the long strands of the nude (yes, nude!) beach just further south of #PlayaDeBolonia… For us? Well, maybe next time, when it’s not so cold 😉
Here’s the video with original flamenco music by our friends.
Music: “Verde, Blanca y Verde” (Bulerias) by Thiago Vazquez and Juan Carlos “El Colorao”. (c)+(p) April 2018. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Six at freeelectrons soundscapes, April-December 2018, Barrio San Miguel, Jerez de la Frontera (land of sherry, flamenco, fighting bulls and dancing horses), Andalucia, Spain.
Enjoy! What do you think? If you have been to Bolonia, tell us what cool things you did? If you plan to go, let us know. Next time, probably camping for us. BIG SMILE!