Travel with me is back and this week I’m joined by the lovely Elizabeth from Wander Mum who is taking us on a trip back in time when they took Mrs T to Porto, Portugal.
Never having been to Porto I am enthralled by all of the beautiful photos, and what a perfect place it is to take children, with a multitude of things to do in Porto – for every age.
And now over to Elizabeth..
Where are you taking us to today?
Back to the October 2012 when my husband and I took our nine week old daughter, known as Mrs T, to Porto and the Douro Valley in Portugal.
What sort of trip was it, adventure, beach, relax, sightseeing?
I always like to find a bit of adventure in every holiday but this had a good mix of sightseeing, relaxation, food and wine/port tasting!
Tell me all about it; where you stayed, food you ate, how the little person took it all!
The trip started off in the Douro Valley in amongst the vineyards. We stayed at a hotel called Aqua Pura – a former farmhouse (now owned by the Six Senses brand). It was a beautiful setting and we had a really large room although you needed an engineering degree to work out how the lights worked. None of the switches seemed to turn off the light next to it!
We travelled around the wine region, sampling wine, visiting historic towns like Lamego which has a stunning cathedral with 686 steps (we cheated and drove to the top). We also ate some really good food at some fab restaurants. Plus, the hotel had an excellent spa so we took it in turns to chill out there after a tough day drinking wine and sightseeing! As it was late October the weather was a bit hit and miss and we had quite a bit of rain but still did everything we wanted to do. Plus, hotel was really cosy with stunning views so curling up with a delicious glass of local red wine was was rather satisfying.
We then headed off to Porto staying at the stunning Yeatman hotel. As we entered the foyer there was a bit of a wait and, as if on cue, Mrs T started wailing. Suddenly, we were quickly seen to and got an upgrade on our room! Don’t you just love that? The room was phenomenal and so was the restaurant, Gastronomic. The name says it all, we had a fabulous, Michelin-starred meal there. Mrs T sleeping soundly in her pram for a good free hours while we devoured the tasting menu.
Over the next couple of days, we explored the historic city of Porto: hanging out in the cafes by the river, trying the local cod dishes, popping into all the port houses and enjoying the city. The weather also improved immeasurably and it was 24/25 degrees – in mid October! It was bliss. Our daughter slept for most of the trip and being so tiny we just carried her around in her baby carrier. She seemed to enjoy the change of scenery and loved looking at all the different sights.
Why did you choose to tell us about this holiday?
It was our first family trip abroad so it has special memories for us. Our daughter, Mrs T was just nine weeks old and it was her first time on an aeroplane. It was also our first trip away since my husband was diagnosed with non-hodgkin lymphoma. We got the ok to escape for a few days during a break in his chemotherapy (hence the bald head).
What is your favourite memory from this trip?
Taking a few wrong turnings whilst driving in the Douro valley during a rain storm and ending up on a dirt track leading to the bottom of valley – as it began to get dark! We love hiring cars when we go abroad and driving around but sat nav isn’t always very helpful – especially in remote areas. I found the situation quite amusing to start with as we went ‘off roading’ but my husband kept mentioning the film Deliverance and our minds drifted to what would happen if we actually got stranded! There were only some dodgy looking ramshackle buildings in view and we weren’t exactly set up for the night! Fortunately, we found our way back up through the hills and back to our hotel. I think my daughter slept through it all!
What did you learn about travelling with babies/toddlers/children from this experience?
The main thing I took away was how easy it was to travel with a young infant. They are incredibly portable, sleep a lot of the time and all I needed to do was feed her. It was almost like having a holiday with just the two of us. It felt pretty relaxed and we could still do lots of adult things but enjoy spending time with our little baby too! Oh, and if you are driving in a foreign country, maybe take blankets and lots of food and water – just in case!
What is your top tip for travelling with little people?
Don’t stress and overthink it and don’t be put off travelling with children from a young age. Most infants are incredibly durable – just go for it! You have far less restrictions at that age and can still do things you actually want to do (rather than play in the swimming pool all day, every day)! At only nine weeks our daughter was napping a lot so it meant we could sightsee, do a bit of port tasting and have some downtime. I truly believe she is a great traveller because she is so used to doing it.
You can find more from Elizabeth, and her travels and adventures with Mrs T over on Wander Mum, Facebook, Twitter, browse some incredible photos on instagram and you can even check out her Vlog over on YouTube.
If you would like to appear on #travelwithme please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org