One of the cool things about becoming a family is that it has forced us, for better or worse, I’d generally say better, to explore new vacation and playing options. Last week, on a sunny Saturday we decided to go for a hike and explore a new area rather than going climbing. Don’t get me wrong we’re still mad for climbing and have still managed to make it happen whether it’s going to a baby friendly crag, hiking in with Mathias in the Baby Bjorn, and finding him a safe place to play on a blanket with his toys, finding babysitters here and again, taking advantage of family visits, or just taking turns, we’ve managed to get out quite a lot. But, we have also started to explore new “family vacation options”. This week we are in Tarifa, Spain, with two other couples and their kids.
We started kite surfing a little over a year ago at Lake Garda in a small town called Limone, in Italy. It’s a perfect beginner spot due to the fact that you learn from a boat. You avoid the most dangerous part of learning, launching the kite on the beach, by being taken out into the middle of the lake and plopped in the water while the instructor launches your kite from the boat. You don’t even have to know how to go upwind, which is the hardest part of the learning curve, because the instructor will bring the boat around to you pick you up. The instructor grabs your kite and delivers you back to the top of the lake where you can start over again. There is wind almost guaranteed every morning and night due to the geography of the landscape, we got out on the water every single day for a week and sometimes twice. Thermals provide strong winds in the am, good for smaller kites, and lighter winds in the pm at the opposite end of the lake, good for bigger kites.
In terms of places to stay there are high class camping options for about 30 euros a night just along the lake, right on the water where you can watch the sunrise and sunset colors on the lake, with showers, and power and internet. If that doesn’t suit you there are self catering apartments to rent just above the lake and also a huge range of hotel options from budget to 5 star.
On your rest day, you can drive just to the end of the lake and explore Arco a beautiful little town surrounded by limestone crags with endless rock climbing. Though Arco is well known for it’s strong history of rock climbing there’s far more than just climbing to be done in Arco. You can explore some of the vineyards, go shopping in town and buy some amazing Italian fashion (I myself came home with a gorgeous hand made leather bag), go mountain biking, or swimming one of the alpine lakes up above on the hillside. If none of that sounds good to you, you can just visit the restaurants and indulge in gluttonous Italian gelato, pizza, cappuccino’s and wine, which will only cost you about 15 euros for a spectacular meal. And if you’re motivated to travel a little further you’re only a few hours from the Dolomites where you can explore even more!
Arco is a gorgeous town, which is even more impressive due to the massive amount of work the tourist office does on developing outdoor sports options. Whether it’s paying climbers to bolt routes that are more accessible to beginning level climbers, or even the handicap accessible crag that they recently developed, or building and improving upon hundreds of kilometers of mountain bike trails, and providing shuttle services for bikers, the access and options are endless.
Ok, so we didn’t make it to Tarifa on this blog but stay tuned, we have just arrived, more to come with ideas for your own kite surfing or wind surfing holiday here in Tarifa.