December 10, 2010

The Big UK Trip Back – Center Parcs

The Dawes Family packed up the cars, and we headed off to our destination for a long weekend – Whinfell Forest Center Parcs. The four bedroom lodge was simply stunning, and set in such a gorgeous location backing onto the forest where we could see red squirrels enjoying their day. It was so nice to have us all together for the weekend, to actually spend some quality alone time. Grandma Lynn, Grandad Steve, Helen, Leigh, Amy and Murphy (dog!) and of course us, had the most amazing three nights stay.

The first day was a bit strange, on arrival sitting inside your car inside a giant check in desk area was a little odd, then a mass decention as everyone parked their cars (as you were not allowed to go with your car onto the park before 3.30pm) was also a little daunting. I think this was probably more because we are not used to such a mass number of people in one area at one time – it felt like the whole population of New Zealand was in that one car park!!

Exploring was fun, the whole area is just massive and so it has to be to hold over 738 lodges, not to mention other lake side accommodation. At peak season you can expect to find over 3000 people on the 400 acre site. However this is actually the smallest of all the Center Parcs, with others close to 1000 lodges at each other location!

The weekend was just fantastic. We hired bikes and went riding every day, we went to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise every day, and we had so many special family meals together. We also celebrated Michael’s birthday which made the trip even more extra special. Michael and his Dad went to Archery, Lynn and I took the girls to an animal talk and got to meet some animals. One day Helen and I treated the boys to a paddle boat ride around the lake, never again, nothing worse than front seat paddlers offering feedback! One night Helen, Leigh, Michael and I hit the pub leaving the Grandparents to babysit!

By far the best memory for me was heading down the massive slide at the Subtropical Paradise with Helen. Both so very very fearful of water slides we were ‘peer pressured’ into giving it a go. At the top we sat side by side holding hands tighter than ever before. By the time we reached the bottom we had both twisted upside down twice, screamed immensely, cried a little and then ended up at the bottom still holding onto each other, but with Helen now choking me and I causing severe bruising to her legs!! Needless to say it was the funniest thing ever and so good that we then went and did it all again!!

A truly special weekend, we all had a great time and got on so well. The lodge was just beautiful and you couldnt ask for anything more. The girls loved the time together forming that bond even further and even Murphy had a great time – how he would have loved to have chased a squirrel or two!

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