DH bought a tent for the family several weeks ago. I don't remember how the conversation went, exactly, but I agreed that we should get out and explore Portugal by tent camping.
Last summer, we camped in Alaska, and it was quite an adventure with the girls! After seeing what a great time the family who joined us on our camping trip were having in their trailer (we started the trip off in a rented, molded and broken pop-up and ended the trip in a decent, large trailer), we decided to buy a Trailmanor when we returned to the continental US. It's gas mileage-friendly, folds down compactly (looks similar to a pop-up when folded down) and we can tow it to visit family and have a place to stay along the way and, if needed, when we get there. However, we have no idea when we'll back in the US. So, tent camping it is for now!
We decided to embark on our test run of tent camping at the last minute. In fact, we left yesterday afternoon after the girls naps and, after a stop at a store, arrived at a nearby campground (remember, this was a test run). It was labeled a four star campground in our camping Portugal book and, at some point in the past, I'm sure it was a four-star campground. It is no longer; as it is in obvious need of renovations. However, the pool was gorgeous and that's all the girls really cared about!
As we stood in line for dinner at the camp restaurant (again, trial run. Therefore, knowing the campground had a restaurant, we had planned on a light Portuguese meal. Instead we got an American-type pasta meal catering to the racers), Olivia noticed a man in front of us wearing only a tight Speedo swimsuit. She proclaimed, very loudly, "Daddy, why is that man in front of us naked?" There were several English speakers around us and we surely stood out as American because outfits (swimsuits) like the one the "man" was wearing, are fairly commonplace. That was not the first time Olivia had asked that question in public.
Much to our surprise, there was a bike race taking place at the campground this weekend. Not a big deal - until a concert began around 9:00 or 10:00!! A lot of Queen, REM and Portuguese music. LOUD. The girls, not used to sleeping together (Our tent has two rooms. One for the girls, one for DH and I), had a hard enough time falling asleep, let alone the music. DH and I tried hard not to get frustrated and around 11:30 (around the time the concert ended) the girls fell asleep. DH and I, exhausted ourselves, joined them a half or later.
By 6:30am, Olivia proclaimed, "It's not dark out anymore, Lila. We can get up now!" Our children, used to 11-13 hours of sleep each night, were ready for naps by 8:30am. We pushed through grumpiness until the pool opened at 10:00, swam and after a stop for lunch and a few groceries, got them home where we all took nice, long naps!
DH and I will plan our next trip a little better. Even if it is a short camping trip. I think we should plan to arrive early at the campground, skip naps, have an early dinner at the campsite and start the bedtime process early. Say around 6:30. Even if it takes two hours for them to fall asleep, at least, if they sleep until sunrise, they'll get much more sleep than they did on this trip. Every parent knows how well trips go when their toddlers aren't sleeping well...
Sorry I don't have any pictures to share of this trip, I brought my camera - but neglected to put my memory card back in it! Next time...