DaVinci's birthday was simple this year with the highlight being a bike ride to a nearby nature preserve and just enjoying time with family. We had planned on swimming with dolphins here as they have the best interactive program in Europe nearby, but it was so expensive because Mozart was under 8, that we decided to wait and do it in the fall after she turns eight, since it is easily drivable from our winter home in Spain.They will take kids at seven, but then a parent has to go too and that just puts the price in the stratosphere ( over 300 euros) which was much more than what we wanted to pay on our family budget travel plan. It was frustrating to give it up, as we had all looked forward to it, but this seemed like a better plan and we have an ever flexible way of travel, so quickly adjusted.
Mozart was happy as a clam making "presents" for her dad the night before his birthday as there is nothing she likes better than a creative project and planning a party. We love these purple flowered trees so I picked him some when I woke up early and we presented him with his "presents" while we sang happy birthday when he woke up. DaVinci is the brunch king so he made all of us breakfast since he likes how he does it best. Later we called family and luckily got a hold of his dad and left some messages for his sister.
We had a limited time on the wifi, so I had to stay home and work on the blog while Mozart and DaVinci went off on bikes to nearby Ria Formosa Nature Park which they really enjoyed. They brought a picnic and their
new cameras and learned a lot. There was a cool tide mill which I had never heard of, but apparently they used the power of the tide to run the mill here in the past, like windmills, only this is a tide mill. It was a lot of fun to explore. They also had a bird hospital and a neat blind where they could watch and photograph the birds and ducks without disturbing them or even being seen.
Ria Formosa Natural Park is a wintering ground for birds from northern and central Europe, plus a stop-over point in migration routes between Europe and Africa. It is an area of dunes and salt marshes and over 80% of Portuguese clam exports come from here. They learned about some new birds like the Purple Gallinule which is rare in Portugal and a Beitu Beitu that Mozart captured with her new camera. They had a great time together, learned a lot and I got a lot done.
Mozart has gone swimming every day,sometimes twice a day as she is part fish I think, but we adults had not wanted to go as it is not hot. She managed to talk her dad into going and they both got a kick out of that too. He had been wanting to get into this lovely pool, so just needed the extra push by Mozart.
My mom had sent us some birthday cards for DaVinci ( along with things for Mozart's birthday since they happen while we are on the road) before we left Spain, so we saved them to add to the home made pile of greetings. It is not that easy to get cards on the road, so we make our own and really appreciate the few that we do get. Funny how little things mean so much on the road. I love how this travel makes us appreciate the small things in life and it is also good to save money on things like cards.
We could have gone out to dinner, but we decided to just splurge on take out food from across the way, right in the campsite and it was good. We did not have a birthday cake, but we got some ice cream and candy which made everyone happy and ended the night with a dvd movie together, cuddling in our loft bed we like to euphemistically refer to it as " upstairs". It was a very simple, but very sweet day.