The art of cross-continental sun tanning

I was clearly having way too much fun to sit down and blog about the hottest months of our year away! We had been chasing the summer around the globe, and while you wouldn’t necessarily pick Canada to sip beers in your boardies, we found out people actually do it! After swanning around in parks for a week in Montreal, we hooked up with some Cool Canadians in Ontario.

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Team Ontario: Monty the dog, Meg, Owen and Will

Meg and Will were mates of Witty’s from his Gold Coast days. This cheeky bunch took us into their home in Barrie (near Toronto) and showed us how to get our Ontario on. Oh yeah! And on top of that they also saved our holiday: they helped us teach our baby to sleep through the night.

The sleep cracks were really starting to show on us Witty parents since young Atlas had turned into a ‘night negotiator’, but when we saw how their cherub knocked off to bed and zonked through til morning without bother… we had to have it. It took some tears but with bitter perseverance (largely on Witty’s watch) we went from sleep deprived to slept-and-alive in a matter of days. It was a game changer for us, giving us a renewed sense of certainty that we could now survive another six months on the road with a moving and shaking toddler. I assure you, every friend who has hosted us since (whether they know it or not) would be grateful for the gift Meg gave us. And if anyone else wants it, she said I could share the PDF love!

In between fun nights out on the town, hanging out with friends and taking us to our first ever “Stag and Doe” fundraiser for a family wedding, we got treated to a typical Ontario Summer vacation: the cabin on the lake experience! The lakes of Ontario are incredible. Locals all hit the water when the sun shines- whether tenting or luxuriating in their mansions, kids are squealing and splashing, the barbeques are roasting away and Canadians are getting as hot as they possibly can- it’s summer after all!

Since we had two kids in tow (and a bunch of luxuriating to do ourselves), the ability to ‘glamp’ instead of camp was superb. Nestled gently in the woods, we spent salubrious days and nights in the comfort of their family’s holiday lake house. We wakeboarded, canoed, and soaked up the water (with a bit of wine) in every way we could! What is truly mind-boggling for a troppo kid like me, is that those bikini-friendly lakes I experienced in June will now be crusting up into hardened ice skating rinks as winter descends upon the flat lands. The truly distinguished 4 seasons in this part of the planet is remarkable. I hope I can experience them all one day.

Once August hit, it was time to taste summer of another flavour. We farwelled our beloved Canada and the people who make it awesome, and hauled ass to the next great continent: Europe.

While I’ve spent a lot of time in Mallorca, I’d never actually visited Southern Spain, and because I was long overdue a catch up with a beloved friend on la Costa del Sol, we thought we’d better stop in for some good energy.

In case you didn’t know, my friend Maria Teresa is the Universe’s answer to good energy. Everything’s on the up, and it’s fun, fun, fun! On her breezy, sun-lit balcony, Finn learned to dance to Jamaican beats. From her modest kitchen emerged mouthwatering delights and we indulged in the joys of Spanish cuisine. We laughed, we swam: repeat! And when we stripped Finn down and he paused his naked dancing to take a crap on her carpet, Maria just laughed, congratulated Finn… and turned up the music. Some people walk on the bright side. I like to walk close by this sort.

10 days was not enough for us, but we squeezed in a lot of good times. Maria took us to Malaga one night and we took a Tapas Tour through town. The old city was amazing, but relaxing in Benalmadena in her seaside apartment was pure gold.

When we sat on her veranda high up on the 8th floor and looked across the calm seas of the Mediterranean, we could see the African coast. In the evenings when the waxing moon rose over the water and lit up a pathway across the sea, I would fantasize that the luminescent passage was real. I liked to imagine that was how all the Nigerian street salesmen wandered over, toting their gucci bags and inflatable penguins across the waters surface. They are gorgeous, those guys, and damn, they work hard for a buck.

As a final hurrah to the high season in Europe’s south, we hit Portugal. Exploring the Algarve was the itinerary, but really it was just a great excuse to catch up with some gorgeous friend from Ireland. This way, instead of drinking Guiness and whining about the cold weather, we were slathering ourselves in suncream, sipping Mateus and playing with our matching babies (only 3 weeks apart in age). We had an incredible time with these gorgeous ones… so much so that we did actually get the guts to face the wilds of an Irish summer and visited them in West Cork in September. Friends: they really are good craic.

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