09 November 2008

Center Parcs, again...

After a well-earned extra hour in bed last Monday, Lynda and I packed our bags and headed off to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. The plan was to have a relaxing few days of doing nothing at all. I’d expected to be in no fit state to do much after my BHF cycle ride but, as it turned out, I had very little in the way of side effects other than a bit of stiffness in my knees. Rubbing Aloe Vera heat cream into my knees soon sorted them out, so we were fit to go.

The village square.

We arrived at C.P. at just after 10:00AM and had a steady walk around to check on anything that may have been new since our last visit. Nothing much changes other than a couple of the food outlets have undergone a name change and a new take-away food shop has opened. It felt good to be back in the familiar surroundings of Sherwood Forest again after visiting other parks in recent years. A leisurely stroll gave us a chance to find our villa too - a nice woodland location but a little too far from any water for us to get many waterfowl visiting us to be fed.

Villa 310 - our home for the week.

After brunch, in Café Rouge, we walked up to the wildlife centre and wildlife hide. I guess we must have spent a good couple of hours here just watching the birds come and go at the feeding stations. Most of the common woodland species were noted with the highlights being Sparrowhawk, three Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Goldfinch and also Siskin. Large numbers of Coal Tit were constantly making visits to the feeders and, as we set off back to the village square, a single Grey Wagtail put in a brief appearance on the Country Club roof. Monday evening was spent in the villa, with the TV and a few drinks.

Tuesday started with breakfast in Café Rouge. We were on holiday so there was no point of even thinking of breakfast in the villa, let someone else do the cooking. Breakfast for me at Center Parcs usually means just one thing, a full English. I now have a new favourite... Eggs Benedict! Lynda had the Eggs Benedict when we arrived on Monday and said how nice it was, after having the same on Tuesday I have to agree. As well as tasting great they would have been better for me than the full cooked breakfast too!

Café Rouge.

The main part of Tuesday was then spent in the swimming dome. We swam, we went down the water rapids, and I went down the water slides. Lynda turned chicken, once again, and refused to go down the slides. On the very rare occasions that she will go on the slides, she screams - such a girl! If Lynda had dared to go down the big slide than I guarantee she would have screamed this time. The slide now has a lot more unlit sections and felt as though it was even faster than it used to be. All good fun!

The swimming dome, at night.

After working up a fair old appetite we chose to eat in Strada, the Italian themed restaurant. Lynda enjoyed a very nice, and rather large, pizza whilst I had a bowl of Risotto that can only be described as gorgeous. The bottle of red wine that we had added the finishing touch to a great meal - even if it was a little strong for 6 o’clock in the evening! I hadn’t realised just how good the wine was until the waitress brought our desserts to the table. When she asked who had ordered the “Panettone Al Forno” she was met with blank looks from Lynda and I. “Bread And Butter Pudding?”, she asked. That I did understand and I managed to confirm that it was, indeed, mine! The walk back to the villa helped to clear our heads, a little.

Wednesday started, once again, in Café Rouge. Again, I had the Eggs Benedict and again it was delicious. Lynda chose the continental way to start the day and opted for a basket of pastries with butter and jams. We then took a stroll around the lake to work off a few calories before heading to the Sports Bar for late morning coffees. It’s hard work being on holiday! The coffees were also a good way of washing down the rather large cookies we enjoyed there too.

A view over the main lake.

Our evening meal on Wednesday was enjoyed out in the rain, stood on the lakeside beach, with hundreds of other people. It was the night Center Parcs had their Guy Fawkes Night fireworks display. Thankfully, the rain wasn’t very heavy so it didn’t spoil the evening. Lynda went for typical bonfire night food and had a hot dog, with two sausages in it. I “made do” with Sweat and Sour Chicken with rice and prawn crackers! All good stuff on a cold, wet November evening.

We skipped breakfast on Thursday, yes you did read that right, and instead had brunch in the Pancake House. It’s not very often that we go to Center Parcs and don’t have pancakes, this time we had two each! I had a breakfast pancake to start with that had eggs, bacon, mushroom and tomato topped with baked beans. Lynda made light work of a ham and pineapple pancake. I followed on by having a traditional pancake for dessert - just the pancake with lemon juice and sugar. Lynda satisfied her sweet tooth with Fruits of the Forrest Crumble, on a pancake of course!

The Pancake House, viewed across the main lake.

After that little lot we didn’t feel like doing anything too energetic so we settled for a walk around the lake and then headed back to the villa. The rest of the afternoon was spent sat in front of the TV and also watching the wildlife that visited our little part of the forest in search of food. The birds were friendly enough and would happily feed close to us.

Two Pheasants come for food.

One of the squirrels was a little too friendly and insisted on helping himself to the food, straight from the bag!

The squirrel helping itself.

To make sure our calorie count didn’t fall too low we topped up our food intake at the Indian restaurant on Thursday evening and once again it was a very nice meal. We started off by sharing poppadoms and pickles before moving on to our main courses. I’m not an expert on Indian food by a long way, but I do know that I like a good Chicken Jalfrezi - it was on the menu so I stuck with what I know! Lynda took the cooler option of a Vegetable Korma. Being the gentleman that I am I did offer Lynda a small taste of my meal; her face said it all, it was way too spicy for her taste! That’ll teach her to pinch my food.

All too soon it was Friday and the last day of our little holiday. After breakfast, once again in Café Rouge, we headed off into the swimming dome for one last time. We swam, we messed about on the water rapids and we went on the water flume. As per normal, Lynda screamed halfway down the water flume and that only made me rock the inflatable rubber raft even more as we sped along. I didn’t quite manage to tip her out of the raft, but it was close!

One of the water slides, at night.

The last three hours of our week at Center Parcs were spent in Aqua Sana, the on site spa complex. Lynda and I have used Aqua Sana a number of times now and we still enjoy it just as much as we did on our first visit. Spending time in the spa pool and the various steam rooms was the perfect end to a great week, even though I did emerge from the spa smelling of all the different aromas that were used!

Don't worry - we'll be back soon!

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if that little squirrel is still going back to that spot to see if the nice guy with the food has returned yet. Glad you had a relaxing time.

    Hugs to the both of you XX XX