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Half-term trip to Jūrmala water park “How do they not run out of bubbles in the tub?”

On the first Friday of the year, 200 children staying in Estonian substitute homes and shelters made a traditional half-trip to our southern neighbours in Latvia, to visit the Jūrmala water park.

The children are eagerly waiting for the trip to the Jūrmala water park each year. It has become a great winter tradition already for many families: the kids know what to expect and are really excited about going. The youngest of one family starts asking about Jūrmala yet when the first snowflakes fall...

Bus ride was spent singing

Before going on the trip, it was run through at home that we are going to a foreign country where people speak a foreign language and this is why we need to stick together.

The children were excited even about the long bus ride. Vitali was especially fond of it, as he wants to become a bus driver when he grows up. Some smaller children, instead, asked every five minutes: “Are we there yet?”. Also, Latvia and its history were discussed.

The educators have their tricks for the more impatient ones. For example, in one family, a few dozen songs in Estonian were picked out before the trip, to take them along on the road. The CD was really popular and kept the spirits up during the long bus ride. On their road back, the same songs were sung with new momentum – the children already had found their favourite songs.

“So many hot tubs!”

There were plenty of interesting activities in the water park for all ages. You see, everyone knows that the water slides in Jūrmala are the coolest! Those who had been to the Jūrmala water park before, immediately moved to their favourite slides, racing and shouting. A blue and white slide, which the children call a tornado, caused particularly great enthusiasm.

The kids enjoyed also all of the saunas and hot tubes. “So many hot tubs! And they do not run out of bubbles in the tub!”, the children expressed their joy. “One sauna was quite funny” There was thick fog inside and it even smelled”, the kids shared their impressions. One 12-year-old young lady, who has difficulties walking, mainly enjoyed her time in the hot tube together with the educator.

The smallest loved to paddle in a shallow pool by the pirates. Tiny Ljuba spent most of the time in children’s pool, but went to swim with a ring also in a bigger pool together with the educator.

A school for dealing with an unfamiliar place

Many families had also taken along new children, most of whom had not been in such a big spa. The children were excited and happy, enjoying joy of water in different pools.

A visit to the water park also served as a course for dealing with an unfamiliar place – after all, they are in such a big pool and in an unknown place among unknown people. In addition to swimming and enjoying themselves in the pools, the kids could communicate with each other also in a different environment – when relaxing in a sauna or chilling in a hot tub. Andriano was happy above all for the possibility to swim and go to the sauna together with friends.

The children also loved swimming in the outside pool – Maarja event went to the ice-cold pool. “We got to swim outside, surrounded by snow! I have never before swum outside in winter!”, the “ice swimmers” shared their enthusiasm.

The icing on the cake was a milkshake – it was incredibly nice to enjoy it at the pool bar! The children thought that the visit was kind of short, as the time flew fast indeed.

Lunch, like at grandma’s

Lunch at the Jūrmala hotel was a world of wonders for the kids. They did not believe that they could take everything as much as they wanted and there was enough desert even for bigger sweet teeth. Everyone could pick just the food they liked.

One educator wrote in the feedback that it felt like we had left our dear granny, who packed also some goodies for the road.

On their journey home, it was already dark outside and the beauty of the Christmas lights released the effects of the lovely city of Riga, which hypnotised the big as well as the small ones.

Positive emotions and new experience

The children were especially excited on their road home, when talking about how they went to the “ice hole” with a blizzard outside. This was their first experience. A long discussion and flaunting about who, where and how many times managed to slide down was naturally the main topic.

Victor and Vitali loved everything, but without doubt, the favourites of the boys were the slides, where they would have remained forever. The boys also thought that Latvia was more beautiful than Estonia – decorated more and more nicely.

After arriving home, Viktor and Vitali could not stop talking and sharing their feelings, as positive emotions were really overflowing. The long drive was totally worth it, as it gave so many great emotions and experience for the beginning of the year. The impressions lasted for several days afterwards.

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