Friday, August 16, 2013


Hurry! I have to finish the trip recap because other things are happening, like the 6th anniversary of when my tiny infant baby boy exited my womb, and if I don't blog while the memory is fresh I shall forget entirely.

His birthday, not his exit.
That I remember vividly. Especially the part after he was born when there were about ten people waltzing here and there around the room and no one had thought to pull the sheet back down over my knees. I couldn't do it myself because the beautiful, wonderful epidural had rendered me motionless.

Just airing things out, I guess. 

But that doesn't really have a lot to do with our trip, now does it?

We left off with us leaving Ronda and heading toward Granada.

We were going for "flexible"on this trip, so we waited until we were sure we were ready to move on from the beach before booking our hotel in Granada. We randomly picked a place and got lucky.
This was our view from our corner room, which ended up being a suite with separate bedrooms.

That little detail made my husband a happy man. I shall not expound on that.

The hotel had a rooftop terrace and pool with great views.

After we dropped off our bags, we headed out to see the city and find some tapas.


Sangria and a load off. It had been a long day of driving and sightseeing on the way over.

 The key to taking children with you while tapas-hopping is bringing electronic babysitters.

Kids in a bar= Normal in Spain

Then we took it up a notch from kids in a bar to kids at the bar.

I think Derek just had a strong shot.

After a night's rest, we headed to see the Alhambra, which is the most-toured attraction in Spain.

Click the link for the wiki history lesson or take my word that the Alhambra is an old Muslim palace/fortress with incredible gardens and preserved buildings.

We took the sting out of "grown-up" touring by choosing the hop-on-hop-off bus as our means of transport. The kids have been drooling to get on the top of one of those buses ever since we arrived in Madrid.

The route here passes our apartment every 20 minutes (read: we live on a street other people tour. Yeah, we're that important.)

I jest. But we do have a cool street.

So we took the bus up the mountain to the Alhambra. Later that day we would read that a tour bus in Italy crashed into a deep ravine and I would be grateful for safety and also that I read that after our trip up the windy roads.

I can't do justice to the gardens there, so I wont even try.

The kids liked to run and hide along the paths.

View from the fortress tower

Taking the bus around town.

Followed by more sangria and tapas.

Spaniards consider sangria a tourist drink. We're okay with that.

Dinner hour in Spain starts somewhere between 9 and 10 typically, and since our American stomachs are hungry earlier, we prefer to have tapas (small plates of appetizers that come with your drinks or sometimes big ones to share as in the picture above.)

Here in Madrid we know of a couple restaurants where we can eat dinner as early as 8:30, so occasionally we do that. Most of the time, if we're going to eat out we'll do the big mid-day meal and stay home for dinner.  But tapas are fun now and then as well.

The next day we got up and headed back home. It was about a 4 hour drive home, and once we walked in the door it was about 40 minutes until Josh had all the suitcases unpacked and back in the closets. He's the yin to my yang. The butter to my toast. The only one of us with motivation for such trivial nonsense like unpacking.

And it was about 4 days later that I was finally caught up with all the laundry. I will say that clothes hang dry a lot faster in August than they do in February.

That's my glass-half-full comment for not having a dryer.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rota y Ronda

Look at me, actually continuing my trip recap.

After checking out the Roman ruins in Mérida, we pressed on to Rota Naval Air Station.
It's near Cádiz, underlined on the map.

Josh had to go there to have his annual flight physical done, and thankfully he passed. We weren't entirely sure if he would, given the way he likes to break his falls with his face.

And hand. And knee. And wrist. And shoulder.

Once his appointments were out of the way, we were free to relax.
There is a beach right on the base, which was lovely and very convenient. And the water was like taking a bath! I never knew the Atlantic got so warm.

Alex and Derek, like most kids, love the beach. And I love watching them love the beach.
They are never still for a moment-- constantly running to and from the water, building sandcastles, looking for shells, writing in the sand, more swimming, mud pies...
They leave sandy, brown, exhausted, starving, and happy.
There is just something right about kids playing on the beach. Maybe it's the freedom to be as dirty as they want. I don't know, but I like it.

We stayed 5 days in Rota, enjoying the beach and a taste of America.

Things I shall remark on:

1) When we went into the commissary (the base grocery store) the kids were blown away. "I remember these! Mom! Fruit Snacks! Pop Tarts! Capri Suns!"
And so on and so forth.
The biggest hit by far was string cheese.
I'm sure some of these things are available here if I looked hard enough, but the small market where we usually stock up does leave a few things to be desired. 

2) We saw two movies. In English. And 3-D.

Despicable Me 2 and Monster's University.
I liked the latter better, if you care to know.

3) We went bowling.

4) We ate sand at Taco Bell.

5) We were reunited with humidity. I'd forgotten what it does to my hair.
Hence, not a lot of pictures with me in them.

Madrid gets very hot, but thankfully it's a dry heat. And compared with what everyone has warned us about for summer heat, so far we've gotten off pretty easy. (Knocking on wood.)

Once we had our fill of little America, we got back on the road to head to our next destination, a stop in the beautiful city of Ronda.

 Ronda is a city built on and around gorgeous mountains and cliffs. It almost looks fake in this picture.

You'll have to take my word for how high the overlooks are, and the incredible ways they were able to build bridges across deep canyons. For I am not a good enough photographer to do it justice.

This shot only shows part of this bridge-- it just keeps going down farther.

We had another yummy Spanish lunch.

And then we got back on the road to where we were spending the next two nights-- Granada.