Yes, I know it’s February. January turned out to be a bit of a crazy month, mostly because one or another of us has been sick since we got home from Spain. So here’s the long-awaited post on what we did in Sevilla on our last day in Spain.
First of all, we drove. It’s three hours from where we were staying in little Béznar to Sevilla, the longest stretch we drove during our vacation. We don’t mind driving (kind of look back on it nostalgically when we remember our time living on the West Coast), and our kids are great travelers.… Read more
It just so happened that two other families from the children’s school were also vacationing in Spain this year. For Christmas Eve, they invited us to come spend the evening in the cute little house where they were staying. The road to their house was auspiciously announced by this sign, which proclaimed it, ‘Land of Luck’.
We certainly thought we were lucky to be spending Christmas Eve with the Ords and the Bardsleys. The children disappeared immediately to go exploring together in the little canyon right outside the door, while the adults made sangria and Christmas Eve Chili.
Later Jason broke out his ukelele and we sang Christmas carols together in front of a roaring fire.… Read more
One of the disadvantages of planning as you go when it comes to travel is that the logistics don’t always end up being quite as convenient as they might have been. When I booked our cute little house near Granada, the only thing we had planned to do for sure was to visit the Alhambra. From which point of view, renting a house a half hour away made all kinds of sense. However, when you zoom out on Andalucía, you notice that Granada isn’t exactly centrally located. Córdoba, for instance, is three hours away by car. Fortunately, we like road-tripping as much as other forms of travel.… Read more
The way we ended up planning our trip was to alternate days of heavy sightseeing with more relaxing days. On one of those relaxing days involving lazy mornings and naps, we decided to take an afternoon hike in the Sierra Nevada National Park, just a few kilometres from where we were staying. A few days earlier, while on our ill-fated puke drive, I had seen a sign that said it was 19 kilometres to the Sierra Nevada National Park. I assumed that meant there would be an official entrance where we could park, and then some well-marked hiking trails and picnic areas.… Read more
You may be surprised to hear that our trip to Spain was virtually unplanned. We bought our plane tickets and booked our house, but other than that the only thing we did was book our tickets to the Alhambra in Granada. The Alhambra is on every list of must-do’s in Spain. It’s perhaps the most well-known remnant of al-Andalus, the name given to Spain during its over 700 years as a Muslim civilization. Tickets to the Alhambra tend to sell out, so I made sure to get ours early. It just so happened that some Amsterdam friends from our children’s school were also in Spain for the holidays, and had booked their Alhambra tickets on the Monday before Christmas as well.… Read more
No, the title is not a fancy Spanish term for something else. We literally ended up calling this particular (low) part in our vacation “the puke drive.” Sunday morning we did not wake up in the best of spirits. There are moments like these on every vacation, I suppose; moments in which things just don’t go well. In our case, the moment managed to last all day.
It started out with morning coffee. Tony and I are accustomed to going to coffee on weekend mornings in Amsterdam. In fact, our favourite dates tend to be these coffee mornings, where we can just relax, connect, and enjoy one another’s company.… Read more
The next day was forecasted to be the hottest of our vacation, so we determined to spend it at the beach. However, I couldn’t resist also planning in some sightseeing. We decided to drive down the coast to Málaga, one of Andalucía’s major cities, and a well-known beach resort. When I read that the Alcazaba (Moorish fort) there was the only parallel to the Krak des Chevaliers in Syria, I knew we had to visit it.
We parked in an underground parking lot near the Alcazaba and managed to walk all the way round it and up and down several staircases before finally finding the entrance, which rises just behind a tumbledown Roman theatre.… Read more
Back when we were first planning our Christmas trip to Spain, Tony and I had differing ideas about what the best sort of vacation would be. I advocated taking the entire three weeks the children would be off school (plus weekends on either end) and planning a grand extravaganza road trip through the entire Iberian Peninsula. Tony’s ideal vacation is more soaking up the sun on the beach for a week. So we compromised. Rather than booking a new hotel in a new city every day or two and spending the entire trip on the road, we found a darling little house in the Lecrín valley, between Granada (home of the Alhambra, my top must-see in Spain) and the coast.… Read more
Between the terrible internet and so many exciting things to do, I didn’t manage to post the rest of our trip to Spain, but I’ve been writing posts as we went along, so I’ll post the rest of our vacation over the next week or so.
The morning after our day at the Prado, we got up bright and early and had the iconic Spanish breakfast: hot chocolate and churros. It’s as decadent as it sounds, and the Spanish chocolate is thick and creamy enough that it’s perfect for dipping. Surprisingly, nobody ended up with an upset stomach.
After breakfast we retrieved our rented car from the underground dungeon where it had spent our entire time in Madrid, and headed south into the province of La Mancha.… Read more
After a drizzly few months of autumn and winter in Amsterdam, nothing sounded better than Christmas in Spain. Axa and Raj get a whopping three weeks off of school, so we were able to take advantage of extra cheap plane flights to Madrid. We flew in Tuesday evening, and finally made it to our apartment sometime after one in the morning. Our host, Felix, graciously waited up for us to let us in. After three years of trying to understand Puerto Rican Spanish in Florida, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I’d forgotten the Spanish I learned on my mission to Chile.… Read more