Alright … new strategy here. Whatever notion I had that I would be able to edit and upload all my photos, and subsequently write in the detail each destination deserves, while we were on vacation … and actually enjoy our vacation as well? Well, that notion went out the window a few days in. Instead I’m going to give some highlights from our week, let you know what we’ve been up to, and share a few iPhone photos. Then, once we’re back and I have some time to give each of these amazing places the time they deserve, I’ll share my thoughts and favorite photos with you. In short, welcome to the summer of 2014 and the Six Family extended slide show. At least you can get up, get drinks, and go to the bathroom without offending anyone!
Overall, the trip has been amazing and everything is going really, really well. There have been a few bumps and tense moments (as expected), but there have been far more moments that will be treasured family memories. I’ll admit, I was nervous about traveling with the kids. They are amazing travelers, though, and they’ve been troopers through some endless days of sightseeing. At the same time, they’ve opened windows with their curiosity that many adult travelers probably miss. I will treasure these memories
So I left you after our visit to Toledo. The following day, Friday, was our last day in Madrid. We hit up the Royal Palace. It was cool to be there and know that in just a few days, a coronation would be taking place. Earlier this week King Juan Carlos turned the throne over to his son. The palace is amazing, but what blew our minds the most was the Stradivarius room. One room housed a full quartet of authentic Stradivarius instruments, with each instrument valued at $15 million! We finally had churros. I’m not sure why this isn’t a daily habit, but I do know that we’ll probably spend over $200 in ice cream alone this trip. We eat it at least once a day, if not more. That’s my kind of vacation. We also visited the Reina Sofia museum, to see Picasso’s Guernica, and strolled through Retiro Park. That evening we watched the first Spanish match of the World Cup in a bar with my cousins. After that terrible outcome, we significantly expanded our repertoire of Spanish insults.
On Saturday we had our first experience with flying Ryanair. Let me just say, I’ve flown many times in my life, and I’ve never felt like I might have a panic attack and vomit at the same time like I did this day. Our first mistake was not encouraging my uncle to get us to the airport a little sooner. We basically had 45 minutes to check a bag, get through security, and make it to our gate. With Ryanair, if you’re not there when they close the gate (usually 20 minutes before taking off), you lose your seat. We go to check our bag, and it’s 7 kilos over the weight we paid for. Fine, you think, right? No. It’s 10 Euros per kilo you’re over. So basically, it was going to cost us more to check our bag that it was for our entire family to fly to London. Insert mad dash to redistribute items in other bags. We finally get that situated, only to face a long line at security. After we got through security, we had 15 minutes to get to our gate. Insert mad dash to gate. This is all on little sleep and empty stomachs. Not good. We made it though, and learned a few valuable Ryanair lessons along the way.
London was amazing, and I fell in love with the city. It was impossible to get more than a taste in only 3 days, but I really hope to return some day. A few highlights: strolling through Regents Park with Eli, the wonder that is an ice cream cone with a Flake bar stuck in the middle, watching the Changing of the Guard, a Beefeater tour at the Tower of London, dinner with my cousin, and visiting the Warner Bros. Studio where Harry Potter was filmed.
We left London on Tuesday morning and landed in Barcelona. In my previous travels to Spain, I’ve never been to Barcelona. But after only two days, I’m smitten. It’s a beautiful city. Everywhere you go, there’s something gorgeous, whether it’s architecture, a shop window full of pastries, or a terrace spilling over with flowers. I also loved all the ramblas, wide streets with space in the middle for cafes and strolling. We stayed in the loveliest guest house, which after our extremely cramped quarters in London, was just what we needed. Besides our stroll along Las Ramblas and through Barri Gòtic, we loved visiting the market (La Boqueria). There are no words for Sagrada Familia, it moved me to tears. We also spent an afternoon on the beach. After days of go, go, go sightseeing, the kids needed some down time. What we probably didn’t need was the full male nudity! There are things we can’t unsee!
Thursday afternoon we flew to Sevilla, the last of our flights until we go home. We rented a car for a week. Thankfully, my cousin Elena met us at the airport and drove us in the rental car to her house. We had a lovely dinner at her home. We’re spending the next few days on the road, driving through the little white villages of Andalucia and finishing up the next week in Sevilla.
In the meantime, you can continue to follow along on Instagram. Until next time, hasta luego!