Notice anything different about the post title for this #SixesInSpain update? It’s the first time there hasn’t been three, four, and five cities in the list of places we’ve been for the week. And let me tell you, we can feel it. We’ve been in one spot for a week now, and it feels really, really good. Don’t get me wrong, I wish we could pack in as much of Spain as possible in this visit. But sometimes you have to know when to stop and smell the churros. And so we’re wrapping up the last leg of our visit by living like Spaniards on a typical holiday – in this case in the wonderfully charming beach town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. But more on that in a minute.
When we last left you, we were just beginning the portion of the trip where I fly (Figuratively, not literally. I’ve had enough of Ryanair flights for a lifetime, thankyouverymuch) solo with the kids. Mike returned to the states on Friday, leaving the kids and I on our own for the last 12 days of our trip. He made it home safely, and quickly stocked up on Kraft mac and cheese and Totinos Party Pizzas (whereas on this end I’m contemplating if I can feasibly devote one entire suitcase to Spanish foods and treats).
We spent a few more days in Sevilla with my cousin, Elena. In case you’re wondering, my Elena is named after her. We are only a few months apart, and I have many fond memories of spending time with her as a girl in Spain. Like every member of my mother’s family that we’ve spent time with here, Elena and her family are the most gracious and fun hosts you could have. We are so very lucky.
On Friday my Tito Alejandro took us, along with Elena’s daughter, Huga, into Sevilla. We visited Plaza de Espana and Parque Maria Luisa. These were both used as part of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The kids most enjoyed a section of the park known as Parque de las Palomas. It’s filled with pigeons, as well as strategically placed vendors selling bird seed. I tried to be a casual observer of the feathered frenzy, but this guy had other plans.
Saturday was a very special day. My favorite senorita turned 12! It was definitely a different kind of birthday for her. I didn’t have presents for her to open (although I did have a bakery wrap up her favorite Spanish pastry – a chocolate croissant with sprinkles on top). Elena and David had a little gathering for her, and David whipped up the most delicious paella. Probably not Elena’s first choice, but the woman that gave birth to her was happy! I was able to sneak out to a bakery and buy a typical Spanish cake to surprise her with, though.
On Sunday morning we took the bus to Sanlúcar, where my Tita Hortensia and Uncle Bill have a home. It feels SO good to stay planted in one spot for more than a few days. For the first time since June we have unpacked our suitcases and put our clothes in actual closets! Sanlúcar is situated on the southwest coast of Spain, where the Rio Guadalquivir meets the Atlantic Ocean. It’s not the most beautiful beach, but it’s calm and shallow – perfect for young swimmers like Eli. We are just a block from the beach. The town of Sanlúcar, of which the heart is just a 5 minute walk from the house, is true Spain: wide pedestrian walkways for leisurely evening paseos (strolls), lots of bars, cafes and pastry shops, stores, and a wonderful market. Sanlúcar is a fishing town, and you’ll find seafood in this market you won’t see anywhere else.
Our typical days have looked like this: Wake up whenever we feel like it (usually around 9:30 am). Eat breakfast at home, or walk a few blocks to a cafe for churros and chocolate. Sometimes we take a walk in town to see what the fisherman have brought to market or to buy bread. Sometimes we take a late morning trip to the beach. We eat a large lunch at home at the typical Spanish hour of 2 or 3 pm. Sometimes we hang around for a siesta or some reading time in my new favorite reading spot:
Other times we head to the beach. We usually stay at the beach until 7 or so, and then come home to shower. Then we walk into town for a manzanilla (a type of wine only made in Sanlúcar) and a tapa. And, of course, the obligatory ice cream. Because the town is so small and easy to navigate, I often send Elena and Eli off with a few Euros and let them walk around together while we sit and enjoy the food and wine. And then we do it all over again the next day!
Today is our last full day here. Tomorrow we’ll get on the high-speed train (See! I told you we’d use virtually every mode of transportation available on this trip!) and head back to Madrid. We have one full day in Madrid to finish up a bit of shopping, eat as much as humanly possible, and organize the suitcases. On Wednesday morning, we fly home.
If y’all are the praying time, I’d love for you to pray for safe, uncomplicated travels for us. I’m looking at 3 flights in one day, with a very short layover on the last leg. I’d really, really love to sleep in my own bed at the end of the day, not at the airport in Philadelphia!
Once we’re home, unpacked, and back on Hoosier time, I’ll get to work editing photos and sharing some of my favorites with you. Thanks so much for following along on this trip of a lifetime. I hope we’ve kept you entertained, but more than anything, I hope we’ve stoked a desire within you to visit this beautiful country and its friendly people very soon. You won’t regret it!