April 30, 2011

Surviving Toledo.

It's the end of our holidays. We're* pooped. We've* put up with a lot of rain. We've* seen a lot of cobble-stoned streets and old churches. Despite this, we** tried for more. 

To survive Toledo (Spain) in the rain, you need to be prepared.

First of all, no matter how many crap toys you have at home, nor despite the  innate knowledge that your parents wouldn't have gotten you a toy sword, nor even the meagre of number of days that have passed since the most recent birthday, you have to buy toy swords immediately upon arrival. (One per child, of course.) Unless you do this ASAP you will be plagued with pestered pleas and be rendered a completely incompetent adult, never mind an uninterested tourist.

Before sword purchase.

After sword purchase.

The rules you set about no fighting will be meaningless and wisp away with the wind, but never mind. You'll get to see at least some sights, like another cathedral. Which we** loved. 

Now, the swords will buy you some time, but you'll in no ways have time for a leisurely Spanish lunch. Instead you must opt for the nutritionally-ambiguous hot dog from the lurid orange Potato Shop (don't ask - I'm sure it's a translation issue). Don't get yourself a hotdog. You* can survive the afternoon on a canned Nestea.

When you see a playground, go there. And go there quickly. It will keep the little knights busy for at least 20 minutes as you try to figure out where you are in the labyrinth of Toledian streets.

When, at the end of the day, you congratulate yourself for successfully navigating the ridiculous cobweb of uphill streets, countless knightly arguments, morose cathedrals, dry tapas and a curious lack of bathrooms, do not - DO NOT - be tempted to purchase yourself a traditional Toledian souvenir.

After all, you* have Madrid to contend with tomorrow.

* I, me, Andrea
** Donal

p.s. Regardless of the day's trials, I still loved that I was in the original Toledo after having spent so much of my life in and around the Ohioan version.

April 28, 2011


18 Days. With my inlaws. And my children. And it rained. A lot.

Okay. That's being dramatic. In actual fact, we've had a great time and it didn't rain that much. Well, okay, it did rain that much, but that's okay. Otherwise I'd have just spent my days beside the pool not getting out to see some of the fantastic sights in the area near our Finca - Finca Los Caballos in Coín.

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We went to a couple beaches at Fuengiroles and Marbella. (Marbella being decidedly more upmarket of the two.) The beaches were nice, but they were hard, grey sand and not all that easy on our sweet feet. I'd prefer a pool any day, but the boys loved playing in the sand.

Since the drives were pretty long and Moorish castles aren't their thing, Donal and I ditched the kids and went to The Alcazár in Seville and The Alhambra in Granada. The Alhambra is said by some to be the most beautiful building in Europe. That's a tough statement to live up to, and I was a little disappointed at the end of it all. I thought the Alcazár was much more accessible and equally as spectacular. 

We had lots of fun at our Finca, goofing around with Nana and Grandad.

As well as taking some time to just chill out.

We leave the Finca tomorrow to head for Toledo. One night there and then off to Madrid for two nights before heading back to The Big Smoke.

April 26, 2011


Happy Birthday, Elliot! You've been on this planet for 4 years and you've made it a much sillier, crazier and curious place. We love you so much.

April 7, 2011

Spring has sprung.

My memories of April begin when Elliot was born. I remember being released, near delirious, from UCH into bright sunshine and warm temps. 

Since then, I've always paid attention to the weather around this time. And, since then, the weather has always been unseasonably good in these 3-4 weeks.
April, 2008

April 2009

April 2010

This year is no different. Yesterday and today were both 70 F (I refuse to go C - it makes no sense) and the forecast is more to come. Which means...

Impromptu BBQs...

...ice cream for lunch

...smiles where there are normally punches

...and Crocs in our favorite colors!