Now that we’re done with that…

If you’d like to see more pictures, there is a post about our trip on my sister’s blog. The link is at the right of your screen, Two Of Us Writing.

And now, on to other things.

Like helping Daddy!
Hmmmm… How do you work this thing?

4/19/08 – 4/22/08

19 April

Does this carseat mean we’re going home?Today we rented a car to tour some of the White Hills Towns south of Seville. BigKid was unusually excited about the carseat, and cried when I took her out to adjust something. I didn’t realize until later, that she probably associated the carseat with home (having only been riding in planes and subway trains since we left home), and was excited about that prospect. Poor kid.

After about an hour and a half of trying to figure out this carseat with none of the hardware I’m used to having, we were finally on the road. I don’t remember how long it was after that (not long, I think) that we stumbled upon this sight.
Of course we had to turn in. And once we got there, we discovered that there were no tour guides or fences, and all the doors were unlocked and open. The guys were all out of the car before it stopped rolling.

I explored a little with them, then went back to sit with BigKid so Lindsay could look too. It was too rainy and cold to bother with getting BigKid out of the car. Plus there was the 3′ wide rushing torrent of water we had to cross to get there that I wasn’t real confident about making while I was holding her.

They call this place a castle, but we decided that it’s more of an outpost. It may have been larger at one point, but we couldn’t find any other outside doors besides the one we came in. Was very cool to be able to look around it.

Then we got back in the car and headed down the road. Many confusing road changes later, we found Acros de le frontera, which chewed us up and spit us out. In this picture, you can see 3 buildings across what looks like 3 points. Very cool. the front one is a church, from what we understand. We spent at least 45 minutes on roads so narrow that we had to pull the mirrors in for fear that they would be scraped off on buildings, and switchbacks we barely made, up ridiculously steep grades. We made it halfway to the church, maybe. Then we apparently took the wrong switchback and ended up on that bridge about 2 minutes later.
At which point, we decided that we’d had enough of Acros and moved on to Zahara, which has a much more clear access to their castle. See where the castle is? Where the white buildings seem to meet the rocky hill behind them? The church steeple? That’s where you start walking. At least you can see the building you’re trying to get to, but oh man what a hike. (note the olive trees in the foreground. A very familiar sight.) Not hard to understand why this castle was the last Moorish outpost that the Spaniards were able to conquer.
Zahara from the castle. And more olive trees.

The top of the castle. Trying to stay out of the wind, really still not wanting anyone but Mommy to hold her.Inside the castle.

Once we had decided that we’d had enough fun there, we walked back down the hill in the pouring rain and drove on to our next stop, Ronda. We stayed the night in Ronda, and it was lovely. BigKid got to test out her new raincoat again.

We took a walk over this gorgeous (and very, very tall) old bridge.

Stopped here to gawk at the scenery and take some pictures.
And had supper in a pub with a bunch of babies running around. The waiter at the first restaurant we stopped at tipped us off to this pub. He said that if he didn’t get free food at that place, he’d eat here at San Domingo. We agreed with him completely. The food was delicious, very well priced, and the atmosphere was to die for. Who can resist 4 adorable little kids running around? Certainly no one in this pub, everyone else was playing with them too.

20 April

In the morning, we took a little drive across the “arab bridge” and stopped to gawk at the scenery there too. Then we almost didn’t make it up the very steep hill on the other side. Yikes.

Then, after a long, very windy road, one small upset stomach, and a bunch of yachts, (and a brand new Aston Martin Vanquish in the rich people part of town) we made it to the Mediterranean Sea in Malaga. We got our fingers (and our shoes) wet, and then hustled off the beach to play at the big playground before the rain came in too hard.

This church is unfinished on the other side due to lack of funding. (See here.)
It is pretty cool nonetheless. We had a fantastic lunch here, and almost lost our backpack to some scam artists. But all is well, and Andrew has quick reflexes.


That’s the last of my pictures in Spain. We drove back to Seville and Andrew and I went out to a Flamenco show while BigKid played with Lindsay in the apartment, that was very cool. On the 21st, we packed our bags, went out for a traditional Spanish breakfast (yum!), and did a little bit of touristy shopping before we had to catch our flight back to Paris. We spent the night there, and then flew home on the 22nd.

And after we’d been awake and travelling for 20 hours, we arrived home to find this.


And we got stuck a mile from home. My poor little car couldn’t handle the drifts, so we had to call our friend to come take us home, and Andrew plowed the car out the next day. We’ve been pretty warm the last 2 days, so there’s hardly anything left, but we sure were sorry that we didn’t bring our winter coats to the airport with us.

4/13/08 – 4/18/08

Oh, I forgot one of the highlights of the 13th. Lindsay and Ross took BigKid and kicked Andrew and I out of the house for supper. So we looked through the guidebook and found a yummy sounding restaurant near to a metro stop (so we wouldn’t get lost!) and ended up at Restaurant Pasco. Excellent food, fantastic atmosphere, and we had a lovely conversation with the couple next to us who were from Minnesota. I would highly recommend this restaurant. Andrew had beef medallions, I had seared tuna, and we shared the red berry sorbet with meringue for dessert. Delicious.

14 April

L’Arc de Triomphe.
It’s a lot bigger than I expected. In the middle of a never ending sea of traffic. You have to go through a tunnel to get there, because the motorists are not going to stop for you.

Windy and rainy today, and we still have a feverish baby, so into Mommy’s coat (and the wrap) she goes!

15 April
Today we left Paris for Seville. But we had to be out of the apartment at 11, and didn’t need to be at the airport until 5, so we had some time to kill. With 3 backpacks and 4 duffel bags, that’s not an easy prospect. We had grand plans to take a boat tour, but ended up taking an easy day and hanging out at a couple of cafes and a park instead. No pictures today.

16 April
Today we decided to take it easy. We hung around the Lindsay and Ross’ apartment and didn’t do too much. We go on their “standard” afternoon walk across the bridge and down the river a bit, then went home and let BigKid have a good nap. No pictures today either.

17 April
Today we got ambitious and decided to see some of Seville’s old town. We found (okay, we knew it was there) this beautiful cathedral. I don’t have any pictures of the outside, not sure why I didn’t think of that. Inside, it’s a bit of a labrynth, hallways and rooms going every which way. very pretty though.

It is also where you can find Christopher Columbus’ tomb.

18 April
Today Andrew and BigKid and I went out alone to let Lindsay and Ross get some work done, then we met up again for supper. After we got done at the cathedral yesterday, we did a little shopping and replaced the stroller that we forgot at baggage claim in Paris. BigKid was very excited about her new “cart”.

Here she is at the Moorish castle next to the cathedral.

This castle is very interesting. It’s a total hodge-podge of all the tastes of all the people who have used it. Very cool though. From what we could understand, some of the planning for Christopher Columbus’ trip to North America happened here.

Castle courtyard. The gardens here are beautiful.

4/12/08 – 4/13/08

12 April
Today we got up and braved the high speed train in the metro system. The one that goes to Versailles. What a beautiful place. It used to be a hunting lodge. The kind that only a king would have, obviously. Louis XIV, to be precise. Then he decided to move to the country and made Versailles his home instead of Paris (the Louvre!).

The little wanna-be Parisian with her pain au chocolat. Yum!

Here is the entrance. Less than half of the palace is visible in this picture.

These statues just fascinated me. The cloth looks like if you were to touch it, it would move.

The famous hall of mirrors. This is where the balls were held. Just imagine all of us tourists in ball gowns and fancy suits. And without the headphones.

And out to the gardens. For as far as your eye can see.

We couldn’t find any signs to tell us what all these doors are for, but we really want to know. This is another of those places where you really wish they’d let you just roam wherever you wanted to.

It was a bit windy.

Looking back at the palace from the gardens.


And what better to finish a day of walking around palaces than a giant plate of sauerkraut and meat? Ross and Andrew shared this, and there was so much that they couldn’t finish it. Or didn’t want to, maybe. 5 kinds of sausage, bacon, and a pork knuckle. And a whopping pile of cholesterol.
April 13
Today we visited Louis XIV’s other palace, the Louvre. This one is pretty incredible too, and they let you into almost all of it, I think. Of course, most of it is renovated too, I believe. The pyramids, for sure, aren’t original. But they make for interesting pictures.

Like this one of Andrew and BigKid having a snack.

The crowd waiting to get in.


And how funny is it that Ross and I took the same picture, but from opposite sides of the castle?

Here’s mine.

And here’s Ross’, looking back at me, apparently.

The little art connoisseur.
What in the world are these people looking at?
Oh. The Mona Lisa.
I wasn’t as impressed by this picture as some of the others in the museum.

Stay tuned. I hope to have the rest of the trip up tomorrow. We didn’t take as many pictures in Spain, because we spent so much time relaxing.

April 9 – April 11

We’re home again finally. All of us glad to be here, but we very much enjoyed our trip, illness and all. So now you finally get a good update with pictures. I’m going to try to get these pictures into chronological order. Some of them you’ve seen before, most you haven’t. Photo credit for lots of them goes to Ross Williams, and I thank him for that.

April 9, 2008
We left Edmonton at 1030am, and with a couple of stops in between, flew to Paris. We arrived there on April 10.
First picture: BigKid waiting for the plane in Edmonton. She had no idea what she was in for, poor kid. By the time we got home last night, she was really done with planes. She still wants to wear this horse every time she sees it.


April 10
Arrived in Paris, made our way to the apartment and crawled into bed.
While we were in Paris, we decided to rent an apartment instead of staying at a hotel, and we’re very glad we did. We actually saved money per night, plus we had a kitchen and a good common area that we wouldn’t have had if we’d been in a hotel. It is small, but very cute and just what we needed. It is in a quiet building in a quiet neighborhood, with a great view and great little shops around. Here is the view out from the front balcony, you can just see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.


We arrived in the morning and had time for a nap and some lunch before Lindsay and Ross arrived in the evening. As you can tell, a certain little girl is still exhausted from the 20+ hours of traveling.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.

April 11
Time for some sight-seeing. We only have 5 days and we want to make the most of them.
This little boulangerie (bakery) Was just across the road from us and about 10 feet down the sidewalk. Apparently, they win awards for their bread. We sure liked it. BigKid’s favorite is pain au chocolat (essentially a croissant wrapped around chocolate).

Photo credit: Ross Williams.

Here we are on the Metro. I was pleasantly surprised with the Metro system in Paris. It’s easy to use, there were stops everywhere we wanted to be, and it’s really pretty clean. And one thing that was very nice for me, is that most people will give you their seat if you are packing a kid around. You can see Andrew in this picture standing at the next doorway.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.


We got off the Metro and walked about 2 blocks (okay, like 5, but we took a wrong turn) and what did we stumble upon? Notre Dame Cathedral. This place is absolutely amazing. The size and detail and intricacy are unbelievable when you consider that it is 700 years old. All the little men you see behind us were decapitated during the Revolution.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.

Here we are in the gardens behind the cathedral, with all the blooming flowers and millions of pigeons. BigKid was quite enthralled with the pigeons, as you can tell by the fact that she wouldn’t look at the camera.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.

Here we are after a little walk, across the Seine and a few blocks away from Notre Dame. On the other side of the bridge (same side of the river, across the road) is Pont Neuf. Here, you can see Andrew putting one of BigKid’s shoes back on. This proved to be a big problem.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.

Then we went home for a little nap, and after the nap went back out to see that other great landmark, the Eiffel Tower. It was bigger than I expected it to be. Not sure why.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.

Photo credit: me.

At night, there is a spectacular light show on the Eiffel Tower, (the first 10 minutes of every hour) and we just happened to be there when it started. It was much more subdued in the view from our apartment. But beautiful either way.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.Across the street from the Eiffel Tower is a cute little carousel. Which also, apparently, is the fastest moving carousel in the world (I don’t know that that’s actually a fact.). It was fast enough that BigKid was scared to stay on the horse, and was certainly the fastest one I can remember being on.
Photo credit: Ross Williams.

So we moved to a little couch thing, and she liked that much better. Maybe because then she could take one hand off to wave at Daddy every time we went past. She was also quite entertained by Uncle Ross running around the carousel trying to take her picture as we went by at breakneck speeds.

Photo credit: Ross Williams.

One last update from Europe.

We’ll do a nice big update with lots of pictures in a couple of days.

We’ve spent the last couple of days driving through some hill towns south of Seville. Beautiful old towns with ancient churches and parts of old moorish castles still standing. The history and scenery is incredible, and we had such a great time driving around there.

This morning, we all got to touch the Mediterranean Sea, which was very cool.

Tomorrow evening we head back to Paris for the night before we head home again Tuesday morning.

We’ve had a great time here, and are looking forward to visiting again soon, but as BigKid says, we’re all ready for “home!”

PICTURES!!!

Lindsay’s cable does, in fact, work for my camera, so we have some pictures. Lots of others on Ross’ camera, but these will tide you over, I’m sure. However, I don’t know how to resize them on this computer, so they’re pretty big. We also can’t figure out how to turn them, but you get the idea.

Little international traveler, waiting for a plane.

BigKid and Lindsay at the Eiffel Tower.

BigKid’s first Carousel ride. Ross apparently has much better pictures.
She got scared after a few times around and wanted to go sit in a regular seat instead.

All wrapped up at Versailles.

Croissant on the Metro. She fit right in.

Dodging rain at L’Arc de Triomphe.
A little snack with Daddy at the Louvre.

Quick recap

of the last few days. Haven’t been on the computer much, trying to recouperate. Seems that we’ve been hit by some sort of a nasty cold bug. I am on the mend now, and Andrew’s just starting, Lindsay and BigKid are in the middle somewhere, and I don’t know about Ross. Starts off as a nasty sore throat, then you get a doozy of a fever for about 3 days, then coughing for a few more days. I have never loved my wrap more though, since my feverish little girl hasn’t wanted anyone else to touch her for the last 3 days, it’s been a life/sanity/arm saver.

We’ve been powering through though, made much easier by the fact that BigKid can and will sleep in the wrap when need be, and we’ve managed to see a lot of things. We spent some time at the Louvre, Andrew and I got to go out by ourselves to a fabulous restaurant while BigKid had supper at the apartment with Aunty & Uncle. And yesterday we spent mostly sitting at cafes, drinking coffee and whiling away the hours between when we had to check out of the apartment and when we needed to be at the airport to head to Seville.

And now I’m writing from Lindsay & Ross’ apartment in Seville. We haven’t done much here yet but sleep, though we did have some delicious tapas last night after we dropped off our bags.

Real quick

Before I get chased out the door. I’ll elaborate on this later when I have pictures.

Last night after I updated we visited the Eiffel Tower, which is incredible.

Today we spent the morning and a good part of the afternoon at Versailles. What an amazing place. I sat in the garden with BigKid in the wrap and listened to classical music and watched the fountains and thought about how it must have looked when Louis XIV lived there. The architecture and detail are unbelievable. I only wish that they let us see more of it.

BigKid’s having a hard time with the time change. She’s so set into her schedule that this is throwing her for a loop. We are 8 hours ahead of “normal” here. She did okay today though. Fell asleep in the wrap for the first time in ages, and she’s in such good humor all the time. People on the metro love to chat with her, and she loves the attention.

PS. About the camera… We think that we can use Lindsay’s camera cord for my camera, but we have to wait until we get to Spain to find out.

Vive la France!

Writing today from beautiful, sunny Paris, France. Pictures will come later as we forgot to bring the cord that connects the camera to the computer.

We got in yesterday morning, with all our luggage intact, except for the stroller that we forgot we checked and left at the airport. But we’ll manage, I’m sure. Lindsay and Ross made it yesterday evening from Sevilla, and we had supper at a fantastic little restaurant-bar called Les Tontons.

This morning, we went for a little walk around part of the historic area. We saw Notre Dam, Pont-Neuf, Saint Michel, and a few others. The history and architecture are incredible.

My 5 years of high school French are coming in handy. I don’t understand everything, but I can communicate well enough, and it’s all coming back quickly. I’m picking up bits and pieces of conversation from people on the street, and for the most part, people are very patient with me.

BigKid is not real impressed with the time change and us not letting her sleep when she usually does, but she’s doing very well, and in good humor. She loves all the pigeons and is very disappointed when she says hi to people on the street and they don’t reply.

We are staying at a very cute little apartment with a bit of a view of the Eiffel Tower, so we can watch the light show at night. There are lots of little shops around, a produce market right across the street and a great little boulangerie (bakery) just a couple shops down from there.