Well, I’m back from our vacation, well rested and ready to get back to my blog! On May 18 we left for New York to attend my stepdaughter’s graduation from the MBA program at New York University and then we flew to Spain for a three week road trip. I had an amazing time with Richard and the kids. I was serious about taking a break from all things sewing related. That means that I didn’t go into one fabric store in New York or Spain. Crazy, huh?! I was planning on a little quick fabric shopping trip in Barcelona with Cristina, a reader who lives there, but fate didn’t want me to because it was the one day on the trip I was ill. And the next time I tried all the stores were closed for a national holiday. Ha!
My stepdaughter Alana, Lily and Oliver in Central Park.When I was a kid my dad and uncle brought me to Caffe Roma on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. Lily has been wanting to try a pastry called a Lobster Tail that she saw on Cake Boss once, and while we have been to MANY bakeries in LA looking , we have never found the sought after pastry. Well, wouldn’t you know they had one at Caffe Roma! And only ONE. It was sitting on a plate behind the counter as if magically waiting for her!This is the block in Harlem where my Italian grandmother grew up.Alana showing Gigi the finer details on riding the subway. Don’t forget your hand sanitizer!New York was great. We visited the Museum of Natural History, The Met, visited with my uncle and aunt who drove us around all the places in Manhattan where the Italian side of my family lived and where my dad grew up. Then we went to a lovely town in nearby New Jersey, which seems like a great place to live, to visit with my cousin and her kids who I hadn’t seen in twenty years. And we are only a year apart.
We also attended Alana’s graduation at Radio City Music Hall. It would have been a great trip by itself but it was only the beginning of our trip. We were off to Barcelona for a road trip through Spain!
It has been ten years since we sold our house in France and that’s how long it’s been since my husband has been back to Europe. He wanted to see Andalucia in Spain so we decided to rent a car and go directly after our trip to New York.
This is the church in Tarragona on the coast south of Barcelona, where we spent our first night. Attending mass in a church this beautiful is an elevating experience. So much nicer than the unattractive 1960’s box of a church in my town.
When we left the church there was a flea market going on outside. It was fun browsing around. Somehow Gigi always makes a beeline for the creepy old Barbies.Even sitting on steps seems romantic in Spain.
From tarragona we drove south to a little beach resort called Xabia and spent the day on the beach. It cooled off so we went to a bar on the beach to eat some seafood and have some sangria.
One of my favorite things in Spain is the food! Tapas, seafood, cured ham, it is truly a food lover’s dream. Those are boquerones above. No, they are not even remotely like the canned sardines we have in the states. They are probably the most delicious thing I have ever tasted and i ate plates and plates of them.
From the coast we drove south and inland to Granada in Andalucia to visit the Alhambra Palace. The Alhambra was built when Spain was under the influence on the Muslim Moors and it is really an amazing place to visit.
From Ronda we decided to go to the mountains nearby where there is a big gorge called EL CHORRO that my son wanted to climb across with cables. Yikes! Luckily for me and my nerves, but not him, it was closed to the public that day.
there were several dwellings dug into the mountain were people live. They seem to be hollowed out caves that people add doors to. Modern day cave homes. This one was really fancy with a stone patio added.
From Ardales, we drove up to Cordoba. There happened to be the Feria going on in town and women and girls were dressed in beautiful flamenco dresses. The whole city seemed to be up dancing until dawn, or so we were told. We left at about 1 AM. Gigi was passed out by that time. But she had fun riding all the carnival rides.
We visited the Cathedral of Toledo. Toledo was the head of the Catholic church in Spain for centuries.
This is the monstrance that was made for Queen Isabella with gold found in the new world.
After staying Toledo for two nights, we drove to Zaragoza in Aragon to spend the night. There were demonstrations in the streets against the austerity measure taking place, the result of the financial crisis going on there. From there we went to Barcelona and rented an apartment for a week. We were a little tired from all the driving . But Barcelona is hardly a relaxing city! Boring, it is not.
Our apartment was a couple of blocks away from the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. It cost over twenty dollars for tourists to visit inside now, but we attended mass there on Pentecost Sunday so we didn’t have to pay.
And she got a Flamenco outfit for her present. We went to the park Ciutadella and she played with her new soccer ball there.
One of my best friends drove down from France for the weekend. Her daughter is the same age as Gigi and they had a good time together . We walked to the beach and the zoo and the park. There are lots of fun things for kids to do in Barcelona. Isabelle flew to Barcelona for the week to visit as well. It was a fun family trip! And one we will remember for years to come.