Tuesday, January 30, 2018

España Experience: Mijas and Flamenco

We took a short drive over to Mijas, a beautiful town situated on top of a mountain and overlooking the sea. It was beautiful! We just walked around the town and looked around until the sun set.

I was clicking these pictures as we drove! Everything was so beautiful!

One thing we knew we wanted to do is see a flamenco show. So many of them started so late at night! Zzzzzz. We never quite adjusted to the late night routine! But we found one that started not quite as late. We ordered fish and eagerly anticipated the show to come.

It was amazing!!! The dance routines and foot work were spectacular!!! If you go to Spain, see a show! We will never forget one man in the audience who had a bit much to drink. After every dance, he would yell, "WOWOWOWOW!" It's become a battle cry in our home amid giggles. We bought a set of castanets for Miss Middler to surprise her on her upcoming birthday in January. Miss Midd and Twinkle put them on and start reenacting the dance, complete with the very somber and serious expression of the dancers, and I literally can not stop laughing. They are so hilarious! What a fun night to get to see it!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

España Experience: Christmas Day

We all knew Christmas would be different. This would be the first year in years that we would not be in our own home with our own traditions, established from many years of living overseas and needing to somehow make Christmas our own without the ability to see extended family. We brought as many traditions with us as we could without weighing down our suitcases.

Christmas Eve we attended a beautiful candlelight and carol service in the church of our friends.

I did manage to create my mom's breakfast casserole with ingredients I found at the Spanish grocery store. Instead of cinnamon rolls, I bought some delightful sweet pastries. Our normal fruit salad included the wonderful tropical varieties there. And cheese grits? It didn't happen! We really enjoyed our brunch.

One thing I added, on a whim, was a Yule log. It was beautiful, fun, whimsical, and delicious. The little plastic Christmas ornament stuck on the icing was likely thrown away by most families who purchased one. But for me, I'll keep it forever. It was our Yule log ornament!

After breakfast, we went to open gifts. The morning was slow and sweet and honestly, magical. I remember thinking, "This is exactly where I want to be. This is exactly what I want this day to be."

The kids' gifts to each other and to us were so sweet. I mean, so very thoughtful...not expensive but so loving. The day just touched me very deeply.

We heard that in Spain these are for good luck, just like black eyed peas in the South. So, we had to get Big Ben some Feliz Navidad ones!

Here's what I mean by thoughtful....Firstborn got me a hat. I love hats. She got me a plaid sweater shawl. She knows I love Scottish plaids. Miss Middler got me just the kind of earrings I love. Twinkle painted me this scene from our trip to Germany....

Big Ben had a good Christmas! We got him a mug and pillow from the soccer team he got to see in Spain. He wanted his cousins to see his presents, hence this picture!
 I loved the day in every way! I will not forget it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

España Experience: Ronda, part 3

We finished exploring the bullfighting ring and museum, then headed back through the town. My pictures just don't do this city justice. It was magnificent. I'm so glad we made the hour and a half drive to get there.

What's it like travelling with five kids? It means re-enactments of sculpture poses. Look closely.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

España Experience: Ronda, part 2

Ronda was just beautiful, and we could have spent much longer there! But we wanted to let Big Ben see the Plaza de Torros. (Remember I said each town had a nativity display? I really liked Ronda's...complete with bulls at the manger, of course!)

These statues were tributes to the town's most famous bullfighters, as Ronda is the home of modern day bullfighting and to many of the most famous fighters.

Things get a little crazy when you travel with five kids.

This bull sculpture was really fascinating, as it was massive, but perfectly balanced though the bull's foot is up.

This arena was built in 1785 by the same architect who built the Puente Nuevo, the lookout point that is so famous. There is a still a bullfighting school here, and it is known for its classic rules and structures.

We looked all around for hoof prints. And then the real game began. Creating hoof prints and trying to pass them off as "authentic" and "look what I found" and "Is that for real?"

There was a wonderful museum there with gorgeous saddle wear, costumes, and weapons. Big Ben borrowed my phone to photograph every dueling pistol ever collected there.

Monday, January 22, 2018

España Experience: Ronda, part 1

Our next short day trip was to the town of Ronda. Each little town and plaza was decorated for Christmas. It was fun to see the decorations as we came into the town's streets. The roads were so narrow and the parking so tight!!! I was so glad my name was not on the car insurance policy! CC, take the wheel!

Our "narrow roads and stressful parking" was quickly rewarded once we got out of the car and began hiking through the town. Ronda is a city that dates back to Moorish times.

There were some ruins of an "old bridge" but the real bridge to see, CC had read, was the "new bridge" and the "new town," meaning built in the 1400's! Here is the old city.
Built as a mountaintop city, there was just beauty in every direction.

And then we came into the "new town" and saw the "new bridge." It was spectacular!

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