Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Y, lamentablemente, llegamos a la final ...

Yes, very sadly we come to the end of our Spain pictures...I know, I know...the trip has been over since March and I'm STILL posting?!?!!?  Well, yes.  Since getting home, our schedules were very busy...see, more busy, and yes, more busy.  Oh, and our busy schedule also included our first niece being born!!!!  HURRAY!!!!  

So, I need to wrap up our Spain trip, even though looking through the pictures as I agonize which ones I should share brings back soooo many good memories and warm fuzzy feelings....but yes, I need to finish so that we can move on and then I won't feel guilty for posting other pictures when I haven't finished what I started...yes, I'm like that.

So, be prepared for LOTS of pictures as this post will show you the last days of our AWESOME trip and then the very depressing homecoming pictures...

Now, remember from last post, at this point we're in France!

 We woke up the next morning in the busy town of Lourdes and guess what we found?!!?  A pastry shoppe!!  Our favorite!  Of course, I saw chocolate, so guess what Melissa and I got?

 Ben and Jess, on the other hand, wanted MEAT!!!!!!

Oh, and café au lait, which we all decided wasn't as good as our café con leche, but we were grateful for the warmth and the caffeine!
 Perky girls!  This was a bit overexposed, but check out Lilyana going for the bread! 

On the road once more, we decided to take the scenic route, again.  But this time, there was a reason!
 Does anybody recognize this cute little village?

 Well, if you watch THIS show every year, you definitely would!!!!  Ben was sooooo excited to be on this road...the only thing we were missing was his bicycle. :(

 AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!  What's this?!!?!  Snow?  

(Yes, he's pouting with bread in his hand...and his mouth, I think!)

Such disappointment, grief and misery...  This means we can't go over the Tourmalet! :(

 It's okay, time!

 Jessica standing on the famous Tour de France road...

 ...Ben kissing it.

Melissa and I actually took our shoes off to say that we stepped foot in France, and not just shoes.
Yeah, we're weird. 

Huh...not something you see everyday...
"Awwwwwwwwwww!! Can we take him home?" 
"Um, no."

Paris! Paris! 
Too far to Paris. :(

Breadstick goodness.

Oh dear...we found a McDonald's...ugh....
NO!  We did NOT eat there...but we did use their internet and bathrooms. 

Welcome to the past!

Carcassonne...a Medieval walled city.

Melissa and le bébé heading inside.

 Ben pondering the ancientness of the walls around him.

Some of my favorite people!  
LOVE Lilyana's expression here...isn't she just soooooooooo cute?!?!

Melissa wants to take the walls home.

Father-daughter love.

YUM!!!   J'aime les crêpes

Jess in the castle.

Melissa's epic shot!  LOVE this one!

On the other side of the fortress...

There is a cathedral.  A very old cathedral, full of very old things.
This church has been through so much. 

 Oh for windows like that!

Okay, and the pillars. 

 The window that they are standing under dates back to the early 14th Century.

Jess found a door that is just her size!

Ben wanted to pack this stone up and bring it home as his souvenir.  It is called the "Siege Stone" and dates back to the first half of the13th Century.  

 The metal pieces driven into several of the pillars were put there by the Revolutionary soldiers during the French Revolution.  They used this cathedral as a stable for their horses and would tie them up here.

 I can't remember who is buried here...

 Heading out.

 Melissa is an earthy person.

We left Carcassonne and headed off to another castle...only we were going to sleep in this one!!!!!
 The first records of this castle in history go back to the year about OLD!!!
The hostess is a very funny French lady who has been working on renovating the castle for about 15 years. It's a beautiful place, very comfy and she's a FANTASTIC cook!  She only buys local foods and whatever is in season...

 Breakfast was delish!  Homemade yogurt and jams, breads, croissants, coffee, fresh squeezed juices...  The perfect French country breakfast!

 A quick shot before we finished packing up.  Ben, bébé and I had a HUGE suite!  Two bedrooms, a big bathroom and a lovely view!  

 Melissa and Jess had their own lovely room with a roof-top patio!  NOT fair!
After climbing a bunch of stairs you finally found the door to their room!

 A room with a view is the best...and this was a beautiful view!

 Melissa and her French hat and the sleepy bébé.

The Five.

The walkway between rooms and parts of the castle.  Can't wait to go back!

Since this was our last day in Spain and France, we decided to drive down the coast and see the small villages there and soak up as much local color as we could fit in one day!  

 The water is so blue and pretty!  Okay, and vineyards growing right along the coast is pretty, too...

 We stopped for lunch and Ben got all excited when he saw this... "Hey!  We have one of these...only this one is bigger..."

FOOD!!!!  Have I ever mentioned that I love food?  
So, we did pretty good ordering off of the menu in Spain.  Ben knew enough Spanish and was familiar enough with words to figure out (well, most of the time, anyway...) what our choices were.  Not the case in France!  
Instead of guessing, we asked our waiter, who spoke very broken English, if he would pick out our meal.  He was a bit confused at first, and then was very gracious and helped us out.  Two different salads...

 ...this one being the best of the two, but they both were oh-so-good!

  Moi et mon bébé.

 And then came the main course!  This one was a beef dish with grilled tomatoes and REAL French Fries!!  SO good.

 This one was the favorite among most of us...SHARK!  *sigh* It was incredible...

Jess was happy!

AHHH!!  Ice Cream to top it off!  YUM!

 Then we took walk to burn off all those calories we had just consumed.
Ben wanted to be the first one to touch the Mediterranean. 

 Our sea-side town. 
Thomas, if I remember correctly, the Thomas Ambulance company was in this town....

 Le bébé in the water.

So, we had to try crêpes in France.  Honestly, I think that they would've been better with ice cream.
While we were eating, a TON of fire hummer like things (not fire trucks like we have) drove by, usually followed by an ambulance every so often.  We figured something big was burning down.  

On our way out of town, we saw this: 
 So lazy...a small crew were up fighting the fire on the hill. 
Save the vineyard!

Adieu France...

 ...Hola España!

 We finally made it to Barcelona, with the three of us kicking and screaming the whole it really possible that such an amazing trip could come to such a quick end?
Sadly, yes. :(
But that just means we'll have to go back!
*goes to check her Spain trip fund*
We stopped by to see the Gaudi, because that is something you have to do if you're in Barcelona.

We got checked into our hotel and then decided to hit the shops, which meant LOTS of walking...last minute gifts to buy!

And then more food!  Pizza!  And really good pizza, too!  Americans need to take lessons from real pizza makers.

On our way back to the hotel, we tried to get some bikes...they're free to use, but unfortunately, you have to live in Barcelona to use one.  Bummer...'cuz they're really cute!

 Crammed into the tiny, old, Victorian lift...up, and up, and up to the room!
We stayed up way too late packing all of our stuff into bags much too small.  But, we made it work, crashed into bed, got up much too early and made our way to the airport...very sadly. 

 I ordered some some café con leche at the airport as a last hurrah for the four of us, and no it's NOT nearly as good as the real stuff!.  I guess my Spanish was pretty good because the man next to me thought I was actually from SPAIN!!!  Wow!  What a compliment!  

 And then we got onto our plane and we were off...I think we all cried, even if we were in Business Class (the kind agent upgraded us!).

 *sobs* The Picos de Europa!  I was there!!!

We made it back to JFK, and had a horrible experience at that airport...we miss the Europeans.
After about an hour and a half, we had to part ways.  Ben, baby and I were off to sunny California and Jess and Melissa were on a different plane heading for Illinois.  More tears, more depression....

 The only thing that could distract us from our deep depression on the flight home was the oxygen masks falling out...nope, no emergency, but it sure did scare a few people!  They had to move the people who were sitting in that row...

 ...and then they tried to fix it....with hand cuff tape.  Yes, you read that right.
We made it safely home and were met at the airport by Pops, Mumsie, Thomas and Lindsey.  We grabbed a bite at Panera Bread (we miss European bread...they know how to make it right!) and then we started the long drive home.

Lilyana was took her a few days to get back on schedule...and this is what she did for most of those days!
But I think that she had fun!  I know that the rest of us did, and we're all madly scrapping up every spare penny and counting our dollars to try and figure out when we can go back!  Such an amazing many great memories, so many wonderful places, so much rich history... 

So, as I said at the beginning of this rather long post, there is another Hector girl in the family!!!  
Congratulations, Thomas and Lindsey!
Isabella is a cutie!

Lilyana just adores her little cousin, as you can see in this video here:


Lauren said...

Adios, Spain! Thanks for sharing all your beautiful photos! And, I must ask, what did the shark taste like? I've never heard of people eating shark!

Caroline said...

What an incredible trip! I love getting to see all these pictures - makes me feel like I'm there. And the food pix? My mouth is watering. :)

Mrs.Rabe said...

What a beautiful trip you had!

Lilyana is so delightful - she is cute with her cousin!


Anonymous said...

I am leaving on tuesday for madrid and south spain to spend time with my family.
I am happy you liked my country. Most USA people have a wrong idea about it.

Carolina Jackson

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