Spain

I’m so far behind in my blog I can hardly remember my trip to Spain! But it was a lot of fun. Not only did Cengiz get to come, but I got to see all of my family, plus my brother’s wife and her family. I think we were all hoping for warmer weather but we had some nice days, and it was probably better than if we had stayed in our respective countries. Spain seemed like an interesting place and I would like to go back to explore even more.

Cengiz and I first went to Barcelona, where we stayed 2 nights. We were right up at the top of La Rambla, a pedestrian street lined with shops and restaurants that leads down to the water. Barcelona had a nice energy to it, and I bet it is even better in the summer months.

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Pretty square

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Cengiz trying to get on the lion statue. Why, were you thinking something else?

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Pretty sunset. I don’t think there’s any good time to be in a cable car, but I guess this would have been the best time.

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There was a great market.

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This, according to Mark Bittman, is the best sandwich he’d ever had (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/travel/15Bites.html?_r=0) and I have to say, it was pretty darn good. The bread was perfect, there was just the right amount of ham, and just a little tomato inside. Cengiz found a sandwich for himself, and we went there for dinner and breakfast (no beer at breakfast, don’t worry!).

We did a lot of other things but I don’t want to put any more pictures up because I have to continue on with the trip! Next Cengiz and I flew down to Malaga, where we had a few hours to spend until everybody else came by train from Madrid.

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It was really lovely in Malaga – lots of palm trees, orange trees, bougainvillea…

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We had a good time exploring around a castle. I thought it would be fun to eat an orange off of a tree but it was probably one of the most disgusting things (SO sour) I’ve ever eaten.

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There was a nice promenade along the water. We found a bench and fell asleep on it like homeless people, but we had woken up at 3:30 to catch our flight so it was needed!

We met up with everyone and we picked up our rental cars from the airport and drove to our rental house, way up in the mountains in a tiny village. It was a very cute village, and the house was very cool. I wish I had taken photos!

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View from our house early one morning

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At the raisin museum. Yes, you read correctly. This village is famous for their raisins, which were pretty good I have to say.

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Everyone but Cengiz and I is a Packer’s fan; one night when they were streaming a game Cengiz stayed up and learned about American football. Someone brought along an inflatable cheesehead!

 

The main reason for us to be in this village was its proximity to the Alhambra in Granada.

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When we arrived, it was SO cold. I thought I was being smart by wearing my sneakers (I knew we’d be walking a lot) but that was one of the dumbest things I’ve done – it was just cobblestones and cement everywhere which just sucked the heat out of my feet. I enjoyed the Alhambra but I probably would have appreciated it more if I had had better clothes and shoes, and a big hot meal.

My pictures really don’t do it justice, you’ll have to go to see yourself.

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This is a collage of some tiles we saw – pretty amazing!

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That night, it was New Year’s Eve and the village had a celebration. Everyone was out in the square, and there was music blaring and everyone got a baggy with a hat, mask, lei, whistle things, and thing you throw and paper unwinds out of it, plus 12 grape! The tradition is, when the clock strikes midnight, you have to eat a grape at every chime. I wish I had prepared my grapes and picked off the stems – I failed and couldn’t finish, but I saw Heath’s technique of just picking up the baggy and dumping them in. As Mom said, it was SO quiet – normally people are kissing and shouting and making noises after the new year comes, but this time it was just the sound of people shoving grapes in their mouth.

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This is by far one of my favorite pictures ever. So much color, energy, and weird faces! Props to dad for capturing it.

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The following morning, we had a wonderful breakfast on the terrace – Heath made delicious menemen and I tried to make french fries but I was exhausted so someone had to take over. Unfortunately that was the beginning of a not fun flu-like sickness. I hogged the sofa for the next 3 days because it was the warmest spot in the house. Luckily, no one else caught it whatever I had. The last two times I have seen Mom and Dad I’ve been pretty sick – I feel bad they haven’t gotten to see the normal Sally!

We all went by train to Madrid, and everyone but Mom, Dad, Cengiz and I left. Mom and Dad left the next day, and Cengiz and I stayed one more night. I was pretty tired, and it was cold, rainy, and windy but we still got out and about. Madrid seems like a pretty cool city – I think it is overlooked because of its vibrant neighbor Barcelona. I can’t find any pictures, and I probably hardly took any, and I’d rather finish with the two that are above.

Wow! It was fun to reminisce about that trip! It was a good time, and we’re lucky we all get along so well. That’s a pretty amazing feeling. I’m also glad Cengiz got to participate on a family vacation – he never had those growing up. I know it wasn’t always easy for him and I have to say, he was a pretty good sport. I just wish he could understand group conversations better, but that will come in time. 

Right now he’s in Finland for the European Karate Championships – he’s a trainer/coach for the Turkish national karate team – send them your positive energy please!

 

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