We landed in Spain late on Day 1. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see someone as I was to see my sister at the airport to rescue us after 30 hours of travel. She rented the car in advance for us, met us at baggage claim, and loaded us up to drive to her apartment. After being ‘on’ for 30 hours I felt like I could finally exhale. We made it!
She went above and beyond to get ready for us – not only renting the car, but borrowing bunk beds for the kids and a futon mattress for Thomas and me from a co-worker. Plus she went grocery shopping! I’ve decided the only way to see Europe is with family who lives there. You can’t beat a free place to stay and a fridge stocked with kid-friendly food. We got everyone into bed and thought we’d nailed this whole time-change thing. It was only 2 pm at home, but we were ready to sleep…and sleep we did until noon the next day (Spain time). Oops.
The intention of our first full day in Spain was to figure out what Aunt Katie does all day. I wanted the kids to be able to picture her life even after we got home – to have an actual idea of what “she’s in Spain” is like beyond “she’s not here.” Luckily, there was still time for that even though we started at noon.
Our first stop was her office to look around and meet her coworkers, who are missionaries also and from several different parts of the world. We visited the house of one of them to meet his wife and children, whose toys Paul thought were pretty darn cool.
We had a tapas-style lunch back at Katie’s apartment, wine included, and everyone agreed that maybe we should move to Spain. That feeling intensified after dinner at her favorite restaurant where the kids and I split a huge pan of seafood paella. Paul ate everything we threw at him – mussels, shrimp, calamari – and even 10-month-old Eleanor couldn’t get enough. Neither could I. Margaret was freaked out by the shrimp heads, but gave the rice two thumbs up.
Before dinner, we went to one of the places I was most excited for: the grocery store. I love seeing what looks the same, what’s packaged differently, and what interesting things are staples. The kids were…not as impressed as I’d hoped they’d be. They thought it was fine, but it honestly did look a lot like home. When we got all the way to the back we found a fish counter with all sorts of whole fish for sale and they perked up a little. Other than that, they were disappointed there were no free samples. We might go to Trader Joe’s a little too much. I was excited to find some Spanish smoked paprika to bring home and Kinder eggs – which we promptly forgot about and never opened. At least my paprika made it home!
Day 3: Barcelona