Sunday, May 23, 2010

Costa del Sol

Earlier this month we spent a week on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, or as we now like to call it, the Costa da Chuva. Boasting more than 300 days of sun per year, and average rainfall in May of only 20 millimeters, we timed it perfectly wrong. It was chilly and rained 5 out of the 6 days we were there, and we were bookended by weeks of beautiful sunshine and the week after us was downright hot. Luckily the rain was only a portion of each day, and we still managed to do quite a bit of exploring and Amelia didn't mind that when she played in the "dirt" (sand), the sun wasn't shining on her.

We stayed near the small town of Sabinillas, had an easy walk to the beach, and a slightly longer walk into town. We spent much of our first day exploring some of the small and picturesque white Andulusian hill towns (los pueblos blancos), including Casares, Gaucin, and Ronda. Ronda is particularly popular, since it is set high on the hillside and split right down the middle by a high gorge. Amelia wasn't as enthralled by the setting, but she loved the playground in the park at the top of the town, and we loved the cliffside views.

On Tuesday we were off to the city of Jerez, birthplace of Sherry wine and home to the Andulusian Royal School of Equestrian Art. We saw a dressage performance from the schools students' and professors (sorry, no photos allowed), and after letting his horse-crazy girls have their fun, we treated Dan to a sherry tasting, though we agreed that Portugual's port wine has more to offer.

Wednesday we explored some of the local coastal towns, and went for dinner in Gibraltar, which was pretty much a really big rock with a British town and some pubs with bad food at the base, though the biggest disappointment was that the Brits feel the need to lock up their playgrounds at 7 0'clock, so our promises of playtime that evening had to go unkept.

Thursday we took the ferry to Tangiers, Morocco, which if we recollect correctly, was Amelia's first time on a boat (and officially her third continent before her second birthday, although it's sort of like going to Tijuana and saying you've been to Mexico). Since she is just learning some of her transportation words (plane, boat, truck, car, biiiiiig bus) she was pretty excited, and we heard the word "boat" about 200 times that day. We hired a guide to walk us around the city through the markets and the Casbah, had a great Moroccan lunch, and made it through the obligatory shopping sales pitches before taking the ferry back to Spain for the evening.

Friday we finally got some sunshine, and stayed close to home for the day with some pool and beach time. And then Saturday it was time for the long drive home. We stopped in Seville for a nice tapas lunch and took a carriage ride around to see a few of the sights. Now I wish we had planned to stay a few days, as it was a beautiful city, and had a great vibe to it. Amelia was a champion traveler yet again, with over 8 hours in the car each way, and I was quite happy that I got to satisfy my Thai food craving on two separate nights, since we don't have any in Aveiro. So overall, a successful trip that could have been enhanced by a litle more sunshine. For more photos of our trip, click here.

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