Friday, June 17, 2011

{Flashback}: Day 5/Day 6/Day 7

Morning comes again all too soon. This was the day where we started our driving adventures for the rest of our trip.
Tim loves to drive. He loves to travel. And now that we are in Europe, all those combined equals trouble for me. :)

If I had to pick my most favourite place during our entire holiday I would pick Girona, Spain.

Tim left first thing in the morning to pick up our rental car at the airport so we can leave first thing in the morning, but we didn't see him until 12:30 in the afternoon. Luckily, the agent let us stay in the apartment until past check-out time. We even got to stay while the cleaning lady came and went!
In proper European style the rental car place tried placing the blame on Tim on why they didn't have our car ready even though Tim had booked it to be ready by 9 am that morning. Annoying.
It was a bummer that we lost our whole morning, because I wish we had spent more time in Girona. But what can you do?
Tim was at first really nervous to drive in Europe but he figured since they drive on the right side it couldn't be all that bad. And actually it wasn't to his surprise. In fact, he never got lost!
Girona is only an hour away from Barcelona. We bought these portable TVs for the car for the girls before even flying out to Barcelona and it is probably one of the best purchases Tim and I have ever made. We never heard a single peep from the girls unless they were wanting food. Tim and I just got to sit back, enjoy conversations with no interruptions, and enjoy the Spanish scenery. Oh yeah, and I also slept a little in the car. ;)

Our hotel was nice and it was right next door to a great mall. I was tired of being kinda cold and the girls being cold, (we weren't lucky to have hot sunny weather in Barcelona) so I needed to go to a store to buy little sweaters for the girls. Darn... ;)

Have you heard of Zara? Amazing store. We had one put into our mall in OC recently and I loved it. The children's clothes are to die for cute. But let me tell you something, shopping at Zara in Spain is my new drug of choice. Zara is WAY better in Spain. After all, it does originate from there.
They even have Zara Home, Zara Accessories, and Zara Kids Home. Aaaamazing!
Unfortunately/fortunately, I didn't shop there for long because we wanted to go into the city.

So, as for Girona.
I was a complete idiot and forgot to grab my camera while heading out the door. So I have no pictures of this lovely city.
Trust me I kicked myself for a whole two days for not having my camera.
Girona was my absolute favourite.

It is this small city with amazing cute little shops. The scenerary no matter where you stand is breathtaking. Narrow roads everywhere you turn with beautiful, nice buildings alongside. Cafes scattered throughout the town. Cobblestone roads that lead up to an old catherdral and an old picture perfect garden. For whatever reason, siesta probably, we were kinda one of the only ones exploring around the streets so we had access to everything!
We climbed up these high steep set of stairs in front of a catherdral and at the top was an amazing view of the late afternoon sky over Girona. So peaceful, perfect ambiance, only the sound of our giggling little girls and our gasps of the view could be heard.
One of my favorite picture memory in my head is when we walked down these small stepped, stone staircase that curved to the left and dropped us off right in the middle of a very narrow street.
During out wonderings, we found this cute book shop full of travel stuff. Tim was in heaven. They had this one children's book with famous cities around the world on each page. Marisa was able to recognize famous monuments and the city on each page. Statue of Liberty-New York City, Big Ben-London, Sagrada Familia-Barcelona, Eiffel Tower-Paris. I had a huge smile on face when I heard her say all this. THIS is why we left all our comforts and moved abroad.

We found this cute little bridge walking home that was hidden between two rows of soft yet brightly colorful buildings on our way out. The girls stared down at the few ducks slowly paddling by beneath them while Tim and I shared a perfect kiss, at this perfect spot. That moment was just perfect.

I tried the next morning to recapture what we experienced that night but it was totally useless. I couldn't capture it through my lens at all. So I just stopped trying and hopped back into the car to head to our next destination.

Tim just kept reminding me that we are just going to have to keep all those moments in our heads and in our hearts.


Another 2 1/2 hours later the next morning and we were in Carcassonne, France. This was my least favourite part about our trip. I actually would have been completely happy with taking a picture of Carcassonne from afar and kept driving on. Tim liked Carcassonne, of course.
I don't know if...
-getting lost within the city for 4 hours,
-the horrible useless road signs,
-my lack of understanding French,
-paying a restaurants worth of money for gas station food,
-not enough freeway exits,
-animal poop all along the sidewalks (haven't you heard of doggie bags and a trash bin people??),
-being tired,
-having to have a British couple interpret French for us late at night while these two French ladies helped us figure out how to get into our hotel room because the reception area to check-in was closed,
-or the not so nice 2 bedroom hotel we stayed at that night there

...that led me to not like it, I don't know, I just didn't really like it. Don't get me wrong, the view of the Cite de Carcassonne as we were entering the city was no less than spectacular. But like I said, I could have taken a picture of that breathtaking panoramic view during the day and at night and moved on.

Cite de Carcassonne is a city within these castle walls. That is pretty cool, I guess.
We walked along the walls of the castle, learned more about its history, and ate gelato, yet, again. Let me tell ya, that never gets old.


Again, 2 1/2 hours in the car the next morning and we arrived to Andorra. We were so glad to be back in place where they speak Spanish.
Andorra is a mountainous place with amazing shopping. It totally reminded us both of Park City, Utah. I'm sure this is the place to be in the winter. It is a clean country with nice cabins and ski resorts everywhere.

Our 2 bedroom hotel room was amazing. I slept well that night.
There wasn't much to do other than shop and eat. Which is fine by me, of course. We mainly stopped at Andorra because we wanted to cross off one more country off our list.
When we first arrived to Andorra there were people everywhere. Crowded all over the sunny streets. We let Natalie take her nap at the hotel so when she woke up we would head out and see everything. When we did walk out after nap it was raining and the city was a total ghost town! Where did everyone go? All the stores were beginning to close soon and no restaurants were open. Siesta?
We had to wait until 8:00 for a local pizza restaurant to open up, Pizzeria Angelo. Luckily the girls made it until then. We were the only ones at the restaurant until about 9:30 as we were leaving. People were then slowly starting to trickle in for dinner. Even a family of four with same aged kids as ours arrived as we were leaving!
My sister should live in Spain. Her kind of schedule. ;)

And it's not like it was a crappy place at all. It was a cute restaurant that was way child friendly. They had really good pizza and the waiters spoiled my kids with Kinder chocolate eggs. Very popular sweet here.
Here is Natalie with her dessert we bought. I love how she just props her head on her hand and is eating her dish with a knife. Poor parenting.


Unknown said...

I love Natalie's dessert. Your trip has been fantastic to read about,

L said...

Ah, ALL of your pictures are seriously BEAUTIFUL!! Little Natalie is getting so big, I cannot believe it! Oh man, I miss those sweet girls so much!!

I'm jealous of all of your adventures, and the amazing Zara you got to shop in! So glad I get to read about everything!



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