Spain and France 2016 Wrap Up

Our second big international trip with James.  The first one didn’t scare us off?  Are we crazy?  Probably.

Italy with a 15 month old was tough, but I was optimistic this trip would be easier for several reasons:

  • James was a different child one year later than Italy– though still very active and energetic.
  • We were bringing/meeting help in the form of our cousin Sam and James’s grandmother (Nonna).
  • We were more experienced travelling with a child.

You can go back and read my planning post (link) for more thoughts on that, as well as how we ended up at our final itinerary – after several changes (indecisive planning, terrorist concerns, etc.).  To summarize, we had a full 21 nights.  12 would be spent in Spain and 9 in France.Itinerary1

France and Spain are two pretty prominent countries for American tourists.  We had never been to Spain and had only been to Paris in France.  We were excited to get to both countries and – in our typical travel fashion – visit several places in each.

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Adios Barcelona and Hola Madrid

This morning we got up and got packing. We caught the 11:00 high speed train to Madrid. Everything went surprisingly well! You never really know how a travel day is going to go. We’ve had some very smooth ones, and we’ve had a few rocky ones.

We had to take 2 cabs to the airport. Between the luggage and the people, there was no way we were fitting in one. James, Justin, and I rode together, and mom and Sam took a separate cab. My mom kept saying, “I don’t know how y’all did this with just the 2 of y’all!” Maybe I’m just used to it. We are very organized. We consolidate everything to make it as easy as possible, and we just do it. We are used to the haul, but there is definitely a method to the madness. If you are to used to it, it can be a little bit overwhelming.

James did unbelievable well in the train. I was afraid that he was going to freak out like he did in the plane. He even got upset in a cab the other day. We didn’t even tell him that he was going on a train. I didn’t want to set him off.

We got the “first class seats,” which were very nice. There was a table with 4 seats around them. James sat on my lap, and we had plenty of room. The seats came with drinks and a snack. Justin and Sam had Cava, and my mom had a liquor that seemed like the Spanish version of Bailey’s. We played many rounds of the card game “fan tan” thanks to Nanny Sam who always seems to have everything that we need. Of course Justin won the majority of the games, which drove my mom nuts.

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Successful Day in Barcelona

Because we had a rocky start to the day due to James’s sleep issues, we decided to have a leisurely morning. Also, Justin and I had lunch reservations at 1:30 so we couldn’t do a ton.

We walked to a nearby market that is much smaller than La Boqueria. We picked up some coffee and breakfast then decided to visit the park to let James play for a while.

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Clowns to the Left, Jokers to the Right, Here I am Stuck in the Middle……

Today, we planned to walk towards the old Spanish town area, visit the big market (La Boquerua), and then put our toes in the water. We set out around 11:00.

One of the first things that we came across is the beautiful Cathedral of Barcelona. We walked all around, and James was very good. There is a courtyard outside where several big white geese live. James liked looking at the geese and things seemed to be going well. We hit our first snag in the day when Sam and my mom wanted to browse around the gift shop in the cathedral and it took forever to check out.dsc01971 dsc01974

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My Little Mermaid (Mer man?)

Today was our first day walking around Barcelona.. We didn’t have any super serious plans. We basically let Justin guide us around (Actually, that’s always my plan).

We walked down the streets and took pictures of the beautiful architecture. James was in a pretty good mood as long as mommy was pushing the stroller. He is very particular these days as to who is allowed to do what…..and I am privileged enough to do ALL of the jobs.

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Today, we packed up and left Collioure. We wanted to leave around 9:30 am, although I knew that was a long shot. We ended up getting out the door around 10:30 but not without breaking a bottle of wine. Oops. Oh well, we had about an hour in the car before getting to our wine tour/tasting and picnic lunch.

We visited Terra Remota winery and vineyard. It is in Spain and very different from the chateaus in France. It is much more modern and industrial. They make some really good wine, and we enjoyed our visit. Justin also set up to have a picnic lunch in the vineyard. It was fantastic! It was actually a picnic for 2 people, but it was plenty of food for Sam, Justin, and I. Plus, it was a really good bargain. It was 40ish euros for the picnic and a bottle of wine. That same thing in Napa would have probably cost around 100$.

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