Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sisters in Seville (again)

Right after leaving the airport
During Holy Week here in the south of Spain my sister Chrissie came to visit us since both Jose and I had off work (the perks of living in a Catholic country). She has been here twice before (read about the first time here and our wedding here). We drove and picked her up on Monday and spent that day organizing her trip and allowing her to recover from her jet lag. 

On Tuesday we headed to Seville to see some of the Holy Week processions that are so famous here. I will spare you the details of what this all involves since I have discussed it before and I sense that this post is going to be long since we crammed so much into such a short amount of time. If you are interested you can check out my Semana Santa post here. In any case, we headed into the city center and while enjoying the beautiful weather and some beers we got to see a few of the pasos come by before heading home again. 

Holy Week
The following day we headed to Gibraltar since my sister has already seen a lot of Seville. We drove there in the morning, crossed the border (with Cooper even) and spent the day walking around. Jose and Chrissie rode the cable car to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar and we had a typical English lunch. Gibraltar is a curious place since you basically enter into the UK without really leaving Spain. People speak a very interesting mixture of English and Spanish, it´s how I imagine our kids might sound one day in that they switch back and forth between the languages with ease, mixing them up in the same sentence. We arrived on a day when there were a lot of cruises in the port and we met a really nice American couple who waited in line with us for the cable car and who experienced the monkey stealing another woman´s bag of magnets before flinging them about.

Phone booth
 The next day we headed to a small village in the Cadiz province called Vejer where we stayed two nights in a rural house so we could take advantage of its proximity to the beach. We wanted to go to the beach during the two days we were there but the second day didn´t cooperate too well. We did, however, sneak Cooper onto the beach when we went and he loved it. He traveled with us everywhere we went during this trip, lucky dog.

On our way back from the village we stopped in another touristic town, Arcos de la Frontera which is quite beautiful. It sits on top of a hill and has beautiful views. As you might imagine, it has a castle (like almost everywhere here in the south of Spain). We walked around this town, had lunch and Chrissie bought souveniers to take home.

Digging the beach
The next day we decided to take my sister to the Italica Roman ruins that are located just outside of Seville. I have been before but was again surprised at how big a complex there is and how much of this ancient city still remains buried. If you are ever in Seville it is worth it to drive the 15 minutes out of the city center to check out these ruins. We also visited a very nice, restored monastery which was close by.

As you might imagine with all this running around we were quite tired so the rest of my sister´s visit was spent relaxing though we did have time to see one of the processions in the suburb where we live. We had a great time hosting her and hope she enjoyed her trip. As you can see, we are good hosts (hint hint for people thinking of visiting in the future). I even made her some towel animals to welcome her. Cooper really misses her after she left since he got to sleep in the bed with someone almost every night. So spoiled. I leave you with a few more pictures of sisters in Seville.

Chrissie holding birds of prey in Arcos
Mosaic floor in Italica
View of Arcos de la Frontera
Pottery in Arcos

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

28 is great

Though this is coming a few weeks late (due to a visit from my sister during Holy Week), I celebrated my 28th birthday at the beginning of the month. In terms of birthdays this one was pretty low key as I had to work that day. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to arrive at school and find that my 6th graders had planned a surprise party for me. It was quite thoughtful of them. They were so excited and I have to admit that I had no clue they were doing anything special. Sneaky sneaky.

So cool
Later, Jose and I went out to eat in our favorite Moroccan restaurant in Seville, Fez. Its food puts all the food we ate during our trip to Morocco to shame. It is a tiny place with maybe 8 tables and whenever we go there are never very many people which means we get great service. This has become almost like a birthday tradition for me (since we went last year too).

I can honestly say that so far 28 is great and am  sure it will continue to be. I have started an album on Facebook to add photos of all the little (and big) things that make this year a great one. Later I will write about my sister's trip and all of the fun stuff we did last week. It will probably take more than one post to record it all since we crammed a whole lot into 7 days. Thankfully during this visit the weather cooperated and we were able to see and do things without the rain or awful heat that she suffered during her first two trips here. Check back!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'm baaaaack!!!

Hello all! Greetings and apologies. It's been a while, I know. To be honest life has been a bit boring lately here in the south of Spain. Jose and I have our established routines: work, weekend, work, weekend. Nothing too exciting has been going on except my BIRTHDAY which was on Tuesday!!!!! I have decided that this year my motto is going to be 28 is great and will be posting about it throughout the next 365 days.

To celebrate Jose and I went to our favorite Moroccan restaurant here in Seville for dinner. The restaurant is pretty small and when we go during the week we are usually the only people there. The food is AMAZING though and is way better than anything we actually ate during our trip to Morocco. Go figure.

We also went to one of Jose's childhood friend's weddings last weekend. It was nice for Jose to see friends that he doesn't get to hang out with that often. This couple got married in a church and then had their reception at a cortijo in the middle of the countryside. A cortijo or hacienda is a big estate which usually has a large main house that often times has been converted into a hotel or a place to celebrate events. It was beautiful! We had fun and ate a TON of food including a lot of shrimp (which NEVER come peeled here in Spain).

At the wedding ceremony

Outside the reception hall

I promise to begin posting on a regular basis again. Especially since we have a few weeks off coming up and because the weather has been AWESOME lately! Check back!