Saturday, September 30, 2017

Family Vacation

As promised, I wanted to capture the highlights of our Spain trip. Ed and I traveled for three days before and four days after our week with the kids at the Andalusian farmhouse. I'm featuring the week we spent together as a family in this post. More later on our travels pre- and post-farmhouse. 

The directions to our rented farmhouse in Spain read, in part: Keep going up a steep hill, past the goat farms. I just knew I was going to like the house...

Sure enough, we had to wait for a large herd of goats to clear the road before we could continue up the ridiculously steep hill (tricky to do when you are driving a manual transmission rental car).

The kids were already making themselves at home at the farmhouse when we arrived. Maggie, Nate and Mary had flown into the southern port city of Málaga earlier in the day, had rendezvoused with Jack and his friend Kasia, rented a car, and driven the hour or so north on winding roads to the farmhouse. The house was located about 15 minutes from the small village of Villanueva de la Concepción and 30 minutes from the larger town of Antequera.

The house was perfect for us. It had been lovingly restored by the current owners Alan and Nancy and featured plenty of bedrooms with ensuite baths, a charming and well-equipped kitchen, a large and comfortable living room, and a beautiful terrace overlooking a swimming pool and olive orchard with a distant view of the Andalusian countryside. We spent most of our time at the house outside on the terrace. The rain in Spain never fell; we had beautiful blue-skied days for our entire trip.

Our general plan was to visit nearby towns or attractions during the days and come back to the house for evening tapas. One evening, our hosts came over to cook us an authentic paella, in celebration of Ed's birthday.

Over the course of the week, we explored the towns of Antequera, Córdoba, Málaga, Granada and Ronda. One day, Maggie and Nate took off mountain biking while the rest of us hiked El Torcal Nature Reserve at sunup.

Here are some photos of our week...

Climbed to the top of the bell tower of Alcazar in Antequera
View of Antequera against The Lover's Rock mountain 
Mary at The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
Maggie and Nate at The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
In Málaga, Kasia having her first ever root beer
Museo Picasso in Málaga
A walk on the beach in Málaga; toe dipping into the Mediterranean
 Touring the Alahambra in Granada 
After the tour: Alahambra in Granada

Mountain bikers
Early morning hikers. El Torcal
Up with the goats. El Torcal
Ed focusing on Mary and Jack. El Torcal
Such nice light for photos. El Torcal
Three redheads in Ronda
At Ronda with my baby girl
And my sweetheart
The week flew by; but the memories will last forever. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Reentry: Learning to live without churros, siestas, and tapas

We landed in Louisville a bit past 7:00 last night. By the time we collected our luggage, took a taxi to Maggie and Nate's house to pick up our car, and drove home, a solid darkness had settled over Farm Dover. We were home from two weeks in Andalusia and I couldn't wait to see what changes had taken place while we were away.

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

Both Ed and I were wide awake this morning at 3 a.m. By 7:00, our suitcases were unpacked, a load of laundry was started, and we had breakfasted on bowls of cream of wheat. Still it was dark.

I know it will take us a few days to get back on schedule. I'm not sure I'm ready to give up churros and chocolate in the morning, siestas in the afternoon, and tapas for dinner well past my usual bedtime. Perhaps I need to find a way to permanently incorporate as least some of these Spanish traditions into our Farm Dover life...

The best part of our trip was spending an entire week with our kids in a restored farmhouse, centrally located for a number of day trips to towns in Spain's south. I'm grateful to Maggie, Nate, Jack and Mary for making the effort to travel so far to be together.

Jack, Maggie, Mary and Nate at
The Puente Nuevo, Ronda

Of course, I have notes from our time in Madrid, Córdoba, Seville, and the towns around the farmhouse, that I want to capture and share with you. But the sun is now up and its rays are slanting through my bee garden. Something purple is blooming out there. I've got to go explore. More later. xxx

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Season Change

Offering you a bit of Sunday morning poetry
written last month by Ed...

golden light slants
on dry fields
head-high goldenrod and ragweed and
of nodding Queen Anne’s lace.
Milkweed gives way to gravity.
Yellow sulphur idlers float indolently over
purple and lemon-colored ironweed 
which have replaced spring’s jaunty coreopsis and coneflower.
Redwinged blackbirds and tree swallows have flown.
Mornings are near silent now that 
birds no longer need
to mate or nest.
Walnuts start to drop yellowed leaves.
Like reluctant party-goers
they’re the last to arrive in spring
and the first to leave in fall.
They whisper to those who listen,
gray winter
is coming.

– Ed Galloway