Monday, August 17, 2015

Spanish Countryside

Hola hola!!

So we are back from our weekend visiting my cousin (technically second-cousin, but who's counting?) Valentina and her lovely family. ♡♡♡

She is such a beautiful gal~!!!!

I have to say it was one of the most magical adventures of our stay here, and so I'd like to share it with you here with photos and everything~!

We headed down on Friday in a rental car, that I must say had a tad bit more drama to it then I'd thought.
Firstly, we were late getting out of the house which always makes me crazy especially if I know that somebody is waiting on us. >_< And then, upon printing the rental car confirmation, Dash noticed a tiny bit about needing an international driver's license to rent the car @_@ We decided to go ahead with it anyway, and what do you know! The people at the car rental agency didn't say a peep about it! Woot!

Anyway, we were headed for the Girona area -- for the microscopic town of Sant Esteve de Guialbes to be exact. A quick hour and a half away! :) I have been enjoying our metropolitan experience in Barcelona and Esplugues, I must say my heart sang getting to see so much green and endless rolling hills again!! Reminded me of home and was overall very refreshing for the soul.

Valentina met us at the single restaurant in San Esteve, and then we followed her to her home because it is soooo tucked away in the rolling hills and farmland of Girona countryside that it'd have been nearly impossible for her to give us direction there :D

At her ancient farmhouse home (so cool!!) we met her lovely husband, Joan, and adorable son, Olao. What a pretty picture they all make ♡ And so warm, and loving, and incredibly generous and considerate -- I love my Spanish family!!

Our two families. So good to see her again after 8 years, and meet the men in her life ;D

I swear, I'd have never guessed that they'd only moved in two short months ago!
I wish I'd taken more shots of the inside of her home -- it is so tastefully decorated and "spanish" in a way that is unmistakable but hard to describe. ;)

William and Olao really hit it off! I think William liked being someone "big brother" for once ;)

Anyway, these sweet people are true Catalanenses with their laid back attitudes, healthy mind and spirit, and speaking Catalan in the home first and foremost. It was a fun time speaking to them in Castellano as best we could and them speaking to us in English as best they could and all connecting nonetheless. :)

They also have this grand business start-up going: Blue Van!
If you are ever thinking of traveling Europe in a nifty all-in-one van, I highly recommend their product!! Also, you can't beat their service, they are a dedicated husband-wife team. ♡

Anyway, back to our visit: Valentina and Joan treated us to a monumental dinner, and then invited us along to a 30th birthday party of one of their friends. Such a cool gang, and a great way to kick off the visit.

Later that night, as the kiddos slept, I finally got to watch my first Barca match! Bilbao kicked their butts, but it was cool finally getting to see that famous team in action.

The next day, Saturday, we woke up early with the kids and picked some blackberries for breakfast along the country lane. So lovely~~~

After a great breakfast, we then hit up the lake!

The kids loved iiiiiiit!

Banyoles Lake is where they held the rowing portion of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
The water was clear and warm, and the weather was an exciting mix of sun and thunder.

Love this shot!!!

And this one!! Hot mama and cute kiddo alert!!

I love how we've gotten to experience almost all manner of water fun this summer:
Chlorinated pools, salty beaches, and now freshwater lake.
All that we're missing is some river action!! :D

Okay, so back to our visit:
The rest of Saturday was cloudy and cool so we hung out at home -- there must've been some kind of Robin Williams tribute going on because they were showing two of his films back-to-back. :D

After more great meals (there was no shortage of delicious food, I swear!) Dash stayed out with Joan until 3am hanging with his friends at a local restaurant, while Valentina and I talked mom-talk and I learned a lot about the maternity leave policies of Spain as well as her own experiences.
She is a great mother and is expecting her second!! Betcha couldn't tell from the photos, cuz she is one trim mama. ♡ ;)

We had to return the car Sunday by mid-day, so we vamoosed after a hearty breakfast and many hugs and kisses, thanks and well-wishes. They showed us such a wonderful time, and opened their arms to us, I just know that we will always love each other no matter how many years pass between our visits.

I really hope they get to come visit us some day in the states -- I can only hope I could show them as magical a time as they did with us. :) ♡♡♡

And now we are facing our last two weeks of Spain!! @_@
We have done so much and yet I still feel like I have a lot left to do.
This week alone is gearing up to be a big one, which you will be hearing about in posts to come.

Until then, thank you for taking time to read my long winding post about our visit and though I am sure I failed to capture the true beauty of everything we experienced, I am glad you got to see a peek at it anyway.

Til next time, take care and Happy Spanish Countryside!!

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