Barcelona: Casa Batllo

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Directly after visiting La Sagrada Familia, we hurried over to Casa Batllo (bot-yo). This is another building designed by Antonio Gaudi. Gaudi designed it for a wealthy man with a large family of 5 children in 1904.

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The outside of the home itself is an adventure. Gaudi wanted this home to look as if it was a dragon. I can’t imagine what the neighbors were thinking back in 1904 when this house was being built. I wonder if they had a similar reputation to that of the Addams’ Family.

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Gaudi had this homes’ design pinned down to the very last detail.

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This is the stairwell in the home. Gaudi wanted to make it feel like you were under water. I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland. The roof top is where my mind was officially blown.

KelseyLately.comIt was so stinking colorful.

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If you are totally awesome and ‘like’ the KelseyLately.com Facebook page, you may have seen this photo posted on my page today. And if you haven’t already guessed, Casa Batllo is exactly where this photo was taken! Side note: If you do not already like Kelsey Lately on Facebook, do it and do it now. 

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The girls wanted to pose like their hot mom. Aren’t they cute?

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Gaudi, you’re a frackin’ genius!

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

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We took a weekend jaunt up to Barcelona, Spain this weekend. After we drove to Sevilla, flew to Reus, took a train to Barcelona and then a taxi to our hotel and unloaded our belongings, we took off for a quick snack to fill our hungry, well-traveled bellies. Finally we were set to begin our Barcelona sightseeing adventures. Our first stop: La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia means “The Holy Family”. It’s a church that was designed by a famous architect, Antoni Gaudi (Gow-dee). Gaudi’s works are planted beautifully all across the city of Barcelona. I became beyond intrigued with his work once I started researching things to do in Barcelona and discovered the buildings that he has designed. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll see exactly why.

The exterior of the church is equally meaningful as it is astonishing. The handicraft and work behind sculpting such a masterpiece is mind-boggling. La Sagrada Familia began construction in the year of 1882 and has yet to be completed. That’s a total of 120+ years of construction. The completion is hoped to be in the year 2026; exactly 100 years after the mastermind behind the whole project passed away.

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The outside of the church displays scenes from the Bible. Some of the church is partially covered by scaffolding for construction, but it is still a sight to be seen.

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On one side of the church holds the Nativity Scene. This was the first project finished and the only one that Gaudi lived to see completed.

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The interior, however, is what seriously took my breath away.

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Looking at all these photos takes me back to the feeling I got when I looked at this beautiful creation the first time. I cannot believe that there is a place this beautiful. This was probably my very most favorite place that we went to the whole trip. There is no place like La Sagrada Familia!

To Market, To Market

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Sometimes going to the grocery store can be a real pain in the arse. It’s where all the things I love the most but are the absolute worst for me (Reese’s, Milanos, Dr. Pepper, need I say more?) are found.

Fortunately, there’s a wonderful market in Cadiz that sells the freshest and healthiest foods. A couple of weeks ago, we strapped the double stoller on top of the Purple Rocket and set out on our first trip to the Market. Here’s what we found.

Finding parking in most Spanish cities is always somewhat tricky. Since we weren’t sure the exact location of the market, we were lucky when the underground parking we randomly picked was very close to the market and we didn’t have to search too long. Even if we did, it would have been totally worth it. This place was the bomb!

The Cadiz Market is basically a giant square. On the outer edge, you’ll find fruits, vegetables, olives, sausage, rabbit, pheasant, and more.

In the center of the square is where you find all the fresh seafood. I happened to find that part the most interesting. And the smelliest.

If you’re craving octopus, then you’re in luck! The Spanish make use of every single creature in the sea.

Won’t you be joining me for dinner?

Storm’s a comin

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Being a Navy wife, I’m sure to always live near some type of body of water. This go round I just happen to be living near tons of beautiful Spanish beaches. Considering it’s free, I’m a big advocate for taking long walks on said beaches. I especially love frolicking in the sand when there happens to be a storm coming. The waves get pretty angry and the wind is like, totally gnarly dude.

What’s your ideal scene for a stroll?

Yeguada de la Cartuja

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If you didn’t know already, I stinking love horses. Given that information, it should be no surprise that this post is about none other than horses. I hope to own one some day when we’re settled down for more than a few years at a time. Until then I’ll be touring as many Spanish horse farms as possible.

We visited an Andalusian horse farm a couple weekends ago with friends. Compared to A Campo Abierto, Yeguada de la Cartuja was a step up just in the aspect that you could be hands-on with the horses and pet them. They also offered a carriage ride on top of the tour of the property and demonstration of the animals.

Here are some of my favorite photos from our time at Yeguada.

 

These colts were so funny and entertaining. They reminded me of teenage boys trying to show off. Some of them kept bucking and naying very loudly.

Then they brought their Mamas out and every single one of them started nursing. It was so sweet! I know my LLLadies back home will think the same!

For those of you in Rota, get your tail on over to Yeguada de la Cartuja. It’s an easy drive just past Jerez de la Frontera.

Directions to Yeguada de la Cartuja can be found here.

 

A Campo Abierto

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A couple of weekends ago we ventured off with a few other MU8 families to spend the morning at A Campo Abierto. A Campo Abierto is a farm that raises horses, oxen and bulls that take part in bullfights here in Spain. Here are some just enough pictures to make you feel like you were actually with me that day.

At the beginning, the riders were introduced.

Each of these emblems represent the different breeders.

Later they brought some of their friends.

Their huge friends, that is.

This isn’t a bull or a horse. It’s an ass. Not sure of its purpose in the whole scheme of things, but it was an entertaining ass nonetheless.

Round ‘em up, cowboys.

I don’t see how such a huge animal can be scared of an animal that is 10 times smaller.

Oh, uh… I see why they’re scared now.

Taking a break for a quick cerveza.

I’m sure that this horse was singing the Spanish version of Willie Nelson’s “Beer for my Horses” at this point. Speaking of horses…

After the bulls, oxen and such, it was the horses’ turn to trot and gallop for the crowd.

This horse was doing an Andalusian horse dance.

And the rest is history, really.  I had a great time visiting a bit of the Andalusian countryside but for 18 Euro per adult, this will be a one time occurence for our family.

If you’re living in Rota and looking for a countryside destination to explore, visit this website for more information on A Campo Abierto and directions to their ranch.

Molly Malone’s

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Molly Malone’s is an Irish Pub located in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Leaving from the El Puerto gate of the Rota Navy base, you can easily get to Molly Malone’s in about 5 minutes. This restaurant has the most welcoming (and English-speaking) wait staff, is family friendly and has an extremely laid back atmosphere. To top it all off; the traditional Irish food is amazing.

In the warmer months, dine on the roof-top terrace and enjoy some bread and cheese for an appetizer.

There are a handful of different meal choices for the kids. Among them are chicken nuggets with a fried egg and french fries.

Our girls also enjoy the spaghetti and meatballs that comes with a side of garlic bread and a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

I’m not a huge fan of salads, but I love their Chicken Cesar salad.

Their Barbeque Chicken & Vegetable kebabs are a steaming plate of BBQ goodness. Are you drooling yet?

In the cooler months, the main restaurant is usually filled to the brim with locals watching futbol matches. I prefer to watch the matches while enjoying some warm and delicious Shepherd’s Pie.

And it wouldn’t be an Irish Pub without Fish & Chips (and beer!).

Molly Malone’s is open from noon until late with the last meal order taken at 11:30 PM.
Molly Malone’s is located at avenida de fuentebrabia km 5, centro comercial molino de viento 11500 Puerto de Santa María, Spain.

Doors

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Spain has fascinating doors. I’ve become enthralled with them since I moved here. They have tall doors, short doors, old doors, new doors, bright doors, wood doors; all kindsa doors. Here are some of my favorites.

And then I went to Portugal. Their doors are my favorite.


I think these are all so “a-door-able”. Which one do you like best?

Snails. It’s what’s (not) for dinner.

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It’s snail season in Spain. Like other animals, snails hibernate during the winter. During the warmer months, snails creep out in their slimy shells to find food. I seem to be coming across them everywhere I go. The one pictured above was located on the sidewalk outside of our house.

We found its brother slithering away just a few feet down from it.

This entire bunch of hundreds of snails I found hiding in the crevices of a wooden fence in Sanlucar, Spain.

I’ve found them in fields…

More interestingly, the gypsy market in Rota, Spain where you can buy them by the bag.

Yes, by the bag. You know, so they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Aw, heck; you can have them in between meals, too for a little tapas action.

Why not? Forget the steak and potatoes, this delicious European treat is packed full of protein that does a body good.

Mmmm… snails.

Hungry yet?

Take a stroll through your local Spanish city street and look for a sign like this. Then you’re in luck, folks! You too can enjoy this Spanish cuisine.

Or just look for the bags hanging outside the restaurant door.

This restaurant was selling their snails for only 4 euro ($5.60) for a small portion (tapas style) and 7.50 euro ($10.51) for a large portion. What a steal for such a delicious, slimy treat.

Snails. It’s what’s (not) for dinner.

Portugal: Days One and Two

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Andrew had a 5-day weekend so we decided to pop on over to Spain’s neighbor, Portugal. We left Rota early on Friday morning and arrived shortly after noon Portugal time in Albufeira. After the 3.5 hour drive, we were seeking ultimate relaxation. We decided to spend the rest of Friday soaking up the Portuguese sun while sipping a little Sangria poolside at the hotel and voila; ultimate relaxation was achieved and our vacation began. If I wanted to lose all of my readers and give everyone terrible nightmares, I’d post pictures of my pale self in a swimsuit. However, I’ll spare you all. You’re welcome.

On Saturday morning, we ventured off 45 minutes west to Lagos. Our first stop in Lagos took us to Ponta da Piedade. Ponta da Piedade is a place that has beautiful, golden cliffs and grottos scattered with beaches. When we first arrived, we walked along the top of the cliffs. The views were absolutely breathtaking. My pictures do not do it justice.

I’m sure that seeing the views from that peak would have been phenomenal, but I could not bring myself to climb to the top of it. There’s just something about being one wrong foot placement away from plummeting into the water that doesn’t sit with me well. But, I know someone who doesn’t mind risk-taking much.

He’s a fearless fella, that man.

To get to the bottom of the cliffs, there are hundreds of steep steps to get to the water.

At the bottom of the steps, there are several small boats.

The boats are there with tour guides just waiting to take you through the grottos. Our 30-minute tour was only 10 euro per adult and 5 euro per child. It was totally worth it.

Don’t be jealous, but yes; this was our handsome tour guide. Hubba, hubba!

Taking this tour was one of the coolest things I’ve done since bathing in wine in Hakone, Japan. By the way, those are just two reasons out of more than a million why any military family, given the opportunity, should giving living overseas a whirl.

Camillo Beach.

When I saw this opening in the rock, I thought there was no way we could fit. Then, he started steering us in that direction and sure enough, we just barely squeezed through.

Can you see the side view of King Kong?

Can you find the rock elephant?

After we took our amazing grotto tour, we were off to Lagos’ Old Town for a little shopping and dinner.

The main shopping street is just across from the Marina packed with lovely little taxi boats like these. They also had grotto tour boat guides available here with bigger boats and the small ones like the ones we chose.

The streets are lined with colorful cafes and shops. It was hard for us to choose where to eat considering you could get just about any type of food imaginable from Italian, American, Indian, Spanish or Portuguese.

Leaving Lagos’ Old Town we saw the Igreja de Santa Maria church. Twas beautiful. Lagos stole my heart and I will be going back!

If you’re living in Rota, Spain and wondering how to get to Lagos, I assure you it’s such a simple drive. Click here for directions from Rota Naval Base to Lagos, Portugal. Once you’re in Lagos and looking for a way to navigate your way through the city, SimplyLagos.com offers free printable handy maps to help you do just that. Note the location of the Tourist Office. They will be able to help you make the most out of your stay in Lagos. Most likely someone there will know how to speak English. Happy traveling!