20 November 2008


Coast of Spain - a typical Chiringuito

Two more wake-ups and we are off on our latest European adventure. We fly out of Chicago O'Hare Saturday evening and land at Heathrow just 6 hours later, change planes, and arrive in Vienna early afternoon Sunday. The plan is to head straight to the Naschmarkt in Vienna to inhale the wonderful selection and make strategic choices to carry on to Bratislava for Sunday night dinner with our family--including Grandma who, at 80 years, is making her third trip to Europe in 6 years. Grandma never imagined going once to Europe--it was not in the plan. But, when your grandson gets married to a Slovak and they produce two beautiful little girls, we all find ways to get to Europe! We will be together one week in BA and then grandma will have a week alone with her grandkids and great-grandkids while CA and I begin our adventures.

I tend to procrastinate on the packing, but I am a world-class hunter/gatherer. There are books, Christmas gifts, clothing, favorite foods, DVDs, etc. One large suitcase is designated for the bounty. We are also carrying along a new all-terrain stroller for KF's journeys.

Friends are meeting CA and I in Nice for a week in Mougins and the villages of Provence, then CA and I fly to Marbella via Madrid to meet more friends for a week along the coast of Spain. We have done lots of research, but will let each day take care of itself. There will be sites to explore, trails to hike, and markets to peruse. And cafes, and bistros, and tapas bars, and chiringuitos*, and, and, and...

After Spain, CA and I fly to Paris for a week at the Renaissance near the Tulleries in the heart of Paris. We will walk the city with forays into the Metro. We will revisit favorites and explore new avenues. Dinner one night at Spring to eat whatever the chef decides... Mostly we eat simple food in simple cafes and bistros. Food is everywhere and beautifully presented.

Then on December 20th we will fly from Paris to Bratislava to meet up with JE, MA, and JA [the squishy little guy] for a week of Christmas celebrations. If the weather is mild, we will explore the villages on the outskirts of the city and spend hours walking through the Staré Mesto [old city]--drinking punch at the Christmas market and indulging in the Viennese pastries and Vienna coffees [coffee topped with a mountain of whipped cream that melts slowly into the rich and flavorful beverage].

Enough procrastinating. Energy begets energy and there is packing to do! Let the games begin!

*Churinguito - beach bar that serves food and drink. On Sundays paella is the specialty.

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