Well it's that time again. We're in our third apartment in three school years and so for anyone who may still be interested, I think this one may just be the best yet (the photos are some of the worst, but try to see past the lighting situation we're dealing with here). Our place was about as clean as it's ever been yesterday morning (we'd hosted people the night before) so I seized the moment and the wee bits of morning light we get to snap these pictures.
My parents came to visit us in Spain this past summer (all about their time with us in Madrid here!), and like I mentioned earlier this week, spending nine straight days in the city just felt like a bit too much. About a year ago Danny and I spent one of our extended weekends off of school in the south checking out a couple places that are kind of "must-sees" in Spain (Granada and Córdoba), as well as a few others (Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas) that seemed interesting. While in Ronda, we decided we really liked it (our first trip here!), as well as the place we stayed at while in Ronda and after spending weeks (okay, months) this past spring tossing around where to go and what to do with my parents, we finally decided on my first thought - an extended stay at Finca la Guzmana just outside of Ronda with a few day trips from there.
Last Christmas break we went back to the U.S. for my brother's wedding, and at the end of our trip, my parents told us that they intended to come visit us in Madrid, so as soon as Danny and I decided on the best time for them to visit, they said, they would start planning their trip. They booked their flights not long after the initial conversation, and after that point, it was like we were on a countdown - see you in three months...two months...six weeks...etc - June 17th couldn't come soon enough (see, I can still remember the date!).
The past four months, while they may have started out in a fairly ordinary manner, certainly didn't continue that way for long. In May we carried on teaching at our respective schools but saw classes very rapidly take a more...relaxed turn, shall we say? In many ways the last two months (ever since returning from Semana Santa/Spring Break) in the middle of April felt kind of like we were on the downhill, especially since just nine days after our 11-day break, we had a four day weekend. Kids and teachers alike took cues from the weather and started checking out a bit.
At the end of April/beginning of May, we had four days off from school, and even though it was just around ten days after we'd returned from our epic road trip around southern France (which I just finished recapping this past week!), we couldn't let one last chance to get out of town before the end of school pass us by. I desperately wanted to go to Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside as it was perfect timing for tulip season, but the flights just didn't work out, so we decided to explore an area of Spain that I think flies a bit under the radar, especially with tourists - Extremadura. Extremadura is a western region that borders Portugal, and doesn't have any particularly large cities, although it does have a lot of nature and rural areas.
I knew that I was going to write this post pretty much since the beginning of the school year - I put it on my "Blogs to Write" to-do list back in October and moved it to the bottom of the list as I knew I wouldn't even start till the school year was over, but definitely didn't want to forget to do it. Of course, now that the year is over, I'm lacking motivation and inspiration - school ended a little over two weeks ago - but I'm a slave to my to-do list and thus I must obey the master.
If you've been following our blog or Instagram this spring, you might be starting to wonder if we really do any work or if we're actually just traveling all the time. Well, I'm here to set the record straight...although Spain has a plethora of public holidays and there's even more for school children, we haven't been on a non-stop trip around Europe and north Africa (as awesome as that sometimes sounds). We mostly do ordinary, everyday things, like work, hang out with friends, go to the park, try new recipes, read books, volunteer, and go grocery shopping, that are just as great as traveling around.
At the end of February, we checked another local attraction off our list, played tourist in our own town, and took a ride on the Teleférico de Madrid with our friends Josh and Gemma. Now, I'm going to be honest (to be fair, I think I usually am...but this might not be the most raving review), so don't be surprised if you don't walk away from reading this post ready to take the Teleférico the next chance you get.