Well, we made it! My brother is successfully married, in what was a beautiful service, in a gorgeous setting, and with amazing food! The next day, we left for the little resort town, where we were planning to spend a couple of days with my parents. We drove 8 hours across Spain, to find we'd landed in our new definition of Hell on Earth. This small 'family-friendly' resort town was mobbed with German tourists, too many people, and the hotel was something like a cruise ship gone bad. It had a game room/arcade, 2 cinemas, a discoteque that played till 2 am, and a cafeteria that would seat 2000 people. There were 500 people waiting for breakfast the morning we left. We arrived at 9.30 pm, I spent about 5 hours trying to resurrect us from there, and we left less than 12 hours later. But the rebound from this bounce was amazing. We decided to head off to the city that Gaudi and Picasso made famous. Lots of art and architecture for our last few days.
(Spoiler paragraph- stop reading if you don't want to know where we were.....)
Barcelona is an amazing city. I think we all fell in love. We hopped one of the tourist buses, and rode around to see all the major sights. Its history dates back to Roman times, and it was then a critical Medieval sea port. And then there's all the Modernisme art- I LOVE Gaudi's work. He studied nature, and took his lines from there, so these buildings have flowing curves like waves, and balconies with wrought iron that looks like 3-D leaves. And one of his buildings has a roof that's shaped and shingled like a dragon's back. Amazing. I'd have loved another day or two there. He also started a cathedral, the Sagrada Familia, that won't be finished for another 50 years or so, and is all funded by private donation and admission fees. It's amazing to see his ideas being carried out, some not so accurately, apparently, much later. I definitely need to do some more research on him.
So we made it home uneventfully, which is always good, except for the torrential downpour that occurred just as we were unloading and getting the last things from the car. Since we all got soaked to the skin, that necessitated changing clothes before checking in. I didn't get to, so was a bit soggy till about half way through the flight to New York. I pity the poor work crew that has to put that car back to rights. Yikes. My children now understand in spades why we don't eat in my van here.
So all in all, it was an amazing trip. There was so much that we did, we can't even pick one country that was our favorite, although the Lion King says his was France. Which is good, since he doesn't like to travel like I do. There's a good chance we might get to go back some day! It was great for my kids to get to know their cousins on the other side of my family, my brother got to finally meet my little guys, and we just all around had an amazing time. Now I can bore you all with the 1600 pictures I took!