Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School time

School is in full swing- this is the kids' 4th week. Their first day was great. It was pouring rain, a first for us, but because we were ready for Glasgow, all went well. The 3 youngest rode their bikes and Francie and I ran behind. Francie is a better runner than me. The second day as we went to unlock the bikes, we discovered that Leif's was stolen! We were in shock. The antique cast iron fence had been kicked? sawed? the bike was gone and so was the chain. Leif rode on the back of Emilia's bike that day and quite a few since. We are trying to replace it, but all things are difficult to get done here. The second week Emilia and Leif ran for Pupil Council. They made badges and posters, at school- everything is very fair here. The two wrote speeches and gave them. On Friday both were elected. We were so pleased. BOTH!
Then Rich and I took off for a little trip, just the two of us. Long over due. I booked cheap tickets to Malaga back in the early spring. As the date was getting closer, both Rich and I started dreading it- too much work for Rich and he wanted to just stay- and for me it was just letting go and not worry about the kids. I told Rich he could stay home, no hard feelings! That got him a bit mad at me and then he for sure was going to come with me. We had no reservations for anywhere- the plan was to camp. We had no travel guide. Forbidden! We didn't want to have to do anything or to miss anything. I booked a car. We just knew that it would be warm and sunny. At the airport Rich said, "Let's get away from the British"! I laughed so hard. There were so many and they all had a zillion kids. Spain is for families. We didn't realise that the "Costa del Sol" is really built up and touristy. Like Waikiki? never been there, but so I was told. Any ways, touristy was not what we were after. I was driving the tiny stick shift car so I drove south. Richard wanted to go east, but I won. This was my idea and I always wanted to go to Gibraltar. Then we could go East. If he still wanted to... We sunned and swam and then went to Gibraltar. It surpassed my expectations. We were like little kids at Disneyland. We saw the Macaques first as that was my main reason for going to Gibraltar- yes driving 150 kilometres to see monkeys in the wild. They were beautiful and scary! As we were watching them play in a little pool, one used Rich as a spring board to get higher. He got muddy monkey paws on his white shirt. We laughed so hard.
We visited a Moorish castle and saw the old fortifications and tunnels. We then saw the grotto- the biggest stalactites and stalagmites that I have ever seen (and I have been to a few caves). A part of the cave had a stage where weddings, ballets, operas etc are still performed. Classical music was piped through out the cave.

I think it was Gibraltar where we finally found our grove. Luckily it was the first day. We camped in amazing places, climbed amazing sand dunes and sunned and swam in crystal clear water. We stayed in the south. Apparently it is touristy all the way to Barcelona and where we were, the most southern spot in Europe, it was rural and lovely. It was a perfect way to end summer. I had a permanent smile on my face every day- even when my bottom lip swelled horribly from the sun, like a bad botox job (I imagine) and it was hard to drink water. We kept saying that the kids would love this or that and we hope to take them this spring...That is Africa in the distance.