Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spain, Part 1: Malaga, Grenada and Cordoba

Chris and I took the girls with us to southern Spain for several days of vacation prior to spending three nights in Rome to accommodate my work travel. We flew out of MSP on April 17 and into Malaga, Spain via Paris. The night before we left, I felt awful and am fairly certain I had the 24 hour flu. I had to shake Chris awake to give Eloise a bottle when she woke up because I couldn't even sit up to nurse her. As I lay on the bathroom floor, I ran scenarios through my head of how I was going to convince Chris that we should pay a change fee to switch our tickets because I didn't think I could fly myself, much less take care of an infant on the plane. Luckily, I felt better as the day progressed and was able to make the flight that evening. The girls did very well on both legs and slept for quite a while. The only hiccup was that our bags were delayed in Paris and were delivered to our hotel a few hours after we arrived in Malaga. We spent the night in Malaga at a hotel near the train/bus station that boasted a huge slide from the second floor to first floor lobby. Fiona talked about the slide frequently in the days leading up to the trip. In actuality, the slide was coated with a skid resistant material so it was a slow slip down. Malaga was a stop-over for us to catch a bus to Grenada the next day, but we did walk around for a while before ducking back to the hotel room relatively early after a stop at the grocery store for food for the kids.

Not a very good picture of Eloise's first international flight...

Hotel slide

Tapas and a stroll around the city (with gelato for Fiona, a theme on this trip)

We caught a coach bus from Malaga to Granada the next morning. I loved the quiet, scenic bus ride but was totally bummed to forget my favorite Athleta jacket on the bus. Grenada surprised me with its beauty. Moorish architecture in the old city combined with spring leaves and flowers brightened our views.

Fiona goofs around with a breakfast churro in Malaga

Bus Ride

Orange trees in Grenada

Cheese with fruit sauce

River/moat walk

View upwards to the Alhambra Palace

The girls hang out with jamon

Dinner out while Eloise slept and Fiona watched Dora

Monday morning, Chris set his alarm and took a taxi to the Alhambra where he waited in line from 7:30-9:30 am to purchase tickets for entry later in the day. I felt guilty when he arrived back to the hotel, cold and tired, to the three of us jet-lagged girls still sleeping. About noon, we visited the Alhambra, an 11th century Moorish palace carved in Arabic inscriptions and geometric patterns. I am happy the girls were along for this trip, but I do wish I could have spent more time soaking in the palace and grounds without diversion.

After the Alhambra, I felt tired. At this point in the trip, Eloise was fussy, eating poorly and just not her usual smiley self. The rest of the day, we spent shopping and eating. Chris purchased a couple shirts, Fiona ate a generous amount of ice cream, Chris and I had tapas and paella and Eloise was frequently held.

We took another bus Tuesday morning from Grenada to Cordoba. Fiona did well, but Eloise was so fussy that I knew something was amiss. After we checked into our hotel (which doesn't allow children under age seven, but didn't disclose that so no crib for Eloise, just a mattress on the floor which I slept on next to her), we took Eloise to a local clinic on recommendation from the woman working at the hotel desk. After navigating the administrative aspects of registering Eloise for a visit without my speaking English and without the staff speaking English, I carried Eloise into the doctor's office while Chris and Fiona left in search of lunch. I motioned with my hands frequently (to indicate an ear infection which I suspected), and the doctor listened to Eloise's chest, checked her ears, weighed her and wrote a script for an antibiotic which I filled without issue at the pharmacy next door (without insurance, only $7 for amoxicillin and ibuprofen). We weren't charged for the doctor's visit because I think it was too much trouble for them communicate with us. I felt very uneasy about the dosage since everything was in Spanish, but luckily my brother Sean, who is a doctor, was able to verify the dosage and frequency with me over the phone. After two rounds of antibiotic, Eloise thankfully perked up. However... after we walked around Cordoba that day, we went back to the hotel where Fiona fell asleep with complaints that her "tummy don't feel good." She woke herself up vomiting, and an hour later, Chris became sick, too. We think it must have been the pasta lunch Chris and Fiona ate while I was at the clinic with Eloise.

Fiona felt fine the next morning, but Chris was down and out the whole day. He rallied to visit the Mezquita, the cavernous Mosque-Cathedral with amazing striped double arches, which is the main attraction of Cordoba, but otherwise, huddled on the hotel room bed most of the day. It was a hard day.

Our Zen hotel

My poor Eloise

Walk near the water and rebuilt Roman bridge

Pictures from the Mezquita are below. The structure has switched between mosque and cathedral and bears the imprint of both religions. 

Here's how much of Wednesday looked: Chris stretched out on the bed, Fiona watching shows on the kindle and Eloise crawling all over me as I try to entertain her with the limited toys we hauled with us. I did take the girls out myself for a couple hours in the double stroller and browsed shops while Fiona napped and Eloise snacked from the stroller tray.

Chris woke up Thursday feeling nearly 100%, and we were both happy for a fresh start as we headed to the train station for a quick ride to Seville. 


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