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Part 1: Spain - Galicia

Let the recap begin! I may test the limits of both Typepad and my readers with the number of photos in these posts!

Our vacation was basically in three parts: Quiet - Crazy - Quiet.

  • Part 1 was arriving in Valencia and immediately vacating for a quick trip to Galicia, aka, the Atlantic Northwest.
  • Part 2 was returning to Valencia for the insane craziness that is Las Fallas.
  • Part 3 was a few days in Cornwall... to decompress.

Right off the bat, we were delayed about 5-6 hours when there were issues in Chicago... something about the jet bridge bumping into the plane, leaving a 1mm dent in the fuselage, and though everyone (ground crew, etc.) was OK with it, someone didn't want to sign off, so it ending up requiring approval from HQ in Toulouse, France (where it was the middle of the night, of course). So stupid -- and something that should never have happened in the first place. We were all lined up and ready to board... then we all sat down (thank god for knitting) and then the vouchers appeared. Finally underway, we missed our connecting flight in Madrid. Thankfully, we were fairly quickly booked on a train; re-bookings didn't appear to be going smoothly for everyone on our flight. We had to make our way to the Atocha Station, and I was really glad that I'd been there/done that before! I haven't been in too many train stations, but Atocha has to be among the most beautiful!

We finally made it to Valencia, hailing a cab from the train station to Ann & Brian's apartment. We all immediately ran out to look at some of the falla being constructed and to get some food & drink. Firecrackers were going off all around us -- all around the city -- day and night! Incredibly (I wouldn't have believed it), after a while, it all just becomes background noise. Anyway, much more on Las Fallas later.

Oh, Galicia!

We'd made the majority of basic plans & bookings during the holidays when we were together. Originally, we'd hoped to visit Bilbao and Santander, but flight schedules didn't work very well, so we shifted to westward... as far west as we could! We flew into Santiago de Compostela on Thursday, rented cars, and drove out to Cabo Touriñán -- it's the most northwestern point in Spain!


We stopped at Restaurante Leandro in Santa Comba, along the way, for lunch. Ann is a big fan of both TripAdvisor and anyplace with a menu del dia (menu of the day). Typically, it's offered for the mid-day meal, generous servings at a very reasonable price, and includes a few choices for each course, along with dessert and wine (or water). We had a very fine meal on this day, which concluded with this stellar Flan de Queso! It set the dessert bar very high for the entire trip (never quite to be reached).


This was the view from our Airbnb. Oh, what a joy that was! There's a small group of sheep right in the middle of that photo (perhaps if you click, it'll will enlarge enough to see them). Rusty couldn't stand it, and immediately took off to explore the shore!

Maria and her daughter, Alba, were our hosts. Maria greeted us, not speaking a word of English, and my Duolingo lessons didn't really get us too far! Ann & Brian were a bit behind us, for some reason... never mind, somehow we communicated the important stuff! Alba spoke a little bit of English, and the boys are quite good with Spanish these days (Ann & Brian, too, but the boys even more). I got comfy and decided to try out some of my Spanish words, Ann es mi hermana. And then I tried to say something about Brian being Ann's esposo, which garnered laughter from everyone, so I'm sure I didn't do that right... heh.

We settled right in... some following Rusty's lead, others heading into town for provisions.

We observed some very interesting things at this house in the north of Spain.

  • I don't know how typical it is, but there was an entire room -- bedroom-sized -- strung with clothesline for indoor drying. What is typical is the lack of dryers. Every place I've been in Europe/UK has had a washing machine -- usually small, tucked under a kitchen counter or in a small adjoining area, though I've yet to spot a dryer. Usually there are drying racks/lines outside of windows -- laundry is easy to spot! If the Atlantic Northwest is anything like the Pacific Northwest... well, there you have it! Genius, really.
  • The other thing was the bedding. First, there was one long pillow encased in one long pillowcase, spanning the entire width of the bed, whether twin or double. I like my pillow a bit firmer than Rusty does, and I'm also a bit of a scruncher. There was no scrunching! We weren't really fans of that situation. Second, fleece sheets! This is a step beyond flannel, people! I'd never heard of fleece sheets before, but they seem readily available on several sites, including Amazon!

On Friday, we hopped in cars and did a bit of exploring. This part of the trip was a big question because Ann & fam don't usually do "road trip" vacations, mainly because the boys get antsy and sometimes Mack suffers a bit of carsickness. Luckily, we weren't going too far!


First we headed up to Muxía. There was a street market happening, so we just parked and got out to explore. There were lots of rocks to climb on, and treasures to be found.

We hopped in the car again and drove down to Fisterra on Cape Finisterre (Land's End). Most of our stops in Galicia are points along the Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James).


These markers show the way... this one happens to be the 0 km marker at Finisterre.


We found some refreshment at the cape:


And food in Finisterre. Ann had O Pirata on her list and we were not disappointed!


Everything was super fresh, well prepared, and so tasty!! We basically had a customized menu del dia, made just for us. Plus, some of the best bread any of us have had in a while. It was cool to see a fisherman come in with his bucket o' fish to sell.

Another interesting thing we saw in Galicia were these:


They're everywhere -- in the villages, in the country -- all long and narrow, on "mushroom stilts" (that's what we called them), with ornaments at each gable end, one of them always a cross. Some were higher, lower, older, newer...


They're corn cribs!


Stunningly beautiful corn cribs. That's the light from the lighthouse visible at just right of center, above.


We all went out to the lighthouse at various times, on foot or by car. It was peaceful and lovely.


I'd definitely return... there's so much more to explore!

Santiago de Compostela was our destination on Saturday, but first we made another quick run up to Muxía. I remembered that there was a church site there that I'd wanted to visit!



Nosa Señora da Barca (Our Lady of the Boat) is sited beautifully. The church was nearly destroyed in a fire several years ago; the structure has been restored, but the interior is "representational" -- a large photo backdrop of the altar. It was the entire site the intrigued me... the church, the unusual stones (the boys really enjoyed climbing), and the sculpture.


A Ferida ("The Wound") by artist Alberto Bañuelos is in remembrance of the Prestige oil spill that poured nearly 18 million gallons of oil into the ocean off the coast of Muxía in 2002. We could still see evidence of oil on coastal rocks... that doesn't ever wash away.

We had just a quick overnight stop in Santiago -- mainly to visit the Cathedral, which was a nice walking distance from our Airbnb.


A 5-year-long restoration of the exterior was completed last summer.


Now happening on the interior! There wasn't much to see, but it was still quite fascinating and... GOLD! Very gold. Even with all the scaffolding and draping, it GLOWS! This will continue for the next year, all to be complete in time for the Holy Year 2021.

We returned cars and flew back to Valencia on Sunday!

If you'd like the CliffNotes version...'s our "entire" vacation in 2 minutes and 37 seconds!

Stay tuned for the spectacle that is Las Fallas -- Part 2 to come!

Happy Birthday!!

We returned from vacation on Monday, which happened to be Malina's 1st Birthday!


This is one of my favorite photos* from the day of her birth. Ginny was sleepy... and obviously not so sure about early morning developments! Junah also looks sleepy, but he is the dreamiest lovingest cuddliest kiddo in the early morning and he looks slightly more accepting and intrigued!

It's been a fantastic year!!


She's the happiest baby and has quite the personality these days, and it won't be long before she's walking!! Watch out world!

Happy 1st Birthday, Malina!! xoxo

*Photo by Mary Nieland of Fox Valley Birth and Baby. Another of Mary's images from that day won 1st place category winner in the 2019 Birth Becomes Her Image Contest!


Hola!! Popping in to say that all is well, we're having an amazing time! Off to Cornwall tomorrow for a few days before returning home on Monday (I'm pretty sure... the days are getting fuzzy).

I have managed, by pure luck, to unintentionally knock a few things off my bucket list here... such as, I never have to see another fireworks display in my life (if I don't want to), because nothing is going to top what I have seen (heard & felt) here!

There are some posts on Insta & FB... I am never going to be able to share it all!!

Anyway, I can't let my 15th Blogiversary/1st Day of Spring pass without a post, also a quick mention of the 14th anniversary of The Quit a few days ago.

The crescendo of Las Fallas happened last night with fireworks/mascleta and the burning of this nearly 9-stories tall falle. We had a balcony view and I am pretty sure my face would have melted off if we'd stayed out there the entire time. It was flipping amazing!!

Thanks for reading and for your comments and for coming along on these crazy trips of all sorts, whether in Spain or my own back yard! xo


The Final Countdown

Ha. Here's what's on my calendar today:


It'll be that way for a while! "Wherever" is currently Amsterdam for a few hours' layover on the way to Valencia.

I was in low-key vacation prep all weekend, and it's going pretty well! I've crossed quite a few more things off this list since I snapped this photo.


I am more relaxed than I think I've ever been!

Things were going well enough that I took some time to dye yarn on Saturday morning, and then cleaned up my studio on Sunday morning. And when Ali brought the kids over for a visit on Saturday night, the big kids ended up staying overnight!


That started with a bath and ended with a slumber party in the living room. Ginny fell asleep against my shoulder before we were half-way through the first bed-time book!

They're playing together better these days -- if not always together, then at least side-by-side. They both know how to push the other's buttons, though!


We did a little craft project in the morning (also some Spirograph doodles) and then it was time to go! I didn't mention anything about our going away or not seeing them for a while because Junah was pretty upset about it the last time... not so much that we were going, but that he wasn't! He wants to go to Spain, too... RIGHT NOW!!

I gave them a subscription to Little Passports at Christmas and he is certainly interested. With good reason, I suppose, having family living or visiting in Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Scotland!

Final laundry and packing will happen this evening, and we're off in the morning!


T is for... Try, try again!

We're flying Iberia to Spain next week and, though I was tempted by their very nice offer to upgrade to Business Plus, with its diverse menu, wine cellar and reclining bed, I opted to just choose and/or purchase our Economy seats in advance. I tried and tried and tried... and finally, this morning, was able to make it all the way through the process -- in English and without getting kicked off the site. We have confirmed seats on every leg of our journey, now, except from Valencia to London, and that's a fairly short flight so I'm not too concerned. It's the 8+ hours on a plane when I need a little wiggle room... preferably with a view.

G is for... Galicia!

We're so excited to explore the Costa da Morte in the Atlantic Northwest! I feel very lucky to be going there -- thanks to cheap flights -- because it would be way too far for us to drive there from Valencia, given our timeline, even for road-tripper vacationers like us! I thought that Spain was probably a little bigger than Wisconsin, but didn't realize that it's 3X bigger!!

I is for... Inventory!

It's release day for Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 10: Downtown!


I have a few available in the coffee shop and a few online -- I'd be happy to send you one! (I am dying to make some of those nesting cowls.)

F is for... (not) Freaking out!

I'm going on vacation in a few days -- for two weeks! I haven't been on a 2-week vacation from work since the early '80s. Ha! I realized that I didn't even take ONE full week off last year, it all got parsed in 4- or 5-day long weekends.... quite a few of those, I guess, and that's fine, but there's something about a whole week off. Two. Man, I just don't even know. Anyway, I'm trying not to freak out about the house & the cat (we have a great -sitter), and whether it's going to snow while we're gone (because, ugh!), and how/what I should pack, and travel knitting (the above-mentioned cowls, if I have some suitable yarn, otherwise I'm leaning toward another pair of worsted socks), and when we should leave for the airport, and the language, and currency...

This weekend will be devoted to laundry & packing. And, hopefully, watching some snow melt.

P.S. I didn't receive a single email notification of comments on yesterday's post! Ugh. It's such a pain sometimes. Typepad said that they had some problems yesterday morning, but that all seemed to be working by afternoon. I still haven't received a notification. I'm curious about today. It's kind of a pain responding to comments when I don't get an email. Thank you all, so much! I am thrilled that I was able to find such a perfect gift idea for Lady Kate, and love that some of you might have future Lairds and Ladies in the family, too.

3TT: Hello, March

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

1 -- The second stem of my gorgeous, delicate amaryllis has begun to bloom -- six buds!


I love it so much! It's right in view from my seat at the table -- the Garden Room is one of the best features we made in this house, especially wonderful in (a long snowy) winter.


1b -- I'm pretty happy that we'll at least see stem #1 of amaryllis #2 in bloom before we leave for Spain. I may have our house sitter send me photos as it develops. That's not too weird, is it??

2 -- Good company, good food & drink, fun & games.


Rusty & I met Ali and her friend/co-worker Kristin at 313 Dodge, which is co-owned by friend and former co-worker, Janel, for Beer/Wine Bingo Night! We shared & enjoyed some yummy food (last chance for a few things, as the menu is changing next week) and had a blast playing BINGO! I never won a game when I used to go to Sunday night Bingo at the local Catholic church, but I won last night!!


I conveniently placed my morning pick-up order with Kristin before we left, and had this most delicious avocado toast for breakfast today! So good.

3 -- You may call her LADY KATE!!

Kate's early birthday gift arrived just in time on Tuesday afternoon!! She happened to be sitting at the kitchen table when I brought in the mail and I just handed it to her with little fanfare -- other than a big excited grin! I hadn't got around to telling Rusty that I'd pulled the trigger on this (though I'd mentioned it to him as an idea several months ago), so it was a little surprise for him, too! I don't know how I first became aware of Highland Titles, but I've followed them on social media for years, and this was finally the year. Kate's reaction was EXACTLY as expected, she was thrilled, Rusty was thrilled, I was thrilled... it's the best gift ever!

She's planning to be in Scotland in May with her friend Shannon, and definitely in this very part of the Highlands, so I hope they go scope out Kate's "estates." Haha! I'll keep you posted.

Now to find something equally as inspired for Ali & Maddy!! Their birthdays are coming up right quick.

Weekending: Trial by Fire

...or In Hot Water - NOT!

or... All's Well that Ends Well.


Hey Friends! A quick catch up with non-related cute kid pics.


He looks ready to take on the world!!

Rusty & I went to a closing reception for an art show on Friday evening and, upon our return, discovered that the water wasn't very hot... and a big puddle on the floor around the water heater in the basement.

Fifteen minutes later, our second Airbnb guests arrived!! OMG.

There wasn't much to do but inform them, apologize, and then work at getting it fixed. They were SUPER gracious, insisting that they were here mainly to relax and hang out.


Sitting on my lap, playing peek-a-book with mumma!

Also, it snowed on Friday night.

So, while Rod came over on Saturday morning to go with me to pick up the water heater I'd purchased on Friday night, Rusty shoveled...

(There was an option for delivery, but the estimated date was March 13th. Hahahahahahaha. Who orders a water heater in advance... just because??)

How gracious were our guests? The guy came out and offered to help get it down the basement!

Rusty & Rod had it in and installed by mid-morning.


I'm not happy that we had to buy a new water heater right before going on vacation, but I've already come home from a week-long vacation (with three little kids and all the associated laundry) to find that the water heater had given it up while we were gone.

There are two things that I'm happy about. First, it's bigger -- 50-gallon capacity instead of 40. Second, our water pressure seems to have improved. A couple of years ago when they re-did all of our water lines and everything, they guys were all saying how much better our water pressure would be... but there wasn't really any change, until now!


Kate is leaving tomorrow for an extended time away, starting with a visit to NYC. We'll meet up in a couple of weeks in Spain, but I don't expect to see her home until June or July, or maybe even August! That's going to be so weird.


So Ali & the kids came over to hang out on Sunday night, bid farewell to their Auntie Kate, and humor their grandmother.


I love how Ginny's stealing the show!

I am/have been busy getting the books caught up and straightened out for a meeting with Ali's accountant tonight. I was a bit behind, but I'm feeling very good about it all... establishing processes is helpful!

Maddy's taxes are all but finished, too.


I started ours (the easy stuff), but it looks like I'll be waiting until after vacation to finish. I'll be refreshed & renewed!! Haha.

Our guests loved their stay, even with the water snafu! And our third Airbnb guest arrives this evening for a few days! (This whole thing continues to blow our minds.)

Hope you had a great weekend!!

Friday: Scotland at random


There seemed to be more contrails and planes in the sky this morning than I've seen in a while!

I always smile when there's a good Saltire.

Kate will find herself in Scotland with her friend Shannon for vacation in May.

I have already purchased her very Scotland-related birthday present and there's a slim chance it'll arrive before she leaves. I may or may not give it to her then.

I might bring it with me and give it to her when we meet in Spain. (Ahem, especially if it doesn't arrive in time... see above.)

It is something that she could possibly do/visit/use/take advantage of while she's there in May.

If not this time, then next time, or the next time... forever and ever.


I can already see her quizzical expression, and hear her: "Wait. WHAT?? IS THIS EVEN REAL??"

Stay tuned.