Friday, December 23, 2011

Then There Were Four

I know you think we very well may still be in Spain if your only interaction is this blog so I'll try to get you caught up on the last few months.

You really haven't missed much except work, playing with Ehren and getting ready for the new baby.

Can you see why I haven't blogged lately?

Just as a reminder the new baby was due December 27th. Notice the past tense? Yeah, he decided he was ready to enter the world on December 5th instead. We now have another son: Asher Spurgeon Fykes.

Now we weren't exactly ready for this and my water actually broke in the middle of 2 different real estate negotiations which means I was that pretentious person at the hospital on the phone. At one point the doctor on call actually came in the room and I was on the phone with another agent and I held up my finger and asked her to come back in a second. Luckily, the doctor thought it was pretty funny instead of annoying and you really should have heard the other agents once I told them..."okay I'm going to have to go I'm at the hospital and my water just broke so it may be a few days before we can get back to you."

We've now been home almost 3 weeks and we're learning to adjust. My parents are here for a couple more days and we're trying to soak the help in while we can. This is the longest they've ever stayed with us (two whole weeks) but I'm not looking forward to them leaving. NOT.A.BIT.

Life with 2 kids is going to be different but you've never known us to shy away from a challenge, right?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quite a Legacy

La Sagrada Familia - spire construction 2

I was close to crossing this off my list of things to do. After going I can't believe I almost missed it. Having seen many of the greatest cathedrals in the world, seeing Gaudi's interpretation and vision of a cathedral is amazing. He takes the plan and grandiose volume typical of a cathedral and makes it organic and a bit funky in his quirky art nouveau style.

La Sagrada Familia - Interior 2
La Sagrada Familia - Interior 6

This project started over 100 years ago. It's currently about 50% complete, it was about 25% complete at Gaudi's death. He knew other architects would continue his vision with their own interpretations which is amazing and has created much debate in Spain over whether the newer work is really staying true to Gaudi's. Personally I really like the newer work (passion facade)

La Sagrada Familia - Passion facade
it's a bit stripped down and abstracted in contrast to the more Gothic, busy and ornate original entry.(nativity facade)

La Sagrada Familia - nativity facade

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

By a Few Threads

We just barely made it.

This stroller has the huge rip on the side, the frame poking through at the bottom and then this morning the net ripped through when I put the guidebook in it and the top where he rests his head now has a gaping hole.

Stroller falling apart

I guess we have to come home.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ehren's First Topless Beach

We have loved every single day trip we have taken but at the same time seems like the trips home from all of them have been miserable. After Toledo we thought, totally our fault we can do this better in Morocco and then there was that nightmare so last night we made a quick change to the plans and decided not to put Ehren through another day trip so that we can see some really cool mountains and hear a boys choir at Montserrat.

Instead, we stayed in Barcelona and decided that when Ehren plays 2 Truths and A Lie, one of his truths can be that his first trip to the beach was at a topless beach in Spain.

See. We are excellent parents and always looking out for his best interest.

Beach-Ehren digging

We googled around and found a place that lends out shovels and toys and made quite a morning of it. We all wore sunscreen and since I had forgotten my bathing suit I laid on my bathtowel and read a book (that they also lent out at the shovel lending place) and documented the experience.

Beach-Ehren & Dad

I think I was careful and only got PG photos.

Beach - Ehren & Dad 2

I have always pictured topless and nude beaches as tucked away and not easy to just stumble on. Yeah, this is the beach that has office buildings right beside it on the other side of the road. For those of you that know the beach on Ocean Drive. Ladies just walking up to the shower getting fully tan. Quite interesting to say the least.

Overall probably one of the greater last minute plan changes we made and it was a great way to see a different part of Barcelona. This is a great city that you have to dig into to get away from the urban feel but it has so many different personalities. The beach, the old city, the weird Modernista architecture and then full urban. I'm glad that this is in the north of Spain so that when we do come back to do France we can hop over here and visit it again because 5 days only scratches the surface.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Not for 2.50 Extra

Now the temperature here in Barcelona is a high of 82 and a low of 70 degrees. Sounds nice, right?

Do NOT be fooled.

I have no idea how it is only a high of 82 but this is probably the hottest location we have been to. By 11am I have sweat rolling down my back and it only gets worse from there. This morning Ehren was out of the stoller running around for probably 25 minutes and he came back with his hair totally soaked and I have never seen sweat pouring down his face but he was drenched.

The moderate sounding forecast also tricked me into booking an apartment with no AC for us and let me save you that painful experience.

Get a room with AC.

Now if we could keep the windows open at night it probably wouldn't be so bad but we are on the first floor (what Americans think of as the second floor) and we've had 2 strangers and our apartment host tell us that we need to lock our windows at night or when we leave. I don't feel unsafe at all, however, I did read a review in this part of town of someone who didn't heed that warning and they ended up with someone in their apartment. In the middle of the night. Spraying them with pepperspray and taking their computer.

I can take a hint with the best of them so we are sweating it out at night in lieu of a pepperspray incident.

Barcelona Harbor statue

Today we just explored a bit and thought we would be good parents and do a very vanilla activity for Spain and take Ehren to the aquarium where there was surely air conditioning in the heat of the day. One thing Joshua and I do when we are approaching new attractions with very little information is play the "how much are we willing to pay" game. (I also do this with clothes - I'll show him something and say "what do you think it's worth" and if that matches the pricetag I'll buy it). So as we were wandering around the port trying to find the aquarium we decided we would each pay 15 Euros not because we wanted to but because we were hot and we wanted to be good parents. We finally found it and the ticket was 17.50 for each adult.

Blast it! Why couldn't it be 25/person?

After standing there for a few minutes debating we decided to stick to our guns and instead we played in the shade for an hour on the boardwalk. You have to draw the line somewhere, right?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nearing the End

You can tell because our photos are starting to wane a bit.

Last night we took the train from Granada to Barcelona and we were braced for a horrible night. I expected to get very little sleep and Joshua expected to be snuggled up with Ehren in his bunk for the entire night getting absolutely no sleep. Then, after laying in the dark all night as soon as the light came through the curtains that kid would be up and impossible because he is contained in a 4 x 8 square for 3 hours.

I'm shocked to say it didn't go down like that at all. We splurged on the family room of only 2 beds (paid an extra 40 Euros) and I'd pay that two or three times again for how smoothly everything went. We had enough room on the floor that Ehren got his own pallet and slept until we woke him up at 8:30 even with light shining right in his face.

Ehren-overnight train to Barcelona

Yes there were melt downs as we waited for the 10pm train and yes we caught him licking the floor of the train station not once but twice, however, it was worth it all for a successful night train experience. We now know that night trains are possible with kids and think of all the fun Spanish immunities his little body has.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Columbus' Go Ahead

Just like I never realized how much happened in Berlin, I also never knew how Granada was such a big deal. Granted it all centered on Columbus and Isabel so it isn't as diverse as Berlin but for me it is another "history coming alive kind of place." This is where Columbus got the go ahead to sail, the last stand of the Moors, and this is where Ferdinand and Isabel are buried.

I know I'm a nerd but I love learning on our travels. I love that when our kids study that I can show them a picture of the place where Columbus got his contract signed and that I saw the box he sold to finance the voyage. More than anything the way I'm able to retain knowledge after seeing things makes me think travel is just so much more important. Even with my pregnant brain I can give you a much more thorough explanation of the Reconquista.

Alhambra-detail 2

The biggest Granada sight is La Alhambra which is the original Moorish palace that then the Spanish of course built a bigger palace attached to when they finally sent the Moors back to Africa.

Tiff-Court of Myrtles

We had to get up really early for our ticket time but it was well worth the 6:45 alarm after our 12:30 bedtime. The detail in the wood and plaster work is amazing in the palace. And then the rest of the property is where the 2,000 residents lived and in it are more than a few gardens which are a great mix of plants and walls which makes it Joshua's favorite garden of Europe.

Alhambra-Generalife Gardens 2
One other pretty amazing thing the Moors did here was develop a water system that keeps fresh water flowing to all the fountains, the gardens, the palace and the commoners area. Everywhere you walk you can see and hear water flowing through the paths they made.

Escalera del Aqua
Overall well worth the early morning and the admission price and the carrying Ehren on our back (not a stroller friendly place - for that matter most of the old city of Granada is NOT stroller friendly).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Still Here

In rereading my last post it sounded like it was our last night in Spain instead of just our last night with our friends so you may be surprised to know we're in Granada still soaking up the Spanish experience. That being said, we decided on the drive here that Granada would be our vacation part of the adventure so we are soaking it up at a VERY leisurely pace. Like one thing in the morning and then the afternoon in our garden.

Yep, that's right. We have a garden.

Apartment garden 5

The "apartment" we rented here is actually the guesthouse of a Carmen which is a walled property with a private garden. Online it mentioned a shared garden so I thought it was shared by many people but it isn't. It is a huge garden with over 20 different fruit trees not to mention all the hedges that we share with the owners and we've never seen them out. So every morning we go out and see something and have lunch and then it is unbearably hot so we come home and put Ehren down for a nap and then spend the rest of the day playing in the garden eating fresh figs and waiting for our 8pm dinner time.

Tiff relaxing in the garden

Last night we actually put Ehren down a little early and had snacks and drinks on the tower of the main house with our hosts. Great way to enjoy the sunset and they had just been to Thailand last year so we had a lot to talk about. We finally wandered through the garden to our house at 12:30am like normal Spaniards for the first time since our date night.

View from roof deck

If you ever come to Granada stay here especially if you are traveling with kids.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And Then There were Three and a Half

In 2 days we've been in 3 countries. Morocco, Spain and today we hit up jolly old England (via Gibraltar).

Josh & Ehren at top of Gibraltar

It's pretty bizarre that there is this 2.5 square mile British province or city or whatever you call it smack dab in the middle of the Spanish coast. You show your passport and then all of a sudden everything is in English, the food is still bad but with entirely different ingredients and there are red telephone booths everywhere.

Travel Tip: Don't eat at the top of the rock. It is horrible and expensive and everything has cheese that is unmarked so you don't know if it is pasteurized.

One other thing I didn't know is there are monkeys that live on the rock. They are actually tailless little devils that steal things right out of your hand or bag. We saw one steal a grocery bag with a brand new camera in it and Memry actually got attacked by one right after stepping off the cable car and he ended up with her bag of chips. When they say don't have plastic bags visible they say it in this fun British accent so it doesn't sound serious but they aren't joking at all.

Monkey with Memry's Chips

A few hours later we were relaxing back in Spain. As a celebration of our last night in Spain we ate tapas, gelato, watched the sunset and then had a nice Italian dinner in the span of a few hours (and in that order).

Nerja beach

A great way to end a good time on the southern coast of Spain with our other daring friends who came from England with their baby.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who Takes Babies to Africa?

Waiting at Ferry in Morocco

Don't be fooled by the sleeping babies. This was about 20 minutes into the 6 hour journey it took to get back to Spain from our "day trip to Morocco." We didn't factor in the African-ness of leaving the country since it was so simple and easy to get there.

Like there are no lines. And mobs are very slow moving.

As we were eating our dinner back on Spanish soil we debated the "would we do that again" question. We can now say we've been to Africa and Moroccan food was redeemed for me from two horrible experiences at Epcot but man those hours from 2pm to 8pm were pretty tough.

Tangier 2

Don't tell the people I was with but I found a very small tip Rick Steves had in his book about how to skip that first mob and go straight to the next two mobs which would have saved us about 2 hours. I think I'm going to write him a quick email and let him know that sentence needs to be in BOLD. And maybe on a page by itself.

Our guide was mediocre at best but we did meet one really interesting man there who taught me a few things about sales.

Jimmy- Intercontinental Hotel

While his store has hundreds of options he has picked one way to engage his customers and he excels at it. He knows American area codes. You tell him where you are from and he says..."oh yes 615." I quizzed him on all the Texas area codes I know as well and he even knew that "361" was the "new" zipcode for Corpus Christi (changed around 1999). He has really deep knowledge on one subject and can engage you on that topic. He also is very friendly and wants to help you find something you like. He kept saying "if you don't like it then 1 Euro is too much to spend." I hope I'm as helpful to my customers as he was to us. And fun...but maybe not so much of a name dropper (his store is in a fancy hotel and so he has pictures with tons of famous people).

Monday, September 5, 2011

We'll Do That Again!

Today we rented a van. In another country. And drove down tiny streets with very little signage.

All the headache of getting out of the town though was totally worth it as we traveled around and saw the white washed cities of Andalucia. Driving isn't that hard and with no trains heading this direction it was so much easier than lugging 2 babies and all the luggage on and off buses. Plus, look how beautiful.


Without a car we would have missed all of this.

Osborne Bull


Sevilla is in the Bag

This morning we woke up to some potential rain for the day but it was the only morning for the local antique fair that happens once a week. We chanced it to go out and find that antique tile piece I was looking for and totally found it. A tourist store had the same thing for 42 Euro and I bought mine for 10 Euro. Granted we got caught in the rain with not even an umbrella and ended up like this.

Fykes drenched

But it turns out Ehren doesn't mind the rain and laughed most of the way home so I would say still a great decision.

Then after a nice nap for the babies we headed back out to the city center and toured the palace which had a great garden. It is the kind of place I would get a membership to if/when I live here for a little while. A great place to let Ehren run and sit and read and just have a high time.

Alcazar Gardens 1

On the way home to let our friends have their date night we stopped and had a final tapas at the super popular place in the drag. It was only 8pm so you can see the place was empty but nothing like having some drinks with babies at the cool place to be seen in Sevilla.

Tapas Time!

Sevilla does need to go on the must see list. Even with kids it is stroller friendly, low key and very Spanish. Also, it is the city where I have seen the most kids and pregnant women. Come on Americans...we can do this whole travel thing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

This Could Get Ugly

So far I've done two walking tours in Europe and both have been wins. Today we learned how to tell if the orange trees around Sevilla are bitter or sweet, that we totally missed a half finished building (that we took a picture in front of yesterday), that the pigs that make the best jamon (ham) are only fed acorns and also that the Roman city was about 7 feet below the current city floor and you can still see some of the columns.


Today tragedy may have hit our travels though. We noticed a small tear during Ehren's nap in the $5 stroller we bought at a garage sale the day before the trip. And by the end of day Ehren had his hand through the hole and was using it to hold on. We have no idea what we are going to do if that gives way. We use the stroller for his high chair and then also as his major mode of transportation. I wish it was as simple as just buy another one (and it may come to that) but we have yet to see a throw away Walmart-esque umbrella stroller. If we have to buy a new one we may end up with the Cadillac of little strollers and that may be our souvenir from the trip. Let's all cross our fingers I come home with a really cool antigue Spanish tile and NOT a ridiculous stroller.

We also went out last night on a Spanish date and our friends kept Ehren. We came home at midnight and thought for sure that would be early but turns out the old part of Sevilla shuts down at a more reasonable hour so midnight was just right. We had a leisurely tapas and saw a Flamenco exhibition. It was great to be out like our travels used to be. In some ways traveling with a kid slows you down but it also speeds you up. At every sight you feel like you need to rush through before he melts down or get through before he wakes up and you know every waiter in town is trying to get you in and out. So, an evening of just sitting at a table discussing what part of town we would live in for over an hour was a nice switch. The flamenco was cultural but the slow meal was glorious.

Dinner @ Las Teresas

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Travel with Friends

Blogging is a little harder when you have friends and two babies running around the apartment. You just don't have as much time as you did in Madrid.

We are staying just a bit out of the old city center so we have a 2 bedroom flat instead of a studio since there are more of us but the downside is...more walking. I'm kind of disappointed that after this trip of walking my clothes won't be fitting any looser. In fact at the rate I'm going I will actually be outgrowing clothes. One of the tragedies of pregnancy.

Sevilla has treated the kids quite well. It's our friend's first Spanish city and so far they love it. Hopefully they decide to just stay and live here and that way we can come visit.

Tiff and Smiths - Plaza de San Francisco

So far we've seen the largest cathedral in Europe although it's only the 3rd grandest. In the Fykes opinion this is the best cathedral we've seen. The Sacrisity and Treasury made this one so much more interesting for us. I could let Joshua go on about the light and scale for a paragraph or two but instead we'll just say add it to your list and honestly if you have to chose one cathedral this maybe should be it.

Cathedral interior 7

More than anything we've just been able to hang out with our friends and soak up some Spanish culture. While having other people changes things, I recommend it. Especially if they are people you really like. Plus you get pictures with the whole family that way.

Josh & Tiff @ Cathedral

Monday, August 29, 2011

Madrid Food Win

Spain is NOT known for its food and I AM known for my picky-ness so I wasn't sure how the two of us would mix. Thus far it's been just a tolerant experience but today there is a big W in the food column.

We stumbled on the best lemonade frozen drink thing that Joshua actually went back the 15 minute walk a few hours later to get another one. I had a great fried squid sandwich for lunch and for dinner we had tapas at Casa Toni which needs to go on everyone's MUST EAT list if coming to Madrid. We had a patatas bravas (plate of fried potatoes in spicy sauce) and champinones al plancha (sauteed mushrooms) and they were both great. Plus, not only was the food great the staff was super friendly. And, they didn't just talk to us but they each came out from behind the bar to play with Ehren and make sure he was having a good time. As we were leaving one of them even took my pulse and informed me that we would have a boy...I guess we'll see.

We have decided on this trip we will take a day of rest at least once a week and after a busy start we decided today was going to be that day. We woke up late, saw the Grand Palace and Madrid's oldest door and then went home for a real siesta before our evening entertainment.

Oldest door in Madrid2

A huge sport here is bullfighting. They have huge arenas that hold 23,000 and they fight once a week during the warmer weather. We lucked out that this Sunday was a corrida which means real matadors not the young inexperienced ones with smaller bulls. However, after having gone tonight I don't think I would care either way. While trying to be culturally sensitive Joshua and I have no interest in ever doing that again and don't understand the appeal. I can get behind the pageantry, costumes, band and cheering but that is about it. I don't want to see the matador get gored nor do I want to watch the bull bleed out for 15 minutes. We watched one of the six kills to say we'd done it but we had to force ourselves to stay after they brought the horses out to stab the main artery in the bull's neck and at that point we hadn't even seen a matador yet.


Don't get me wrong I like a good steak and I'm not in denial about where that meat comes from but this was just too much. It felt to me like the games at the Colosseum where they thought...hmmm...these people are sentenced to death so let's make a sport out of it and sell tickets. Just not my idea of fun.

The good thing about leaving after one kill was we got to go eat tapas, walk through another demonstration at Puerta del Sol and then let Ehren play on the playground on our way know, at 10pm when everyone else was out.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Toledo, OH's sister city

I couldn't believe it but in their treasury next to all the gold gothic style items and great El Greco paintings there is a small glass thing given by Toldeo, OH to Toldeo, Spain. I really wonder what is sitting at the city hall in Toledo, OH from Toledo, Spain.

Today we day tripped to another medieval city where you just sit and wonder how in the world it was created. Not with a wonder like the aquaduct and how did they do it without mortar, but rather how did they just keep building stuff and not end up with lots of dead ends? And how was the land given out? And why did they make the walls angled?

Welcome to Toledo

Toledo is the first city we've seen that still has a legitimate city wall in tact. I'm not sure if it is complete as I didn't walk all the way around it but if the civilized world comes to some sort of end I'm going to make my way to that city because it was never taken by force.

Also, quick parent travel tip: Bring a carrier for your non walking child in Toledo. We thought maybe it would be okay with a stroller since Joshua carried him all day yesterday in Segovia but we were wrong. We both ended up carrying the stroller on most streets.

Lunch time!
Overall it was a great day of exploration and they have a great cathedral. Interesting tidbit of the day: the cardinals get to choose where they are buried in the cathedral. Literally anywhere. They just dig a hole in the 1000 year old tile and bury them and then they hang their red hats over that spot until they rot away. We found 3 red hats rotting from the ceiling and I wish I'd thought to keep looking to see how many we can find. I bet it takes a while for that red velvet to rot away so I'm sure there are more.


You'll also notice we have a lot of pictures at the train station. We had tickets for the last train of the day but we finished up early and thought we'd be responsible American parents and get our kid to bed before 11pm by catching an earlier train. Well it turns out everyone in Madrid goes to Toledo on Saturday so all the other trains were booked up. Now the train station was very interesting and it entertained us for a good 20 minutes but we were there for over 3 hours which wasn't the end of the world but was exhausting for one 15 month old.

Ehren melting down

Safety First

I laugh every time we get on a subway because Ehren insists on holding on. He is always in the stroller or backpack but he starts crying until we position him so he can hold onto some bar.

Ehren holding on subway

It's a great ice breaker with the other patrons on the transport because everyone thinks it's hysterical.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Abandoned Playground?

In many plazas in Madrid there are little toddler playgrounds which is just such a great idea. As a parent it has made my love of plazas grow. I've always loved the concept of a big area where everyone congregates together consistently but now you throw in the element of something for your kids to do and I just don't know how I'm going to live without them.

Side Note: I think I've mentioned stealing "wine in the driveway" from another neighborhood but now we're definitely gonna do it. There is just something to spending the evening with your neighbors on a consistent basis and since Nashville is never going to have plazas we'll use our front yard/driveway and make the best of it. Anyway, back to the playgrounds.

In the afternoon it is just too hot for anyone to play but for the last two evenings as we are heading out for our 8pm dinner we stop and let Ehren play for 20 minutes or so. Never once have we seen an age appropriate child in the area with him. I'd say there have been a couple kids who are six or seven years old with their scooter in the area but I was beginning to think this was just not something anyone else did. We came home tonight from our tapas around 10pm and that playground was packed to the hilt with under 3 year olds.

I was prepared for taking your kids to tapas and having them out on the street that late but I was just shocked that 10pm was prime playground time. This is just the regular Spanish way of life and it is fascinating and reason number 327 that we don't stay in hotels very often or we would miss it. Unfortunately Ehren was too exhausted to play but maybe in a week he'll be fully adjusted to the late night life and we can take him out for his midnight play.

Bus Success or Failure?

Today we had two Ehren meltdowns and a day trip to Segovia to see the Roman aqueduct. In a last minute switch we decided to take a bus instead of a train to Segovia for the day and the ticket and boarding process was perfect. Turns out we should have consulted with Ehren because he apparently really didn't want to take the bus and the poor people around us had to hear about it for at least 15 minutes. Luckily he calmed after some food bribery and was pretty pleasant while we walked around the aquaduct. Did you know they made those things with no mortar? How is that even possible?

Tiff & Aqueduct

Then we headed for a very Segovian lunch of roast suckling pig and did a quick tour around town. Personally for me the day was mostly forgettable past the aqueduct but it was good to get away to a more historic city and out of busy Madrid. Apparently all that adorable screaming on the bus really wore Ehren out so he spent a good bit of the afternoon like this:

Ehren napping

We ended the day with tapas which is a little less glamorous with a toddler but still good - except for gazpacho which was a soup but they served it as a drink and it would have been bad either way I'm pretty sure. Overall, Joshua would describe it as a romantic Spanish day. We had a surprisingly cool day with a beautiful blue sky in a historic town with giant stone arches ending with tapas out with the family past 10pm.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Modern vs. Classical

If Madrid is the least fun place in Spain I can't wait to see the rest of it. At the end of day one we are thinking about all the things we don't have time to do while we are here and wishing we could stay longer which I'm taking as a good sign for the country as a whole.

Today we were reminded of the dichotomy of our aesthetic tastes. We love ornate buildings and oil painting and we love glass and clean lines. I wish it was acceptable to hang a Rothko by Van Der Weyden in your living room. Maybe we'll find a way to work it out. Joshua proposed a really traditional house that you walked into and was completely clean and modern on the inside. I just don't think that is being true to either style but maybe that is being true to the Fykes who generally have their own style anyway, right?

Reina Sofia 2

We started the day on accident at the Modern Art Museum which was good but not the best we have seen even on this continent. Then after a squid sandwich and a quick siesta at the park we headed to the Prado which is touted (by Rick Steves) as Europe's best painting museum. A couple of people we had talked to mentioned how huge the place was and we didn't even scratch the surface. We took the see the absolute musts and whatever else you can along the way but do not stress about seeing it all because remember you have an infant and screaming is not fun for anyone.

El Prado

My highlights were seeing "The Adoration of the Shepherds" by El Greco and "Las Meninas" by Valazquez. However, my favorite thing was more a statement of the period and a lesser known piece by David Teniers de joven.

It's a painting of an archduke's paintings and I just think that is hysterical. I mean, where does that hang in his collection of paintings?

Joshua's highlights were "The Descent from the Cross" by Van Der Weyden and being introduced to Goya's black paintings that he did in his house...on the walls...during his depression at the end of his life. Pretty emotional and dark stuff so google that and check it out.

Again our kid is handling everything like a champ. We almost had a morning meltdown at the modern art museum but the other patrons decided to step up and help us keep him calm by talking and playing with him and then he was fine from them on out. He slept through half of the Prado so he must have gotten more of our modern leaning. I think if you ask him though the hour in Retiro Park was the highlight of his day. He even suckered a stranger into giving him stickers.

Retiro Park 3

We head out for a late (usual time for Spain) dinner around 9pm and that will put the first day in the bag.