Tag Archives: adventure

Andalucía

So, I had to scrap the idea of going deeper into the heart of Morocco, due to time and lack of resources, but I sold the Audi and by God, I’m going to Spain this summer.

I am excited about two things: summer camp for the boys and mine and D’s voyage into the south of Spain. We’re going for two weeks, the kids and I. D will come with us for the first 10 days. And while the boys are in an intensive Spanish language summer camp for one week (all-inclusive with sports, pool, activities, crafts, flamenco classes, day trips in and around Marbella, huge buffet dinners of tortilla de patatas, jamon serrano, lomo con queso, and of course, Spanish language immersion classes), D and I will drive around the south of Spain for seven days. Aside from being extremely nervous about leaving my boys in camp for a week straight (despite my sister-in-law K praising her days as a kid in summer camp), I am looking forward to an adventure of my own, albeit a more modest one than the previous I had imagined. Oh Sheltering Sky! I must wait a little longer for you.

Here’s the itinerary:

Day 1
MADRID
Compostela Suites
This was the only hotel that slept two adults and two kids for a decent amount of money (90 €). I settled for clean and contemporary because Madrid is SERIOUSLY lacking in hotels with charm and old world ambience. This is one of those new long stay hotel-apartment places for business travelers and families. So, I’m not sure it will have all the amenities as a regular hotel. But it does have a pool! And it’s right by the airport, which is all we really need as we will be catching a train for the South the next morning. Hopefully worth the night. They do have a little cafeteria, but hotel breakfasts are usually overpriced. So, I think it’ll have to be  churros con chocolate and some fresh squeezed OJ on the train’s dining car instead.

  • Plaza Mayor
  • Sol
  • Plaza Santa Ana
  • Retiro

Day 2

MALAGA
Hostal Pedregalejo
Now that we’re taking the boys to the south with us to stay in the camp in Marbella, we decided to spend an extra night in Andalucia. We’ll take the train to Malaga, stay for the night, and the next morning, we’ll hit the road for Marbella. On the way from Malaga to Marbella, we’d like to stop in Mijas, one of the white villages of Spain,  for lunch.

Day 3

CÓRDOBA
Hotel Hacienda Posada de Vallina
From Marbella we will drive up to Cordoba. This will be our first night of “old world charm.” The hotel was supposedly constructed before the Mosque itself, and the builders stayed in this hotel while construction took place. Furthermore,  it is said that when Christopher Columbus stayed in Cordoba, he lived in room 204 of the hotel. I can’t even wrap my mind around that idea. For dinner, we made a reservation at El Churrasco on Calle Romero.

Day 4 and 5
GRANADA
Hotel Casa Capitel Nazari
I stayed in this lovely hotel two years ago with my boys. In fact, I’ve asked for the same room because I was so pleased with it. Hopefully, they will fulfill this request. Like the hotel in Cordoba, this one too is steeped in history. It’s an “ancient Renaissance Palace, built in 1503,” located right in the heart of the Albaicin. From our room I believe you can see the Alhambra.

Day 6, 7 and 8
VEJER de la FRONTERA
La Casa del Califa
When you click on this link, be sure to take the “virtual tour.” This hotel is amazing. It’s a collection of eight buildings, some of which have been in existence since the 10th century. There are vaults, catacombs, terraces and even an aljibe (an underground water cistern) dating from 700 AD, all of which are naturally exposed unto the design of the hotel, giving a traveler like me the chance to experience history and present day at once. For more about the history of this hotel and the region of Vejer, click aquí.

While staying in Vejer, we plan to visit Tarifa. What I like most about Tarifa are the beaches and the possible nightlife. Apparently it’s a very young, sporty town because of the wind surfing, with lots of fun restaurants, night clubs and tapas bars. And speaking of tapas bars, a must while in Tarifa is La Mandragora. I’ve read only good things about it and their menu looks divine.

  • Day trip Tangier and Asilah
  • Walking through the Town
  • Wine and Tapas

Day 8 and onward…
MARBELLA to VALLECAS
Back to Marbella to pick up the kids and head back to Madrid. Once in Madrid, we will say goodbye to D and stay on another week with my in-laws in Vallecas. The kids will be taking classes for the following week only in the morning, and then in the afternoons, we’ll have lunch with the abuelitos and then maybe go to the Retiro or the zoo. I think after all that, I’ll be ready to come home!

rock bottom

You have never, ever contemplated suicide. But today, the thought occurred to you that something has to be done to get rid of yourself–  there’s no option. It has to be done. But how? You don’t own a gun. You don’t even have aspirin in the cabinet. Most important, you love life! Screw, death, you say. You’ll leave the country. Problem solved.  With your kids, of course. Marrakesh, maybe. The south of France. You’ll leave word with close friends. Send for family. Cash in what little savings you have left and simply abscond. Traceless. You’re on your way to exotic lands…

But before you go, take inventory. You are currently “under the terrible burden of destiny…”

The moment you’d been waiting for arrived, or so you thought.  About a month ago. You dropped to your knees and held your hands up in surrender to the light and said, “I am finally here, Lord. Finally at the bottom!” What a relief. You thought for sure you had done it. Fatefully and systematically  arrived at the bottom. “Rock” bottom, that is. You were thrilled. You craved the bottom for a change. It was time to get spiritual. Time to raise the dead. This would be your chance to show the world that you were a survivor. You’d been so high on the hog for years that it was inevitable, simply a matter of numbers. And your number was up. You crashed right along with the economy.

  • Your lovely boy friend dumped you
  • Your favorite Uncle died
  • You had to pay twentyfivethousands dollars in taxes on money you earned but never saw.
  • You took a 75% cut in pay
  • Your fifth-grader started to suck big time in math
  • your ex husband refused to pay child support and wanted to make sandwiches every day for the boys instead.
  • You had a bad cold that lasted weeks

Could it get any worse than that? Surely not. 

But it did. Unbeknownst to you the very nature of “rock bottom” is that it’s an illusion. Just when you think you’ve hit, the ground turns Alice in Wonderland on you and falls out from underneath you. Surprise! You’ve got farther to go.

  • Oops, you forgot to calculate the oil bill into your expenses.
  • The IRS says you still owe EIGHTY grand in taxes.
  • G pulls his typical disappearing act, just when you thought it was safe to trust him again. 
  • The phone doesn’t ring
  • There’s a leak in the roof
  • Firewood is wet from the rain and it’s cold inside
  • Your kids are screaming for attention and ripping the house to shreds
  • You can’t afford your cleaning lady anymore
  • You didn’t tell the ex you were going away on business. You’ve ruined his plans. He calls you a selfish bitch and says, you’ll never change.
  • Your favorite person in the whole world doesn’t have the guts or perhaps the desire to email you
  • The prozac isn’t working
  • You gained five pounds eating left-over Halloween candy.

And if all that weren’t bad enough, you haven’t been able to rub one off in months…

When you’re at the bottom you begin to dream.

You need an escape of startling adventure. The Island of Santori perhaps. No, too touristy. The IRS would find you. What about Cozumel?  Same thing. Your only option is to live life like a bedouin lost in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a little colder than you expected, but you get to paint henna tattoos on your hands and feet and wear black. Your children can run around naked. And you don’t have to use toilet paper. Eating couscous all day could be a problem. But there’s always the bus to Tangiers or Casablanca where you can pick up American provisions. Peanut butter. Pancake mix. Spaghetti O’s. Advil.

Sure. You’re having a blast. Sure. You’ve managed to pick up the pieces of your shitty life. But occasional, dirty sex with nomadic tribesmen has stripped you of your dignity. You miss home. You miss your people. You miss spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday. You miss humidity. And the king-size, pillow top BeautyRest you slept on and loved even in your darkest days.

So you and the kids  pack up your bags, kiss the desert goodbye and go back to Jersey. Back to the turnpike and the mini-van and the crappy American bullshit and the bills and the ex. And you pay your dues to the IRS and feel a little better about yourself. You love life, remember? And so, rock bottom doesn’t seem so bad after all. Especially once you’ve have sex with men that smell like camels.