Monday, April 12, 2010

Don't eat the beady little eyes

We have a history of taking a lot of road trips. Over the years they have taken us from one end of the US to the other. Every few months something comes over me and I need a change of scenery. Immediately. It amazes me when I think about how far we've driven and how often we've done it. We've gone from Georgia to Minnesota, from Minnesota to Texas, from Georgia to Texas, and from Minnesota to Arizona, just to name a few. Minnesota and Texas pop up a lot because we have family there.

Normally the way it goes down is the boys spend most of the trip trying to kill each other in the back seat, while continually asking for food, and Donn and I try not to kill each other in the front seat, while continually throwing food at the savages in the back. There is also usually some kind of bathroom emergency at least once a day.

And there's a natural progression of everyone's moods as we go down the road. In the beginning everyone is hopeful, buoyant, ready for the long haul. In the middle we are all turning sour. And towards the end we are ready to drive ourselves off a cliff, but just before things get too dire, we arrive! And then all parties are happy and the world is a good place once again.

Since moving to England we have taken two road trips, both shorter than any of our road trips in the US, but just as difficult to manage because the roads over here are not very driver friendly. On our most recent road trip in February we drove to Spain. I planned it out like I plan out most of our trips. Last minute and by the seat of our pants.

It was a 16 hour drive from our little village in England to the tiny mountain village in Spain where we stayed. We drove across the entire length of France, which was pretty dull. We all yawned a lot. Our drive didn't go through any of the exciting parts of France, it was just mile after mile of flat land with an overcast sky and industrial buildings everywhere. And a lot of graffiti. In French, so that was exciting.

Crossing the border into Spain was fun. I made the kids all sing Never Been to Spain because we love singing together and being wholesome when we're not yelling at each other. Helena was in the back seat making farting sounds the whole way. She learned that just as we left for the trip, so she kept herself (and the boys) entertained.

The village in Spain where we stayed was about as quaint as you can imagine. I think the actual population was around 40 people. It was part of a string of little villages spread out along the Picos de Europas mountains.

The view from pretty much anywhere in the village was amazing. I really couldn't believe that there are people who go about their daily lives surrounded by that view. Truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to.

We saw quite a bit while we were there and managed to eat out a couple times, despite our children's requests to only eat items made out of reconstituted chicken formed into a nugget. I had paella with shrimp and octopus and some other sea critter bits in it. I'm used to dealing with shrimp that's already been cleaned, but these shrimp were looking at me with their beady little eyes. Tasty once you pulled their heads off!

Don't eat us!

Every night we wound down with a glass of rioja and Spanish tv. Reality tv is definitely more fun to watch in a foreign language. There was also some strange German helicopter rescue show that was always on. Germans dubbed over to look like they were speaking Spanish - only slightly confusing. People were constantly shouting "Ayudeme!" and then some burly German would toss them into a helicopter and away they'd go.

Our drive back to England was long and torturous for all of us. We got yelled at in French at a toll booth, didn't have cash to pay for our dinners on the ferry, someone (not going to name names here!) wet their pants, and we couldn't find the pounds to pay for the toll when we got back into england (we only had euro), but luckily they let us in anyway.

It's been about 2 months since we took that trip, so according to my calculations we should be due for another pretty soon. Where will we go? Depends which way the wind blows.


Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

French graffiti? That's pretty dang exotic. And you must be so proud of the fake-farting daughter. I know that I AM of MINE...

Jessi Louise said...

It was tres exotique! Yup, she fits right in around here.

andrea said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I see that you are also fond of going nuts on family trips ;) I really enjoyed this post... can relate to pretty much everything you said!