After much fun and non-stop eating in Greece, we said goodbye to our Seattle friends and flew from Athens to Madrid for a few days. Our Airbnb was a tiny apartment in the Chamberí neighborhood. We were just next to a synagogue, so there was constant police protection, which was a sad reminder of the increasing number of anti-semitic acts across Europe (and the US) in the past few years.

On Saturday, we walked around to get our bearings of the neighborhood and surrounding areas. I bought shoes and belt at Humana. Max got new running shoes at Decathlon and when he put them on the thicker soles made him just slightly taller than me. That’s a trip milestone I won’t forget.

Easter Sunday was quiet, the boys got some Kinder surprise eggs and we made an Easter breakfast (I think?). We walked to the nearby Museo Sorolla, and were surprised to see a line, since it’s not one of the most well known museums in Madrid. Come to find out, it was a free admission day, so it was busier than usual. The museum is located in the former home of the artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida so it’s both an exhibition of his paintings and a look into his life and family. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who has already seen the “big stuff” in Madrid.


Afterwards, we stopped at Chocolatería Valor for chocolate & churros.IMG_3333

Kyle and I went out for tapas one night at Taberna La Mina. It was delicious, and fun to observe the locals of all ages coming in and out for a quick(ish) drink and bite to eat. As this trip has progressed, we’ve gotten more comfortable with leaving the boys to fend for themselves occasionally while we have a date night. There’s so little time that we’re not together – it’s a bit strange to say that Kyle and I need some time together, alone. But we definitely do. And the boys also deserve a break from our constant presence.

Speaking of a break, on Monday I had the selfish pleasure of visiting the Museo Reina Sofia all by myself. To extend the treat, I walked all the way there (which my new-shoes-blistered feet would call a mistake, but I called it marvelous), and then walked through the Plaza Mayor, on my way to meet Kyle and the boys at the Palacio Real. I arrived early and was treated to the weird and wonderful sight of some local dancers filming a K-Pop performance.


After our tour of the Palacio, we cruised through the Plaza Mayor again and stopped at Chocolatería San Ginés for another round of chocolate & churros.


Henry, accidentally graceful.

On our last full day in Madrid, we visited Sala Canal Isabel II, a former water tower turned into an exhibition space for photography and multimedia installations. Another very cool spot that wasn’t really on our itinerary, it was just close enough to walk to and free. Then we headed to Parque Santander, where I offered Henry his choice of a movie if he ran all the way around the track which rings the park. He managed it in a much shorter time than I expected, so track may be in his future. Then, the boys and I went to another Chocolatería Valor for milkshakes for them and chocolate & churros for me – is anyone seeing a pattern? I could live on that stuff.


As we prepared to leave Europe again, I was looking forward to seeing family in Brazil, but knowing this next stop would be the last destination on our travels made me a little sad.

Henry’s Greece Movie Trailer

This year since we are traveling the world, in April we went to Greece and our PEPS friends from Seattle came to meet us. We were in Greece for 11 days and these are my top five favorite things:

1. Seeing our friends for the first time in a while


2. Seeing the Acropolis with our guide Panos (not his full name, which is very long and hard to pronounce)


3. The house on Paros with the hole-in-the-wall bunk beds


4. The gelato (in Athens and in Lefkes on the island of Paros)


5. Learning how to say and spell pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

And I made this movie trailer:


I’m still woefully behind on getting trip posts up, so once again I’m going to rely on Kyle’s photos to fill in the blanks, better than any words I would write could.


We were pretty late arriving to our Airbnb in the 18eme arrondissement, not far from the apartment we had lived in almost exactly three years earlier. Our host, Agathe, was waiting in the entry, which was fortunate, because we were about to try to enter the wrong building. The apartment, on the fifth floor, was small but cozy, as was the elevator (Kyle might call the elevator more claustrophobic than cozy).


I love Paris, and especially “our” neighborhood, so I could barely wait to get out the next morning and walk around. The boys wanted to revisit their favorite park, Martin Luther King, in the 17th, so we walked there. Along the way there was a lot of exclaiming, “I remember this!”


We were all especially delighted to find that the free sparkling water dispenser was still there.


We were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Anna, Jorge, Santiago, Océane, and Bianca, and tried to get schoolwork and some more trip planning out of the way before they arrived.


An essential stop – the local Amorino. I think Henry knows the flavors by heart.


We visited the Luxembourg Gardens and picnicked along with all the students on their lunch break.


I wanted to stop at Shakespeare and Co., since in all his trips to Paris, Kyle had never been. I’m not entirely sure how he managed to get photos, since it’s expressly forbidden and they’re pretty rigid about that…


We visited Notre Dame, never imagining that the cathedral would suffer a terrible fire just two weeks later.


Your guess is as good as mine.

That night, we met up with the Robert crew for a fun dinner and the next morning headed to the Louvre with them for a few hours.


Starting to lose steam, but we made it to the Mona Lisa!


Afterwards, Anna and I took the kids for burgers (of course) at Big Fernand, while Kyle and Jorge spent a little more time at the Louvre without the clamor of five kids all asking “can we be done now?”. They met up with us after a bit and we all headed to a playground in the Tuileries where the kids managed to break all the rules of safe use of playground equipment. As usual.


Saturday morning, Kyle and I left the kids sleeping and took an early walk through the Montmartre Cemetery.


No walk in Paris is complete without a bakery stop, and we made many during our visit. I think Henry and Max could eat pain au chocolate every day for the rest of their lives and not get tired of it.


We dragged the boys out to the flea market, and had fun wondering “who buys this?” at each little shop.


In the afternoon we headed to Parc de la Villette, another favorite spot that brought exclamations of fond memories from the boys.



It was a gorgeous, warm day and it seemed all of Paris was out along the Canal St. Martin.

On Sunday we met up with our friends again for a visit to the Musée d’Orsay and a walk along the Seine.20190331-IMG_006620190331-IMG_009620190331-IMG_009720190331-IMG_0126

The weather was perfect for lots of walking, brisk and bright, but the kids aren’t quite the fans of long walks that I am, so we made good use of the metro and only took one trip in the wrong direction.


Our last night in Paris we had another great dinner with the Roberts, plus their friends Hector & Gilda, and their two boys. We had fun popping in to the local vendors on the Rue Lepic to grab bread, charcuterie, cheese, and some amazing tomatoes to put together a tapas-style meal. Jorge by then had made fast friends with the local wine merchant, so we got to try a number of delicious French varietals, none of which I can remember now.

The next morning, we picked up our rental car and headed southeast to spend a few quiet days in the tiny village of Meuilley.