Woof. I am beat. It's 10:00 on Saturday morning and I'm tired as hell. My parents have been running my ass ragged for the past few days and are going to want more today! Yowza... It's calm and quiet here now, happily. Ana's sleeping and the baby and I are hanging out listening to a Celtic Baby Songs CD that my brother bought for us. It's very cool... not very babyish, actually. Except for the "go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep my little baby" song the rest are just your generic celtic songs (think Enya without the echos...). But it's nice.
On Thursday we rented a van and all piled in (My Mom, Dad, Brother, Wife and son) to drive up to Segovia a nice touristy town north of Madrid. It's got a huge ancient roman aquaduct and a cathedral and castle. It was nice, but it was also damn hot. After we spent the better part of the day there, we drove over to the gardens of La Granja - which means The Farm in Spanish, but it's a palace. It was based off Versailles because Felipe the something had fond memories of playing in the gardens of his grandfather Louis IVX's and wanted one of his own. It was huge... we should have just decided to see a part of it, since we started walking around at 7, but instead we ended up taking a path that would cover the majority of the gardens and it just about killed us all. We already had been walking all day - and walking up huge hills (it's on the side of a mountain) and around was rough. The gardens are famous for their fountains, but because it was so late, they weren't functioning. But no biggie, it was still really nice.
At 8:45 we arrived at the labrynth... You know, a maze of hedges? I had never been in one before... the place was closing in 15 minutes, so Dad and David and I decided to head into the maze for a quick look while my Mom and Ana hung outside with the baby. At 9:00 we start hearing Mom and Ana yelling for us because they're are guards there telling them that they have to leave because the place is closing down. Nice. Have you ever been in a labrynth before? Now that we were being rushed, we decided to just back track and find our way out... nothing like a little pressure to get you more lost. It took us almost 20 minutes to get out. And that's with a lot of running and yelling. Ana was ready to kill me. ;-)
We then drove home and took a wrong road and ended up crossing one the of the mountains north of Madrid by going over it instead of going through the tunnels on the main highway. I'd never been up there before, it was really beautiful. You'd never think that so close to the plains of Madrid are these huge mountains - the peak was 2,000 meters, about 6,000 feet up. It was great... we drove by a group of wild horses hanging out by the side of the road, saw a ski area and had some great views while the sun was setting. But then we didn't get home until almost 11:00 p.m. That was a LOOOONG day.
Because Alex had never been out of the house for that long in his little life, we were worried that he was going to be as tired as us... So Ana and him stayed home yesterday while I took my family down to see Toledo. It's south of the city this time and it's also pretty nice. It's where El Greco lived and did a lot of his work... so it's got some museums, another cathedral, a castle/fortress, and a bunch of windy small streets that scream European, so it's fun to go to. But it was HOT. And Toledo is built on a big hill, so after you park, every direction is down, and you end up hoofing it up and down hills all day in blazing heat. After Thursday's adventures, I couldn't believe we were out there hiking around again.
We cut the day short though (it sure didn't feel short), and at 5:00 turned around and headed back so we could arrive at a reasonable hour and go have dinner some place out in Madrid. We ended up walking over with Alex to the terraces I talked about in one of my audioblogs... It's an area with a bunch of restaurants with tables outside, but it's in a really quiet neighborhood so it's very relaxing. I got home again last night at almost 12:00 so I'm definitely feeling it.
It seems like they want to go to the center of Madrid today and do some sight-seeing/shopping. That should be a little easier than the driving/walking/driving tours of the past few days! And tomorrow we're all heading down on Spain's bullet train - the AVE - to Ana's home town for Alex's Christening... That's going to be fun since my parents have never been on a train before, but quite stressful since Ana and I have to play translator all day for the two groups of parents.
Okay, Alex is getting fussy (it's time to eat!) and I need to get ready for another day of playing tour-guide so I'm going to wrap this up. I can't wait for my vacation to be over so I can rest some!