Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spontaneous Day Tripping - Christmas Market in Espinelves

Ahhh, the beauty of having a car!!  With us having Thanksgiving the first weekend we owned our car and me in Madrid last weekend, this was our first chance to get out of the city with our new car.  On Friday night we went back and forth on where we should go on our first big adventure... France?  Tarragona?  Girona?  The choices are endless.

In the end, Liam's friend Henry's mom happened to email about Henry's upcoming birthday party and so we emailed back and forth regarding getting together and yup, some spontaneous planning for today.  They were originally supposed to go to Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees but it was cancelled and were interested in heading to some Christmas markets about an hour north of Barcelona in Espinelves.

None of us had been there and in typical Spain fashion it wasn't as easy to get to as we had planned.  Armed with our GPS's we still ended up in a bit of traffic due to a medieval fair in Vic (note to self to look up said medieval fair as it might be something fun to do with Josh's parents later this month!).  So instead of an hour it was more like an hour and a half.  Now Espinelves is a tiny village, yes village - I wouldn't even qualify it as a small town.  And yet there were more cars trying to park up and down the streets than in a small city.  I'm still amazed we were able to find a spot (though in typical European fashion I had to get a little creative on my parking - go me :)) to head up to the markets.

The tiny streets were jam packed with people and with vendors.  Adorable handmade crafts with artisans giving demonstrations on how their goods were made.  Aidan was especially in awe of the glass blowing and the wood carving.  We ate tons of goodies like butifarra with pan con tomate and of course, some churros and chocolate - nothing better to warm our bellies on a very chilly day.  Aidan even tried castañas and some root licorice (that literally looked like a piece of a tree).... ah my adventurous eater, you and I are so not cut from the same mold!!

Jediknights on a mission for Christmas goodies!

Let the battle begin!

Main street of the village of Espinelves

Cool building

Christmas trees

More trees

View from the top of the village

Homemade honey

More homemade treats

Christmas cookie!

Loving all these goodies!

Showing how the beeswax candles are made - the put the wax into bamboo to mold them.

This guy is making caga tios

Pretty stone house with flowers

Chestnuts roasting... castañas as they are called here

More of the village

Henry and Liam got new knight swords... 

Very fall-ish feeling decorations - where are the xmas ones?

Knights ready to protect their castle!

Caga tios (ready to poop presents!)

Aidan loved all the artisan crafts

More of the village

Wood carver - Aidan and I could have sat there forever watching him...

Aidan practicing his Spanish to buy some sweets (I gave him 5 euros but told him he had to get them himself using Spanish).

The kids enjoyed some kid time on the jumparoo which was situated on the village sport court as well as a pony ride (for Liam - Aidan was a little too big for these ponies!).  It certainly made the day easier with them knowing they had something to entertain them as well.  In the end it was a fun day, filled with spontaneity, friends and the holidays!  And as a side note, we need to learn the Spanish highways better because I didn't dare to venture from the GPS on the way home and it took us a totally different route back which basically meant driving through long, windy roads through the mountains. Amazingly, pukey child managed to do pretty well and was happy to tell us when we got home that it was a puke free trip :)

All three kids racing up and down the jumparoo

Liam and his pony, Goofy


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