Aidan and Liam are growing up in the city and there are times when this is a great thing. They've become incredibly city saavy and know their way around. They know to stop at every crosswalk and look before crossing. They know the cars will hit them otherwise and not think twice. For Liam, I don't think he recalls a time where he had an actual yard. Aidan, on the other hand, does remember and there are times when he is drawn to the great outdoors.
About 2 weeks ago Liam had a birthday party in Valldoreix, a suburb of Barcelona. The little boy lives in a house with a yard and a pool. The look of yearning on Aidan's face broke my heart. He asked why it was that we couldn't have that. The explanation was multi pronged and didn't really help him towards getting what it was that he wanted. But I totally understand where he was coming from.
It's weird though. I've never lived in a city until we moved to Barcelona and yet, I love the city life. I love that I was able to function without a car for 3 years. And that I don't actually need my car every day here. I love that I can walk or take public transit to meet up with friends and that if I have a few too many (which hey, it happens to all of us), I don't have to worry about how I'm getting home. I love that everything is within close proximity to me.
But yet, I get it. Having grown up in the suburbs, I want the boys to have the same as what Josh and I had growing up. Woods to play in, grass to roll around in a street to ride their bicycles on where they don't have to stop at every single corner (Aidan won't even ride his bike here and Liam refuses to learn). Alas, we only have 2 years left here and have no intention of moving yet again within Barcelona.
So to make up for it, we are committing ourselves to getting some more of the great outdoors with the boys. Now that we have a car, these locations have become much more accessible to us. In January, we walked a trail in Collserola Parc that took us to a restaurant called Can Borrell with some of our friends - Aidan stayed home and missed out on some good outdoor fun. The restaurant isn't anything to write home about but the walk out to it is. Trails lead off the main trail on a regular basis and there were bikers, horseback riders, hikers and people just out for a leisurely stroll. The main trail actually leads from Sant Cugat (where we started), over the mountain and into Barcelona. Our next project is to find out where the entrances are in Barcelona so we can do some of the trails closer to home.
Anyways, we so enjoyed that trip that this weekend we decided to do it again. Off we went with our friends and each of the boys had a friend with them making it all the more fun. They explored every inch of woods, made up stories as they went - they were pokemon, pirates and ninjagos. And I'm sure so much more that I just didn't catch. They found areas of water with newly born tadpoles - something I don't think any of the kids had ever really seen before.
Liam and Henry
Tough kids Aidan and Max
Lots to explore!
Little kids HAVE to follow the big kids up the hill
And now the big kids chasing the little kids
Ahhh nature :)
Exploring all that nature has to offer
Aidan has found a dead snake that he then proceeded to throw at me (you probably heard my screams in the US)
Liam and Henry examining the dead snake... from a distance
We ate lunch and while the adults finished up, we were totally comfortable with the kids playing along the trail outside the restaurant - they weren't even in our line of sight. But we trust them and we trust the very child friendly people of Barcelona. They played long and hard - and it showed. These kids were filthy by the time all was said and done. But sometimes, it's really great to get good and dirty outside, it's the sign of a really great time :) Something we intend to do more of in the future!
Aidan and his best friend, Max
Liam and his best friend, Henry