Andalusia

ADULT PLAYGROUNDS

Some people may not know what adult playgrounds are so let me explain. They are public spaces, normally in plazas or parks, often right adjacent to a children's playground, with outdoor fitness equipment sized for adults. The equipment is often made out of heavy tubular steel and offers a way to do simple exercises to counter our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and to keep large masses of aging populations more healthy. Adult playgrounds are a great idea.

We have seen some in Japan, lots and lots of them in Rio and now also in Spain. Part of the fun is to go to one and try to figure out what an earth one is meant to with each contraption. Here are some pics from our picnic to a tiny place called Zahara del Sierra - we were on our way to Lili's riding lesson and stopped at this playground for some snacks.

And then it ended up being an hour of hilarious tomfoolery.... 

 

Some equipment is simple - it only does one thing like this sideways swingy-thing. 

Some equipment is simple - it only does one thing like this sideways swingy-thing. 

And everyone knows what to do with monkey bars, right? 

And everyone knows what to do with monkey bars, right? 

But what about this mysterious thing? What is one to do with it??? 

But what about this mysterious thing? What is one to do with it??? 

You can practice balancing of course. 

You can practice balancing of course. 

Or easy backbends. 

Or easy backbends. 

How about leg stretches? 

How about leg stretches? 

...or any kind of yoga related stuff? 

...or any kind of yoga related stuff? 

But we think Dante had the best ideas. You can practisse running. Like running in place. 

But we think Dante had the best ideas. You can practisse running. Like running in place. 

Or you can see if the  loops stretch (or if the sky is going to fall). 

Or you can see if the  loops stretch (or if the sky is going to fall). 

Or squatting. (Lili called this something else though). 

Or squatting. (Lili called this something else though). 

But we all thought the Superman pose was the best! 

But we all thought the Superman pose was the best! 

IN SEVILLE

Some general pics. What a city - just as easy to get lost as the souks in Morocco. The shopping is amazing. And lots of people smoke - it's hard to get a smoke-free meal. But the food is awesome, my tapas today had chestnuts and Ronda cheese. Can't describe it it was just a dream. Dang they know how to prepare these things to perfection. 

 

You have just missed our royal waves. 

You have just missed our royal waves. 

Selfie while waiting for flamenco performance to start. 

Selfie while waiting for flamenco performance to start. 

At a flamenco accessory store. 

At a flamenco accessory store. 

Waiting for what proved to be stellar tapas. 

Waiting for what proved to be stellar tapas. 

The balcony at our pad. 

The balcony at our pad. 

Goofing around outside the bullring. 

Goofing around outside the bullring. 

El patio de los naranjas at the cathedral. 

El patio de los naranjas at the cathedral. 

The horse and carriage in whole.

The horse and carriage in whole.

Cathedral tower tourism pic. 

Cathedral tower tourism pic. 

The bottoms of the balconies are decorated as well! 

The bottoms of the balconies are decorated as well! 

Lili and I waving on our balcony! 

Lili and I waving on our balcony! 

LEARNING ABOUT FLAMENCO

For a while now, Lili has been pining for shoes with heels. Like high heels. Like real adult looking heels that go tap-tap-tap adult-sounding-clip-clop on the floor when you walk. And what do you know, I wanted the very same thing when I was eight.

Generally, these types of shoes are far and few between on the paths we travel. But in Spain, we were tripped. There they were, in a little shoe store in Olvera, staring at us from the shelf. Awesome, perfect little shoes. And not only one colour - they came in black, white and red. We had to get them.

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What Lili did not know was that these were Flamenco shoes. 

What's Flamenco she said? 

The best way to answer that is of course to get in the car, drive to Seville for a couple of days and start the visit with a knock out tour and performance at the Museo del Baile Flamenco. And while you are at it, go early and get a front row seat.

 

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SICK IN SPAIN

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Unfortunately, Lili got sick yesterday. She had mentioned her ear hurting a little after our flight here, but yesterday as we were driving in the countryside it suddenly started to hurt a lot. She was in tears. 

I had several ear infections when I was a child so I know how awful they can be. We decided to stop at the closest white city (it happened to be Setenil de los Bodegas) and went to a pharmacy to look for something. The pharmacist spoke good English - really good in fact - and was also very caring. I suggested we should ideally go to see a doctor and get prescription medications and she agreed. There was a health centre in the same block (these are not big cities), and the doctor would be in she said.

While Dante went to look for parking, Lili and I went to the health centre hoping to be seen as walk-in patients. I should (or maybe shouldn't) say that in my oh-so-distant seeming work life, I recently worked with planning of urgent care and emergency rooms. I am all too familiar with the overcrowding, shortage of family doctors (adding to ER visits) and high cost of visits.

So here we were, at an urgent care in Spain, in the waiting room with maybe 3-4 other clients. There was an ambulance driver on duty - no active calls so both he and the ambulance were in. One general practitioner physician was working, and another came in after siesta - I think it was about 5 pm. There was no receptionist so we just sat down.

The people in the waiting room quicky figured out we were foreigners and as Lili was teary eyed it was easy to see she was sick. One patient went in, and after she came out a lady and a gentleman in the waiting room went to the exam room door and asked the doctor if in between appointments he would see this sick foreign child. We did not ask them to do this, they just did it. The doctor said yes and we got shown in, right before all these good people waiting for their appointments.

The kind doctor did not speak any English, and my Spanish is really pretty poor. But I asked him in my best polite Spanish if maybe he spoke a little French, which he did! So I handled the visit in French (our next choice of course would have been Italian). Ear infections are a pretty routine call for any GP and this was no exception. In less than five minutes we were out, with Lili's prescription for acute otitis media.

We are traveling on Canadian passports so we couldn't officially prove that we are European, so we asked where we could pay for the visit. The doctor just looked at us and waved his hand. No need to bother. 

Then we went back to the pharmacy and got the prescription. It cost  €3,75. 

The entire episode, from pulling over to do something, to having been seen by a doctor and gone to a pharmacy to get prescription meds, took us all of twenty minutes in total.

Need I say that we love Spain?

 

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JETLAG BONDING

So what do you do when way past midnight a child crawls to your bed and says 'Mommy I can't sleep'?  

Easy. You take the iPad and start watching show jumping videos on YouTube for an hour or more. Listen to the church bells strike two, and two thirty. And then you cuddle up, finally fall asleep and do not wake up until noon. 

 

 

This is Lili's favourite picture of all the ones we took in Mexico. I really like it too.  She looks like a pro.

This is Lili's favourite picture of all the ones we took in Mexico. I really like it too.  She looks like a pro.

And here is what we watched to help us pass the time. Dreaming to help us dream. 

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VERY TIRED AND VERY HAPPY

We are in Andalusia! After a looong day flying from Vancouver to Toronto to Zurich to Malaga and driving two hours to Olvera we have settled into our place. It is so beautiful here - I am happy to report that nothing has changed since I was here last in 1992. The white towns are white, gorgeous, and the wise people here continue to make sure they don't get messed up. An excellent argument for strict and restrictive town planning - which I often do not advocate... 

 

View to the valley in front of our house. My mind just rests when I see this. 

View to the valley in front of our house. My mind just rests when I see this. 

View towards the City from our door. We are in a no cars area, in the Old Town of Olvera.

View towards the City from our door. We are in a no cars area, in the Old Town of Olvera.

Our first dinner in Spain. The Spartan menu is due to the fact that we arrived on a Sunday and cannot buy anything, and also cannot eat out. Everything is closed, with the exception of a little bakery where we got bread and cheese, a jar of pickles for Lili and bottle of wine for Dante. And there we sat, still groggy from all the travel and admired the evening sun. 

Our first dinner in Spain. The Spartan menu is due to the fact that we arrived on a Sunday and cannot buy anything, and also cannot eat out. Everything is closed, with the exception of a little bakery where we got bread and cheese, a jar of pickles for Lili and bottle of wine for Dante. And there we sat, still groggy from all the travel and admired the evening sun.