Sunday, September 15, 2013

Summer of Fun 2013 – Part 1

We had an amazing summer! After such a cold winter and no real Spring, we were desperate for sunshine – that became the focus of our summer. School ended on June 14th, and the next day the girls and I hopped on a plane and headed to southern Spain. We stayed at a villa on the beach (Oasis Club) between Marbella and Puerto Banus. We had high hopes of mixing beach time with tourist time driving and visiting many other places (Granada, Ronda, Gibraltar, etc.), but the end-of-the-year exhaustion overwhelmed us and we ended up just sleeping and relaxing. Not a bad option – the sun was out, it was warm…perfect for us.
In Old Town Marbella
Beach along the Golden Mile

One of the most difficult parts of planning a vacation is finding the perfect spot and accommodations – it takes hours and hours. I found the villa on VRBO, but rented through an agency. It was a great place with 3 bedrooms, a private pool and a wonderful deck with views of the ocean. I spent most of my time reading on the deck. The girls and I would walk or drive into town for dinner most nights and enjoyed a meal or 2 at a local beach bar. Sean was working in the US, but was able to finally join us on the 20th, though work still took up most of his time with international conference calls at all hours.
Deck outside my bedroom where I spent many hours

R & C enjoying pool time at the villa

After one week in the Costa del Sol region of Spain, we boarded a train and headed to Seville. Seville is such a beautiful city. We explored, wandered, visited, ate and just generally soaked it all in. It was very hot there – over 100°F at 8:00 at night – so we embraced the whole siesta ideal and relaxed every afternoon either in the hotel pool (we stayed at the Hotel Dona Maria) or in our air conditioned rooms. We enjoyed delicious Spanish tapas and some of the best Italian food we’ve had in ages. We all fell in love with Spain and look forward to returning again. Next time I won’t plan any vacations until a week after school is out so we can be more rested and raring to go!
 Sevilla's cathedral (3rd largest in Europe) lit up at night
 Sean & girls in the Alcazar (oldest Royal Palace in use in Europe)
 Courtyard in the Alcazar
 View from the bell tower of the Cathedral
 Trying to cool off along the river in the heat

 Inside the Cathedral

The girls and I had only 2 days back in France before we had to head off to our next vacation destination. We spent the time doing laundry, packing and saying goodbye to some friends who were moving away. Our first stop in the United States was Blue Springs, Missouri for a Way family reunion. It was so great to see our family – both immediate (my parents and sister were at the reunion) and extended. It’s always wonderful to be reminded of how fun the Way family is – fish frys, boating, parties, bbqs, and of course, lots of Budweiser! Sean was able to escape from work for the weekend and join us, which was great.

 Having fun on a pontoon with my cousins
 My sister and I with Barbara & Andy in the background
R & C wearing their reunion t-shirts with pride
From Missouri we flew off to Los Angeles to start our vacation in California eager to visit friends & family and get in some good beach time.

To be continued…
 Grandpa Frank lookin' good in a mullet!

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