Monday, July 16, 2012

Bien venido a Espana!

Keith and I decided about a month ago that we wanted to go to Spain for our beach vacation because we had heard great things about Mallorca and how family-friendly it is, with beautiful beaches and delicious foods -- sounded perfect to us! For those who don't know (like me, before we booked this trip), Mallorca is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea (technically the Balearic Sea), off the coast of Spain near Barcelona (and a stones throw from Ibiza). There are many Brits and Germans who live and vacation there, but not many Americans (most people thought we were British, haha!).

Having fun while we wait at the airport
So we booked our holiday just weeks before we left and planned to spend eleven days in Mallorca at the beginning of July. We were lucky enough to have great friends keep Murphy while we were gone, and off we headed to Eindhoven airport (luckily only ten minutes from our house) to catch a two-hour plane ride to Palma, followed by a 45 minute drive to the other side of the island where we were staying, in Playa de Alcudia. Unfortunately the board said our plane was delayed. Indefinitely. Until further notice. Seriously? So we fed Liam and had a drink ourselves, knowing we would eventually make it to the beach that day. And we did. Just two hours later than we thought. Lucky for us, the temperature was perfect the entire time -- in the mid-80s (28-29 C), sunny, breezy, and perfect.

Our first night in Mallorca :)
Happy to be at the beach!
Liam's going for the "wind-blown" look
Our first night there was the final game of the Euro Cup, which for those of you who are not futbol fans, is like the World Cup for Europe and takes place every four years as well. We were rooting for Holland of course, but {ahem} they got knocked out pretty quickly. SO it turns out Spain was playing in the championship game IN Spain, which is cool in itself, but then they end up winning! Liam was already in bed at this point, so we took turns walking outside to watch the chaos in the streets . . . horns honking, flags waving, people cheering, music blaring . . . it was absolutely breathtaking and amazing to watch. We tried to capture it in pictures and videos, but they don't do it justice.

Awesome picture courtesy of my hubby :)
Since neither of us had been to Mallorca, we were a little bit nervous about booking such a long vacation -- what if we got bored? What if we hated our accommodations? What if we weren't close to any good restaurants? And then we took Liam to the beach the first day and he hated it for the first twenty minutes. Nothing we did made him happy -- he didn't like the water or the sand, didn't want to walk, didn't want to sit, nothing. And we were a little freaked out, thinking this was not going to be the relaxing beach vacation we had envisioned.

Not happy in his personal pool
But then, something miraculous happened. Liam's curiosity got the best of him and he began to explore. He tested the waters, both literally and figuratively. And he liked it. I take that back -- he LOVED it. We couldn't get him out of the water! On several friends' suggestions, we bought a little blow-up pool to take the beach so he could sit in the shade and play in his own little space. After about ten minutes, he was done with that. I think we could've gotten away with it when he was younger, but he was probably thinking, "Are y'all insane?! Why would you try to keep me in this teeny tiny pool when there is a giant OCEAN right in front of me?!" And off he went, into the sand, into the water. And forget him playing nicely in the shade of our two umbrellas, the kid wanted to be in the SUN (and I can't say I blame him -- he is his mother's son, after all). We kept putting SPF 75 on him all day long and he still had little brown arms, legs, and cheeks by the end of the trip!

The sand didn't bother him in the slightest!
Suffice it to say, once we figured out our routine, we hit the beach every afternoon and Liam would play, play, play for about three to four hours before it was time to head back, shower, and nap before dinner. In the evenings, we discovered a few restaurants that we fell in love with and kept going back to throughout the week. It was heaven. :)

Nap time -- makes my heart melt
One afternoon before dinner the three of us were hanging out in the living room and Liam saw his belt on the couch and wanted to get it -- so he took a couple steps to walk from me to the couch! Keith and I were in awe! We kept trying to get him to do it again and capture it on video, but he never did it as well as he did the first time. Once he figured out he could walk around holding onto our fingers, that's all he wanted to do. But he definitely took two to three unassisted steps and we were ecstatic!

And then Liam discovered airplane rides the second night we were there -- like the kind that are camped out outside grocery stores in the States. He freakin' loved them! The first time we set him in one, he was so happy -- and then it started moving, and the look of PURE  JOY that came across his face is one I will never forget. We of course had to go back several times during our stay because Liam (and -- full disclosure -- me too) couldn't get enough.  Here, see for yourself . . .

The eleven days flew by like none other. It was the longest, nicest vacation we've ever had, and at the end of it Keith said, "I now understand why Europeans take holidays for weeks at a time." Me too! I could get used to this! Here are a few more of my favorite pictures from our trip, though we took SO MANY.



And here's a few from Liam's breakfast photo shoot one morning -- haha! (he would probably say EVERY day is a photo shoot!)



So now we're finally home, the laundry is done, and pictures are uploaded! This vacation reminded me once more how lucky we are to be experiencing this adventure as a family. As awesome as our honeymoon was (and it was absolutely fabulous), Keith and I said that it doesn't hold a candle to seeing our boy experience so many firsts -- the looks of surprise and amazement and wonder we saw were indescribable. He makes every day more enjoyable and this vacation was no exception.

And very soon we will be boarding a plane once more to head to Georgia! Can't wait to see family and friends!


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