On the 27th we left for Valencia. It’s a big city a five hour drive from here. We picked Valencia because there are some interesting attractions for the kids, like the City of Arts and Sciences and Biopark (a zoo). We slept three nights in a hotel quite near the City of Arts and Sciences, which we visited two times. On the first day we went to the Aquarium (Oceanographic). The Aquarium is the largest one in Europe. They had architecturally peculiar houses both inside and out for different species of sea animals from all over the world. We visited almost all of the houses, the last one being a dolphine show outside. At this point it was really getting cold, so we didn’t enjoy the show as much as we could have with a warmer weather. The nights can be a bit chilly here and during our time in Valencia the temperature during the day was around 14, so a bit chilly for Spain. But the hotel room was warm and cozy, so I enjoyed that. And taking a warm bath was really really nice too. (During December our flat has been really chilly!)
On the second day we visited The Science Exhibition. It’s like the Finnish Heureka Science Centre, designed so that the people can touch and experience the scientific things instead of just watching them. There were some exhibitions dealing with the human body and some with space. There were intriguing things but a lot of boring ones as well, at least for us. We also went to see a document about the sea in this 3d theatre inside a big bubble. I’ve seen a lot of better ones, so I wouldn’t recommend that, and for Isla it was just too much. She couldn’t sit on her seat for more than 20 minutes. Both days we dined in the mall right beside the City of Arts and Sciences. We had some good kebab. (Antti is always into kebab.)
On the third day, before leaving back to Almunecar, we went to Park Gulliver which was right next to our hotel building. Like the name suggests, it’s a park with a giant Gulliver laying on the ground on his back. If you don’t know the story, Gulliver was a character in the novels of Jonathan Swift. He was an explorer who traveled to an island where the tiny people “lilliputs” took him as a prisoner and tied him up on the ground with ropes. In the park they have made slides and things to climb on for the kids, the kids being the lilliputs climbing on Gulliver. For Luna this was the best attraction of the trip. She- being the active kid as she is- liked the climbing, sliding and running around a lot. We spent a few hours in the park and then we had to start driving back, so it wouldn’t get too late. On the way back we stopped in a place called Villa Joyiosa. It was around two hours drive from Valencia just before Alicante. There was a really nice beach with soft, light brown sand. The kids liked playing there and looking for shells. After the trip when we asked Luna what were the nicest places on our trip she answered Gulliver and the beach. So next time we won’t be spending a fortune on the entrances to some fancy science parks, we’d rather go to the beach and playground where ever we head for. And yeah, we didn’t even visit Biopark because the kids didn’t want to – they chose Gulliver instead.
On the 5th of January we went to see the parade of the three kings (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos). We’d heard the sounds from some parades during the summer, but never really seen one before. I hadn’t expected it to be as entertaining as it was. We were a bit late at the departure point, but as this is Spain, the parade hadn’t even started (it started half an hour late). There were many cars or trolleys on which were standing different characters throwing candy and dancers performing in front of the cars. The themes and characters were those that the kids nowadays see mostly on TV: Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse and co, the Flintstones, Disney Fairies and so on. On the last three cars were standing the kings which were not only throwing candy, but also toys. Luna and Isla were very eager to catch the candy and Isla was very flattered when Peppa Pig tapped on her head. It took maybe half an hour to see all the cars and dancers passing by, so there were many.
During Christmas we’ve been to the movies with the kids more than usually. The kids always want to wear their Anna or Elsa costumes when we go. We’ve seen Big Hero 6, The Night in the Museum 3 and Stand by Me Doraemon. The first one mentioned above is what I’d recommend the most. It was the one Isla was able to watch without trying to run around too much. It was also funny and amusing. The museum movie was Luna’s choice as it was her birthday then (I’ll probably write about the birthday later on) and very boring for Isla since it was done with real people and not cartoon characters. Doraemon was nice, but Isla was behaving really badly, so I had to go out with her before the end. The movies were all in Spanish, so that’s what also makes it hard for Isla to concentrate as she cannot understand the plot properly. We decided to take a break from the movies for a while now, at least with Isla.
Now that we’re done with Christmas, I’m looking forward to starting with the normal daily routines again. Well, I’m not looking so much forward into having to wake up early to get the kids to school, but all the rest, like exercising regularly and having my Spanish lessons. We’ll see how the school start is going to go for Isla since she’s been having difficulties with doing her poop on the potty lately. Maybe they’ll send her back home then…