My wife is publishing a middle school childrens book - We have a kickstarter for it

Winter exile – part 5 – Marbella onward to Rome

TLDR – Exploring Marbella, finding parks, playing at the beach, shopping at the Canadian mall. Playing at the beach with the older three. Flew to Rome.

Exploring the town

After breakfast and homework, we set off exploring around 1000. We walked west and up from our place instead of towards the beach. A few hundred meters from our place we walked through a small park along the walking paths to a church on the top of a hill with some great views of actual mountains. Been a while since we had actual real-life higher than 1000 meter mountains are part of life’s backdrop. Maddex being our kid keeps asking if we can climb the mountains! Next stop we walked into a tennis club where we could see a play area on the other side of the courts. Walking around the parking lot we could not see a way to access the play park.

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Chuch + Michelle + Mountain = neato
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Right past the church some cool stonework

We gave up trying to find a path and left the tennis club. A ways down the street we saw the entrance to a trail system that looked mostly washed out. Being adventurous, we’ll give it a go. After carrying the stroller over some huge potholes and walking by a massive climbing wall we found the play area on the other side of the tennis club; score. We’re fairly high up altitude wise with an unobstructed view. It’s also a mostly clear day. We can see the rock of Gibraltar and on into Africa a bit farther off in the distance from the park.

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What a great view from up here
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Those bumps over the ocean are both sides of the strait of Gibraltar

While sitting and half watching half ignoring the children Michelle and I chatted about a possible kids story series and inspiration struck Michelle. As we left the park walking down a steep bumpy path and the kids started getting into the game and helped plan out the first book in the series. Now every time we pause for a bit Michelle is taking notes working on an outline and some chapters. Love seeing her and the kids all excited to create a new world.

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Walking down a beat up path
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Holding up the cave with girl power

At the end of the dirt path, past the caves, we walked down some massive marble stairway with a hugemungous fountain between it. Like four maybe five stories tall fountain. Looks like it used to be an entrance for a swanky golf course. Now there no water in it, and it’s slowly running down by forces of nature and teenage ass hats with spray paint and no respect. A bit sad if you ask me.

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Looking down at the beat up fountain with marble stairs
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Looking up at the fountain from across the street

We would like to ship some books and stuff back home to Ireland to lighten our load as we switch from warm to cold. We stopping at FedEx and the Spanish post office to get an idea of prices. it appears to be about 40-70€ to ship home our stuff. A price about the same as the value of most of it. Guess we’ll find a charity shop and donate the stuff.

On the walk back home we stopped at a Carrefour express for some fruit and Oreos and had a snack on a sidewalk bench. From there we walked down towards the sand and the park we played in last night with the dragons eggs in it for some more play time before walking back to our flat for a rest.

Walking to a pier and into the sun

We had our usual afternoon rest and snack at our flat then went back out to walk to a marina to walk out a pier. We walked there through town mostly on surface streets until we made it to the marina. Bummer dude, the pier did not really look walkable and it was getting late so we decided to skip it and walk back along the beach. That lasted about five minutes before walking directly into the sun was too much for our eyes. SO BRIGHT! Winter solstice is in about 2 days and the sun is low in the sky. As it sets its directly in front of us in line of sight. SO BRIGHT!

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Walking down a surface street

We walked back home along surface streets letting the buildings shield our eyes from the bright blinding sun. Back at home, we had more pasta and showers then bedtime. The kids are really into pasta in Marbella. Roxi has a bit of fever, so we went for an early bedtime tonight hoping she recovers quickly and does not infect the other children. She is most likely sick because everything’s she picks up still goes in her mouth.

Friday – shopping day

Friday we set off at 0940 for a mall to find some more winter clothing for the girls. Doing inventory last night we only packed sleeveless summer dresses for the girls and we’re going to start heading north where they’ll need long sleeves. We planned on staying south in the warmth when we left home. Booking travel as we go in the middle of prime travel season trying to stay frugal changed those plans. First stop is the blue play park under the bridge by the closed bonsai garden we walked to last night. Big huge massive park with large bonsai museum in the middle that looks like it was spectacular about 39 years ago.

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Girls watching some turtles at the blue play park
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Mila on the racing slide

Now it’s only slightly maintained. Again sad run down Pam springs vs palm desert feeling. The path to the mall the iPhone choose for us took us along a road with no side-walk that turned into a tunnel with no sidewalk and a sign indicating no people walking allowed in the tunnel. Looking around there were no alternative options to cross over or under the freeway, and traffic is light. We ran for it. Mila screamed and cried the whole way scared of the dark and possible cars coming at us. We made it out the other side without issues. When we emerged back into the sunlight from the backpack, Roxi says ” let’s not do that again it was too dark

As we exited the tunnel we were in a walking lane that started/ended at the tunnel you were not allowed to walk in; odd. From the tunnel, we walked at a 30-degree uphill angle to the La Canada shopping mall. It says Canada but it has no Tim Horton’s, Canadian tire, ice rink, or a roots store. Is it really Canadian? We found a carrefour attached to the mall and bought everyone a new shirt, and some tights for the girls. We left the mall spending less than 40€.

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Khaleesi doing some artwork in a park

It was about 30-minute walk home plus a 20 minute stop at a massive park with a shut down for the winter small spray park area. Glad it was shut off. Back at home we feed the kids some fish sticks and chips and rested them a bit. I took the older kids to the beach for a dig in the sand and Michelle stayed back to let Roxi nap more and figure out what we don’t need anymore to make our luggage lighter.

Dad and kids to the beach

Kids and I had a great time playing in the sand. We built a fire and carved some shapes on the sand with our feet. Then we went by the water and made sand castles on the wet sand. We walked down the beach a bit where we found a large boat bumper we drug around in the sand. Maddex tried to send it back to its home pushing it out into the sea but the waves kept driving it back to shore. After the beach, we walked home via a Salvador Dali bronze park with about 10 statues in a marble and stone-lined walk with fountains on each side.

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Working on sand shapes around our fire ( a pile of sticks )
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Pulling the boat thing up the beach
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Running in the park with the bronze statues

Then we explored the no car narrow streets before making it back home. I had some work to do when we arrived home. Prodata had a busted VM in need of my magic. While working on a server I cooked pasta for the third night in a row. The kids did not eat as much as the two nights before but they ate enough to not be annoying. After dinner, we packed up and cleaned up. Maddex read what he had so far for his story followed by Michelle reading her first chapter to us. – our writers are creating great stories so far!

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Maddex working on his story
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What Michelle came up with to give away while we were gone

Saturday – travel day to Rome

Maddex and Khaleesi were the first two up with me. We finished the ice cream before anyone else woke up then started in on the rest of the food. Whatever we don’t eat ends up in the rubbish so we better eat well. After we ate as much as we could the kids finished packing their rooms. Michelle and I finished packing and cleaning the rest of the place. We have to be out by 1100, the kids made to 1030 before they are too restless to tolerate and we left for a park.

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We did not eat the couch so it had to go
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Girls ready to leave our flat in Marbella

On the way to the park, we left a large bag of leftover clothing in front of a church as a donation. Then we played in a park for an hour before we started our 2k all uphill struggle to the bus station. We found one more park along the way to stop at. The kids played while Michelle and I rested. We made it to the bus station with about an hour to kill and kids would not sit still. So annoying.

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Michelle fully encumbered in a park headed to the bus stop

Made to the Airport

We finally made it on the bus and rode to the airport. The kids were great on the bus, not sure how that happened but we’ll take it. At the airport, as we got off the bus the zip on our suitcase completely failed. I tore into the suitcase where Michelle and I tried to restart the zipper. It had no start zones and the zipper at the ends we coming apart. Great, this sucks. I used a strap from another bad go hold the suitcase together then we went into the airport to look for a replacement

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Waiting at the airport with our new green bag

130 euro for 40 euro suitcase later we left our old suitcase open next to a rubbish bin and set off for security. Past security the airport is nice, but it lacks play areas or much the kids will eat. We killed an hour walking around, then started waiting for our flight. Our flight was an hour and a half late leaving the airport. The kids slept or we were quite on the plane – score.

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YEAH! finally on the plane

We landed and made it to baggage claim quick enough. Then it took an hour for our luggage to come out. After waiting 40 minutes our kid backpack finally came up the conveyor belt then got stuck right at top shutting down the luggage lift. Was not able to reach it to get it. We waited for 20 minutes for someone to come shut off the carousel and dislodge the pack. All while watching people get annoyed that someone’s bag was holding up their luggage

2 and half hours later we finally met Tony our driver who took us to our place. He was telling us places to see and eat along the drive. He spoke little English and we speak no Italian, but we managed to communicate well enough. The guy meets us at the door and checked us into our third floor flat quick enough. I set off to get food because we’ve not eaten since breakfast other than Oreos and some crips.

The grocery stores all closed at 2200 and it was 2217 when I found the first one. after walking for a half hour I gave up and walked back. about 5 doors down from our place I could a tiny convenience store and bought cereal, 2 bananas, some plum rolls, and milk for 14 euro; ouch. The kids all ate then quickly passed out. Michelle and I made it to midnight before we passed out on a mattress on the floor. We were going to sleep on a pullout couch but the legs are missing so the pull out slopes towards the couch making it unusable.

Welcome to Rome!!! .

The rest of the pictures

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Maddex and Dad overlooking the town and Africa
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Maddex exploring a cave
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Girls under a bridge in a park
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One of the turtles we looked at in the green water
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Blue play park
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The Illuminati are everywhere – Chem trails all over the sky here – mind control
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Kids sitting on the beach talking planning out what to build
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Some sand castles
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Khaleesi by her castle
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Maddex and Mila on the heeby jeeby thing
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Runing down the beach to see what the big thing is
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Maddex trying to send the boat thing back to its home in the sea
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View of the moantain from our flat balcony
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Mila in my do rag
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Comptuer at printer owned by late airline — they might need an upgrade
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Khaleesi is not tired at all
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Roxi playhing onm a pole while we waited for the plane to arrive
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Roxi still working

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