Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The journey to Asturias and beyond! Part One

My parents got in Saturday morning, and we should have known that them being 2 hours late would set the tone for the day. We were expecting them at 10am and after two hours I was getting really nervous and started calling the car rental company and checking to see if there were any accidents from the airport when at last they arrived. For some reason it took them one full hour to get the car, then they found our place but could not figure out how to get the car in reverse (yes, you read correctly) so ended up going in circles for 30 minutes until they found a temporary place to park. My Dad came and got Nick and they were off to figure out the gear shift and then to park the car. Another hour goes by and they finally get back; Nick had to read half of the car's manual before figuring out how to get it in reverse.

About 2 or 3 hours later than planned, we get in the car (or crawl/fall for me and my mom who had to sit in the way back) and head for my Uncle's home in the providence of Asturias, about 4-5 hours north. (Earlier in the week we had called Lino to get the address. Instead of giving us the address he told us that it was very confusing to get here and he would just call us periodically on our way and guide us. I thought that doing it that way made it more confusing but Nick wasn't about to say that to him because he talks so darn fast it was hard enough for Nick to understand him the first time.)

So, we headed in the general direction and were on our way. About a half an hour into our trip the GPS takes us off the main highway. This is when we should've realized there was a problem, but it was scenic driving through the Spanish villages so we didn't. About an hour later my Dad mentions stopping to eat. Both kids were sleeping so we decided to look for a cafe that had outdoor seating where we could leave the kids in the car and not wake them. The first village we come upon had many cafes and outdoor sitting but as we past them we kept on going (I think my Dad was still shy about putting the car in reverse) About 20 minutes later we were starving! You'd have thought it had been days since our last meal, and as I was telling the boys (Dad and Nick were in front) that I thought my body had started feeding off of it's own muscle and it wasn't long until I'd die of starvation that we see another village. By this point my Mom and I were delirious and I had a fit of giggles. My dad pulled over but didn't exactly park normally so he backs up and goes down a few doors and tries parking again when we point out how if we parked there we wouldn't be able to leave the kids in the car because it was too far. He then proceeds to reverse the car back to the restaurant. I think we were making quite the scene because the lonely women siting out front was laughing at us and the people in the restaurant peeked out to see what all the commotion was. Meanwhile my mom and I are in the back, crying from laughing so hard. As I type it out it doesn't seem funny at all, but believe me, at the time it was ridiculous.

Our meal was awesome. We asked the waiter what he'd recommend and he told us that they have excellent meat in that region so that's what we had. Like I said before, it was awesome. The steak I had in that little hole in the wall rivaled any steak I've ever had before, and my Dad said the same thing which means you know it was good.

We crawled back in and started making our way to Leon. Since that is where my Mom's Dad lives we had heard a lot about it and decided to check it out on our way. We got there just in time because the kids were starting to go bananas in the car. We had planed on stopping for maybe 20 minutes but ended up being there for over an hour. Andrew was running around the main plaza like a crazy person and Sadie was happy trying to catch birds while the rest of us marveled at the beautiful cathedral.

When we got back to the car it was 8:30 at night (oops!), which was when we were expecting to be getting to Lino's house. We called said we were on our way and we were off. We came to a roundabout where there were two signs for the same place. A-66 to Oviedo or N-630 to Oviedo. Nick was about to get on the 66 when we pointed out that the 630 was what the GPS was telling us to do, so he followed he GPS. The ride was unbelievably gorgeous, taking us up into the green, yellow and purple covered mountains and the picturesque villages - but it was long. When we had called Lino earlier and told him where we were he said it should take us an hour to get there, so we planned on being there at 9:30-ish. Well, at 9:30 we were still in the mountains. After this I start to loose track of time but a little while later we talk to Lino and he tell us to follow certain white signs and NOT the blue ones with the town names that start with an L and M. (he speaks really fast and no one wanted to sound dumb by asking him to repeat himself a forth time). Unfortunately we take the wrong freeway and end up going in circles, literally. We kept on going around the roundabout until someone could decide what exit to take and then we'd just get to another round about and go in more circles. Andrew kept on say "Daddy, why are you driving in circle?" and "don't worry guys, I'll use my super eye powers to help us not get lost anymore".

By this time we were talking to Lino frequently but he had zero idea where we were. He had gotten in his car to come and get us but by then it was too late. Finally the third person we stopped to ask for help could give us directions back to the freeway and we were back on track. Lino told us which exit to get off and for us to put our emergency lights on so he would know which car we were in, and by the time he found us it was 11:30 pm. He called and said that we were now going to eat. What?! It was 11:30 and we had a sleeping Sadie and we were hungry yes, but sooo ready for bed. We were hoping that he meant eat as in "leftovers at his house" but we soon realized that he was taking us to a restaurant. When we got out I told him that I'd just stay in the car with Sadie and they could bring me something to eat, and I could tell he was disappointed and told us that the whole family was waiting for us in the restaurant. I felt bad but I wasn't about to wake up my baby. Well it took about 3 minutes alone in the car for me to realize that I'm in Spain meeting part of my family for the first time and I was going to be hung up on sleep. I was in the restaurant in no time and Sadie actually stayed asleep in Nick's arms the whole time. I am so happy I went in because first of all the food was outstanding and the company was even better. These people are great.

An hour or so later we were off to the house and thank goodness it was only a 3 minute drive. I think both kids were asleep in the first 10 minutes of being there and then we all hung out on the back porch for an hour or so, chatting. When we realized that it was 2 am (remember my parents had taken a red eye here the night before), we were off to bed. That night was rough. I would have been asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow except for the fact that Andrew sounds like an elephant when he sleeps. I feel sorry for his wife.

All in all in was a really really long but fun trip. I think the fact that Nick was driving the majority of the time helped big time. My Dad isn't the most fun in those high stress moments, and in my Mom's words "If your Father had been driving we would've ended up in the ER because he would have had a heart attack". On the trip home, after passing the first toll, Nick and I realized that the GPS was on avoid toll roads, which is why it had taken us the way long way.

Here are some pictures of Leon, Andrew was so excited to be out of the car he couldn't be still for one picture.


Rachel said...

Great Pics! I love the "avoid toll roads"! AND Andrew's "super eye power" is the best! I am glad you got to meet your family. How cool is that!?

nancy said...

That was a perfect depiction of the greatest road trip of all time with one exception: you forgot to mention it was pouring rain. But in the scheme of things I know it was a minor detail.

Kristin Johnson said...

My heart aches a little. Lee and I keep throwing across the idea of going back to work for a couple years... I think it amazing you got to meet some family. How is the communication barrier?