Archive for December, 2011

Valencia Triathlon 2011

Posted in Travel with tags , on December 31, 2011 by grandersons

My friend Nadia and I began training for the Valencia triathlon in May and discovered that we actually enjoyed heading to the gym every day for a swim, bike or run…apparently having a ‘workout buddy’ is the only way to go!

We were lucky to have a pack of cheerleaders to support us – Kyle, Lalit, Greg, Michelle and Steve – and they even cooked us a gourmet pasta dinner the night before the race.

Our training hit a bit of a wall in August when we began travelling and weren’t around to stick with our regular schedule.  I hit a total road block when I hit week 6 of my pregnancy (just 2 weeks before the triathlon) and could hardly bear the thought of food, let alone running without wanting to vomit on the side of the road!  We had been working so hard up to that point that it was a little disappointing to see our training slip, but when the day of the race came we felt ready – terrified, but ready!

Swim… (we think that’s us in the picture below but I’m not positive…)



And we did it!!!  I never would have finished, let alone made it to the starting line, without Nadia and am so proud of our accomplishment!


Otro Mundo

Posted in Travel with tags , , on December 18, 2011 by grandersons

Later in August, Kyle and I set out on a ‘glamping’ getaway in the Sierra del Segura region of Spain – basically halfway between Madrid and Barcelona.  We fell in love with the Otro Mundo website and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit these eco-domes for a quiet weekend away with just the two of us…especially after we discovered the news that we had a baby on the way, it was the perfect way to celebrate!

Otro Mundo was designed, built and now cared for by a young couple from the Netherlands who’s second baby girl had just been born 2 weeks before we arrived!  They were gracious hosts and incredible cooks – we definitely ended the weekend thinking “we would love to be friends with these people and come back to visit again someday!”

Our weekend was spent exploring nearby villages, taking a mini-hike, eating delicious meals with our amazing hosts, swimming in a fresh water pool to escape the heat, and enjoying the quiet of being ‘in the middle of nowhere’ in our own little dome.

On the way home, we also made a quick stop by the Lagunas de Ruidera – a series of lakes connected by a chain of small waterfalls – which were packed full of Spanish vacationers but absolutely beautiful!

Huevo on Board

Posted in Life in Madrid, Special Occassions with tags , on December 18, 2011 by grandersons

Just after arriving home from our camping trip, we received the biggest news of our lives…

We had always known we wanted to have kids and thought it would be wonderful if we could go home to Seattle with a little one on the way, but we also knew that these aren’t the sort of things you have complete control over.  However, as we set off for our camping trip in August, the possibility became more real that we just might have made a little Granderson and would have to wait a whole 2 weeks to find out!  A run where for the first time in my life I was wishing I had worn two sports bras and a breathless hike left me to wonder if it was all in my head or if my body really was trying to tell me something.

On August 11th our hunch became a reality with the appearance of two simple pink lines – we were going to have a baby!  We could hardly contain our excitement and quickly shared the news with our immediate families but decided to keep things a little quieter until we were confident everything was going as planned.

We will never forget that surreal day – knowing that our lives had just been changed forever – and continue to be in awe of the reality that we created a new life together… unbelievable.  And here I am at the start of this adventure…things are about to change!

Ah, and “Aunt Erin” quickly dubbed the baby “Huevo” in honor of all the eggs I’ve been eating since living in Spain and the fact that the baby was still more of a ‘huevo’ growing away at that point.  Our little Huevo!

Camping across Northern Spain and Southern France…

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , on December 18, 2011 by grandersons

The month of August seems to be an undeclared ‘holiday’ in Madrid – the sweltering streets are quiet and stores and restaurants shut their doors.  Kyle’s school follows suit by giving students the month of August off between terms.  So, I made arrangements to take a few days off and work from the road as we set out on a camping trip across the Northern coast of Spain and Southern France.  Incredible!

We rented two cars, filled them with tents, coolers and supplies, and hit the road with our Boise friends (the Lingles) and friends we’ve met in Spain (the Chopras and the Porters).  Nadia did all the hard work of planning our route and selecting camp sites and did an amazing job – thank you Nadia!  You can be our trip planner any time!  And we love our new BIG tent!

First stop – Camping la Paz near Santander in the Northwest corner of Spain that literally sat on a hillside overlooking the ocean.  Due to one incorrect number in our GPS coordinates, we took a bit of a detour along an impossible dirt road and were racing to find our way before the sun went down…ah the adventures!  Luckily, we made it safe and sound, got our tents set up quickly and easily, and enjoyed some tasty chipotle black bean burgers heated on the grill before calling it a night.  We woke to a breathtaking view of the ocean.  Nadia and I took a run on a section of the El Camino trail before we all packed up and headed to our next stop.

Second stop – I got dropped off at an internet cafe in San Sebastian to work for the afternoon while the rest of the crew went on to our next camp site (Camping de la Ferme) on the beach near St. Jean de Luz, France.  Apparently it was a bit of a mad house as they arrived with loud music playing everywhere, sites packed on top of each other and people everywhere.  After a swim in the ocean and getting tents set up, the rest of the crew came back into San Sebastian to meet me for the night.  We went on our own little tapa crawl and enjoyed the gorgeous old town and waterfront promenade.  By the time we got back to the camp site, quiet hours were being strictly enforced and you never would have guessed that it was the same, crazy place as earlier that day.  We woke the next morning in time for Nadia, Jenny and I to go for a chilly swim in the ocean before heading off to our next stop.  Nadia and I were training for a triathlon at this point and it was great to practice swimming in open water!  We didn’t even stay long enough to take any pics here!

Third stop –  Campsite Municipal de l’Eyre, just South of Bordeaux.  This was the first place we’d be spending more than one night and it felt nice knowing that we’d have a few days to explore before packing up again.  We went for a bike ride on the first day – even Abby got to come along in a little backpack!  The next day, we went into Bordeaux for some wine tasting (no wine for me since I was the official designated driver) and to explore the city a bit.

Fourth and final stop – Camping du Lac in the Pyrenees.  This was my favorite spot and an amazing place to end our trip.  We hiked to a waterfall one day and went on an urban hike another.  The Pyrenees were stunning and definitely somewhere you could spend weeks exploring!