Sofia's World

Summer 2012

Gibraltar, June

 

Málaga, July

For our second week of summer, we stayed with our friends from last year, Joelle Copty, her husband, Eduardo, and their daughter, Candela. Candela is my age, and last year we had fun together. They live in Rincón de la Victoria, a suburb of Málaga, about an hour from Gibraltar. At their house, I played a lot of computer games with Candela and slept at the bottom of her bunk bed. Unfortunately, their swimming pool was broken, so we were inside a lot of the time instead of playing outside. We ate Joelle's dinners very late (10:00) and stayed up late, too. 

We also spent a day at the beach, Playa Calahanda in Nerja. We swam in the ocean, used nets to try to catch fish, “surfed” on a small inflatable board, and dug big holes in the sand. Another day we went to a restaurant called RioSol where there were inflatables to bounce in, clowns, and face painting. And another day we went to the beach at Rincón and had pizza and gelato. 

Unfortunately, Candela kept teasing me and making me feel bad. I had a hard time with that. So we left a day earlier than we had planned and spent a night at Royal Suites Marbella, in Benahavis; it had a really great swimming pool!

 

 

Holland

For our third week of summer, we went to Holland to visit family. First, Papa and I drove to visit Opa in Benidorm, Spain, while Mommy flew to Venlo, Holland, to stay for three days with Tante Lianne and see the Floriade. Then Papa and I flew to Amsterdam and took the train to Vlissingen. Mommy joined us there, and we had a fun week visiting aunts, uncles, cousins, and Oma. 

Unfortunately, it was very wet and cold during our visit, not at all like summer. So we didn't do a lot of outside activities or go to the beach. We did go to the Bambini children’s play center; visited Tante Bep for her birthday; drove to the Kermis (fair) in Westkapelle, where I rode on fair rides (and we bought warm oliebollen); and spent an afternoon exploring Middelburg and buying books for me to read at home. Our last dinner was at the Pannekoekenbakker in Oostkapelle. It had 250 kinds of pancakes! Oom Rob had one with Indonesian food. Oma had one with strawberries and liqueur. Mommy's had sliced apples, sour cherries, and cinnamon sugar. I had a plain one with a powdered sugar princess picture on it. Delicious! The restaurant also had a big kids' play area, and I got to choose a toy to take home before we left.

 

 

Gibraltar, July-August

 

 

Spain

 

 

More of Spain

 

 

Morocco

We spent one day on a tour to Morocco. We took a Baleária ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta. Then we rode on an air-conditioned bus to see Morocco with a tour guide named Abdul. I slept on the bus until we arrived at Tétouan

We were taken through the Bab el-Okla, the oldest gate, into the medina (old town). We walked through a maze of tight, winding lanes and alleys among white walls, low ceilings, rounded doorways, and brown and green doors. We saw lots of small, dark rooms the size of closets containing cobblers, tailors, thread spinners, jewelers, weavers, leather workers, and metal workers. Many fruit and vegetable sellers, mostly older women, lined the lanes, sitting on stoops. We saw lots of cats, and I wanted to stop and pet each one. Most of the men and women wore long robes, and some women covered their faces. We stopped at a school to learn about carpets. I bought a carved stone camel.

Then we had lunch in a big restaurant with large round tables. We had round, flat bread called khobz to share; a huge communal dish of yellow couscous; beef kebabs; and for dessert sweet mint tea and a cookie that was the shaped like a giant chocolate kiss but tasted like a shortbread. Three men in a band, played a lap-held drum; a pear-shaped, short-necked lute called an oud; and a violin (kamanjah). At one point a drummer and dancer whirled among the tables. Papa and I posed with the band for photos. 

 

Next we drove to Tangier (while I slept in the bus). When we arrived, we stopped first at the Grand Socco (souk ) ( “large market”). Next we banyan tree. Then we walked through Tangier’s medina, with many of the same sights as in Tétouan: narrow, dark passages, craftsmen in cramped rooms, traditional Moroccan clothing, Berber produce sellers squatting in alleyways, mysterious brown and green doors. Within the medina we stopped at a "traditional pharmacy," where a white-coated man who spoke English had us small different Moroccan spices and rub ointments on our hands; he said they were used to cure snoring, sleeplessness, hair loss, eczema and psoriasis, and prevent mosquito bites. Then we walked to the Hotel Continental and sat to rest and drink soda.  

Then we drove through the Rif mountains back to Ceuta . After the half-hour ferry ride and half-hour drive from Algeciras to our place in Gibraltar , we didn't end our long, adventurous day until 10:00!

 

 

Portugal

In mid-August we spent a long weekend in southern Portugal (the Algarve). We stayed at the Colina Verde Golf and Country Club Resort in Moncarapacho. It had a very nice pool, but the temperature was so hot that we couldn't even stay in the pool for long! We were surrounded by orange groves, and one morning Papa and I went out and picked a couple oranges, then brought them back to our room and made fresh orange juice for Mommy.

Our first day we went to Faro. We toured the Cathedral (boring), but I liked climbing the church tower. We wandered around the old town, had some ice cream, and played foosball on the street. 

That night we drove to Tavira. We took a ferry to ride to and from the Ilha de Tavira. We had dinner in the Plaça da Republica, where my favorite activity was playing in the fountain. It got dark and we walked along the river and over the bridges. Fair tents opened up, and we bought ice cream.

The next day we returned to Tavira. We climbed the castle walls, walked through the old town, and had lunch. It was very hot, and I didn't like climbing uphill. I did like searching for fish by the river and watching the turtles in the square's gazebo pond. After all that walking in the heat, looking at buildings and churches, I was tired. We were supposed to drive right home, but Mommy said we should make one more stop, at Cacela Velha. It was high up on a bluff looking over the ocean. Sometimes there is only so much sightseeing a kid can do: "Can we go home yet?!"

 

 

Arizona

Mommy and I were home from Gibraltar just four days before we flew again, this time to visit our old neighbors, who had moved to Arizona. (The 3-hour plane ride sure felt short after flying from Spain!)  It was really hot thereover 100 degrees. Miss Trudy carried coolers full of water bottles in the car every trip so we'd never run out. And we couldn't play outside during most of the day, only in the early morning and late in the day. But they had a pool in the backyard that even had a slide and a waterfall, and Joseph and I had a great time swimming. (Really cool: I found a baby scorpion in the hot tub!)

We had a lot of fun over five days. We went with Trudy and Joseph to the Arizona Sealife Aquarium and the Arizona Science Center. One afternoon we all went bowling. Another day we all drove a long way to the cowboy town of Prescott (Joseph and I played Pokémon on his DS in the car). We had a picnic at Willow Lake Park, went on a hike and climbed rocks and saw crayfish in the water, and I caught a lizard! 

Mom and I returned home on Labor Day. I was sad to leave my old friend.

 

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