Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Matthews’ Family Does Europe–Better Late than Never!

Way back at the beginning of September, I put a post it note on the refrigerator of trips to blog about before the baby came. I think there were 4 items, and I marked all but one of them off my list before Nora arrived. Then we put a lot of things on the back burner for the first 3-months while we began to adjust to life with a baby. But now, only 5 months later, I’m finally checking that last item off the list. Better late than never, this is how the Matthews Family did Europe!

(Note: Due to the passage of time and my new case of Mommy brain, I can’t remember exact dates or names of places, so I’ll keep commentary to a minimum. The pictures are the best part anyway!)

Three weary travelers, Lloyd, Angie & Gabe, arrived in Madrid in mid-August ready to party….


Well, maybe they weren’t immediately ready to party, but after a quick recharge, they were ready to go, and go we went. During their visit, we spent plenty of time in Madrid, relaxed on the island of Ibiza,  made day trips to Toledo, Avila, Segovia, El Escorial and El Pardo, and finally, explored the streets of Rome. Though my 30-something week pregnant self opted out of a few of the day trips that I’d done before in order to be ready to go on the big trips to Ibiza and Rome, we had two weeks full of non-stop traveling, sight-seeing, fun dinners and so much more.

In Ibiza, our days revolved around exploring new, beautiful beaches, and the theme of our evenings tended to be watching some of the most beautiful sunsets.

P1014254Brothers in the ocean (in their underpants!) :/

P1014265Relaxing on our terraza after a day of travel and an amazing paella for lunch.

P8174276Sunset from our terraza on night one.

P8184290Angie makes friends everywhere she goes!

P8184294The water here was perfect with warm, gentle waves. Like soaking in a perfect bath tub.

P8184297Baby Nora loved Ibiza!


P8184302It was a trek to get down to Cala Benirras and hard to see for all the people, but we made it just in time to see the sun sink below the horizon. The crowd clapped as it disappeared.

P8184308Drummers performed after the sun went down.

P8184326Fire dancers followed the drummers.

Day 2 brought more beach time and a beautiful sunset from Café del Mar in Sant Antoni de Portmany:

P8194336Slathering on the sunscreen.











After Ibiza, we spent a few days back in Madrid and  even fit in a few day trips.

P8214413Angie and Gabe (Smurf style) at Templo de Debod.

P8214416Angie with two of her oldest friends!


P8224444I think we have a very similar picture of my parents also on the train home from Toledo.

P8234447The walls of Avila.

P8234450Angie, Lloyd and Saint Theresa

P8234451The aqueduct in Segovia

P8234453I love Segovia at night. The cathedral is beautiful all lit up, and the city just feels romantic.

P8244469Another new friend…with benefits. Free entry to any palace in Madrid.


Last but not least, we were off to Rome!

P8254502The Coliseum







P8264567So sweet.


P8264570Two lucky guys and one lucky Mama.

P8274573What a night!

P8274574Spanish Steps

P8274587Balancing out

P8274595With St. Peter’s in the background

P8274614St. Peter’s Square by night

P8284619Once again, we had a phenomenal tour guide. Luke has now led groups of our family through Madrid (and surrounding areas), Mallorca, Florence, Switzerland, Ibiza and Rome! Maybe we can start our own business leading families through Europe. Smile

P8284623We all needed a rest…especially baby Nora.

P8284637Stunt performing tour guide.

P8284638We had to have pizza one more time before leaving Italy. And I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture, but we had gelato every day from Old Bridge near Vatican city. Amazing and inexpensive. If Nora is obsessed with gelato one day,I’m fully to blame. If it’s cookie ‘n’ cream shakes from Braums, blame her dad.

P8284639Stalkerish picture that Luke snapped as they left, but we ended up sitting next to a family who had lived in Norman while the dad was in graduate school at OU. Small, small world.

Finally, a trip to Madrid (as our guests) wouldn’t be complete without Flamenco at Casa Patas and dinner with our Spanish amigos.

P8294642Leaving our apartment on the last evening of the trip.


P8294648Dinner with JC, Nico and los tios de Nico.

P8304654Lloyd Leon

P8304656Nico y su tita.

P8304671Piano Bar. The picture is blurry, but it probably matches their vision at this point. Winking smile 

Whew! What an amazing trip! Who’s next? You’ve got 2.5 months left to fit it in!