Blog

This is the blog for Monique M. McCullough - fan of babies, baking, painting (walls and canvases) and author of Color Me Georgi and Mr. Doodle and the Flying Emu - available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and good bookstores everywhere! 

Our Thanksgiving? Tapas and Charcuterie! Bubbles and Bunks!

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Turkey and casseroles are not really our jam, so this Thanksgiving we headed to Spain and France (specifically the Catalunya region) for tapas and charcuterie instead!

We stuffed ourselves with every beautiful delicacy we could find…and then we ate bread. LOTS of bread. Baguettes, pain aux céréales, pain au chocolat, croissants, crostini….BREAD…in any and all forms. With butter, and tapenade, and olive oil, and vinegar, and dip, and pâté, and…well, you get the idea. It was gloriously carbalicious and fattening, but that was okay because we walked our derrières off. I am not one to fuss with counting steps, but if I did, I think we would have smashed a record…or at least the record for two backpacking parents with a couple small children in tow.

Traveling with kids complicates things, of course. But with a little preparation and lots of good luck, we managed to all survive sans illness and booboos - we didn’t even have to pull out a bandaid! And what was the kids’ favorite part of the holiday? The “bubble man” at the Barcelona Cathedral, and a close second was the bunk beds at the Airbnbs. Glad we traveled 5,000 miles for bubbles and bunks.

So without further adieu (and with just one more French term), here are some photos and descriptions of our journey. Bon Appetit!

The Art of Architecture

Gaudi, Dali, Miro, Picasso…Catalunya is a truly fun region for art and architecture. It’s the perfect amount of whimsy and technical brilliance and we found our kids really seemed to enjoy the imaginativeness of it all. With eggs atop buildings and massive “spot the difference” artworks - what 3 and 6 year old couldn’t be inspired?!

Food…Glorious Food…

Mercat La Boqueria was our very first stop in Barcelona, just off the tourist strip of Las Ramblas. It was an appropriate first stop because this gave us a taste of what we could expect for the next couple weeks. Pure gastronomical happiness…

Our favorite meal was at a restaurant in Figueres called Bocam (can be found in the Michelin guide for the region). We are not fancy restaurant people, and so Bocam was lovely because they welcomed our kids and fed us with exquisite recipes inspired by the chef’s grandparents. The highlight was the Dali-inspired Lips desert!

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Also in Figueres was an unforgettable dusk walk up a hill and around an old military castle. To the west we could see the snow-capped Pyrenees mountains and to the east was the Mediterranean. Right in between were these cuties taking in the cool evening air…

One of my favorite things was to go for a run in Barcelona along the beaches (said no Aussie ever). As I am usually the one (gladly) behind the camera, I occasionally like to do the silly handstand shot to have evidence I was actually at a place! This self-timed #selfiefail had me laughing out loud to myself on the beach - as my sister said, we aren’t eight anymore! Still, I’ll take the luxury to try and be upside down in a whimsical, delicious land any day.

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Catalunya — we fell in love, we will be back, and we’ll be starving until we return. Gracias and Merci!