Madrid Toledo Granada Costa Del Sol Córdoba Cáceres Trujillo Segovia
Plaza Espana Alex and his mother in the Plaza de España in Madrid.

Alexander is certainly a well-traveled little boy, as these pages will attest. But in all his travels, he had never escaped the boundaries of the country of his birth. After over two and a half years more or less anchored to the North American continent, the time came to seek out new
Alex snaps a photo in Madrid's Plaza Mayor. To see some of Alex's photographic work, visit Alexander's Photo Album, an Alexander Home Page exclusive! The photographer
horizons. And so, on May 19, 1999, Alex and his parents boarded a 767 and soared eastward over the Atlantic Ocean, to the ancient and storied country known as Spain!

Yes, Spain. Sandwiched between Portugal and France, Spain is larger than California but smaller than Texas. It's the country that financed Christopher Columbus' journey to America, and mercilessly persecuted thousands of people in the name of religious intolerance. It's the country that gave us flamenco, bull fighting, Spanish onions, and the Spanish language, but not the Spanish Flu. It's the country that captured the imagination of Ernest Hemingway, and produced artists the likes of Goya, El Greco, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali. It's an ancient land where people eat more ham than you could possibly imagine, and the sidewalks are paved with beans.

Little of that mattered to Alex, however. To him, Spain was a place to walk the sidewalks of strange towns, to run circles around statues, and cast his gaze upon the Mediterranean Sea. Join us as we see revisit Alexander's first European vacation. It's the same Alexander Home Page you've grown to know and love, but, for the first time ever, with an international flavor.

On a Saturday morning in March, as Alex's father was sketching out the itinerary for a vacation in the Canadian Rockies, his mind started to drift in a different direction. One thing led to another, and before long he was investigating a very different trip. By Sunday evening, Canada was officially on the back burner, and Alex's parents had decided to defy conventional wisdom and, perhaps, common sense, and take a two-year-old boy on a European vacation!

We are pleased and proud to say that the trip went off with nary a hitch. A year earlier, when traveling to New Orleans, Alex had found the experience of flying to be quite stressful. This time, he handled the eight-hour transatlantic flight like the mature international traveler he's become. He fussed very little, and occupied himself with the activity pack provided by the airline, by listening to music on the headphones, and, naturally, by napping. He actually enjoyed the flight, and has expressed an interest in flying again.

When he does fly again, rest assured that The Alexander Home Page will be on the scene to capture all the excitement. In the meantime, though, grab yourself some tapas, pour yourself a bowl of gazpacho, and memorize this list of things that Alex enjoyed in Spain. (There will be a quiz later! Be sure to bring two sharpened No. 2 pencils.) And then, the wonders of eight Spanish cities are only a few mouse clicks away. Alexander has been to Spain, and the Old World will never be quite the same!

When in Spain, Alexander enjoyed:

  • Bocadillos con jamon y queso (Ham and cheese sandwiches.)
  • The antics of the Funny Food Man at the Hotel Atlantico in Madrid.
  • The goats and the dolphins at Madrid's Zoo and Aquarium.
  • Live musical performances at Madrid's Plaza de Espana.
  • Finding ping pong tables at the Museo de Prado and a pool table at the Palacio Real.
  • Getting a lollipop from a puppet.
  • Patatas fritas (The term describes both French Fries and potato chips. Alex enjoyed plenty of both items while in Spain.)
  • Yellow juice (Fanta) and black juice (Coca Cola).
  • Spotting "kaleidoscope windows" in ancient cathedrals.
  • Singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame in ancient cathedrals.
  • Finding little alcoves the size of a coat closet and saying "This is our new house!"
  • Mountains. And churches. And castles. And towns.
  • Sand sculptures along the beach in Torremolinos, on the Costa del Sol.
  • Entering a hotel room and finding the thinking chair and the potties.
    The Spain Car The Spain Car
  • Riding in "The Spain Car" (photo, right)
  • Feeding pigeons and finding fallen oranges in the courtyard of the Mezquita in Córdoba.
  • Sidewalks and patios paved with beans.
  • The spitting lions at the Alhambra in Granada.
  • The lizards that cling to the walls in the garden of Córdoba's El Conquistador Hotel.
  • Playing his guitar and singing "Down By the Bay" in that same garden.
  • Eating espaghetti italiana at El Figon de Eustaquio in Cáceres, and at Nazirota's in Segovia.
  • The "scary bird room" at the Iglesia de Santa Maria in Trujillo.
    Espaghetti italiana Espaghetti italiana at Nazirota's in Segovia.
  • The "crazy restaurant" that didn't have any food.
  • Eating apples in the Parador de Turismo in Cacares.
  • Running circles around the statue of Juan Bravo in Segovia.
  • Sitting on the deck outside his hotel room at the Melia Torremolinos.
  • Running around in the gazebo in the Plaza Mayor in Segovia.

On the other hand, there were a few things that Alex did not like:

  • Riding in "The Spain Car" (photo, above)
  • Eating at the Pizarro restaurant in Trujillo.
  • Not being in charge of the itinerary.
  • Occasional bouts of homesickness.
  • The "Spain Lady" who said "Hola Niño!" to him several times.
  • When a well-meaning waiter would lift him up and put him in a highchair.