American in Spain

Extremadura 2010

August 11, 2010
Playing with water buckets

Last Friday, August 6, my wife and I headed down to Extremadura to see our daughter, Nora, who had been down there the entire previous week with her grandparents and great-grandfather. It was a little disappointing not to be able to present her to our friends down there, as most of them had already seen her earlier in the week. She clearly recognized us (whew!), but was pretty unenthusiastic about it. We were immediately merged into her ordered hierarchy of people she likes to be with:

  1. Mommy (Marga)
  2. Abuelo (her grandfather, Juan)
  3. Abuela (her grandmother, Marce)
  4. Daddy (Erik)
  5. ...everybody else...
  6. Bisabuelo (her great-grandfather, Ramón)

She spends a good portion of her time in her great-grandfather's house prohibiting him from touching things. If he puts his hand on a chair or table or toy or glass, even if the object is across the room from her, she will race over (still holding someone's hand) shouting, "No no no no no!!" and remove his hand from the object in his home that he had the nerve to touch. It's actually pretty cute, and I think she understands that it's a bit of a game. He certainly does. Our visit was very nice. We got to have some good fun with Nora and do the items on our "it wouldn't be a summer vacation in Extremadura if we didn't" todo list, which include going out for cortos (beers and snacks) every midday, having dinner at our favorite restaurant, drinking liters of cold, refreshing gazpacho, having fresh hot churros every day for breakfast, and walking in the countryside at night gazing up at the milky way.

Nora contemplates her great-grandfather's house

Nora's great-grandfather's house is very long.

Grandfather Cactus Blooms

The original plant that spawned the Cactus Cam Project flowered one night we were there.

Playing with water buckets

With temperatures up to 38°C (100°F) and no air conditioning, a lot of Nora's activities involved water. She had great fun with buckets.

Playing with water buckets

Ooh! Wet!

Playing with water buckets

She fit quite well into the buckets.

In the pool

Nora also very much enjoyed the "swimming" pool at her great-grandfather's house. She spends a good deal of her days down there in the nude.


The grape vine had a very fruitful year. Nora always responded correctly to the "¿Dónde están las uvas?" (Where are the grapes?) question, and she waited fairly patiently as they were plucked, peeled, and deseeded for her consumption.

Playing with Tango The Puppy

There was some pretty tough cuteness competition when the neighbors brought out their puppy, Tango. As far as I know, there was no other puppy named Cash.

Playing with Tango The Puppy

Tango didn't always respect Nora's "I can touch you, but you can't touch me" personal space rules.

Playing with Tango The Puppy

Unsurprisingly, Nora greatly enjoyed the power trip of holding Tango's leash.

Dressed for a night out Dressed for a night out

Trying out her new dress, which she will wear to a wedding in September.

Dining out at El Cruce (Hotel Trajano)

by erikrasmussen, on Flickr")

Dinner at El Cruce. We call it that, but just because it's at a crossroads between several towns. The real name of the place is Hotel Trajano. Their waiters have been taking orders on handheld computers for six years now! Nora was very well behaved throughout the meal.


One of our daily outings for midday beers, one of the customs that can be hard to understand if you're not used to life in Spain.

Extremadura Sunset

The sunsets are always amazing. Two of our three days were cloudy this year, which is very odd for the Extremadura summer.

Eating Ice Cream

Nora eating an ice cream the last night we were there.

When it came time to leave (on Tuesday, August 10 at 6 AM!), we were faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to leave Nora with her grandparents where she was obviously having a wonderful time or bring her back with us. There were pros and cons on both sides, but in the end we decided to let her stay down there for two more weeks!! Hopefully we'll be able to survive without her; she'll have no trouble without us.

All 43 photos from our trip can be found here.