Hiking, Halloween, & Valencia (Day 69 to 71)

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Day 69 – 11 Mile Hike from Barcelona to St. Cugat

Tuesday was special as my dad and I did an 11 mile hike from Barcelona over the mountain behind us to a town called St Cugat. We were lucky to have my local friend, Roman, lead the way. All aspects of it were on the mark. From a hiking standpoint, we had a nice mix of steep ascents, tricky rocky areas, level ground, great views, and yes downhill. From a nature standpoint, it felt like we walked through 4 or 5 different climate zones.  At points you would never know you were just a few miles from Barcelona.

As for the conversation, we covered all the big topics. Business, mindset, hiking, politics, and most importantly, Roman’s book that he is very close to finishing. I was grateful that Roman recently finished reading my book, The Fast Forward Mindset, so he had a lot of great follow up questions for me and my dad who was featured throughout.

Pausing for a photo about 6 miles into our hike.

As we reached St. Cugat, we had about another mile to go to reach the perfect vegetarian restaurant for my dad. The food hit the spot. Our legs were tired, and there’s nothing like plant based protein to get them going again!

Our first glimpse of St. Cugat after 10 miles of hiking.

We took the train back and rested for a few hours before we headed out on a double date with my parents to a high-end vegetarian restaurant called The Green Spot. When my dad got there, he was so excited he could not stop smiling. He started rolling up his sleeves, and I almost felt like if they had a bib, he would have put one on. Suffice to say, it was a great night.

My dad rolling up his sleeves for a night of plant based foods!

Day 70 – Halloween in Turo Park

After school, I picked up Jonah at his soccer practice. This was the first time I went to pick him up there, and I was not sure what to expect. I was used to picking him up in Prospect Park, and a temporary field was set up with cones and portable goals. As I arrived, I saw two professional permanent fields, with children dressed in full soccer gear. And that is when it hit me, oh yeah, football (soccer) is the real deal here. I watched Jonah scrimmage with other kids from his school and some locals. It was awesome.

View from my walk to pick up Jonah. Still can’t go over this is where I live.
Jonah’s soccer team during a scrimmage

That night was trick or treating with the kids. About 7 years ago, a tradition started in Turo Park with about 10 ex-pats families doing a small trick or treat for the kids outside their buildings. As legend has it, every year it got bigger and bigger with locals joining the mix. This year, there were about 2000 people! We did it the night before Halloween, as the schools are closed Halloween day for Saints Day on Friday, and as a result, a lot of families go away.

Jonah doing his thing on the soccer field
We do Halloween right in our family!

It rivaled Park Slope in several ways including the amount of kids, the families dressed up, and the energy around. The challenge was, it was only in a small section and not enough places handing out candy with the amount of kids.  As a result, it led to a lot of choke points. 

A great Halloween Crowd in Turo Park.

My parents came, but early on it became clear the crowd size was not for them and they exited early. We all dressed up in the family and did our annual photo together. The night, of course, ended with drinks in the café in Turo Park, and then a couple of friends came back to our place. One thing that occurred to me – a sign of a healthy community is how many people are out and about for Halloween. Once again, we picked the right place to live.

Day 71 – Off to Valencia

The day did not start off as planned. There are just times when things don’t go your way with your kids. They are doing their own things. Mostly, not listening and not showing respect. But we know that raising kids is more about the long-haul vs perfection. What should we expect after a late night of eating candy?

Ok, well once we got out of the apartment, we were on our way with my parents to Valencia. The funny thing was literally until that morning, I had no idea what to expect at all. The name somehow got me thinking of Tuscany, and I pictured lots of farmland with rolling hills, all surrounded by nature everywhere. So when I googled Valencia and saw “third largest city in Spain,” I was quite surprised.  In fact, Kelli had no clue either even though she booked this trip; it came from recommendations from others who were there. We had a list of things to do but little else in details. 

Because it was about a 4 hour drive, we stopped half way in a beach town called Peniscola. I will never forget the spelling of that town. The highlight there is a large castle/fort on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean.  After some searching for the right restaurant, Kelli once again came through. She found a place on the very top, with a view of the sea. It looked like we were on a Greek Island.  As we headed out, there happened to be a candy store in Halloween garb, and let’s just say we got enough sugar for the rest of the car ride. Just what my kids needed following the night before!

My mom and kids searching for a restaurant in Peniscola

Two hours later, we arrived in Valencia around 7pm. It was like we were back in Barcelona in terms of how big it felt. The kids ended up staying in the hotel with my parents and Kel and I took a walk around and had some Tapas. Because it was Halloween and Saints Day on Friday, the streets were packed. We were in the heart of the city, only a few blocks from the castle gates.

Arriving in Valencia at night.