You all remember the post I did before I left for my Duathlon in Spain about the Top 5 Craziest Comments About My Big Race, right?  Basically, I was told/asked some insane and/or rude questions and comments – a lot of them unsolicited – about my traveling abroad with my five year-old twins in tow.  I know you’re dying to know if you should really bring kids to Europe or not so here goes:

1.  As you may recall, my son Miles asked if there would be any characters in Spain a la Disney or Hershey Park.  Turns out, there were!  There was a mall very near the first hotel we stayed at in Vigo, Spain.  The day we arrived, it was raining, so of course we did the most American thing we could, and we went to the mall to kill a little time and pick up some supplies.  Then, the kids discovered these:

It's not a tiny unibomber on a giant stuffed and motorized cow - it's my son...on a giant stuffed and motorized cow.

It’s not a tiny unibomber on a giant stuffed and motorized cow – it’s my son…on a giant stuffed and motorized cow.

“What the hell is that?” is a very appropriate and excellent question!  For the bargain price of seven euros, they actually let kids, of almost any age ride around the mall on these things.  The mall!  This would never, ever fly in the states because people would lose their minds!  Did I mention it only has a gas pedal? It also plays creepy music.  This is Vaughn in action:

Miles faired much better with his animal handling skills, but still.  Did you notice how those people that he almost ran into didn’t even flinch?  I think we should move there. My children are tolerated much better and even ignored, in Spain. Clearly we should live there until the boys are 18.

2.  From my new friend (and multi-time World Champion Duathlete) Eric Schwartz, who I did a podcast with, cautioned that “the race may start early and without warning.”  This did not even come close to happening.  We were actually corralled like cattle, into pens (also like cattle), in the blazing sun, to wait until our wave time.  The men’s waves went first – from the young and viral, to the older and inspiring – four waves in total.  The women went next, in the same order, so yours truly was somewhere in the middle, still competing with those damn 30 year olds!  The one thing I noticed was the music.  Within seconds before the start horn went off, the music would be a loud drum beat that sounded just like my own heart, beating out of my chest.  Boom boom.  Boom boom.   Boom boom.  Then the horn!  I couldn’t have missed it if I tried.

Start/Finish line!

Start/Finish line!

 

3.  You shouldn’t bring kids to Europe.  Miles and Vaughn hated it, as evidenced by these pictures:

We started the day with a workout - of course!

We started the day with a workout – of course!

Then a quiet reflection with dad.

Then, some quiet reflection with dad.

A healthy Spanish breakfast of churros and fresh squeezed orange juice!

A healthy Spanish breakfast of churros, candy and coffee con leche!  Usually they give kids warm milk with sugar.  I opted to just go straight for the coffee while I was there.  Kidding!!  They absolutely did not have candy at breakfast either.

 

Posing by some art work in the harbor.

Posing by some art work in the harbor.

Playing in the park with Papi.

Playing in the park with Papi.

Packing some toys, books and LeapPads for nighttime entertainment.  Don't let the sun streaming through the windows fool you.  It's nighttime.

Packing some toys, books and LeapPads for nighttime entertainment. Don’t let the sun streaming through the windows fool you. It’s nighttime.

It was obviously horrible for them (wait until you see the pics from Portugal!) and even though they ask me daily when they can go back, I know it’s just a rouse, because Europe is clearly no place for children.

4.  Are you going to Barcelona or Madrid?  NO!  We were in Vigo and Pontevedra and they were both spectacular!  The only small issue was that no one spoke English, but with my dad, it was really no issue at all.  The people of Spain were lovely and gracious.  It was truly the vacation of a lifetime.  And Obidos, Portugal?  Don’t even get me started.  Here’s a sneak peak:

What happened to this view?  I want to go back each and every day I wake up back here.

What happened to this view? I want to go back each and every day I wake up back home.

5.  Are you going to do this again? In a word – No.  It was so amazing and perfect that I want it to remain that way.  You know how there should never, ever have been a remake of Footloose?  Or a Grease 2 (sorry Ashley!)?  Or all those horrible Star Wars prequels? There shall not be a World Championship Duathlon 2.  Now, I won’t say “never” but I really want it to remain the way it is for right now.  And, even though I am SO tempted to go to Worlds 2015 in Australia, my husband said “Not unless we can teleport there.”

 

What are some things you were told about a vacation that ended up not being true?

What’s the best/worst trip advice you ever received or gave?