Monday, January 3, 2011

How Pepe Mouse and memories of Spain became part of our bedtime routine

Four summers ago, when the arrow was not even a glimmer in my eye, my husband and I spent three weeks in Spain. It was an amazing trip and my favorite travel experience.

In sharp contrast, while we were galavanting around Spain without a care in the world, my sister was back home in Indiana 9 months pregnant during an extremely hot and humid summer. I thought of her often while on that trip and made it my mission to come home with the perfect baby gift to lift her spirits in those last few weeks waiting for baby.

During a day trip to Segovia from Madrid, I found an adorable board book about that beautiful city in the gift shop at the Alcazar. I snapped it up, thinking it was a great way to share memories from the trip with my sister, and yet let her know how much I had been thinking of her and my nephew-to-be.


The view from the Alcazar in Segovia, Spain
 Then I realized this board book was part of a series of books about various places in Spain. All told through the eyes of Pepe Mouse, who describes all there is to see and do in each city. And hence I dragged my husband in and out of nearly every bookstore in Spain hunting for Pepe Mouse books. We came home with books about Barcelona, Madrid and Segovia (all cities we spent a lot of time in).

When I became pregnant with the arrow, my sister found the books on my nephew's bookcase and wrapped them up to give back to me. Lately, they have become the arrow's favorite bedtime reading. I couldn't be happier with his selection.

Together each night, we practice counting the towers on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.



We pretend to sip water from the aqueduct in Segovia.



And we imagine rowing boats in the Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid.


Someday I hope to take him there and experience the beauty and vibrancy of Spain with him. It will likely involve a lot less sangria than my first trip, but I bet it will make for an even better vacation. For now, Pepe Mouse takes us there in our dreams each night.

To see other Mondays are for Dreaming posts, please visit The Mother of All Trips.

If you're planning a trip to Spain or are interested in the Pepe Mouse series of books, I found a website that carries the newer version here.  The series now seems to be activity books with stickers instead of the board books we have. There are about a dozen cities in Spain represented.