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It all started here.

As we climbed the final stretch before descending into the valley, the softest powdery flakes began to fall gently from the night sky. Small groupings of lights twinkled along the dramatic mountainside as we dropped into to the valley floor. Both kids were sound asleep. Diego and I shared a rare quiet moment and I felt a rush of nostalgia as we entered the first round about in the small Spanish ski village where we first met. This is our first return trip to the place we fell in love.

As soon as we hit the main street, our outbursts of recognition and surprise woke the kids, “Look! Eth Paer is still there!” “Wow! That’s a BIG new supermarket right downtown. THAT’s new,” Diego and I trade observations. Voices jump over the back seat, “Wow, cool it’s snowing Mommy!” exclaims Serafina. “Yeah, this place is cool,” Jaxon agrees with his sister. Eight years ago (or was is nine?! I am so not a romantic date person) a zealous ski instructor invited me out for coffee. I knew if I went, I was saying yes to so much more than a casual cup of joe. The Val d’ Aran is a little known gem about a 3.5 hour drive north west of Barcelona. Nestled high in the Pyrenees only 2o minutes from the French border, it’s encircled by dramatic rock faces and rugged snow capped peaks. The charm of the region is reflected in buildings made of wood, slate and stones. All our firsts as a couple happened in this place and a memory is stashed around every corner. Being here I realize I was in love with the place as much as I was Diego. I passed two ski seasons and countless wild nights here in my late twenties, and I worked as an English teacher at a local school. Diego spent four seasons between here and Las Leñas, Argentina chasing his first true love–powder.  Somewhat of a local legend, Diego is sure to find old friends. Most everyone I knew, has long since left.

Salardu Val d' Aran

The main plaça of Salardu. Our first stop and of course an old friend is bartending. Que sopresa!

Artes, Vad d' Aran

Timeless.

Salardu

 Each village has it’s own church. Illuminated at night they appear lighthouse misplaced in the mountains rather than the seashore.

Eth Bot with the children

A reminiscent glass of wine in Eth Bot with the next generation of mountain lovers.

Baqueria Beret

The far side of the resort headed towards Sort.

Return-12

Our new speed with kids. We didn’t even try to gear everyone up with Jaxon’s broken arm. Just jumping in the snow was enough for this guy, and Diego and drown our urge to charge the mountain in a bottle of Rioja.

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Wild Child crew back to their roots.

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My heart is 4 times larger being here with my family. Wouldn’t trade the slower speed of my life now, for a single day of my solo exploring days.

Return-16

 Seriously the most charming building ever, complete with ice cycles.

Return-10

 The Spanish know how to do a ski lunch. After a hearty meal in an old castle with a gorgeous bottle of wine, who cares about skiing anymore! This place is ski/ski out. SO awesome!

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Too bad I’m eating like a skier, but not actually skiing today!

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I’m actually struggling to articulate my emotions this week. I knew Jax and Fina would love this place as much as we did, but witnessing their delight in person is beyond words for the moment. My only regret is that it took us so long to get up here!

More pictures and stories to come this week.

Salude!

Tiffiney Lozano is the creator of the Mama Said Project and two crazy humans. She offers workshops for women craving connection with themselves and the world around them. After 18- months of continuous travel she and her family are finding adventure in the everyday from the comfort and beauty of their home in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe.

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