Italy, looks like Your are Next!

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I had my first art show! How incredible is that? I never expected to be able to sell my photography, much less my coasters. But thanks to my incredibly good friend who gave me the opportunity to share my artwork with the, I now can.  Last week I hosted the “Meet the Artist”, and the artist was ME! The best part about that night wasn’t selling some of my artwork, or even reliving my trip through stories that are connected to my pictures, but meeting this couple who stayed and talked with me for about an hour telling me about their trips overseas.

They lived in Europe for 6 years, traveling as often as they could.    Hearing their stories and seeing their enthusiasm about their experiences just made me want to travel even more.  One place they mention in Italy sounded like it was going to be my next destination.  When talking with them, they named quite a few different cities, so unfortunately I don’t remember the exact name, but what I do remember is the picture they showed me.  Houses with the most beautiful and vibrant colors outlining a basin of the most beautiful blue water you have ever seen.  I remember the wife telling me about there being multiple different fishing villages all lined up next to each other and the way to travel from one to the next was to take this hiking trail that overlooked each and very village.  15 minutes later, you wold be in another fishing village with more beautiful houses, deep blue waters and the most incredible culture you could imagine.

Now, I may not have the best memory to know the name of the town, but i’m pretty sure google could help me out a little.  And it did! Vernazza.  Vernazza, Italy.  The pictures brought up were the most breath taking, beautiful photos and looked just like the one she showed me.

They both said this was one of their favorite trips.  Time for more research, because I think this will be my next big trip!

Either shes

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Silence doesn’t have to be a negative thing, although I can very much relate to those mentioned above. But being in silence, releasing your thoughts and just being with yourself is one of the best ways to keep yourself from being stressed, overthinking things, etc,

Enjoy being by yourself.
Your Silence.
Your Thoughts, or lack of thoughts.
Find Yourself.

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“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

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Fatigue.  Jetlag.  Unsure as to what language to speak, or if the water served would be carbonated or not.  Why can;t I walk everywhere?  Oh, all the many troubles that come with being back in the states.

But nothing compares to the gnawing pain of the trapped feeling of being back home.  That sounds bad… It’s not, but that’s just the only way I know how to explain it.  Traveling to another country in Europe is as easy as traveling to another state here, just with a huge new culture to learn.  New language, ew attitude.  Each state, each region, is very different here too, but not like that.

The feeling is the unknown.  Not knowing when you will ever be able to travel overseas again.  No matter how excited you are to see you family, your baby (Dog baby, Dharma), your friends, best friends, you still have that want, that need, to run away back to Europe.  Find a job, just spend a month.  A week even.  No one wants the Europe Adventure to end.  Why do you think it has taken me so many months, close to a year, to write the end of my trip.  Because I couldn’t do it.  I still can’t because it will never end.  The memories, the best friends, I’ll always have that.  I may not be in Europe anymore, but you better believe I will still be traveling and you all will hear every detail! Especially about the food.  But you will never hear stories of goodbyes, and tears shed.  What you will hear is that the group text we started overseas is still ongoing.  We still dream of reunion trips and one day it will happen.  Vegas, Cancun, Thailand, anywhere our hearts take us.  This trip has given us more than just friends, it has given us traveling companions.  There isn’t much better than that.

Sleep until Noon, then eat like I’ve never eaten before.

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Okay… So i must still be an amateur, along with the rest of our group because no one got out of bed until after noon. But let me tell ya, as soon as I was up, I was on a mission for food and nothing could stop me! I was blowing up the group messages like never before to see who was awake, and being “quiet” as to “not” wake up Juli. Yep… I was that friend. Thankfully she appreciated the fact that I didn’t want her to be left behind in the search for food. As everyone started to wake, we found this great restaurant that has just opened less than a month ago and served brunch, which for 8E included a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee, and two entrees. Yes, TWO entrees. The options ranged anywhere from salad, to french toast, to breakfast chimichangas, or a burger. All full meal sized! As I have mentioned before, I eat a lot, especially since being in Europe where you walk everywhere and burn the energy fast than you could ever expect. When I first ordered the french toast and chimichanga, I was absolutely not expecting it to be able to finish it. I cleaned my plates! Embarrassingly… I was the only one. But I felt fantastic after, so who cares! The breakfast was more incredible than I could have ever thought. The french toast was fluffy, and moist. The chimichanga was filled with egg and black beans, veggies, all kinds of delicious goodness! Not a bad way to start off the day if I do say so myself! And to make it even better, I finally found my drumsticks! Yes, I now use 5A–because they didn’t have 7A in a European brand–European drumsticks from Madrid, Spain. It may have taken me 29 days to find them, but it was so worth the wait!

We fight for our right to party!

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I know I have mentioned before the wonderful tradition of Siestas, and how much I love them. But let me tell you, I have never loved them as much as I did the day before a true night of partying like a local of Madrid! Have you ever partied until the wee hours of the morning? I sure hadn’t until our night in Madrid, and I sure haven’t partied like that since! What’s really sad…. we left the club, or cloob as soon became a part of our vocabulary, long before everyone else did. To give you an idea of how the clubs work, people don’t really start getting there until 3. AM! Yes.

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So we started our night with hands down the best Mojitos I have ever had! I still have yet to find any in the states that come anywhere close to being as fantastic as these were. I wish I could remember what the bar was called, because that is somewhere that everyone needs to experience in their life. This bar was about as big as our smallest hostel room, and already packed with locals. Being that it was one of our last nights, we were all inseparable, so the bar went from being packed, to suffocating. But still just as wonderful because the locals just accepted us as one of them, even with a slight language barrier. I can’t express enough how fantastic the Mojitos were. You had the option of at least 15 different flavors, but overall, I think my favorite was the classic. Not too sweet, just strong enough, and their special for the night was buy one get one free! Couldn’t get much better!

Oh, but it did. After the Mojitos bar, we made our way to Kapital, the famous, seven floor club where each floor had a different style of music. This was mostly what caught mine and Juli’s attention because there was a Latin floor and we had yet to get our salsa on! As we walk into the club, which was normal time if you are in the States, but still two hours early for Spain, the group made a rule that if anyone was missing at any point from the group, we would all meet on the Karaoke floor. Thats how big this place was! We had to make a meeting point just in case we got separated in the crowd! The lounge area on the roof was perfect for meeting other travelers and some locals. We of course had to stop at the Latin floor and dance for a bit, but after seeing how few people were there, opted to try again later when we would have more dance partners. IMG_6179

One of the best parts of the night was on the first floor, the most “club” like, where all the “untzing”–yet another piece of vocabulary picked up in Europe. Just imagine, “untz, untz, untz” with fist bumping to Dub Step– took place. And right on stage, the DJ and live electric violinist. I couldn’t believe my ears. Some of the most incredible covers of singers, mixed with Dub step and electric, basically whatever the DJ decided to throw in there. And to just top it all off, there was an air blaster that would shoot air so cold and so strong, I could only compare it to a freezing hurricane, just when you least expect it. While in this wind, I can’t say it’s the most wonderful experience. It’s nearly terrifying. But, when standing on the second floor looking down and seeing the terrified looks of those who are on the first floor experiencing this strange wind. That was priceless. Until you realize that’s exactly how you look when in thesame situation…. Worth it!

Madrid, the last city. Say it ain’t so!

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Thirty days. Done. Well, almost. We still have two days to explore Madrid! James kept saying “Don’t think about going home… Enjoy the time you still have on the trip!” And our first stop in enjoying Madrid, churros!! My first ever churro. I know, it’s madness! I have never had a churro before. I was holding our for the true, most authentic churro I could possibly get. And where better to be than Spain?
Oh let me tell you, it was worth the wait! Plates piled with churros, and mugs, large mugs filled with the most decadent chocolate ganache. Piping hot, paired with the perfect amount of crunch and dipped in this delicious chocolate. Life was pretty perfect at that moment!

Just when I think the food can’t get any better!

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Late nights out dancing simply means no one is awake before noon the following morning. So as breakfast turned into brunch, once a few of us managed to drag ourselves out of bed and in search of this fantastic restaurant that had been raved about by some people in our group. Brunch and cake. Talk about the best birthday breakfast, and let’s be real, truly the best breakfast, no food, I have ever had! Fresh squeezed orange juice for mimosas. Perfectly fluffy, lightly sweetened with fresh fruit topped pancakes. And it just keeps getting better.IMG_6078

Fresh spinach salad, loaded with fresh veggies and topped with two poached eggs. No dressing needed because the vegetables were so fresh and full of flavor themselves. Plus! A caramelized onion, apple and brie cheese panini. This was the first time on the trip that I had to bring home leftovers. Although, considering our beach plans later, I guess I had a bit of an incentive to not eat too much.
This restaurant is a must for anyone traveling to Barcelona! But be sure to get there early, and expect a wait because it seemed as if the whole town was well aware of how incredible this restaurant is.
This brunch was also the second time for my very public and very embarrassing “happy birthday” song. As we were leaving, we saw another large portion of our group who took the opportunity and ran with it! Me, I took the opportunity to try to sneak out of the restaurant. No such luck. This only ended in Juli fussing at me, bringing even more attention to the situation. Despite the unwanted attention, I did feel loved though! What more could I ask for?