International Travel

2017 is a Wrap

It’s been awhile since I posted (two weeks). So that means it’s going to be a long entry today (sorry, not sorry). It’s been an eventful two weeks that’s for sure.  

France was incredible.  Where do I begin?  I’ve never had such amazing food in my life.  The cheese, the bread, the wine, as well as the good company!  Not knowing any French was a little hard, but hey, it makes for part of the adventure! I went with a friend (from England) who I met while working in Ohio this summer. We met up for the weekend in Lyon.  It was pretty cold, however, we managed to get through it.  Thank goodness for the accessible metros, it saved us from walking in the cold many times.  The Friday we arrived we went to “Musee Miniature et Cinema” which was so worth it.  There were items on display that were original items used in films.  For example, the original chocolate bar from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a glass screen away from me.   How neat is that?  I laid my eyes on the original Batman AND Spiderman costume. And then, the museum took an interesting turn and got even neater.  There was a whole part of the museum dedicated to miniature scenes.   I’m not sure how to even describe these brilliant shadow box type scenes.  But it left me feeling as if I was in each scene for a minute or two.  The next day consisted of exploring and going on a walking tour in 30 degree weather.  France was a great time, and I still can’t stop thinking about that bread. So good.

Last week I only worked Monday and Tuesday as the rest of the week was off due to the holidays.  I spent Wednesday and Thursday night in Seville.  Friday and Saturday night were spent in Granada.  I have to say, I think all of the Spain residents headed down to Andalucia (Southern Spain) for the holiday break.  Seville and Granada were PACKED with people.  The streets in Granada became difficult to walk in.  Andalucia must be on everybody’s list if planning a trip to Spain.  When you think of Spain, this is exactly what you picture.

Seville was full of the most beautiful ceramic tiling on the buildings.  I met up with some friends from Barcelona and we took in a free Flamenco show at a bar.  It was quite a unique experience.  The next day I took in a free walking tour and later explored Seville with one of the girls I met on the walking tour.  Tapas and red wine make for a great lunch!  However, I could feel myself getting sick, so I forced myself to head back to the hostel to rest.  Dinner time rolls around and of course I don’t want to be a lazy bum and stay in bed.  I got up and met with my friends from Barcelona and we had dinner, and then spontaneously decided to check out a nightclub.  I probably should’ve gone back to the hostel but I definitely wanted to check out the Seville nightlife.  It was fun, but I knew it was going to all hit me the next day.  I ended up losing my jacket even though I put it in coat check.  I paid them to have my jacket held at the front, and at the end of the night they couldn’t find it.  I’m so upset.  I went home that night with no jacket, no hat, and no portable charger.. As those things were in my jacket pocket.  I’m still waiting to hear whether they found it or not.  If they did, they will mail it to me in Barcelona.  If not?  I hope they reimburse me for it all.  I got back to the hostel and slept no more than 45 minutes before I had to get up and catch my BlaBla car to take me to Granada.  I was a mess that morning.  Literally rolled out of bed and got all my stuff together.  The BlaBla car went well, although my sniffling and coughing was probably super annoying.  The driver didn’t speak much english at all, but luckily the other passenger knew English well and translated for us.

Once getting to Granada, I walked to my hostel and I was in need of sleep and a shower.  However, I got to my hostel before check in so I had to wait to sleep.  I took a much needed shower and ate some lunch.  Once I checked in, I took a 2 hour nap, much needed.  Then I was off to explore the city.  Granada has a much different feel.  There is a huge Moroccan influence among the shops and restaurants.  There is also a strong scent of marijuana as you walk down the streets.  I’m not sure if it’s legal or not in Granada?  Everything in Granada is walkable which I love.  Seville felt much bigger than Granada.  I walked around Granada and found myself at one of the famous miradors (lookouts) of the city.  On my way back to the hostel I found such a good pizza joint.  Pizza… I know.  Not the best food to choose in Spain, but my goodness!  It was 2 euros a piece and it was fresh.  I was a happy camper.  Later, I met up with my friends from Barcelona again and we went for dinner.  This is when I realized that red wine messes with your senses.  I felt so weird after a glass of red wine.  But apparently this is very common.  I’m not a wine drinker so this was all new to me.  I decided after dinner I should just go back to the hostel because I could tell my mind and body needed rest.  The next morning I had a walking tour through the city, as well as a ticket for the famous Alhambra.  At this point, I was exhausted.  I just wanted to sleep for days.  But I kept having to tell myself that I’m in one of the greatest places on the planet.  I need to keep exploring, sleep can wait. Alhambra was pretty spectacular.  Unfortunately, I kind of rushed through it because I was tired and I had no guide to tell me what the history of this place was.  I do wish to go back sometime in the future with a guide so I’m not some ignorant tourist.  It was so beautiful though.  Photos can’t really capture the beauty. Finally, the trip came to a close and I took a 9 hour BlaBla car ride back to Barcelona.  It made for a long day of travel, but it went pretty well even if I had to sit in the middle back seat for half of the ride.

As I spend more time here, I’m learning how people work.  I’m learning all about selfishness, cynicism, authenticity, and qualities that really shape a person, whether that be negative or positive. Unfortunately, I’m surrounded with many negative qualities.  Though, it does make me realize never to take the positive qualities for granted.  I’m learning that the smallest things really do mean the most.  I always thought that to be true from the start, but with my time here, I’m learning how true it actually is. When I’m surrounded with positive people, that’s when I am happiest.  It’s unfortunate that my home base is the opposite.  It makes me never want to be at home, and as if I am in an abusive relationship. I’m still unsure what to do in this situation.  But I do believe everything happens for a reason.  A part of me just wants to stay home when I go back to the United States. But I also don’t want to live with that regret and haunting question, “What if I would’ve stayed”? Anything can happen.

Regardless, these last three months have been so AMAZING.  Already half way through the experience. I have seen and learned so much. Though lately, I’ve had dreams where I wake up and I’m back at home in Wisconsin. I can’t wait to see my friends and family in ONE week.  2017 has been a year full of adventure and unknown.

Happy Holidays and Feliz Navidad to all.  

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