Barcelona Happiness

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This picture was chosen strictly for it’s ability to make me smile. Today I looked through hundreds of pictures trying to find inspiration for this weeks post, but my brain just couldn’t focus. Work and schooling are becoming more stressful and are taking up all my time. Scrolling past this photo made me crack a smile and when I passed it for a second time I smiled just the same. Then I began remembering how happy I was in Barcelona. It was such a milestone visit on my trip and a huge reason I even went back to Europe. Yes, I miss it terribly; I’m also blessed to have experienced such a journey. This picture brought me happiness today, just as Barcelona brought me happiness then. That’s why pictures are so important, because even when your brain forgets, they are with you forever. And, if your really lucky, those photos will bring a smile to your face too.

September 9-12, 2013

Souvenirs

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As a way to commemorate my trip (other than my spoon collection) I opted to collect bracelets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get them from every single place because that would have been a lot to wear and I was packing light. The collection actually started in New York City in 2012 with my first Alex and Ani bangle. Right before I left home I added to my arm with NTIO bracelets I purchased online and a Brave collection (all of which ended up falling off). A special gift to ward off evil from a dear friend completed the look before I even got on a plane! I wore these bracelets everywhere, even swimming (except for a select few that would tarnish) and to bed. Growing the collection as I went; I added piece by piece, losing some and gaining others. By the end I was kind of over the weight on my wrist, but every time I look down at them it brings a smile to my face. This trip was so life changing and special; I love having little souvenirs to remind me of that time. Along with the bracelets and spoons, I did get some magnets and a few knick-knacks. Most of these extra souvenirs were sent home from abroad, the lack of luggage space was a challenge to say the least. I will say, every time I had to climb stairs or lift luggage overhead though, I was utterly grateful for my carry on. Now, each time I hang my keys on my Barcelona key rack or open my fridge or look at the Oia glass decoration in my bathroom; I remember this great time in my life. And every time I wear these bracelets it brings me back to places I saw and the amazing experience I was lucky enough to have. There is something to be said for souvenirs.

June 13- October 1, 2013

Left to Right: Florence, Nice, Antibes, NTIO company, Paris, Dublin (Alex and Ani), NYC (Alex and Ani), Gift from friend, London, NYC (Alex and Ani).
Others that are not pictured were from: Athens, Popeye’s Village, Brave Collection, Switzerland, Barcelona.

Marbella, Spain

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Since I live in Canada and it’s -10C on March 26th, I’ve been feeling really nostalgic about the warm places I’ve visited on my trip. One such place was Marbella, Spain. I had chosen it because of a tour to Tangier, Morocco you can take from there. As I’ve said before, I had originally planned to do a lot more of Spain and for longer but time constraints made that impossible. Sadly, I ended up with only two half days to actually enjoy Marbella and that was ridiculously short. I was lucky the first day I arrived was beautiful and I got to lie out on the beach until sunset. The boardwalk is lovely to stroll and the view of the water is picturesque. People build elaborate sand art (like a fire breathing dragon!) in the sand below the boardwalk and you can see them as you walk along. The old town is so adorable and very much what I expected, maybe even cuter; it’s aglow in the night with the lights on the white buildings and stone streets. I’d love the chance to return and see more of Marbella and southern Spain. Next time, I’d like to take a tour to Marrakech also. Let’s just say, I’m working on it.

September 5-7, 2013

Bilbao, Spain

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Here’s another one for the dream come true category! The Guggenheim was another building I had studied for school and I desperately wanted to see it on that trip back in 2010. Unfortunately, Bilbao was too far out of the way so we were only able to do Barcelona. This time around, I made sure to get there! It was actually difficult to fit in because there were only 2 trains to Madrid per day, and my connecting flight out to Malta was set due to price. I ended up arriving at 10:00pm in Bilbao and had to walk 1km to my hostel. I also had to use my data to download a map because nothing was open and I had forgotten when I had WIFI, which cost me about $60 back home! Note to self: never again. EEK! I was probably asleep by midnight that night and was up the next day, dressed, packed and out the door, by 7:30am. I was so tired but excitement took over. I’m so happy I was so early though, because I got fantastic shots (like the one above) without any people in them. I really took my time and saw all the exhibits and art possible, including the outside. By the time I left, the whole place was buzzing and the sun had come out. It was so neat to see how the building changed and shimmered in the sunlight. It’s really an architectural masterpiece; it was amazing to see and to learn more about the construction. Afterwards, I found a delicious restaurant to have lunch that was an all you can eat salad bar, but with hot food and dessert too (sorry I forget the name, but if anyone knows it, please comment). I then city mapped nearby sites and found an adorable little park and courtyard, which I strolled around for awhile. I wish I could have stayed longer because I know Bilbao has so much more to offer. I’m content though; I set out to see the Guggenheim in Bilbao and I did. My train left at 5:00pm that evening and I spent the night in Madrid, so to say it was a whirlwind is accurate. The travelling probably caught up to me because I came down with a horrible cold that same night, but that’s a story for my Malta post.

September 12-13, 2013

Seville, Spain

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Oh, Seville; such a pretty place. The streets in the core are small and lively; filled with the smells of food and the chatter of people. I had a lovely time here just wandering around. I met a sweet girl in my hostel and we had so much fun drinking sangrias and talking at a nearby patio. As it was in most places, I wish I could have stayed longer and really have taken it all in. This picture was taken my second day while in Maria Luisa Park. There is an area with a small pond and tons of birds (of all kinds) sit in the trees, swim and wander about. Children were running around making the birds fly, and I waited very patiently for this shot. I probably stood half an hour, but it paid off; this is a favourite picture for sure. It’s also very symbolic of the freedom I felt on this trip and probably why I think its extra special.

September 7-9, 2013