July 7, 2014
I’ve been sitting on a plane for about four hours now, about halfway back to that same old place, sweet home Chicago. If you’ve been keeping up with me… you know that for nearly the past three weeks, I’ve been hopping all over Europe… from Ireland to Switzerland to Italy… and many places in between. I brought my camera along with me to tell most of the stories for me, but I’m going to try and say a little bit about each city I visited… knowing that no words can give my experiences true justice. With 8 cities conquered in just under 3 weeks… there are LOTS of pictures and LOTS to share, so I divided up the trip into three different blog posts 1.) Dublin, Madrid, & Barcelona, 2.) Paris, Zurich, Bern, & Lenk, and lastly 3.) Florence, Rome & London. Feel free to read what you’d like, or even just scroll through the pretty pictures 🙂
Dublin // The incredibly talented Alaina Bos Photography was kind enough to invite me to stay with her and show me around town for my day in a half in Dublin. I arrived at 5:15am, and in that hour before arriving Alaina’s apartment: someone told me I looked like Michelle Obama, I rang the doorbell at the wrong person’s house, I thought a cab driver was trying to steal my phone, I walked in circles around Alaina’s block looking for the wrong address, and then had that same alleged thief cab driver find Alaina’s correct apartment for me and not charge me a dime. Dubliners, you are the BEST. It was a quick stay in Dublin, but Alaina and I managed to see most of what the city had to offer on the Hop on Hop off Tour Bus, did a tour of Kilmainham Gaol, I ate my first corned beef boxty at an Irish Pub, tasted samples of four different kinds of Jameson, and met my European travel partner, Cari, for fish and chips before shipping off to Spain. It was the perfect start to the trip, especially since everyone spoke English, and I can’t thank Alaina enough for opening up her home and giving me some of her time! Can’t wait to see you back in Chicago!
Madrid // After a quick flight to Madrid, Cari and I entered a whole different world that was softened by the beautiful, smiling face of my old college roommate, Jessi. Jessi has been teaching English in Spain for almost a year now and was sweet enough to let us stay with her for the night before we went to Barcelona. First of all, it was GREAT catching up with Jessi. She was such an awesome host and tour guide, but most of all it was so much fun just hearing her stories and sharing laughs over wine and tapas. We only had about 24 hours in Madrid, so we filled our time with wine, patatas bravas, tortilla, croquettes, visited Buen Retiro, made friends with peacocks, saw The Palace, ate at Mercada de San Miguel, and saw as many tourist sights we could fit in…
Barcelona // This was going to be the first European city that Cari and I were left to navigate on our own. We weren’t sure how it was going to go given that it was a foreign country and neither of us were fluent in the language (although we both had a basic understanding of Spanish). We were a bitttttt nervous, but somehow it all worked out! We also had an extended time here, about 4 days… so it was nice to settle in a bit and spend some time exploring all parts of the city. We spent our days drinking sangria, eating delicious tapas at Café L’Academia, touring La Sagrada Familia, walking La Rambla, shopping at La Boqueria, doing a food/wine tour which then turned into a crazy night out with the awesome group and tour guide (and new Spanish speaking friends), traveling outside the main city to a small beach town called Sitges, eating fresh paella, watching the USA vs. Portugal World Cup game at an Irish Pub with our new friends, and touring Park Guell. By the end of our time in Barcelona… I was obsessed with only speaking Spanish (even to Cari), had eaten enough jamon iberico to feed an army, and was quite ready for some cooler temperatures.
Next on the blog // Paris and three Swiss Cities: Zurich, Bern, and Lenk.