For all my friends and family who care to follow some of the fun stuff I’m getting myself into during my time abroad, feel free to check this rolling post that will be updated every few days (realistically… weeks).
December 18 – BACK IN AMERICA WOO!
December 6 – Dane and I were able to get to Valdebebas Park today to plant a tree for a client of mine back in Spokane. The Susie Forest is a non-profit that was started by my client in honor of her daughter who passed away many years ago after a tragic bus incident. What started as planting just a few trees in memory of Susie turned into a Susie Forest with trees branching beyond Spokane and across the globe. I was so happy to bring the forest to Spain. Grow tree GROW! Click here to learn more if you’d like!
December 3 – Happy Birthday Sierra! Mom and Sierra left the day of Sierra’s birthday to head back home after such an amazing visit. We toured the gold and velvet halls of the royal palace, hopped on a “hop on hop off” bus tour to see the city, ate churros and chocolate, battled AirBnB for a refund (the only mishap the entire trip), enjoyed neopolitana de chocolate at the historic Mallorquina, traveled AVE fast train style to Barcelona to tour Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Gaudi Houses and rock the Rick Steve’s walking tour, returned to Madrid for the sprawling Rastro flea market, amazing Spanish style dinners/tapas, breathtaking art at the Prado, a paseo in Retiro and finished off the trip learning how to make authentic style Paella.
November 25 – Back from Portugal with my mom! A short but lovely weekend. Thankfully it didn’t rain on us all weekend. We enjoyed the fresh fish, pastel de nata, Sintra palace and castles, walking around the old town, touring the new town via hop on hop off bus tour, relaxing in the sun by the coast on our last day, lunching in the famous market, buying some beautiful pottery and the many vistas all over town.
November 21 – Posting this a bit late as my mom is HERE IN SPAIN NOW WOOHOO. Last weekend we flew over to Amsterdam for a long weekend eating all the Dutch treats like Stroopwafels, oliebollen, fries, gouda (lot’s of gouda), Dutch pancakes, and Speculaas. The Netherlands may have been our favorite place so far. Each town we visited from Amsterdam to Haarlem to Delft had it’s own lovely character and wonderful atmosphere, along with lot’s of tall people! We were fortunate enough to spend our last couple days with the Van Vliets who were the absolute BEST hosts. We enjoyed amazing home cooked meals (I had to snag the recipe for one), enjoyed French wine, more cheese and had the best historian tour guides we could ask for! What a weekend. Dane and I hope to return in the Springtime one of these years for another visit and to see the flowers!
*Missing some photos Dane took of us but I will add them at some point. Going to go adventure with my mom who arrived yesterday then off to Portugal!
November 10 – This weekend we spent in Salamanca celebrating our 5th year anniversary! We took a early morning fast train into town and walked the entire town by 3 pm with many stops for coffee, treats, lunch snacks and finished with a beer and tapas at 100 Montenidos (a classic “fast food” tapas restaurant with cheap eats). An afternoon siesta prepped us for a late night tapas crawl down Calle Van Dyke, popular with the locals, and a stroll around Plaza Major before heading to bed. Saturday was a very rainy, dreary day spent exploring museums and enjoying local pastries with coffee until our train back to Madrid.
November 4th – Home from a very interesting trip to Morocco. This was the only trip we planned through the university thinking that having travel and some meals covered it would make our time easier in this third world country. Well, we ended up having pretty miserable time… we had basically no free time to do our own exploring and it was a lot of on and off of the bus, we felt like sheep the entire time. We made the best of it and enjoyed one delicious meal and capitalized on a few hours of free time over the entire weekend. Thank you to Katie for some great portraits and shots with her Nikon!
October 27th – Hiking in a nearby mountain town, Cercedilla. After a 1.5 hour train ride we found ourselves in the National Park of Sierra de Guadarrama for a MUCH needed escape from the city. Living in the urban area of Madrid is a little tough for me, especially without a car and easy access to the woods but we are making it work finding time to walk local parks like Retiro (one photo included from here in this bunch) and others that are nearby.
October 25th – Shamelessly rocked the “Rick Steves Madrid Historic Core Walk”. Rick Steves, a favorite of Mary Ellen, offers really fantastic guided tours that you can download on your phone and walk/listen as he describes the famous sights. We started and ended at Puerta del Sol and took our time stopping at almost every suggested pastry shop and bar. Our favorite treats came from the cloistered nuns at the Covent of Corpus Christi. You have to buzz in to a small door and when entrance is permitted you walk through a few small hallways to a large lazy susan that permits the nuns to sell their cookies without being seen. Your money goes down on the lazy susan and when it’s spun around you are greeted with your change and delicious shortbread cookies. Very unique!
October 17th – Leave for a weekend in Italy! Pizza, pizza, beer, more pizza, a little pasta, Spritz, wine, wine, Gelato, pasta, Limoncello etc… pretty much sums up our trip to Treviso then on to Venice. Perfect weather, delicious food and painless travel. Couldn’t have been better!
October 10th – Arrive in Madrid, eat churros and chocolate, experience Spain’s National Day (lots of military vehicles to show off!), have way too much fun living the true Spanish lifestyle staying out till 4 am, and wake up a few days later sick enough to barely leave the apartment for a few days… a rough start but we are much better now!