01.08.2013 - 09.08.2013
HOLA! I know its been awhile but here goes...
I wanted to take the time & thank the heavens for finally healing my skin from the MANY bug bites that occurred while in Malaga. As some of you may know my skin has been through the ringer from a previous Brown Recluse spider bite. And so when something interrupts the normal operations of my skin----I have NO IDEA what to expect. And so here's that story, I encountered LOTS of bug bites
my body tried to heal them-- slowly but surely. Then 2 weeks after the healing, my hands decided to burn & itch during the middle of the night. I looked for relief from the local pharmacist in the way of an anti-histamine & cortisone cream. Now usually these things don't work (I have a whole drawer of creams & anti-histamines at home). But I hoped the European ones would be different... So then my hands now decided that burning & itching wasn't good enough & so then developed hives/boils/blisters on them!
That lasted awhile & then finally my spidey powers kicked in & I am now actively shedding that skin & hopefully turning into a super version of myself! :-) No worries/complaints from me because everything is fine now & I have learned that through all my experiences (good or bad)---
there is always something to learn from all experiences...
Now let's get in a Broadway show Spain style while we are it! El Rey León or The Lion King theatre show was up next for us. Grandma Marty, sweet Caroline & I were lucky to have seen such a moving & amazing show through sight & sound! The costumes combined with the actor's movement of a giraffe, hyena or cheetah made the set a grand spectacle. Yes it was in Spanish, which made understanding all of the dialogue difficult, but luckily Caroline & I had seen the movie. We filled in Gramdma Marty, but she was loving it well before the story made sense to her I'd say it was like watching an opera. You don't know what they're saying or singing but you see, hear & feel whats going on & are eventually moved. Would love to see this show again.
>Picked up Matt from the airport at 8:30am & it really felt like I lived in Spain! I am picking him up & I have no bags while he will. I know our way around (slightly) & could get us around on the metro. He got to have a mind vacation & relax about our surroundings. He sadly hadn't gotten any sleep on the flight from Atlanta to Madrid & according to his body it was 2 in the morning. So of course the first thing to do was get him some sleep! He slept a little & then it was onto sight seeing around the Plaza Mayor & Puerta de Sol areas. He wanted to get out & about in the city, for he only had 2 days in Madrid! Reunited the twins & had a great family dinner that night at a nearby restaurant
>Matt & took the double decker tour bus around the city & got off at the infamous Museo de Prado & spent 4-5 hours admiring the numerous works of art. We made it a goal to find all the 'masterpieces' located in the museum, but some were moved. Sorry no pictures inside the Museo (I couldn't sneak any this time).
>We had worked up an appetite with all the standing & walking around the museum. So we had a WONDERFUL paella dinner at a recommended restaurant & ate the entire paella!
A little time spent on a rooftop terrace sealed the evening & Madrid for us in perfect way We would try to have lunch at Cafe Botin (the oldest restaurant in the world dating back to 1725!!!) before our flight tomorrow...but turned out they don't open until 1pm. So after they asked me if I wanted to come in & take pictures & I told them we wanted to eat, they let us in to view their kitchen. Roasted suckling pigs were the main course.
> The time has come to leave Madrid ;-( Thanks for welcoming us & making it both fun & refreshing!
>random pics of Madrid
Leaving is bittersweet because I don't want to leave Spain but I am excited about our next European adventure...
Since we are so close why don't we end our trip with a hop, skip & a jump to... Paris!
What an experience this was! From trying to get all the stuff back in my luggage bags, to hauling it to the metro & then to the airport. Then finding out how spoiled I am with our luggage allowance. So we get to the check in desk @ EasyJet- first I was over on how many kilograms my checked bag was & had to pay a fee for it to be literally labeled "heavy". Matt checked a bag & carried a backpack. I carried a shoulder bag & was going to put my purse inside of that bag, while rolling my little carryon bag. So that meant I had the allowed 1 carryon (for the overhead bin) & the other for under the seat. Figuratively speaking, I was hit in the face with a brick when I gave my boarding pass the the flight attendent & was informed only ONE bag was allowed to carryon. So there I knelt on the floor trying to merge my purse, carryon & shoulder bag into 1.
In the end, we had to throw away a bag full of snacks & a couple other items. So as the lessons go ladies & gentleman, do some research regarding what you're used to & how it might actually be! No worries though because life is a roller coaster ride & why should vacation be any different. We can only plan & expect so much. Thats how we are given lessons to learn & grow from :-)
We made it to Paris & got onto the metro. Found our hotel directly across the street & learned there was a giant Ferris wheel across from us as well! Welcome to Paris! Ya know what that means?! Carnival goodies! And most importantly French carnival goodies
We walked to the Louvre just to walk around & start to take in Paris--I mean try to take in its MARVELOUS beauty! It's a sight to see during the day but at night, its beauty is unbelievable.
Since this our first trip to Paris & we have less than a week, we have prioritized our tourist attractions & sight seeing. So we have walked the Champs Elysées & saw the Arc of Triomphe.
Very cool city! I think the architecture is splendid like Spain's, if not more. The sky constantly amazed me with its bright, beautiful blue color & clouds that seemed to be at my fluffy reach. Can't tell you how many pics I took of the sky... On to clarifying some of the stereotypes when thinking of the French. The local French people are kind & helpful, while the tourists & non-local French are rude. If one more woman hits me with her bag or cuts me in line...There were cafes everywhere & fun people watching in additon. The fashion is very cool & chic but also effortless sometimes with its simplicity.
The weather was fantastic. Clear skies, sunny & warm but then a bit cool in the shade. Refreshing change from the HOT sun in Spain. Food was delicious! Matt had the very French Quiche Lorraine, while I had a sampler of different cheeses & patés. For the most part, people spoke French, English & Spanish. This was interesting because if the waiter didn't speak English, I had to go out of my comfort zone of English & go to Spanish--which isn't the first language that comes to my mind.They had the BEST bread ever! And sadly I didn't get enough in for the five days we were there...I did bring back 2 croissants in my purse for the plane ride though :-)
There are massive amounts of people it being August (tourist season) but it hasn't bothered me at all to wait in lines for hours. You get to see so much while waiting in line. Like this little girl dressed in a full Capt. America costume.
Of course had to see the Eiffel Tower in all its glory!
Went to the top of course!
Thought it was amazing on its own, then we saw it at night. Because that wasn't awesome enough, it sparkles every hour after 10pm!
Went to Notre Dame & then up MANY steps to the top as well!
Ate delicious food at a few cafes, watched people walk by & I tried to fulfill my quotas of bread, crepes & Croq Monsieur - a French specialty of a ham & cheese sandwich but with melted & golden cheese on top!
Having a crepe @ midnight in Paris!
What an amazing city! If Spain was my Spanish Chicago, this is my French Chicago. It's been interesting to be out of my element in language, but I am constantly challenging myself not to resort to English for words I do know in French.
Because of course prior to coming, I learned how to say...'I would like something to eat' :-)
What else can I say?
Loving every magical moment.
Alright let's keep going...
>The Louvre pyramid from inside
My favorite piece inside The Louvre; The Winged Victory of Samothrace
People swarmed to take a look/picture of the Mona Lisa
What a way to close out Paris!
The time has come to head back home!!
>Flying over Greenland???
Well family & friends, it has been fun keeping this going for all of us. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have writing it.
What else can I say! It has been an unbelievable roller coaster ride of a journey across the globe! I think that is the best way of describing it :-)
I have learned so many lessons throughout this journey- about myself, people, the world...Now on to using that knowledge in my life :-)
Much love & thanks to my family & fellow travel companions for everything!
Thank you for coming along with me on trip of a lifetime & for your comments as well :-)