I apologize that it’s been so long since I’ve updated, but I was engrossed in a bit of traveling and I had a two-week stint of visitors which was quite delightful. I’m going to try to back track to where I last updated, but it feels so long ago that things will probably be more brief, as I can’t easily conjour up my feelings for the most authentic blog post.
My family came to Spain for Christmas, and it was so great to spend time with them for a week. It was nice to have quality time together as it was our first family vacation in a decade and I’m unsure when we will all be together again.
It was so comforting to be around people who know me so well. During their visit (as mentioned in a previous post), we went to the Alhambra:
Visited a monastery in Granada:
We also walked around the city, and saw the beautiful Granada cathedral:
For Christmas Eve, when everything was closed, we had a picnic in the hotel of bread, cheese, fruit, and the delicious Spanish ham.
We also went to Jerez de la Frontera for a vineyard tour of Tio Pepe sherry, saw the highlights of Sevilla, and went to the famous Museo del Prado in Madrid. All wonderful. Unfortunately, my camera battery died and I was not equipped with my charger, so I have no photos of these experiences.
As a young woman, and also as the youngest in family, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the transformation of my family over the past few years. I moved to Spain, one of my brothers moved to Illinois, and how I feel when I am in the house I grew up is much different than I once did. What is “home”? Spain doesn’t feel like home. My parent’s house feels safe, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like “home” anymore either. I wonder when the next time will be that I will feel rooted to a certain place. I’m starting to believe that home is more of a feeling than a location. Being with my brothers and parents feels like home. Sharing a laugh with friends feels like home.
I have a quote taped to my mirror in my apartment, and it has become truer as I grow older.
Home is wherever you are if there’s love there, too.
My family has journeyed across the Atlantic to see me. 🙂
I am a happy camper. During their visit, we went to the Alhambra, which is in Granada and is the most visited monument in Spain.
It has a great view of my city:
We took a group tour to get the “full effect” and I have a big confession to make. 1. I didn’t pay attention at all. 2. I hate history.
Call me ignorant, but I could really care less about what things took place thousands of years ago. I’m quite happy that other people find this interesting, but it does not add anything to a travel experience for me. I’m the kind of girl who likes to wander and marvel. I’d personally rather make up my own stories of what happened in a historical place. So the point is…if you have more questions than Where is it? What does it look like? or Is it pretty? I’m probably not the person to ask.
My favorite thing about the monument was the detail work carved into the plaster. I took lots of photos of this, and told one of my brothers that I was thinking about writing a blog post called “The Patterns of the Alhambra” to which he replied, “sounds like your most boring yet.” I’m going to post them anyway (hmph), so I hope you enjoy.
See? Wasn’t that exceptionally un-boring?
There are so many other pictures and anecdotes I want to share, but all this uploading and editing is hurting my brain. To be continued soon.
This past weekend, I went to Barcelona to see my Aunt Marlene and Uncle Tom as they were there visiting prior to a Mediterranean cruise. I rarely see them in the U.S. because they live in Tennessee, but it was great to see them in SPAIN and catch up! They are amazing people.
I am in love with Barcelona. It’s an incredibly beautiful city and if I could afford to live there, I totally would. It’s such a “hippie” city. Lots of organic, natural foods, lots of beautiful and unique art (a Picasso museum is there). Big and bustling, but lots of small and intimate restaurants (it was especially busy in Barce this weekend because the Pope was in town). Not to mention a zillion street performers (<–see?) and a beautiful port.
We ate a delicious vegetarian dinner Friday night when I arrived and spent Saturday at the Maritime museum (free photojournalism and Russian art exhibits!), visiting the Catedral de Barcelona, and wandering around the city!
This weekend excursion was also full of lots of firsts.
- My first flight with Ryan Air. For those of you who do not know, Ryan Air is the greyhound bus of the airplane industry. Extremely cheap, but you are only allowed ONE carry one with specific dimensions. Anything else involves lots of fees. Prior to boarding the plane, the Ryan Air employees have a box that they put on every single person’s luggage to ensure that it fits within the allotted parameters. Watching this happen was very entertaining. One lady’s suitcase didn’t fit in the box and she was not pleased.
- My first stay in a hostel. It’s so cool! And the hostel I stayed in was extra clean and swanky and not even expensive! I highly recommend Barcelona Mar if you ever take a cheap trip to the city. I was fascinated by the whole hostel experience. In fact, I made friends! Four of them from Germany! I felt encouraged to travel by myself in the future because its so easy to find company in hostels.
- I met someone from Malaysia! That’s a first for me.
- I gave my German friend his first almond. No really, I bought some almonds, and gave this lad his very first almond, because not only had he never heard of an almond, but he had never tasted one!
- My first cookie with BASIL. Yes, you read that right. Basil. The cookie was coffee, chocolate, and basil. It was surprisingly delicious.
- I had my first ever dream in Spanish! On the plane from Barcelona. Well, not the whole thing. Just part of one. But still, COOL!
A great weekend! And a big shoutout to my aunt and uncle for making it so special. 🙂