It's almost Easter and that means one thing: four day weekend! We're taking advantage of the time and jaunting off to Florence and Chianti to get to know my little obsession, Italia, a little better. I've been studying Italian using Rosetta Stone but since I've been a bit inconsistent with it, I'm just barely at the point where I can ask "where's the bathroom?", "how much?" and all of those other simple phrases that will hopefully be enough to get us by!
During the past year's travels we've gotten by with our english, broken french, and my fluent Spanish. Joe speaks a little bit of Spanish but he learned it with the Castellano accent that turns every "s" into a "th" sound...it drove me crazy for a while but I've warmed up to it. I had to.
We've definitely accomplished what we moved here to do: travel. There are still so many places on our list but I'm beyond thankful to have been able to check off the ones below and leave with beautiful memories.
Here are some of my favorite moments, places, and thoughts from our European adventures...
shopping at my first European flea market (in Paris) and seeing a different type of vintage and market scene
stumbling across the Louvre at night and having the square all to ourselves
walking along Pont Des Arts in Paris with my mom, oohing and awing at the romantic gestures and inscriptions of the love locks. we even witnessed a couple throwing their key into Le Siene followed with a passionate embrace and kiss. must go back there with Joe!
cheering on team Atletico with Joe's college buddies in Madrid. we sat in a section called "Vomitorio"..."vomit" is spelled "vomito" in Spanish so it felt a little icky at first. the funny thing was that not even the locals could explain the name.
finally understanding Joe's love for simple Spanish meals. I could eat like this every day now.
searching for the vista point for the Toledo bridge but instead happening upon our own little corner. we somehow managed to avoid the crowds and feel as if the entire town was ours that day.
walking up to the awesomeness of the ancient aqueduct in Segovia (no mortar!) and then geeking out over the decorative walls and doors all over the place
witnessing a modern marvel being built, aka La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona
and being even more impressed/amazed by what's inside
watching my mom enjoy "the best paella of my life!" while I cooled down with a chilled beer
watching the sunrise and looking for seashells on the beach with my mom in Barcelona.
our first week-long European holiday in Sicily. we stayed in the countryside, Ragusa...it was heaven as you can tell
but we did take a dip in the Mediterranean! this was a total locals' spot that we came across while looking for a place to eat lunch in Syracuse. i'll never forget the views from the water looking back at the city.
having coffee in front of Check Point Charlie in Berlin and learning about Joe's uncle who was stationed there during the Cold War. finding the perfect German pub/restaurant, Sophien 11, with my friend Caitlin. the bar tender fell in love with her and gave her free beer mugs as souvenirs.
seeing Christmas come to life in Brugge, Belgium. i felt like i was in the original Disneyland the entire time. what a beautifully preserved medieval place.
giving into a guided canal tour in Brugge and going under stone bridges from the 14th century. i mean seriously?
finding moments to look around and capture the details in Marrakech amidst the craziness of the Medina
visiting a Berber market in the Atlas Mountains. this was the parking lot...it was pretty muddy but i loved it.
sipping on sweet mint tea and drooling over too many rugs in Marrakech. i wanted so badly to go through the piles myself and pick which ones I wanted to see. unfortunately that's not how it works. it's a full on presentation and very ceremonial but i was happy to oblige. we left very happy with our new magic carpet in tow.
We've left every place very happy, it's hard not to. I can't wait to see what we come across in Italia this weekend and where our magic carpet takes us next!