Category Archives: Travel

July 18, 2017

SPAIN TRIP | TWO

After all the Gaudi sight seeing, the following day we got up early to board a bus that would take us to three stops: Girona, Pals and Costa Brava (location names are a clickable link that will take you to a Google map to visualize + maybe even DIY if you have an upcoming trip!)

First stop: GIRONA! 

After we parked our big dorky tour bus we walked across the canal to get inside the city. This is the view you’ll first see walking in *heart eyes*

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June 9, 2017

SPAIN TRIP | ONE

I survived my first trip overseas with my in-laws! I kid, they are a breeze to hang around.  Dustin, his parents, youngest sister and I had a fantastic trip exploring Madrid and Barcelona for six days!  Since Rebecca Joy’s Spring Break fell a little earlier than we could make it out there, they went ahead to explore Seville for a few days then met us in Madrid late Monday night.  We landed around 9:00am and went straight for the hotel, which wasn’t ready yet but we dropped off our luggage and sleepily walked what felt like 399 miles all over Madrid until we were let in to sleep a few hours and get cleaned up. That night we joined up with the rest of the gang and went to a really nice dinner near our hotel.

The following morning we had tickets to tour the Royal Palace of Madrid and then a private tour of the Prado Museum. I would recommend the palace tour (I mean it’s a palace, can’t go wrong with looking at past royalty’s belongings) but the museum I could have done without.  I feel a little bad about saying that especially since it’s been said to be the best single collection of Spanish art but the European 12th century – early 20th century art just isn’t my jam.  One thing that did stand out that I enjoyed was The Garden of Earthly Delights because not only is it risque but our tour guide spent about 30 min (or more, no joke) just covering this one painting and the result was pretty hilarious though one or more of the Winchesters felt pretty uncomfortable..I think if I only went in there and saw all of Hieronymus Bosch‘s art I would have been just fine. However, Dustin and I have a friend who’s an art history buff and loves the place so do some research and see if it’s up your alley.

After a full day and one night in Madrid we hopped on a high speed train to Barcelona.  We bought some wine to bring with, sipped on that and checked out the sights till we all fell asleep. Then we were in Barcelona!

Spent that evening getting our bearings on our neighborhood which was just North of the Gothic Quarter and then walked down to explore that area and get dinner. The next day was all about Gaudi!

First stop was Park Guell.  When we arrived it was raining so we bought some cheesy tourist umbrellas, cause ya know, we’re prepared like that and set out to learn all about Gaudi and Eusebi Güell‘s attempt at a gated community turned municipal garden. You didn’t know it was originally supposed to be a high-end neighborhood either? Yea, that was news to me too! Apparently they couldn’t get investors and the construction just sorta stopped after only two houses were built. neither of which were designed by Gaudi but he did end up buying one.

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February 15, 2017

GREECE | LEFKADA THREE

Last portion of the Greece trip to cover is the exploration of downtown Lefkada’s narrow roads and shop-lined alleys.

The day we went walking and shopping around was raining on and off some times pretty hard. Which probably sounds like the most unideal time to go, which it is but when it comes down to choosing to use a clear day for shopping or beach-I’ll always choose beach!

Each stop on our Greece trip was a different neighborhood and shopping district experience. In Athens it felt like a big European city, Santorini was pure magic and unlike anywhere I had ever been and Lefkada was a sprawling island of smaller beach towns saturated in cafes and shops.

It was easy to get lost but with the help of Eagle Scout master navigator, Dustin, we cruised from one plant-lined alley to another and actually made it back to the car despite it starting to all look alike.

All these photos were shot on my phone and are unfortunately not the most clear but if you look closely this gate is so beautiful!

This moment was one I was happy to capture. Perfect timing, no one else around. Just Dustin and I huddled under the world’s cheapest umbrella and two friends making due on their moped.

Cactus gets a bath :)

See what I mean by ‘all starting to look the same’?

Since it was raining it was very quiet.  But it opened my imagination to think of friends having conversations between the two buildings outside the windows or a curtain blowing out in a Summer breeze with no interruptions.  I appreciated the streets to ourselves :)

If the three posts don’t already show it, Lefkada is out-freakin-standing!

On the way back to Athens to our cheap hotel room for the short night before flying home we made a pit stop in Corinth.  First we got one last Greek salad and chicken kabobs then we went to the archaeological site.

Did you know a traditional Greek salad doesn’t have lettuce but is rather on a bed of tomatoes? We didn’t! Neither of us can eat many raw tomatoes so we shared the feta/onions/cucumbers/olives every time we ordered :P

This site was pretty free-range. Only a few things roped off allowing you to get really close to structures. There was also a museum that was loaded with artifacts. Not pictured (because I got in trouble) are the real remains of two soldiers they discovered in the early 2000’s in the real grave! That was really cool as was all the treasures, housewares, statues and snail shells we kept finding around outside by the hundreds if not thousands. Def snuck a few of those home, shhh!

If you’re on a Greece trip and can swing this DO IT but it’s not something to go way outta the way for. With 227 inhabited islands there’s plenty to see and do there ;)

Greece, DONE! Whoop!

Hope everyone had a lovely Valentines Day! We sipped champagne, made a good din and did household things. The fancy dinner is set for Saturday!

Back-logged outfit posts to come <3

January 31, 2017

GREECE | LEFKADA TWO

In the last post I mentioned we had weather that restricted our plans and while that’s true it also led us to some random adventures, which we’re always up for! Plan was to (in no order) explore city one day, beach hop another then rent a boat and private beach hop a different day. The boat didn’t happen because of the threat of storms but all the beach hopping did!

After the 5 hour drive from Athens to Lefkada and checking into our Villa that first day didn’t leave too much time to beach bum it up but we threw on our swimsuits anyways and bolted to Kathisma Beach.  Didn’t end up swimming but did watch the sunset from the rocky shore, grabbed a Mythos and hung out until we were hungry.

I mean just look at those layers of beauty!  I wish you could hear the sound the water made rustling around all those stones.  Sounded like one of those rain sticks that are made from a dried cactus and have the beads loose inside, this!

On the other side are some folks camping out in tents~dream camping spot!

Skipping around here but after day one came the real rainy day when we went to the Fall. Afterwards we had to stop for gas and I wanted to get a drink from inside.  While walking under the pump I thought the over hanging was higher than it was and went to stand and crushed the top of my head, jamming my neck and biting down so hard on my teeth it hurt my gums and knocked the breath out of me. I was so taken aback (read: embarrassed) that when the guy pumping our gas and Dustin asked if I was ok I said yes but really wasn’t. After getting back into the car I realized how badly I had hurt myself and lost it. So many tears!  After some Greek Ibuprofen and ice pack, I took a breather walk and found all these pretty stones by a beach I don’t even know the name of since I was that out of sorts. Even with puffy eyes, a swollen noggin, achy neck and nose I was unable to breath from, I managed to get this snap of said pretty stones. HA!

And collected handfuls to take home, including that center stone that’s pink and dark grey ;)

Next day, after getting a lay of the land, we set out to pack in as many beach stops as possible.

Agios Nikitas Beach | Lefkada, Greece

We caught wind of a small beach near Milos Beach (a private, by boat only spot), Agios Nikitos, that was walkable. Turned out to be the perfect alternative!

While walking down the narrow cobble stoned town that led us to the beach we noticed visitors carrying yoga mats. “Why the yoga mats?” we wondered. Well, it’s to protect your bum from all the rocks!  Smart thinking locals, smart thinking…

Stetson hat, Hershel Supply bag, towel from Athens, Target swim top and Old Navy bottoms

Found the least rocky area we could and set up a little spot earlier in the day before it got crowded with other visitors that were in the know about “where the Greeks go to vacation” most of whom were from Europe. We found ourselves being the only Americans at several spots in Lefkada.  Whereas in Athens and Santorini we were definitely not. We thought of it as a good thing, being that we were in the know thanks to our Atlanta buddy who’s Greek-American.

Lounged and swam and then went for an adventure. We knew that Milos beach is typically reached by boat but we were real close to so we climbed around the rocky shoreline to see if we could spot the private beach from around the bend. After climbing and realizing we’d have to go back, get our stuff, climb back over, set up, enjoy, pack up and hike/climb back-we opted out and just got a few snaps and went back to our set up and swam around some more before heading to beach 2/3 that day.

Back to Kathisma to rent chairs with drink service!

And collect more stones…While these are pretty smooth, Dustin and I both agree when swimming and walking around, water shoes are a must. Even the littler stones I’m stepping on here hurt after a minute or two.  Learn from my mistake and buy decent ones, my dumb looking water shoes were so cheap they actually backfired on me and COLLECTED ROCKS!  D wore his Chacos and those were ok, also trapped pebbles between foot and sole but were great when it came to climbing and jumping.

Dustin going for a jump! That rock was fun, a hike and leap or two and then you jumped off and swam to shore and did it all over again. We are such water babies!

Kathisma beach | Lefkada, Greece

Along the beach are several bars and restaurants blasting techno and serving seafood. None of them were anything to brag on in particular but fun atmospheres and can’t beat THIS VIEW ^

After Kathisma beach it was Porto Katsiki to watch the sunset. We sat in two places, first directly on the beach with other sunset gazers and then climbed up to a bridge that was unfortunately closed for safety reasons, we heard this was likely from an earthquake as there were around 2-3 other spots that weren’t open because of the same reason. Still got all the views from the top of the walkway down to the beach, I mean:

THIS. If you look closely you can actually see the bridge I’m talking about in the top right of the mountain-side. Yep, not safe in the slightest!

Looking back on my notes we were in Lefkada for about 2.5 days. I’d say we packed in as much as we could considering we wanted to not feel too rushed along the way.

Coming up: Day three of exploring the little beach side town

 

January 27, 2017

GREECE | LEFKADA ONE

These first 27 days of 2017…

Don’t think I need to explain why this here blog has been the least of my worries but if you’re wondering it’s been a Six Flag ride of pros n’ cons that goes something like-
Pros:  late night dance parties, celebrations of love, news of being an aunt twice this Summer
Cons: friend and family drama, 3k worth of vandalism on my car, crazy politicianS

Break’s over and most issues have been resolved so lets jump back in where I left off.  Thinking it’s about time to wrap up our Greece trip~

After Santorini it was Lefkada time! We had to fly back to Athens, rent a car then drive 5 hours to the only island in Greece you can get to by car. At first I wasn’t too keen on all that driving but after getting a killer BMW and being able to see all the terrain, I’m glad we did it.

Got my babe, map and money-lets go!

Through a friend’s recommendation we stayed in a beautiful villa that was private and had the sweetest hosts that gave us all the recommendations.  It was close to a market and had a private pool though we weren’t able to use it because the weather was never great when we were at the villa.  Definitely grateful for the nice weather we had in Santorini and Athens but it still sucked we couldn’t do everything we planned in Lefkada due to thunderstorms.

Dress with a view! Picked up this cotton dress in Santorini, planning to use as a fancy cover-up come Summer.

However, we didn’t let that stop us!

Packed up the car each day and set out on adventures. One day we went to find a waterfall and hike a trail and on the way into the trail head we passed through hundreds, maybe thousands, of olive trees. Some looked decades old!

After several stops for olive tree gazing we made it to the trail  head and were greeted by this huge bonsai looking tree-

Quick climb up the big bonsai then the real climb.  It wasn’t raining at the time but had right before so the water was nuts. There were bridges down leaving us to climb through a few feet of water with other visitors, most French or Italian men, that were daring me to go first!  OH HELL NO, YOU GO! But we did it and while it was pretty scary we didn’t have any missteps and made it to the fall.

Nidri Waterfalls | Lefkada, Greece

I took a ton of photos but they all kinda look gross because the water was so muddy. YooHoo water is what I kept calling it.  The ferns and moss were real pretty though.

Dustin was (always is, actually) so patient with all my “stawwwp! need to grab a pic of that, and that, and that, oh and that!” Like these silly looking Greek sunflowers we saw off a windy road~ all petals everything.

One of the rainy days while driving around to find a dry spot we were starving and spotted a restaurant that seemed legit.  After parking I spotted these lamb and harassed them for a few then went in and had the best meal of the trip.

Greek food was… repetitive … so it was really a matter of who did it best. Can’t beat olives from trees you parked by and fish soup that was caught just over the cliff side. Also those fried zucchini things were bomb. Little fact, my favorite food is french fries and in Greece they did’em right! Hand cut, salty, crispy-potato perfection.

The staff at Greco Levante were so kind. We were two of maybe six people dining likely due to weather and the time of day so the chef wasn’t that busy and took the time to come over and sell Dustin on the soup and make us laugh with his silly sarcasm and jokes.

Soft pinks and cacti, they know the way to an American girls heart.

Another day venturing out when it was nicer we stopped back at Greco’s olive oil stand for more olive oil. Can’t remember what we paid but it was a steal. We gifted two and kept one bottle for ourselves which we save for special occasions or to let a friend try real olive oil.

Greco Levante | Lefkada, Greece

This last photo was such a moment. We stopped to get some photos of the rolling hills and in the corner of the frame I spot this unicorn! Ok, it’s a regular horse but still! It was a sweet lil surprise!

Packed a lot in the three days we were there so there’s two more posts coming, beach day and city day!

~~Happy chilly Friday from ATL~~