Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trip to Europe!

*Disclosure: to see the photos bigger, just click on them!*


In March, we were able to meet up in Barcelona, Spain for some R&R/late honeymoon celebration. It was AMAZING!!!


It was my first time flying out of the country AND I was all by myself so I was freaking out. Luckily, my flight was at night, so I slept most of the way.  I had to change flights in Germany and man was that confusing.  I was so happy they had English signs for everything but I feel I walked through their entire airport!  When I finally landed in Barcelona, Jon was standing there waiting for me. His flight landed about 10 minutes before mine; perfect timing! We took a cab ride to the hotel which was on the other side of town.  Once we checked into the hotel, we walked around and ate some local food for lunch and walked around some more to see what was around us and then we had Domino's for dinner. I know, you're not supposed to eat things that are in America when you travel, but I was tired and pizza was fast and easy to get. It did taste different than we make it here, and they didn't have any garlic sauce!

The next day, we decided to make sure we were well rested, and we finally got out of the hotel around 11 am and started being tourists! We went to Sagrada Familia, a beautiful church which they are still building after a hundred years! We had to stand in line for a little less than an hour to get in tho.




 




After that, we went to go visit a another building built by Antoni Gaudi, Casa Batllo. His architecture is absolutely amazing!


         
           



After that, we walked around a little bit, ate dinner, then decided to go explore Las Ramblas which has tons of different shops, restaurants, and bars.



I don't remember what specifically happened on what days after that so here are some photos:


Tapas on Las Ramblas



Christopher Columbus monument pointing towards the US




They were recording a music video!

Arc de Triomf







Olympic Stadium





Magic Fountain

Protesters (don't know what it was about tho, it was in Spanish)

We stumbled upon an amazing performance.





 After spending 5 days in Barcelona, we boarded a cruise ship for 9 days! This was Jon's first cruise and I actually had been on that same exact cruise ship 6 years ago! On the very first day, we made friends with an American military couple, Erika & John, who are stationed in England! What are the odds?

Our first stop was Morocco, Africa. We woke up that morning, went out on the top deck to look at the city, and it smelled awful. I was so excited to visit Africa, because how many 23 year-olds get to go there? We stepped off the cruise ship and took the shuttle into the middle of the city. They dropped us off and instantly we were bombarded with locals trying to give us taxi tours. The funny thing is, they would all go up to Jon and ask him if we wanted the tours. They would ask him about 3 times and the second I spoke up and told them no, they walked away.  It was very weird. We walked around and explored on our own. We went to a little shop where we ended up buying a Moroccan rug that was hand made by women in an African village. Each rug was labeled with a number which told them what village the rug was from.



Laying down asphalt by hand.

  

                                                   Hassan II Mosque






Our next stop was beautiful Madeira, Portugal; it is a little island off of Portugal.  We decided to take a taxi tour around the island, and in the end, I'm very glad we did because it is all hills.  Our taxi driver spoke English very well, was good at telling us details about the island, and a good photographer!  Our first stop was the botanical gardens with a wild bird section.  They had our everyday pidgins in their bird section which was pretty comical.





  


After that, we went to another one of the island's main attractions (if Jon was here, he would be able to remind what it was called, sorry lol). These men would use baskets, that are used to carry food up the hills of Madeira to their homes, to take tourists on rides back down the hills.  The streets are very narrow and it's pretty scary when you turn a corner and a car pops up out of nowhere!

      

     

                           


After that, we continued driving around, went to the second highest point of the island, and then our taxi tour was over and we walked around town a little bit before heading back to the ship.

 

 

 

 





Our third stop was Lanzarote, an island off of Spain.  We decided to do an excursion on this island since there wasn't much to do on your own.  This island is filled with volcanic rock from the multiple volcanoes on it.  We drove out to Timanfaya National Park to see the volcanoes.  They are not active volcanoes, but there is still a ton of heat produced by them.  There is a restaurant in the park that uses the heat from under ground to cook their food!!



 



We then went to go ride camels, sight see, and to a winery! I really wanted to ride them in Africa, but they unfortunately didn't have an excursion for that, so we settled for Spain. and don't worry, they actually didn't smell bad! They are very well taken care of and we named ours Rocky :)














We headed back to the ship so we could leave and head to Malaga, Spain, but first that night was the ships big "White Out" party AND at midnight, it was officially St. Patty's Day. So, we had a little fun, which caused for a rough next morning in Malaga.

 


Malaga, Spain has a huge bull ring, but unfortunately we missed the bull fight by a couple weeks. We walked up this huge mountain to get to a castle and then took a sight seeing tour bus back down to the ship.  There wasn't much to see/do there so we were only on land for a couple hours.  We went back to the boat and took a much needed nap and then went back out to roam the ship only to find out that not many people celebrate St. Patrick's day.


 











That was our last stop on the trip before heading back to Barcelona. We saw shows on the ship almost every night, went out to the pool, did pub trivia, and many different little things here and there. It was the best vacation I have taken so far and we'll have to do some major planning to top this one!  March 19th, the ship docked in Barcelona and we took a taxi straight to airport since my flight was in a couple of hours and Jon's wasn't long after that.  The flight home was awful since Jon couldn't come home with me but I'm so thankful we were able to even have R&R and that we were able to plan this amazing trip for it.

The Appalachian Mountains on my flight back


*Jessi*

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