I’ve declared it already: 2016 was the best year ever. Since 2011, I’ve summarized my travel-filled years (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), but no year has ever come close to 2016 in terms of the amount of travel I’ve been able to fit in. Brace yourselves: this may be a long one!
Flashback to 2008 before I became a true traveler. I had been out of the country several times with my family and had spent a month studying in Granada two years before. The travel bug was buzzing around my ears, threatening to bite, but I was still a year or two away from being impossibly afflicted by wanderlust. My mom, aunt, sister, and I headed to Switzerland for a week-long cycling and wine tasting tour through Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad, Gruyéres, Interlaken, and Grindelwald.
Flash forward five years later, and my sister was spending her summer in Geneva as a researcher for the Global Detention Project. I was living in Madrid at the time and had adored Switzerland previously (despite being a travel neophyte!), so, naturally, a Swiss family Robinson reunion with a newly crowned local was in order.
Fun fact: at age six, I lost my first two teeth on the same day, the first in London, and the second, hours later, as I bit into a hot dog in front of the Notre Dame in Paris. At age twenty-three, I returned to the same cities for a weekend away from Spain, although, spoiler alert: no teeth were lost this time. (Phew?)
My sister spent last year’s fall semester studying abroad in London, so my dad’s family – my dad, stepmom, and three little siblings – arranged to visit her, and I, just a few hours away in Madrid, flew in to meet them. This made my fourth trip to London (the fifth would come two weeks later!), and I’ll admit
I’ve been extremely fortunate in my 23 (almost 24, gasp!) years of life to travel all over the world. With 2012 at an end, it’s time again to reflect on this past year and all the fabulous opportunities I’ve had.
I kicked off the year at home in California, where I spent a wonderful two weeks reconnecting with friends and family, eating mountains of American food, and visiting all my favorite Los Angeles spots. But soon, I headed back to my beloved Spain to finish my year of teaching in Villarrasa and rediscover beautiful Sevilla.
I ventured to nearby Cádiz to celebrate Carnaval, basically an absurd, giant
All right, so I wasn’t tagged, but I saw this survey posted on Christine in Spain and just had to do it! It takes me back to the good old days of LiveJournal memes.
A: Age you went on your first international trip: At the age of 2, I traveled to Hong Kong (or “Honk Honk,” as I called it) and Singapore for my aunt and uncle’s wedding. A few months later, we also went on a Baltic Cruise with stops in Scandinavia and the Soviet Union (right before it collapsed).
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: I don’t even like beer! But I’m going to have to go with a Guinness in the Guinness Factory in Dublin. It tasted terrible, but it was free (it’s normally included in the tour, but it was Dublin Culture Night, so the tour itself was free!) and I drank it with two of my best friends from the top of the Factory, overlooking all of Dublin. Plus, it was the day after Arthur Guinness Day, a big celebration marking the 250th anniversary of Guinness.
C: Cuisine (favorite): Italian. It’s everywhere in the U.S., and I’ve always loved it, but it’s even better in Italy! Even when you’re just eating at cheap restaurants!
Oops, it’s been way too long since my Paris Part I post, but I’ve been busy writing a 50-page paper (blech), traveling (yay!), and celebrating my 21st birthday (woohoo!). But I’m back to continue the recap of my very cold but very awesome trip to Paris.
The following morning, we took a train to Versailles to see Louis XIV’s famed palace. Living in Europe, I’ve seen so many palaces and other fancy buildings that they rarely excite me anymore, but Versailles was still pretty interesting to see. I hear Marie Antoinette’s cottage and gardens are fantastic, but we couldn’t see them due to the snow. We did still get to see lots of gold, ornate bedrooms, the Hall of Mirrors, and other gaudy decorations.
When people ask me how my trip to Paris in December was, typically my first response is, “Cold.” And it’s true — our trip was really, really cold. (Or at least it seemed so to someone who’s lived in Southern California her whole life.) But my second response is usually, “But amazing!” and that it was.
Sara’s program in Córdoba ended right before our trip, so she came up to Madrid, and from there we flew to Paris. There was plenty of snow on the ground when we arrived, which was gorgeous, and we found our way from the airport to the city to our hostel, where we were given a private 2-bed room for the same
So, as if it weren’t cool enough that I’m living in Spain, here are the epic things I have planned for the rest of 2009: