Monday, July 27, 2009

Trip to Europe

I arrived a week and a half ago from an amazing trip. We flew to Rome, Italy and traveled to 12 different cities throughout Italy, Spain and France. Those knowing me full well know that this is bliss for me. I love nothing more than to travel...especially Europe.

We visited the following cities:

  • Italy = Civitavecchia, Rome, Vatican City, Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Cagliari (Sardinia)
  • France = Eze, Villafranche, Monaco
  • Spain = Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca

Instead of writing a long blog to cover why I took over 1,200 pictures over there, I just want to do a top 11 list =)

Top 11 things you need to see or do if you travel to any of these places:

  1. The Sistine Chapel (Pictures simply do not do it justice)
  2. The Colosseum and Pantheon (I'll double it since they're relatively close to each other)
  3. Eat their Italy of course...
  4. Sit down at a cafe and people watch. This is facinating.
  5. La Sagrada Familia Cathedral designed by Gaudi in Barcelona (Still not completed)
  6. Eat a raw ham and fresh cheese sandwich on a fresh loaf of's amazing!
  7. Watch a Tuscan sunset from a mountain at 9:00pm (Latest sunset ever!)
  8. Leaning Tower of Pisa...of course this had to be in there
  9. Climb the 414 steps of the Duomo in Florence and get the most spectacular view!
  10. Buy a good bottle of Chianti from Florence
  11. Send a postcard to yourself or a loved one =)

Now here's a small list of things I DO NOT miss from the trip:

  1. Exposure to second hand smoke almost the entire to have good lungs here b/c everyone smokes...and everywhere
  2. Trading our dollar to the euro...ouch!!!
  3. No free water at restaurants

Europe is beautiful and I've said several times I would like to live there. But after this trip, there were several things I missed about the States, including family. Although my entire family lineage comes from Spain, it's a very different way of life over there.

We are very spoiled here in the U.S. and there were several things we take for granted. It helped me realize how truly blessed we are as a nation, despite this economic downturn.

I love the beauty and history of Europe and will continue to visit for the rest of my life, but as Dorothy once said "There's no place like home".

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A View I Miss

This is the week my family spends at our beach timeshare. I didn't even notice how perfect our timing of our move was, that we would even be able to enjoy it with them. Spending this time on the beach, playing volleyball and simply reflecting on the majesty of God's creation has definitely been rejuvinating and refreshing.

The ocean is so beautiful and such a great reflection of the Lord's power and beauty. I caught myself sitting on our balcony and just watching the ocean. I even saw a manatee =). I happened to have lived on the beach for six years of my life...this beach in fact, and NEVER did I fully appreciate what I had until now (when I don't live on it- isn't that always how it happens?).

This beach held several great memories of my youth and most importantly, a proposal by my [now] husband on December 17, 2005. Everytime I glance at the volleyball court at this hotel, I remember the fire that lit up reading "Marry Me". It was the most romantic proposal ever.

I love coming back to this particular location, but the beach in general is a view I truly missed.