Tag Archives: vacation

Barcelona: dia tres

14 Jun

Our third lovely day in Barcelona started off with a little breakfast at this sweet Boulangerie.  We loved these little corner pastry and bread shops and stopped in often.

We ordered a quiche…

…and a sinfully delicious pastry to share.  Normally I would cringe at the thought of such a buttery, chocolaty, indulgent breakfast, but something about the charm of this city wiped clear my conscience and I enjoyed every little morsel.  Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be on vacation in another culture?  All bets are off when it comes to experiencing something new, right?

After breakfast, we strolled over to this work of art, La Sagrada Familia.  This Roman Catholic church is nestled in the middle of the busy streets of Barcelona.  Construction on it began in 1886 under the instruction of a famous architect, Antoni Gaudi.  Construction is expected to go on until 2026.  It was incredible!

The opposite side, where we entered.

Close up of the front entrance

and the inside

there is something novel to me about this incredible church with equipment and workmen filling the inside

Next up was a trek to the Mediterranean.  The beach was beautiful as was the water.  Not having worn our swimsuits, we marveled at the scenery for a few minutes, then moved on to get some pizza!  We were starved!

My little vegetarian eyes lit up as soon as they spotted the sign reading “vegetarian pizza,” but this pie left something many things to be desired.  I think it had been sitting out a little longer than I’d like to imagine.  Regardless, we ate most of it in an effort to tame our hunger and then headed back toward our hotel for some pool time.

Along the way we enjoyed the endless quaintness of the Spanish architecture…

and somehow couldn’t resist joining in on some good ole’ fashioned tourist fun:)  While Jon and I typically shy away from overtly touristy attractions, I couldn’t stay away from the fruit man!  Who could?

We denied our itch to keep exploring the city, surrendering instead to the luxurious rooftop pool of our hotel. I think this was the most relaxing part of the entire trip for me.

After lounging at the pool, we were off again.  This time to an area of town which features more work of Gaudi.  Among the quaint, Spanish buildings lining the streets, you’ll find random modern architecture mixed in.  These buildings were insane and interesting to say the least.

Not modern, yet too beautiful to be left uncaptured.

Stopping at this Croissantery to get a bite to tide us over until dinner.  The Spanish way – a big baguette!

And a couple of hours later…time to eat again!

Sangria to start with…obvs.

Next, a dish found on many a Spanish menu – Patatas Bravas.  Aka fried potatoes.  With spicy sauce of course.  Delish.

And for our main dish, an entree that is seemingly quite popular on the streets of Barcelona – vegetable Paella.  I still can’t pronounce it.  It was really very tasty.  It basically consisted of rice, and vegetables, sauteed in a savory sauce served in a skillet.  Nothing to get too worked up over, but pretty good nonetheless.

To end our last night in Spain, we were lucky enough to stumble upon this light show that was going on at the National Museum.  There were droves of people there, and for good reason.  It was beautiful and entertaining to say the least.  The perfect, romantic evening to end our days in Espanya.

This fountain “danced” and lit up in an array of colors in beat with music that played out over the city.

Next stop: the City of Lights.

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Barcelona: dia dos

4 Jun

From eating bikinis to holding the hand of a giant, day 2 in Barcelona was one to remember.  Here’s our day in pictures:

We hunted down this restaurant that was built in 1786 – it is the oldest restaurant in Barcelona.  Sadly, it was closed, so we didn’t actually get to eat there.  It made for a cute picture, though.

Instead we opted for this cute little cafe – Cafe de L’Opera.  We saw it the day before while strolling down La Rambla, one of the busiest and most interesting streets in the city.

I ordered a bikini – hold the ham:)  A bikini is a staple menu item at most restaurants here.  It is essentially a ham and cheese sandwich – so you can see exactly how exciting my lunch really was.  It actually was quite tasty, though.  Jon went with the full bikini.  He’s crazy like that.

Jon had scouted out this quaint little herb shop in our guidebook called L”Herboristeria. Del Rei.  It really was just a little hole-in-the-wall shop that was cute as it could be. It even had this giant guestbook for us to sign, leaving our mark on this little place forever.

Adorable, right?  And guess what else…

…chia seeds!  It was the most random moment when I spotted them.  This sweet little lady is the owner of the shop, and she didn’t even know what chia seeds are.  Jon nearly brought her to tears by showing her the picture of her shop in our guidebook.  Sweet.

The building on the left is an old government building where the royal family used to live.  Inside you find these absurdly large statues of royalty. Kind of creepy…yet fun!

And moving on…

Sweet little nuns.

I love this little girl – from a distance of course:)

Beautiful church – even though it’s under construction.  That is another quirk about Barcelona  – there is construction everywhere!

Remember yesterday when I mentioned pick pockets being a serious problem here?  We found this sign in Starbucks.

Arc de Triomf – when Jon and I were in Laos, the main (and only) sight to see was the Arc de Triumph, which was built by the French in Laos.  This was my favorite part of day 2 in Barcelona because it was so beautiful.  There was a huge park that backed up to the Arc and we spent some time just laying in the grass and walking around.  The weather was beautiful and there were a lot of Spaniards out just hanging with friends, sun bathing, playing games etc.

Jon and I in front of the Laotian Arc de Triumph two years ago.  I have to say I’m pretty excited to actually get to visit the Parisian one in the next few days.

Jon chillin’ on the Arc de Triomf

lovin’ on each other:)

Next on our path was this group of yoginis.  I seriously wanted to join them, but I resisted.  We still had sights to see!

Cascada in Parc de la Ciutadella – Okay, honestly that is all I know about this place.  We saw it, climbed it, took pictures of it…just because it was so dang pretty.

Another beautiful church.  I have to say, though, that if you’re into this sort of thing you must stop back by tomorrow because there will be an insanely gorgeous and amazing church in tomorrow’s post.

Mid-afternoon snack – a veggie pastry

and the precious little shop we bought it from

One of our last stops for the day was this Mediterranean port – there was a mall at the end of the pier and we did a little shopping at H & M.

And of course to top off the day Jon and I found our Mexican food.  This guacamole was some of the best I’ve ever tasted!  I also ordered a vegetarian burrito that was to die for. It was filled with veggies, refried beans, avocado, lettuce and some kind of unidentified sauce that was the key ingredient.  Delish.

That’s all for day 2 (I’m blogging a day behind)!  Tomorrow morning we leave for Paris.  I’m going to try to keep posting, but our Paris hotel doesn’t have internet, so I’m going to try to track down an internet cafe.  If you don’t hear from me, I’ll post recaps once we’re back in the States!

I miss you all, and I hope you’re all having a great week!

P.S.  I love my husband.

hola Barcelona

3 Jun

Hola!  We arrived in  Barcelona yesterday morning after getting only a couple hours of sleep on the red eye.  By the time we caught a bus to our hotel and showered, it was about 1pm.  Despite our tiredness, we decided to get out and explore this beautiful city.

Here is our day in pictures:

First stop on our exploration was the National Art Museum.  We didn’t go in, opting to enjoy the beauty from the outside instead:)

The pictures are a bit dark because it was overcast.  The weather is amazing, though, 70 degrees during the day and 60’s at night.

Looking back toward Plaza Espanya (where our hotel is) from the museum

where the 1992 Olympic Games were held

We went to La Boqueria (the main outdoor market)  and I couldn’t resist snapping photos of the beautiful fruits and vegetables

the architecture and structure of Barcelona is absolutely quaint and breathtaking.  I love it – it has stolen my heart.

there are many horses and carriages

the front of our hotel – we love this big wooden door that slides open

the Torre Agbar building – or as the guidebook calls it “Barcelona’s own cucumber shaped building”

We are spending plenty of time on the subway where pick pocketing is supposedly the worst.  We keep getting warned by complete strangers to be careful.  Today a security guard walked up to us on the subway and told us to put our camera, which was around Jon’s neck, in our bag.  They are serious.

We finished off yesterday with dinner at a quaint little restaurant on the side of the street.

I ordered the vegetarian plate – hummus, pita, falafel balls, grape leaves stuffed with rice and a salad.  It was delish!  I haven’t had any problem avoiding meet whatsoever.  I just say “soy vegetariano” and they know exactly what I want….or don’t want:)

Jon ordered this chicken dish with hummus, falafel and salad

That’s day one in a nutshell.  We are loving Spain and the people here are wonderful.  The things that really stand out to me so far are that pickpocketing is a really big deal (but people are being so kind to try and warn us), this should be called the “city of love” because everyone is always kissing each other, the weather is perfect and the streets and alleyways are adorable, and Spaniards are very laid back and friendly.  I don’t want to ever leave!  I guess I’ll let Jon peel me away, so we can go to Paris;)

Stay tuned for day 2 and to find out what I found in a little hole in the wall shop that is very dear to my heart.  Adios!

pack your bags!

30 May

This morning started off kind of rocky due to sleeping through our alarm and missing church.  Sad:(  We made a last minute run to the city last night because I needed to get some shoes to wear on our trip.  I had a little too much luck with shopping and ended up with more shoes than I really need.

I’ve had worse problems.  Either way, I guess our bodies weren’t quite ready to be up and at ’em this morning.

We turned things around pretty quickly though, putting it in high gear to get ready to leave for Europe.  By mid afternoon we had laid out most of our clothes to be packed, cleaned out the fridge, mowed two lawns (I mowed ours, Jon mowed a friends), and done three loads of laundry.  I also was fortunate enough to get two of my drawers and my closet cleaned out.  You see, I have had this stellar pair of Nike spandex workout capris that I absolutely adore, and they have mysteriously gone missing as of about three weeks ago.  I really want to take them, but alas, even after looking every last place I can imagine they’d be – they have remained undiscovered.

Regardless of the busyness of the morning, I managed to throw together a healthy breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast – Yogurt bowl w/ one soy yogurt, sliced almonds, granola and dried cherries

Lunch – two slices Ezekiel bread, spinach and artichoke hummus, sliced cucumber, tomato and onion.  With a side of corn on the cob.  Kind of random, but we’re trying to eat the last of the perishables in the fridge.

I am so happy that I planned out my vacation outfits a couple of weeks ago.  It has made packing so much easier.  Now, if I could just get the laundry done, I’d be set!  Folding laundry is my least favorite household task.  I’m not sure why, but I’d rather do just about anything else.

We are flying out of Dallas on Tuesday, so we’ll be driving down early to stay with my sister for a day.  We are actually comtemplating going tonight, but still have not decided whether it is possible, so we’ll see!  Regardless, we will be making a pit stop at Whole Foods once we get there so I can stock up on some healthy snacks.  I wouldn’t want to get caught with plane food as my only option!

As far as our time in Europe, I plan to enjoy the food and indulge, but in moderation.  I’ll be packing a few of my own healthy things (think rice cakes, nut butter and bars) to supplement, and doing the best I can!  I’ll be updating later about ideas for taking food on trips in case any of you are planning your own trips and are interested.

Gotta go finish packing – talk to ya’ll later!

What are some ideas that you have as far as packing food to take on an international vacation?  How do you balance eating healthy and indulging while on vacation?

What is your least favorite household chore?

gettin' back in the groove

16 May

After a week long hiatus that seemed like an eternity…I’m back.   I just needed a bit of a break.  I’m in the final weeks of my 1st year of teaching, and I’m honestly just feeling a bit run down and overwhelmed.  Give me 14 more days and all will be sunshine and roses.  Forgive me for being a bit naive in thinking my life will be blissful in 14 days, but summer break has never looked better:)

Some of the things I’m dreaming of doing once I have some free time are: cleaning out our office. early morning runs, spending more time in the kitchen (which = a better CSM:), reading for pleasure, getting 8 hours of sleep, blogging more, gardening, going to classes at the gym, helping Jon with his business…I think that’s enough to get me started.  Something you may not know about me is that I love being at home, and I love being domestic.  So, 10 hours of commuting a week + working around 50 hours a week gets really old after awhile.

This weekend Jon and I have stayed busy trying to get ready for vacation.  We’re counting down the days – only 17 days left until we’re on our way!  Yesterday we spent the day shopping in the city, working on building a bit of a wardrobe up!  That’s my kind of vacation prep:)  We both got some really good deals.  Today after going to church and getting some work done, we picked out the clothes we want to pack for our trip.  The amount of luggage we can take is limited, so we went ahead and put together an outfit for each day.  We laid them all out on the bed and took a picture of each one, so when we get ready to pack, we’ll already know exactly what to take!

When we lived in Thailand, we traveled so often that I became a self proclaimed pro at packing; however, as of late my skills have waned a bit, and I’ve become notorious for just throwing in almost everything I own because “how am I to know what I’m gonna want to wear??”  I’m hoping this pre-planning will cut down on luggage weight as well as the “last minute running around like a crazy person throwing in random t-shirts I haven’t worn in the last decade just because I might need it” phenomenon!  This will also make my husband very happy:)  We also used our iPhone app to check what the weather is going to be like both in Barcelona and Paris.  Praise the Lord, it’s going to be in the upper sixties and lower seventies the entire week!

Changing the subject – I got caught up for awhile earlier, looking at pictures of our time in Thailand.  I get so nostalgic sometimes, thinking bout our time there.  I found this video and thought I’d show it to your for fun – and for an example of how the Thais get their exercise in!  They honestly don’t exercise like we Americans do.  In fact, you would almost never see a Thai person out running.  When Jon and I would go running near our neighborhood, the Thais would just stare at us like we were from another planet.  haha.

This video is when we were visiting a village over Christmas, and as we were wandering through the streets, we came upon a group of Thais “working it out.”  If you look closely, you can see Jon in the back in the green shirt – he decided to join in:)

I’m sorry that I’m not posting food pictures tonight.  I have been slacking a bit with the busyness this past week, and I honestly haven’t taken many food pics.  I’m sorry I haven’t been more committed to making that happen.  I’ll be getting back in the groove this week, and it’s only going to get better once school is out and I’m at home more!  Thank you so much for sticking with me.  I’m so thankful to you who come to my little blog.  You’re amazing:)

Until tomorrow…

super fun news

28 Apr

What a day!  I have got some super fun news.

We’re going to Paris!

Jon and I have been working on planning our summer vacation for awhile.  Remember this post?  Well, Jon has been spending a lot of time researching flights and hotels, trying to get us a good deal.  We really haven’t been picky about where to go…we just knew we wanted to go overseas because we haven’t been outside the U.S. since Tokyo almost 2 years ago!

Anyway, we were looking more into South America because the flights are much more affordable than Europe.  On a whim the other night, Jon typed in the information to find out how much a flight to Barcelona would cost, and in another instant a round trip flight from Dallas to Barcelona to Paris and back to Dallas popped up.  Whoohoo!  I’m so excited.  I’ve never been to Europe, but have always wanted to go.  We leave just a few days after I get out of school.  It’s already almost time to start packing, ha!

Now I just have to survive four more weeks of madness and we’ll be on our way!

I’ve been bursting at the seams all day, but now on to breakfast.

I had an Ezekiel English muffin with almond butter and 1/2 a sliced banana.  One of my favorite breakies.  Gotta love the fine paper dishware as well.  Great for on-the-go!

Lunch today was Pita Pit, and unfortunately I didn’t get a picture.  It was delicious as always, though!

Later I had a snack of Whole Soy vanilla yogurt and raw oatmeal.  And some carrots for later on.

Raw oatmeal is SO good in yogurt!  I used to eat it in Greek yogurt a long time ago, and I hadn’t had it in awhile.  The other day I ran out of granola, and decided to throw in some oats instead, and I fell in love all over again!  You MUST try it.

I had a meeting after school today that lasted until 5, which means I didn’t get home until 6.  As soon as I walked in the door, Jon had some casual clothes laid out for me and said “get dressed, we’re goin’ out!”  What a guy!

Needless to say, it’s been a busy evening, and I’m about to peace out and get some sleep.  This is really Thursday night for me because I took off work Friday.  The plan is to stay home and grade essays all day, and then head south to hit up the Train concert!  We’re staying in a hotel Friday night, stopping in the city to see the inlaws on Saturday and then heading home!  Blogging may be a bit “hit and miss” this weekend, but I’ll def. be around.

Hope you’re all having a great night!

where have you been?

11 Apr

Hey!  How is the end of your weekend treating ya?  I love Sundays, but I’m not too crazy about Sunday nights because I start feeling not too excited about the week ahead.  Do you ever feel bummed out on Sunday nights at the thought of starting the work week?  Or do you feel excited about the coming days?

Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot of exciting things for you tonight…sorry!  We have just had kind of a lax day.  I did snap a quick shadowy shot of breakfast

This bowl included 1/3 cup oats, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp almond butter, a couple of spoonfuls of soy yogurt and homemade granola.  I’ll never tire of this combination – the toppings are where it’s at!  This granola is a homemade recipe that I created.  I’m on a misison to create the best clean granola I’ve ever had, and while this one wasn’t quite it, it was pretty close.  It was definitely tasty enough to sprinkle on for breakfast!  As soon as I hit it, I’ll let you guys know, but until then…onward and upward!!

The rest of the day was spent napping, grading essays, going to visit some friends, working on some projects and watching Amazing Race.  Tonight they were in Singapore, which was so fun because Jon and I were just there about a year ago.  We saw some of the same places we had been – fun!  Here are some pics from our time there

They ate ice cream sandwiches exactly like this on the show tonight

China town

The contestants took an overnight train from Malaysia just like we did, and I swear we saw this same sign on TV when they got off the train.  It was definitely the same station.  Ah, memories:)

Have you been on any international vacations?  What has been your favorite place to visit?  Jon and I are planning an international vacation for this summer, and we are trying to decide where we want to go.  We’ve been to Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.  Any suggestions on great destinations?  I’d love to hear about your favorite trip!!

Apologies for the lack of food pics tonight.  Hope you all have a great start to the week tomorrow!!