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Adventure Time: Dublin, Ireland

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As many of you can imagine, Logan and I kind of have this traveling thing down to a “T”. We’ve realized we are kind of lazy people when we travel, I mean it’s still our weekend so we want some time to chill, and explore a new city. So throughout the year we have somehow perfected the way to see most of any city in 48 hours (give or take) while still leaving the house at 11, taking a nap, and down-right chillin’.

Since Dublin doesn’t have tons of sights to see, we stuck to our three main pillars of travel: food, booze, and wandering.

1. Food

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I don’t actually have any pictures of the food we ate, I guess we were so hungry we just kinda gobbled it all up #sorrynotsorry. The food is what you would expect. Excellent meat, burgers, pies, and lots of potatoes. Oh, and I can’t forget my favorite Irish delicacy: CADBURY CHOCOLATE PRODUCTS!

2. Booze

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Dublin knows their way around the alcohol department. I give this city an A+ on that front. We went on a tour of the Jameson Whiskey HQ where we were taught the whiskey making process, given free samps, and able to admire the various Jameson DIY bottle decor they have throughout the place. We also had our fair share of Irish beer (yummm), and went to plenty of Irish pubs.

3. Wandering

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Dublin was cold. Like really, really cold (60 degrees). I think Spain has made me a softy to any weather that’s less than sunny with a high of 95. Dublin felt like winter to us, but we still wandered throughout the entire city. Logan and I made some stops at the Dublin Castle, Trinity College, and the Temple Bar.

Well we have one more adventure time to tell you about, and then we are homeward bound!

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Adventure Time: Barcelona, Spain

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The third and final stop of our Semana Santa vacation was Barcelona. We were only in Barcelona for a day, but since we’ve actually been to Barcelona once before in February with my mom we had already seen all the big sights Barcelona has to offer (Park Güell, Sagrada Familia, and Gaudi Architecture). So we devoted our day to seeing the part of the city we hadn’t seen before.

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We found a fantastic AirBNB right in the center of the gothic part of Barcelona, so it was super easy for us to spend the whole day exploring. Logan and I started our day with a rooftop breakfast at our airbnb (he made us tiramisu). With our bellies full of dessert for breakfast (what’s better than that), we set out for Parc de Ciutadella.

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One of my favorite places in Madrid is Retiro Park because it’s big and beautiful and has a little pond with rowboats in the center but, goddammit, Barcelona’s park wins this one. Parc de Ciutadella has a giant fountain plastered with gold, a man-made pond with little rowboats you can rent, and palm trees!

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On our way out of the park we saw the Arco de Triunfo, we’ve seen a lot of arches (seems like every major city has one), but Barcelona’s looks a bit different because it’s made of red brickwork which I had never seen before. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to wandering the streets of Barcelona, and wander we did.

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We made our way to the beach, where people were delightfully playing in the sand while only wearing bikinis (it was a whopping 68 degrees outside). We had some tasty coffee at a hipster cafe, then we made our way to the market. This market, La Boqueria, is the coolest market I’ve ever been to. It’s littered with fresh fruit stands, treats, and Spanish meats and cheeses. But, hands down, the best product at this market is the freshly made juice blends that they sell for a bargain of 1 euro. Logan had a strawberry banana, and I tried the blackberry coconut. LIFE CHANGING I tell you.

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By this time we had walked about 156 miles and were ready to catch our train back home to Madrid. Throughout our entire spring break we had ZERO mishaps. While I can’t wait for our next mini vacation, for now we are ready to chill at home for a few weeks until our next adventure!

P.S. I forgot to post this and we are leaving for London on Friday…

Adventure Time: Rome, Italy

As profesores de ingles, Shannon and I get a well-deserved spring break away from the children. We decided to take advantage of all this time by making an extended trip to Italy. We figured Italy deserved a little more time because it seems like THE country to go to on a European vacay.  Stop #1 of 3 (and my personal favorite) was Rome, Italy.

We spent just over 2 days in Rome and honestly loved every minute. As usual, we stayed in an Airbnb, and it worked out really well for us. We tried to see as many sites as possible, but I think you could spend an entire week in Rome and still feel like you need more time.

Day 1

1. Vatican

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We got to our airbnb a little early due to a super early flight out of Madrid, so while it was being cleaned we decided to visit the Vatican. The man cleaning the room told us the pope comes out to speak at noon, so we thought it would be perfect timing. There were TONS of people there, but after waiting around for a while, we realized we were too late and he had already finished speaking.

2. Delicious Italian Lunch 

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On our way to the vatican, Shannon and I passed a really great looking local place close to our apartment. It looked authentic and not overly priced, our favorite. The food was by far some of the best we had in Italy.

3. Trevi Fountain  

Our next stop was one Shannon was really excited to see. Unfortunately, we were met with some disappointment because all the water is drained and they have built scaffolding all around it for extensive cleaning. We still managed to beat back the British tourists and get kinda close.

4. Roman Pantheon

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We actually found the Pantheon by accident while following the narrow and winding streets of the Roman center. We didn’t even find out what it was until later in the day. Its a really cool building, and like most ancient buildings in Rome, has been converted to a church of sorts. Every time you get close to buildings like this, you are completely amazed that people were able to build such things with out ANY modern construction equipment.  

5. Altare della Patria (Alter of the Fatherland) 

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This was another site we really didn’t recognize, but we still really liked. Inside it’s essentially a military museum complete with guards that take guarding things super seriously and yell at tourists who step out of line. However, if  you climb to the stairs to the roof of the building, there is a really great view of all of central Rome and the ruins all around.

6. Gelato

This is obviously a necessary part of every Italian vacation. We repeated this step throughout the trip numerous times. Because, necessity.

7. Dinner

After wandering around Rome and getting around 3.5 hours of sleep the night before, Shannon and I were obviously super tired. We went back to the apartment for a quick little nap then headed out for dinner a little later.

We went to a great local pizza place (well one of a billion) that was recommended to us by anther teacher at my school. The pizza was obviously amazing and the 5 Euro liter of red wine wasn’t half bad either.

Day 2

1. Vatican (again)

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Our first trip to the Vatican was half hearted at best. Our apartment was only about 15 minutes away on foot, so we thought it deserved a second stop. This time we wanted to see the inside of the basilica, so we waited in a ridiculously long line for about an hour. But it was totally worth it, and we were really impressed by how much detail was in every inch of every surface.

2. Lunch…and more gelato

3. Colosseum 

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This was one of the big ones for both of us. We were really excited to see the Colosseum, and it did not disappoint. It was probably my second favorite site in all of Rome. There’s not much more to say, it’s the Colosseum and a must during a trip to Rome.

4. Roman Forum 

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When you buy a ticket for the Colosseum, entrance into the Roman Forum is included. This site turned out to be my favorite. It’s basically the old Roman marketplace, and it’s huge. You would need several hours to really walk through the whole area. Visitors also get to be a little closer to the ruins than you do in the Colosseum. You are pretty much walking right where ancient Romans bought and traded goods. It’s a really cool place.

5. Dinner and Dessert.  

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Much to Shannon’s dismay, up until this point, we had not tried ANY cannoli. After what I can only imagine was very thorough research, she located one of the best cannoli places in town.  We got one to go and decided to eat it after our dinner.

For our actual meal we went to a great little place that used homemade noodles in all their dishes and again was excellent. Rome did not disappoint on the food front.

Oh…and the cannoli were delish too.

Adventure Time: Paris, France

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We did it guys, we did one of the most cliche things a couple can do; we went to Paris for Valentine’s Day. That’s right, the city of love was our home for the weekend of love, and it was kind of amazing. Although it did rain for a bit of our stay, we just pretended we were in the painting “Paris Street; Rainy Day,” and still had a bunch of fun. So let’s chat about the places we went, the things we saw, and most importantly the food we ate.

Places we went:

Logan and I are pretty lazy travelers, and by that I mean we don’t leave our apartment/hotel/hostel until like 11:30 in the afternoon. So we got to the Louvre Museum at peak tourism hours: noon. The 2 hour line scared us away, so we left and went to Notre Dame instead.

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Notre Dame was pretty cool, I can’t even count how many cathedrals I’ve visited over the last five months, so I’m sorry if I seem a little underwhelmed. The coolest part of Notre Dame was the little architecture drawings that showed the construction of the cathedral which began in the 11th century. How neat is that? Pretty neat.

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After our first failed attempt at the Louvre earlier that day, we had come across some insider knowledge via google.com that there is actually more than one entrance to the museum. And wouldn’t ya know it, the less known entrance took us roughly ten minutes to get through (compared to the 2 hour snake-of-a-line outside). Once inside, I realized The Louvre is the biggest fucking art museum I’ve ever been in (pardon my french), and since Logan and I didn’t want to spend all day there, we quickly made our way to the Mona Lisa (her eyes do follow you around the room), along with a few other exhibits and then peaced out.

Things we saw:

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Holy shit, Paris has a lot to see. One weekend is definitely not enough time if you’re little heart needs to see every little thing in a city. Logan and I prioritized and settled for the Eifle Tower and Arc de Triomphe. We also ran into a couple other cool buildings and things along the way (i.e. Hotel des Invalides, and the Opera house).

Food we ate:

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Paris cousine did not disappoint. While the coffee was incredibly overpriced, the rest of the food was on point. We ate a menu of the day type meal, which included: wine, bread, entree, and dessert for 10 euros. We also had to treat ourselves to crepes, macaroons, and nutella. But my favorite meal, by far, was our Valentine’s Day dinner. Logan and I went to a super local Parisian restaurant that had cheap drinks and an amazing menu. We had a half liter of wine, a French cheese plate, chicken in a four cheese potato puree, and a leg of lamb – it was AMAZING.

Overall Paris was a good weekend host to us and is definitely a city I feel like I need to go back to some day.

Besitos,

Shannon

Adventure Time: Granada

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Last weekend Logan and I made the short journey to the southern city of Granada. Granada is most well known for their copious (and delicious) tapas, the Alhambra, and their white washed houses. It’s only about a 4 hour drive, and we found a cheap BlaBla car for Friday morning. We stayed in a wonderful AirBNB with a balcony and a central location (it was also mega cheap). We decided 2 days was enough time, so we got down to business right when we arrived.

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Our first stop was finding a couple bars to drink and eat lunch. The tapas in Granada were pretty good, but Logan and I thought they were pretty similar to the tapas we’ve had in Madrid. After filling up our bellies with vino tinto and our fair share of free food, we trecked up a huge a** hill to _____. This is the best place to see La Alhambra, and it’s one of the most popular destinations in Granada.

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We spent the night bar hopping between the many bars that litter Granada’s streets. And we were not disappointed. The alcohol is cheap, and the food is delicious. My favorite bar was one where they gave us a seafood tapa (a whole plate of fried shrimp *nomz*).

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The next day we were up bright and early to trek to our main destination, La Alhambra. La Alhambra is one of the most visited spots in Spain, and is a Moorish citadel and palace. Since it’s so popular you have to buy your tickets in advance.

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If you could tell from my previous pictures, La Alhambra is situated at the top of a giant f*cking hill, that we had to climb at 9:30am with a bit of a tapa hangover. It was long, and a bit tiring, but TOTALLY worth it. La Alhambra is MASSIVE, and we spent a good 3 hours walking around the beautiful grounds. We decided to get tickets that included everything other than the Nasrid baths, and I have zero regrets.

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This part of Alhambra is called Generalife and it’s filled with beautiful gardens, fountains, and ponds. It was so so so beautiful, and because La Alhambra is so massive, there were never too many crowds anywhere we went. Also, the weather was PERFECT, look at me guys, I’m wearing shorts on the first day of November!

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The other main part of La Alhambra is the Alcazaba, this is where you get the best views of the beautiful city. The clusters of white houses make my heart swoon, so beautiful!

After we left La Alhambra, we ended our trip exactly how we started: with a few more rounds of tapas.

Besos y abrazos,

Shannon