“When we got to the Eiffel, it just brought back all these good feelings. Since I didn’t climb the stairs up last year, I decided to change it up. I almost completely regret this. It was A LOT of stairs. I want to believe that I pulled off the “I’m not tired at all look”, but I think my sweating and deep gasp for wind might have said otherwise. But the view will always be worth it. Me and Sarah are planning to go up to the top Friday morning.
I honestly forgot how much I loved Paris until I saw the tower today. The tower really gives me confidence and hope that I could spend a year in Paris. I don’t care at what time in my life that I spend a year in Paris. Whether married or not. Have kids or not. I definitely have a dream to stay here for a year. It’s long enough to fall deeply in love with Paris, but short enough to experience all of Paris with routine.”
– My Travel Journal Entry on June 22, 2015 –
My dream is to live in Paris, France for a year. Up until recently, this was just a dream. I wanted to be the type of person that could spend a year in Paris. I now realize that I don’t have to wait to be that person, and that I might already be her. I am choosing to transform this dream into a goal. I never thought that I would be the person that can say they have had cancer, and it sucks that I didn’t have a say in that becoming a part of my story. However, I can now make the conscious decision to be defined by my passions instead of my circumstances. I am passionate about the Lord and how He uses me to work with people. I will always strive to know more about people and where they call home.
If you want good luck in Barcelona, you must drink from the famous Barcelona fountain. It is also believed that if you drink from it, you will come back to Barcelona. While the fountain is located on this La Rambla, there is so much more! It is constantly busy and crowded with street performers. I highly recommend going to see the performers!
This is the location where bullfighting took place up until recently. While you might not see bullfighting here anymore, you definitely will see the Spanish architecture and culture.
I love taking photographs in markets. This market was one of my favorites based on photographs, energy, and food. The fruits and meats were fresh and tasted amazing! The sellers were incredibly nice, and they were excited to get their photo taken.
Arc de Triomf
This was almost the location of the Eiffel Tower, but now holds a beautiful red arch. Turns out the townspeople thought the Eiffel Tower would be an eye-sore. While this arch is not as well-known as the Eiffel, it does hold a compelling story.
Parc de la Ciutadella
If you have time to spare, I would recommend taking time to relax in this beautiful park. When I went, me and my friends rented a canoe on the lake. It felt straight out of a movie.
Go to the Beach
It is always a good idea to go to a beach…especially in Barcelona.
This towering gothic cathedral is a must see. Like other gothic architecture, you don’t see the amount of detail in just the photographs. It is also located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.
This is where you will get the best photo opportunities in Barcelona. Not only is there vibrant mosaic tiles, there is a beautiful cityscape view. While it cost money to enter, it is worth it!
Learn to Flamenco
One of my favorite things I did in Spain was learn to Flamenco. Not only did this teach me more about the vibrant Spanish culture, it was a priceless experience. I always try and add variety in the way I travel. I don’t just want to overload myself with museums and cathedrals, I want to enjoy unique experiences. If you are like me in this degree, I would highly recommend a Flamenco lesson as a change of pace!
If you go to Barcelona, you must see the Sagrada Familia. It is not only massive, but gorgeous. To give some perspective: I got dizzy looking straight up to the top of it. Gaudi knew what he was doing when he created this masterpiece. However, it is not done. It supposed to be completed and doubled in size by 2030! If you are interested in seeing the construction plans and what it is supposed to looking like, there is a small exhibit located within the church.
Eat Paella and Drink Sangria!
One of my favorite things to do when I am travelling, is to go to an escape room. I might enjoy it so much because I love solving puzzles! So, a couple of days ago I did an escape room with my family for my birthday. Spoiler alert: we did not escape in time. But, I thought it would be a fun idea to talk about escape rooms on my blog because it has become a common thing I do on most of my trips. I will talk about what they are, why I love them, and why you should try it out!
What is an Escape Room?
In the recent years, escape rooms have grown in popularity around the world. They are mostly located in big cities, but neighboring towns are starting to introduce them, as well. There are multiple different types of escape rooms. Some themes include: “You need to solve the mystery!”, “Can you escape a kidnapper?”, “Can you survive?”, etc. I’m not fond of scary things and horror, so I stick to the “Sherlock Homes” type of escape rooms which are the most popular.
Common themes with escape rooms is you have 60 minutes to escape and it requires more brain muscles than physical muscles. You typically don’t ever have to use force on anything in the room to solve the puzzle. Another theme is that if you use one clue, it won’t be used again. If the owners don’t tell you this upfront, I would double-check. The owners want you to have fun, so they will communicate with you from another room. They will watch what you do through video cameras and let you know if you are spending too much time on a clue, or if what you are spending a lot of time on is not important. Some rooms give you hints (usually around three) that you can ask at any time. This might be in the form of a phone, a button that you press, or just looking into the camera and asking. My advice is to save the hints for later because they probably won’t give you free hints on the last clues.
Why I love them!
I love the escape rooms because they are a fun break that make you think! Both times I have been in Paris, I did an escape room which broke up the monotony of seeing tourist attractions. However, most cities have an escape room that involves the city within the room. For example, when I was in Paris, we had to connect all the pieces to a Paris Metro map in order to escape. Another important reason I love escape rooms is it encourages bonding with the people you are alongside. You get to know everybody’s strengths and use them to accomplish a common goal. There is always a variety in the puzzles so that everyone can contribute!
Why you should try them!
I would look and see if escape rooms are for you! It is a great way to spend time with friends and make some pretty funny memories. If you love puzzles, this is right up your alley! If you’re not into puzzles, try it for the comradery with friends. It is an unique way to spend time with friends and/or family that gets everyone involved!
- Since today is my birthday, I decided to make a travel wish list. These are the places that I not only wish to visit, but I have a full intention on buying a plane ticket to. I would love to go anywhere in the world, but these are next on my list!
- Glasgow, Scotland
- Berlin, Germany
- Dublin, Ireland
- Cork, Ireland
- Cologne, Germany
- Venice, Italy
- Pisa, Italy
- Care Town, South Africa
- Sydney, Australia
- Grand Canyon, USA
- Seatle, WA, USA
- Yosemite National Park
- Yellow Stone National Park
- Vancouver, Canada
- Budapest, Hungary
- Brussels, Belgium
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Athens, Greece
- Santorini, Greece
- New Zealand
Let me know if you have any suggestions to add!
My favorite movie is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. While it wasn’t a crowd favorite, it appealed to me on three distinct levels. So maybe it wasn’t for everyone, but it made an impact on me.
The first level is traveling. Not only does he go to incredible places in the movie, he does it in an envious way. I would love to just pack up things and go somewhere on a drop of a dime. Then there are the places where he traveled. I think the movie did a great job putting the viewer in those places. One of my favorite scenes is the long-boarding scene. Where he wraps rocks to his hands, and long boards down a winding road toward the city he needs to get to. I would define that as an experience. That scene puts an image to my passion to travel. I don’t want to travel just to see incredible places, I want to experience them.
The second level is photography. I have always had a passion for photography. I was planning to major in it in college, but my passion for nonprofits took over. Now, I will graduate with a minor it, but it is still a major thing in my life (had to do it). This movie was not only shot with an artistic vision, but it involved it in the story line. I am a sucker for film photography, and it really sucks that now it is getting completely replaced by digital. However, this movie got me excited because the photographer is set on using film. I guess you can say I aspire to his lifestyle. There’s a scene where he doesn’t want to take a photo because he wants to just remember the moment for himself. I love that even the crazy travel photographer takes time to enjoy the little things. It also doesn’t hurt that when I watched this movie with my friends majoring in art, we couldn’t stop talking about it.
The third level is the message. The overall message that I got was to not be afraid to experience life. Travel the world. Find a job you can go to for 30 years straight. Do what you want to do, instead of just thinking about it. If that didn’t make me want to travel, I don’t know what will. Sometimes I get the feeling that traveling is unrealistic, but then I remember the timelessness of the memories and experiences I have. It is always worth it.
I talk about St. Stephen’s Cathedral in my last blog post, Thoughts From a Cathedral in Vienna. Here are a few favorite photos from my time spent in Vienna.
Flowers in a palace garden
Old church in Vienna
Horses lined up