Trying to write a review of this past month, whilst recovering from what feels like a never-ending cold is probably not the best idea I’ve ever had, but that’s what’s happening. So… should this make no sense, or be riddled with typos, please take pity on me and blame the germs. Hopefully I can kick this thing soon and be back in full, grammatically correct form by Monday.
Alright, here we go: MARCH.
Phew. March was a month for the record books. I was here, I was there, at times it felt like I was everywhere. Not that I’m complaining because it was amazing to travel and see as many places and faces as I did. Yes it was tiring, but it was also crazy awesome.
I don’t want to give too much away (I have some serious plans for content in the next few weeks), so here’s a bit of a snapshot from the month that was March:
I kicked off the month in Brussels spending two days exploring the city on my own. Although it rained almost the entire time I was there and it was far colder than I anticipated, Brussels was a wonderful city, one that I so thoroughly enjoyed. Because I hadn’t really planned for cold and rain, I had to adjust my plans, but it was a good lesson on being an adaptable traveler and knowing that you can still enjoy a city even if the skies have opened above you.
I’m not going to say too much about the tragedy in Brussels, only because I don’t really know what to say. It was very shocking and surreal to see such a beautiful city, full of friendly people under a veil of sadness and fear so soon after I had been there.Less than 24 hours after getting home, I was so happy to welcome one of my best friends from Canada to Madrid. Over the course of two days I had the opportunity to play tour guide showing off the best of the city—from amazing sights and views, to delicious treats and even sampling local drinks such as Madroño. No trip to Madrid (or Spain) is complete without a futbol match, so on a beautifully sunny Saturday afternoon we took in a Real Madrid game – a first for all three of us.
Now, if you remember from back in November, my first experience at a futbol match didn’t go so well (aka: I was terrified and literally clung to the seat next to me), so you might be wondering why I would go again. That’s a great question and one I was asking myself leading up to the match, but I managed to assure/convince myself that it couldn’t be as bad as last time.
And I was wrong. Apparently Santiago Bernabéu is bigger, or at least steeper.
Embarrassingly, I have to admit that my fear of heights got the better of me just as we were about to go to our seats (seriously, I was fine until that moment), and for over ten minutes I refused to walk down the cliff to get to them. After a self-pep talk and realizing that I couldn’t see the whole match from the concourse, I decided that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life embarrassed, so I clung to the railings and made my way to my seat, from which I didn’t move until the end of the game.Maybe I’m a good luck charm, or maybe it was a thank you from the team, but after I found my seat the home team started to score and didn’t stop until it was 7-1. Quite the game, and one I’m happy I didn’t half-watch from behind a post.
My next stop of the month was Valencia. With my Canadian friend in tow, we were up way too early on a Sunday morning to catch a train to the coast. In trying to be frugal, we decided to save €30 each and take the slow train which took us six hours through the Spanish countryside from Madrid to Valencia. Let me tell you, it was not worth it. Yes, the countryside was beautiful, but six hours on a train – with no snacks – was just too much. We opted for the AVE fast train home (1.5 hours) and it was delightful!Valencia had long been on my list of Spanish destinations, so I was so happy my friend agreed to go with me. We spent two-and-a-half days exploring the city, admiring the architecture – both new and old – and eating amazing food! We were there right before the Las Fallas celebration, so the city was bustling with excitement and anticipation.
Again, less than 24 hours after getting home from Valencia, I was repacking my bag, and Dave and I were off to Marrakech. It was the first time either of us had been to Africa, and despite doing research and devouring as many articles as we could, we still weren’t really prepared. At first, Marrakech was completely overwhelming to the sense; as we tried to navigate the streets and alleyways of the Medina to find our Riad, I couldn’t help but think we’d made a horrible mistake in coming. But, after a good (amazing!) meal and a good night’s sleep, we were ready to take on the city. Over the next two days we explored Marrakech—both inside the Medina and the more modern part of the city—we visited palaces, ate the most amazing tajine, and I managed to get through the entire trip without touching a snake (hooray!). Although our trip was short, we both agreed that it was the perfect introduction to Morocco, and we’re already looking forward to the next time we can go back and explore further.
After a week at home to catch up on laundry, work and the latest episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The People vs. OJ, we were on the road again. Over eight days we had the opportunity to visit four of Central Europe’s most beautiful capital cities: Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest with one of our best friends from Canada. It was amazing, and one of the most fun trips I’ve been on. We spent our days walking the cities and seeing as many sights as possible, and then spent our nights sampling the local wine, beer and cuisine – it was a hard job, but someone had to do it.Phew, and now we’re home. And I’m battling the cold that will not go away. But, if that’s the price I must pay for such an amazing month, than I’m okay with it.
- Brussels, Belgium
- Valencia, Spain
- Marrakech, Morocco
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Vienna, Austria
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Budapest Hungary
- Liege, Belgium (via layover)
Distance Traveled: 9,973 km
- Petite Adventures was Nominated for a Liebster Award!
- Stockholm is the Reason for my Wanderlust
- Life Lately
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What i read
I made use of all my time in transit by digging into a number of books of varying topics this month. Surprisingly, I enjoyed them all (when does that happen!?)
Luckiest Girl Alive tells the story of Ani FaNelli, a successful New Yorker who seemingly has it all—amazing career, fantastic fiancé—but she has a secret, and speaking out about it could ruin everything she’s worked so hard for.
I must admit, given all the comparisons to Gone Girl I had preconceived notions about the book, so I read it with a certain tone. It was the wrong tone. When I finished the book, I turned to Dave and said: I think I read this wrong. It was an intense book, and even though it was completely different than I expected, it was a book that I couldn’t put down.
Feeling stuck in her day job, author Janice Macleod decided to make a change. After saving for over a year, she heads off to Europe for her version of Eat, Pray, Love. Not long after arriving she met a man who changed not only her plans, but her life.
I was expecting this book to be cheesy, but it wasn’t. It was so endearing and heartwarming, and I could completely relate with the author about the ups and downs (and all the paperwork) that come with living in a foreign land. It was a charming book, but also inspiring for creatives, budding entrepreneurs and wanderlusters alike.
Yes Please is comedian Amy Poehler’s book about life, love and everything in between. She shares stories from her childhood, personal life and before, during and after her time on SNL, and all the lessons she learned along the way.
Yes Please was good, but it wasn’t Bossypants good (but then again, what is?!). I really liked the tone of this book, I felt like I was there with her as she told me these stories over a cup of coffee. Her stories were good—sometime touching, sometimes funny (I did chuckle out loud a couple of times) – but above all honest. It was a refreshing read.
I knew nothing about this book, but based on the title alone I was prepared to hate it. I’d lumped it in as a Jodie Picoult-esque book designed to make you cry at every page, and those aren’t really my cup of tea. But, there I was, on a plane with no other option, so I dove into it.
Now, I wasn’t completely wrong—the book is designed to tug at the heartstrings and make you cry—but it was much better than I expected. Because I really don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, here’s the description from Goodreads.com:
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
Currently Reading: Mistakes I Made at Work
I just started this book the other night and so far I’m enjoying it. It’s a compilation of short stories and lessons learned from some seriously successful woman. From CEOs to authors, each woman shares a mistake she made at work and the effect it had on her career, her outlook, her life, etc. As the editor Jessica Bacal says in the introduction, it’s not often that high profile, powerful people talk about their mistakes, so it’s refreshing to hear that everyone makes them – and more importantly, recovers from them.
After that crazy month of planes, trains and automobiles (well, buses), I’ll be staying a little closer to home next month and focusing some time and effort on blog opportunities, freelance work, and other things that will make my bank account stop crying.
But, that doesn’t mean there will be no travel. Dave has two long weekends this month, and we’re hoping to take advantage of them.
This weekend, we’re going to do a bit of exploring in and around Madrid, taking the train to Avila and then on to Salamanca to explore those cities.
To close out the month, we have our eye on a city break to Amsterdam or Rotterdam. The price of flights isn’t where we’d like them to be just yet, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Well, that’s it for me.
Tell me, what does April have in store for you?
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