… Of stealing your money, hygiene, and heart. This place was incredible. Even though it was raining a majority of the time we were there, we loved the heck out of that place. We wandered in and out of Cathedrals, Museums, and little boutiques in attempt to stay dry and found some of the coolest little shops. If you know anything about us, you’ll know that our time in Florence was filled mostly by finding good places for dinner and gelato stores with the most flavors. We ate gelato every day… multiple times. It’s fine, I’ll eat healthy and work out later (that’s what I’ve been saying for about 6 months). At one of the gelato stores, I decided I wanted a cone instead of the cup. Well the gelato lady piled that sucker high and everyone in the store was staring at me because it was literally the size of my head. People were taking pictures of me.. it was uncomfortable. So as I was walking to pay, the lady at the register gave me an odd look then pointed at the screen showing me the price. 14 FREAKING EUROS. Are you joking? She gave me a look that clearly said, “Yeah we got you little tourist sucker!”. Needless to say I was angry and DETERMINED to eat the entire cone, which of course I did.
We met some interesting people in our hostel and went out for drinks with them. While at one bar we ran into these two ladies who picked up on our accents. “We’d recognize those accents anywhere!” We ended up hanging out with them all night and learned that one of them had been left by her boyfriend of 4 years for his “happy endings” masseuse. Yeh, and it got even stranger but I won’t go there.
The last night in Florence was incredible because there was a festival going on. There was something different going on in each plaza. Music, bars, movies on buildings, art shows, etc. It was incredible. We just wandered down the different streets going from plaza to plaza. We met this one couple who had an art exhibit and ate homemade Italian pizza made by the wife and learned about the husband’s paintings. After we left the exhibit we heard loud drums in one of the buildings. We stuck our heads in the doors and immidiately we were drug into a huge drum circle with about 70 Hippie Italians. It. Was. Awesome. I was totally in the zone and we played different drums and instruments with them for a while!
Italy as a whole was incredible and I would go back in a heartbeat! I am so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity and thank the good Lord for it everyday! Adios! — Alex
Cinque Terre— what can I say? This is literally one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We hopped on a train and cruised through north western Italy until we reached a small beach town called Levanto. We checked into our hostel, slipped into our bikinis and headed straight to the beach with all the other vitamin D deficient tourists.
The next morning we pulled ourselves out of our bunks bright and early to beat everyone to the hiking trails. Full bellies, well dressed and laces tied… We were ready to tackle the day! In order to hike on the Cinque Terre trails, you have to buy a hiking pass, but the trail between the town where we were staying was free so we decided to start there. It was beyond incredible, one minute we were in the forest and the next we were overlooking the sea from ridiculously high cliffs. Two hours later we started descending down into Monterosso (the most northern of the 5 cities). We were so excited and started singing and encouraging all the hikers passing headed in the opposite direction up the hill.
We sat on the beach and swam some in Monterosso, then headed towards the next town. Because of the recent floods in the area, only a few of the trails were open. In all we hike about 10-12km which was enough for me!!
The second to last town had a huge rock in the center of town that you could climb and jump off of. It was surrounded by restaurants and other tourist attractions so everyone stood by the railing and watched crazies jump into the icy cold Mediterranean. As you can imagine.. The adrenaline junkie in me came to the surface and it was a no brainer that I was going to take the plunge. It was about a 50 -60 foot drop and on top of that, about 100 people were watching and cheering us on. All 3 of us jumped and loved every second! I even got a slow clap going when Allie jumped to get her pumped up!
Cinque Terre was incredible and the nature was a great respite from city life in Córdoba. More to come about Florence soon! Adios - Al
We had another random Spanish vacation this weekend so we decided pretty last minute (about 5 days in advance) that we should squeeze in a Italy trip. Mary Duncan, Allie and I threw together some plans but we pretty much put the trip together as we went. We arrived in Pisa late Thursday night and were greeted by our new friend Francesco. We decided earlier in the week that we wanted to try out couch surfing so Francesco was our first experiment with this. I’m not gonna lie… It was awkward at first. I recognized him and walked up to say hey… Being the Georgia peach that I am, I went in for the full hug and Francesco… Well he did something in between a handshake/hug/dos besos thing and it was awkward for everyone within a 50 mile radius.
After the awkward introduction, Fran drove us to his apartment to meet his flat mate and cat. The cat was awesome. And so was his roomie. They drove us to downtown Pisa and we got a few drinks, wandered the city, sang songs in the plazas with local musicians, and we even went to see the leaning tower at night. It was a really great experience because we were able to see Pisa like the locals do and not so much like tourists.
Sleeping arrangements were as you can imagine.. We slept in the living area on couches and it wasn’t too bad. The next morning Fran woke us up and drove us back to the tower so we could take pictures. We got a little carried away and took some pretty funny ones and completely made fools of ourselves. After walking around for a bit, Fran gave us a ride to the train station and we were off to Cinque Terre.
Pisa was a cute little tourist town that wasn’t really anything I would be dying to go back to but I’m really happy we went and I’m even more happy that we couch surfed and experience a completely different type of traveling. More to come soon on Cinque Terre and Florence! Adios - Alex
This past weekend was the first of many festivals in Cordoba. Its called Cata de Vino and its an outdoor week long wine tasting! The best thing to relate it to would be a Spanish version of Terrapin. Each person pays 5 euros and gets about 3 tickets and a wine glass, and then you go from booth to booth tasting all of the different wines. There’s flamenco music playing and you can tell when people start getting a little tipsy because everyone starts dancing!
Also, I don’t know where all of these people have been hiding, but we saw some of the most BEAUTIFUL people during the festival. We had a hard time keeping a conversation going with each other because we couldn’t stop staring at every person that walked by. I always knew that Spanish people were insanely good looking… but el cata brought out the best of them!
Next weekend is the Weekend of the Cross. This is when all the different churches decorate their own cross in the plazas. After that, Feria begins and this is what Cordoba is really known for. Apparently its the biggest party of the year. May is shaping up to be our favorite month so far and it hasn’t even started! More to come! Adios —A&A
So we’re not good bloggers… I’m sure if you’ve been keeping up with us you’re 100% aware by this point. Every other day Audge and I say to each other, “Ok, we’re really going to sit down and blog today.” Obviously that hasn’t happened. We could say we’ve been really busy (which we have been), we could say we are too into our lesson planning for school (mostly a lie because we all know our jobs are jokes), or we could just say we’re lazy which is ultimately the truth. We’re sorry guys.. truly sorry. The past few months have been incredible. Too much has gone on to go into too much detail so we will just leave you with a few bullet points for now. So here it is:
1. Snowboarding in the Sierra Nevadas in Granada - awesome weekend with 11 crunchy friends cramed into a 5 person room.
2. Carnival in Cadiz - about 14 of us roadtripped to Cadiz and participated in a weekend that could be best compared to… but not fully explained, as mixture of GA/FL and Mardi Gras on steroids.
3. Italy - Audge and I met up with my parents for our February break and trecked across northern Italy to Venice, Bergamo, and Verona.
4. Cordobesa weekend - We spent a weekend exploring our Spanish side. Futbol game, rooftop cookout, and BBQ in the counrtyside… you know, doing what real Cordobesas do.
5. Dublin, Ireland - A group of us hit up Dublin for St. Patty’s Day. We came back happy and euro-less after being ripped off by 5€ Guiness and our over priced hotel and the creepy unibrow man. (Just use your own imagination for that one)
6. Paris - Allie, MD, and I (Alex) went to Paris to meet up with Mrs. Beth Barlow and do a little traveling around the city. Ryan Air can suck it by the way… I may or may not have yelled at a gate agent. (Also insert your own creative imagination here…)
7. Semana Santa (Holy Week) - We all went our separate ways for this past week. Kyle came in town so Audge and I took him to Sevilla for a day and then Kyle and I headed to the beach in Malaga while Audge stayed in Cordoba with some of our friends there to hold down the fort.
More to come soon Amigos!! Adios — A&A
At the beginning of February I (Alex) went to Edinburgh, Scotland with Julie, Amanda and Kristin. We fell in love! We all met at the train station in Malaga and took off to the airport. We were really early so we decided to get a beer and some dinner before our flight. We haven’t seen each other in a while so of course we got caught up in conversation and didn’t realize what time it was. Next thing we know, we hear an announcement on the loudspeaker saying that it was last call for our flight! We literally ran through the airport and we were the last people to board the flight!
We arrived in Edinburgh and took a double decker bus to our hostel! Our hostel was in a great spot was really nice. We threw our stuff down and hit the streets. We met some people on the road and they told us to follow them to a club called Silk. Well, as soon as we walked in we realized it was a teen club. Hahahahah but it was getting late and by the time we would be able to get to another place it would be closed. So we sucked it up and stayed at Silk with the little ones. It turned out to be really fun because the four of us girls just had a dance party.
The next day we started off with a Scottish breakfast (beer included of course) and then we attempted to meet a group for a walking tour. Per usual we were late again so we just decide to make our own tour. We walked to the dormant volcano that is called Arthur’s Seat and we hiked to the top. It was beautiful and you could see the ocean and the whole city of Edinburgh. After climbing the volcano we wandered in and out of stores and stopped to pick up some dinner before we went out for the night.
We went to a lot of cool places that night and had a few run ins with some crazies, but all in all it was a good night. The next day we slept in a little because the weather was terrible and then we pulled our heavy coats on and trekked out into the cold. We visited Edinburgh Castle and the Missoni Hotel! The men working there all had on Missoni kilts. It was awesome! Later on we met up with some people and watched the Scotland vs. England rugby match which apparently was a huge deal. It was really fun and we didn’t want to leave!
We had to fly out of Glasgow on Sunday morning so we decided taking a train from Edinburgh to Glasgow would be our easiest route. And it turned out to be the most fun too! There were so many fans coming back from the game and they were all dressed in kilts and passing around their scotch in flasks to everyone. Also… Interesting fact: it is true that there is NOTHING worn under a man’s kilt. We learned this the hard way when a 70 year old drunk Scottish man flashed his goods on the train!! It was an unforgettably amazing weekend and I’m so blessed to have been given this opportunity! Besos - Al
This is the video Allie and MD put together of our Toledo, Salamanca, and Madrid trips!!