This is an update of the amazing trip I took to Europe last summer. Slowly but surely I’m posting about every day I spent on that excellent continent. To read earlier updates, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. And here. And here and here and here and here and here and here.
You know how sometimes you get married and you don’t write your thank-you notes for your wedding gifts within the 3-month time frame that Martha Stewart Living tells you is mandatory so then you sort of just…never write them? But you always harbor the thought in the back of your mind that someday you will? It will be like, a hilarious 10-year anniversary activity, sending out thank-you notes to all the people who gave you a wedding gift a decade ago?
Oh. Me either.
But if I DID know what that felt like, I’d think it feels a lot like how I went on an epic trip of a lifetime last summer and never finished blogging about it, and how guilty I’ve felt for the last 8 months of failurehood.
So today I’m going to start finishing that series of posts.
If you forgot how it all started (as you surely did because I even forgot and I was on the trip), please feel free to refresh the ol’ memory here.
So on my first day in Seville (where I’d invited myself to stay with Chloe and MJ of My New Life as a Housewife notoriety) I met Chloe’s husband, MJ, and he took me to visit some cool ruins before getting to meet Chloe for the first time ever.
That was fun.
Then I got to meet Chloe, who by that time had gotten off work and was waiting for us at their house when we got there.
I’d been stressing for weeks about how to greet her when I finally met her in person (she, of course, had been a really good blog friend for 2 or 3 years by then), and still hadn’t decided what to do until the very second I saw her, when I just threw manners to the wind and gave her a great big hug. I thought it would be too weird just to shake her hand since we actually knew quite a lot about each other’s lives (via blogging), and I’m still no good at the airy-cool side-cheek kissing thing, so I just did a full-fledged hug and hoped I didn’t creep her out too much.
She admitted later she’d been worried about how to greet, too. That was comforting.
We hit it off instantly. That first night we had a delicious dinner (made by MJ) of a traditional Spanish corn omelet (kind of like what Americans think of as quiche), regional olives (SO GOOD), and I forgot what else. It was delicious and I am sure I ate more than my fair share. We talked and talked late into the evening. It was so awesome to be in a completely new country than I’d ever visited before; and even though I knew Chloe fairly well from her blog, there were still so many fascinating cultural differences we compared that I would’ve never learned about had I not met her in real life. (For example, in Spain [and most of Europe?] they wear their wedding rings on their right hand.)
It was delightful.
Now. This is where I’m really kicking myself for waiting so long to write this post: I honestly can’t remember exactly what we did next, or in what order. My time in Spain was so wonderful and I remember the highlights like it was yesterday, but by that point in my trip I’d stopped writing in my journal at the end of each day (stupid, stupid me), and it’s been months since I was there, so I’m not exactly sure I’ve gotten this in the right order. Chloe, if I get it wrong, please don’t feel bad!
Here’s what I do recall:
The next day MJ and Chloe took me around the most beautiful city centre of Seville, including the building pictured below that my nerdier blog readers might recognise from Star Wars (I don’t but I wish I did; I love Star Wars nerds):
The detail of the tiles and columns pretty much speak for themselves:
In France I wore this dress with leggings and a cardigan and froze. In Spain it was the coolest thing I owned, yet I still wished I could’ve torn off the sleeves and shortened it another 8 inches because I was so hot. So so so hot. (Are you getting that it was hot in Spain?)
And in Canada I’m getting ready to give it to Goodwill because it looks like sh*t on me. It was a mistake buying it.
Here’s one of the few pictures Chloe and I got together. Looking back I wish we’d taken more but I know why I didn’t: I was so hot and sweaty the entire time; I looked like hell and didn’t want to document it. Plus look at what a big fat giant I am standing next to petite miss Chloe! Not only am 1.5 heads taller than her but also I’m 1.5 widths of her. (Side note: CHLOE, HOW WERE YOU WEARING JEANS???)
I can’t remember why, but at one point in the morning MJ split off from Chloe and me, so we had a chance for some quality girl talk. We walked through a (shaded!) park and talked all about how we each had met our husbands, the stress of our weddings, family drama, blog drama, and even our different reasons for not drinking (Chloe’s was much funnier than mine—you should write a post about it some time, Chloe!).
I never saw a single cloud the whole time I was in Spain, BTW.
Later we went to this BREATHTAKING temple/garden called Alcatraz or Azkaban or something that starts with an A. Alhambra maybe? I could google it but it’s funnier to keep guessing:
Whatever it was called, it was GORGEOUS (and also shady). I vaguely remember that part of Christopher Columbus’s remains were there somewhere, and it made me laugh because we Americans always kind of think of Christopher Columbus as our own personal historical figure and completely forget that he’s actually pretty much 100% Spain’s.
It harkened back to Seville’s early Muslim (or was it Moroccan? Arabic? Are these all the same??) roots, which was neither something I knew ahead of time nor something I retained very well, clearly. But it was still lovely.
And then we wandered through this neighborhood of tiny narrow streets that were—wait for it—SHADY! It was at least 10° cooler in there and I never wanted to leave.
Also noteworthy were the pig hocks hanging from the butcher shops in the city.
And on display in the Carrefoure (supermarket, similar to a Target with groceries):
After that Chloe had to go to work so MJ and I toured Seville some more on foot.
We decided to try to find me some sandals to buy because all I had were white leather flats (which were really cute when I started the trip but got so filled with foot sweat after one day in Spain that my feet literally were slipping around in sloshy little sweat pools with every step I took [and quite frankly those shoes have never smelled right since; I threw them out as soon as I got home because I couldn’t stand the stench of them after that]). I never found quite what I was looking for but I did buy a $6.00 pair of plastic flip flops that at least helped the sweat air out a little bit (but sadly did nothing for either my physical appearance or my pediatric hygiene, given the fact that my feet were still sweaty and the streets of Spain are apparently dusty, see below):
MJ and I stopped for many water breaks and even one particularly delicious ice cream break that I still dream about today (my scoop of ice cream contained dark chocolate, cherries, and ROSE PETALS):
At the ice cream shop there were magazines scattered on the tables and I couldn’t help but notice the Spanish’s prolific admiration of both J.Lo’s bum and the word “Aarg,” (which, MJ explained, is pronounced kind of like a cat purring and is loosely translated as hubba hubba):
That evening when Chloe was finished with work we all met up with yet ANOTHER awesome blog friend, Irene (pronounced ee-DEHN-ay, not eye-REEN) for pizza:
We only took this one picture together, so I cherish it because it’s precious, but I also hate it because I look so frumpy and sweaty and they both look like sexy European goddesses. But look at me posting it anyway! The martyrdom!
While at the restaurant I used the washroom (partly to pee and partly to wash my feet) and could not find a lever, button, cord, or handle of any sort with which to flush the toilet. I had to leave it, go back to the table, and ask for help. It was mortifying but we sorted it out in the end.
As much as Chloe is sweet and shy, Irene is fiesty and outgoing. And as instantly as I loved Chloe, I also loved Irene. I had a blast listening to their hilarious banter and found myself wishing (yet again), I’d been born European. Or at least had European relatives to visit. I was so excited to have real, live friends in such exotic locales. And that’s how I felt: like both Irene, and Chloe (and yes! MJ too!) were my real, live friends.
It was still light out at 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. when we started heading home. I loved that this particular town got together and put sun shades up over the streets. Shade is clearly very important to me, I learned in Spain.
I was so tired by the end of the day that I literally collapsed into bed, which is what I feel like doing after writing this very long post about it.
The next day we hit the beach, where my dirty feet at least had a good excuse for being dirty, I slathered myself with so many reapplications of sunscreen that I was literally white from head to toe, and I had my first-ever experience seeing topless women sunning in real life.
This is an update of the amazing trip I took to Europe last summer. Slowly but surely I’m posting about every day I spent on that excellent continent. To read earlier updates, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. And here. And here and here and here and here.