Thursday Thoughts: Starting the Trip of a Lifetime!

2 weeks ago I was sitting in a fancy hotel room in Vancouver, Canada, waiting for the anticipated flight to Paris, France. Now, I am sitting in an apartment in Barcelona, Spain with a handful of stories already under my belt. Where do I even begin?

Here I am, enjoying Europe. This trip is just getting started.

I honestly can’t believe I left everything behind. It feels so refreshing. I brought a small suitcase, which I left in Paris, and a big red backpack stuffed to the max. Everyone told me to travel light but seeing as how I may hit some different climates along the way I did not pack light at all. My backpack is pretty heavy so luckily I don’t have to carry it too far. With cabs to and from airports, I just have to worry about my smaller carry-on bags while I’m traveling around.

Paris and Barcelona in the winter are exactly the same climates as winter back home in Victoria. It’s a bit rainy, windy and there’s a slight chill in the air. Luckily the sun has made an appearance a few times.

My best friend, Lisa, has been by my side the whole way and we’ve had the Trip of a Lifetime! We’ve seen The Louvre,  The Eiffel Tower and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. We’ve also discovered the impressive Sagrada Família Cathedral, Park Güell and the beautiful beaches of Barcelona. Our feet have ached and our sleep comes early, but it’s been worth every second. Each day tells a different story. The faces we see and the paths we take change on the regular. Ah, the joys of traveling. Long line ups have definitely tested my patience but it is nothing I haven’t experienced before.

I feel more ready this time around. It’s been smooth sailing for most of the trip. A lot of people speak English and with a bit of broken French and Spanish; it’s easy to get around. Groceries and the everyday bottle of wine costs much less than I would have thought. The most expensive thing is accommodation. Fortunately, I have not had to pay much towards my temporary housing during the trip thus far. I have had an exponential amount of luck and people who care about me to generously put me in a safe and comfortable living situation at their own expense.

dsc_0007From the Eiffel Tower to the famous masterpiece, Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí, we have checked so many items off the bucket list. I feel so privileged to be able to travel to the fullest and cherish each moment like no other.

Now I can say I’ve dipped my feet in the Mediterranean Sea. I can reminisce about the views from atop the Eiffel Tower overlooking Paris. I can brag about the warm sun on my face on Christmas Eve in Barcelona Square. That is if the sun comes out again tomorrow.

 

Until next time, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday! Wherever you are; enjoy all of it. 🙂 Stay tuned for more stories of the long-awaited trip to Europe.

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From Montezuma to Turtle Island- A ‘MUST DO’ Day Trip!

~Montezuma is a glorious little fishing town on the Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera gives you your first glimpse at the beauty of this area and from Paquera, it’s about a 25-minute drive to Montezuma. Unless you’re taking the local bus, then it takes a lot longer.

The town is a mixture of locals and backpackers who travel from all over the world to see the incredible beaches, waterfalls, and rivers that envelop Montezuma. The village hosts mainly accommodations, restaurants and tourist shops because of the high volume of Eco-tourists who visit.

On a hike through the surrounding forest to one of the waterfalls, we ran into some squeaky little Capuchin monkeys jumping around in the trees. One of the monkeys came pretty close to us to show us his teeth and make it known that it was his home we were parading through. The little guy was adorable, but I kept my distance once he started showing his tiny fangs. They may be cute but I wouldn’t want to mess with any of them.

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The Must-Do day trip to Turtle Island, aka Isla Tortuga en Español, is an adventure you will never forget. With astonishing views of the Pacific Ocean and the Nicoya Peninsula, this trip does not disappoint. Most of the tours that go out to Turtle Island include snorkeling, scuba diving, a delicious lunch and great company from local tour guides and fellow travelers. It’s a pretty bumpy 45 minute boat ride to paradise but well worth it. If you are lucky enough to come across the ocean life that dwell around the area you may also meet sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays and whales as well. Once you arrive at the volcanic rock reef for your underwater excursions, you will discover a handful of colorful fish and tropical wonders under the waves near the island.

The island itself is absolutely pristine with tall palm trees, a white sandy shore, and serene blue water. Since the island is surrounded by volcanic rock formations, the water is so calm you can relax in the warm ocean as you take in the scenery without having to worry about large waves or riptides pulling you away. There’s something about water when it’s at a standstill that soothes you into a tranquil state.

The crew took our group snorkeling around a small rocky island where we spotted bright blue and yellow fish. There were also orange and white striped clown fish as well that looked exactly like Nemo!

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We were served fresh coconut and pineapple all day long and the sun was incredibly hot I must have slathered on a few layers of sunscreen before the day was over. Then a big lunch of chicken, fried potatoes and rice filled our bellies as we basked in the cool shade of the sky-high palm trees.

I would’ve stayed there forever and a day if I could…

A journey to remember 🙂