Sunday, September 29, 2013


Can't get enough of these narrow European streets. There's just nothing like them in the states. Especially in Oklahoma!
This is the street that our apartment was on. It had the cutest little balcony and was located close to the gothic district.
Barcelona, Day 1
We rode the metro over to the Sagrada Familia. It is the craziest cathedral designed by Gaudi. You walk up the stairs from the metro and BAM! There it is. It has been in a constant state of construction since it was started and it won't be completed until at least 2027! 

Castle of Montjuic. This is like THE place to be in Barcelona at night. They have a fountain light show (kind of like the Venetian in Vegas) and then of course there is the castle! What an incredible sight!

Day 2
The next morning we stopped at a small panaderia for some custard filled croissants (yum!) and then we walked through the Parc Ciutadella. From there it was a short jaunt over to the city's Arc di Triomf.

It looks so Spanish with it's ornate red brick.

Then we took the metro and walked a long way up a big hill to the Parc Guell. It is the park that Gaudi designed. The park is terraced and goes up a huge hill. It was about twice as cool as I thought it would be. Lot's of mosaics, crazy buildings, sculptures and walkways.

After Parc Guell we shopped on the Rambla. It was so fun! We bought two fantastic suits for Grant, a couple of things for me and lots of adorable things for Leif at Zara. It started raining like crazy, so we ran to our apartment which was pretty close. We made the men do a little fashion show to music in their new duds while we waited for the rain to stop. When it finally stopped raining we walked through the Barri Gotica (Gothic Quarter) to the Catedral de Barcelona.

Catedral de Barcelona was built in the 1200s!! What?? I know.

This was part of the cloister in the back of the church. It was the most beautiful spot. 

We wandered through the Gothic District a little more and then walked back to La Rambla for a paella and tapas dinner. We walked down to the end of La Rambla to the Cristobal Colom circle and out onto the pier over the ocean. The boys almost bought several knock off items including: beats by Dre headphones, jerseys, Ray Bans, wallets, and watches. Then we walked the length of La Rambla and stopped for the most delicious gofres (the delicious waffle and ice cream delight that we first experienced in Menorca) and crepes.

Day 3 
Woke up really early and checked out of our place in Barcelona, stopped for some fresh pastries (duh.) and then drove to Montserrat.

There is an incredible church at the top of the mountain. We happened to be there on a Sunday and heard the most angelic choir of young boys singing in the abbey. 

There were little hiking trails everywhere! I vowed that next time we were there we would take enough time to hike around. We didn't quite have enough time to do so on this trip. :(
Next: On to Madrid!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Ohhhh Menorca, you are the island of my dreams. Ever since I met Mark and Grant the three of us talked about how one day, when Mark was married, the four of us would go to Menorca. I even wrote a blog post about it almost four years ago. I have daydreamed about this trip for six years, and I have to say it lived up to every expectation I had.
We, again, had some big struggles getting to Menorca. Our flight from Paris to Barcelona (where we had a very short layover) was delayed. Of course. As we were landing we literally had like 5 minutes to make it on our next flight, so Mark asked the flight attendant to call the gate and tell them we were coming. He also got off the plan very first and sprinted to the gate. We told him we'd grab his bags. Sam, Grant and I sprinted through the airport and made it to our gate!! We would be the very last ones of the plane, but we made it! We were so relieved.. until Mark asked where his backpack was. You see, we had grabbed his roller bag, but unlike everyone else in the world he didn't keep his tiny backpack under his seat. He left it in a different overhead bin. Anyway, it was obviously a big miscommunication. We begged the gate agent to let him run back to the other gate for it, but they had already held the plane for us and they were behind schedule. Grant and I had to get on the plan without Mark and Sam because they said there weren't enough seats on the next flight for all four of us, maybe not even for two! As we're being ushered down the jetway, Mark is frantically trying to find the rental car info, so that Grant and I can save some time and pick the car up. We didn't get the rental car info in time, so we boarded the flight to Menorca sans Mark and Sam, rental car info, but don't worry I accidentally took Sam's bag instead of mine. It was utter chaos..
We landed in Mao (where the airport in Menorca is) and waited for Mark and Sam for only an hour. Oh man, it could have been so much worse. The problem was, (haha I should say problemS because we had about a million of them) that we had told Maria, the lady whose condo we were renting, that we would be there at a certain time. We also had told one of Mark's converts from his mission that we would come to their house for dinner. Well, obviously that time had come and gone. I felt so bad for Mark. There were literally five things that he needed to do and only he could do them and they had to be done RIGHT THEN. He had to give Grant directions on how to get to Ciutadella (on the other side of the island), he had to call Maria and figure out how to get the key to our place, and he had to coordinate with his Menorcan friends on when we would get to their apartment for a very very very late dinner.
Amazingly, everything worked out and we ended up at dinner with Mark's friends at midnight! They were so nice to have us! They made us the most delicious meal of paella, Menorcan meat and cheese plate and little Menorcan cookies and ice cream for dessert. They were the most gracious people. I can't believe how nice they were to us. They obviously love Mark to death.

The next morning the sun rose and we got to see the beautiful island! We stayed in a gorgeous condo on the cliffs right outside of Ciutadella. The place was incredible! Our first day we rented bikes and rode all over the island. 

We rode out to a gorgeous lighthouse on the sea cliffs. To get there we had to ride through miles of gorgeous farmland. It was like a dream! 

Then we rode over to Calla en Brute where we spent the afternoon cliff jumping and swimming the perfectly clear Mediterranean. 

I would be perfectly happy to live in Menorca forever.

Here is the gorgeous view from our condo. We made dinner one night and ate out on our balcony. I think it was one of the most enjoyable meals of the trip. You just can't beat that view.

The church in the main square of Ciutadella. This was right after mine and Sam's search for the perfect Menorcan sandal!

I couldn't get enough of the tiny cobblestone streets. Also, isn't Samantha just the most gorgeous!
Our second morning we had my favorite meal of the trip. They are called gofres and it's essentially a sweetened waffle with gelato on top. Are you kidding me? It was seriously the best thing of my life. 
The perfect Sant Tomas beach. We swam out to that big rock in the background and jumped in. If Menorca hasn't already been crowned the cliff jumping capital of the world, it should be.

After the beach we drove to the highest point on the island, Monte Toro. From there we had a great view of almost the whole island. Also, there was a pretty church and statue of Christ at the top.

From there we went to visit another one of Mark's favorite families. We visited at their house for a while. None of them could speak very good English, so Mark was nice and tried to translate as much as he could and the rest of the time we communicated in broken Spanglish! It was good practice! :) They decided to show us a couple of their favorite spots on the island. 

Binibeca Vell. 

The gorgeous whitewashed village of Binibeca Vell. It almost looks pink from the sunset.

We had a contest to see who (between the three of us - Mark, Sam and I) could swim out the furthest. Turns out Mark was the winner because he's the only one that didn't get stung by jellyfish. YOUUUCH! 

One last back flip before we headed to the airport!