Sorry its taken me a bit to do my European travel round up... time ran away at the end of year as it continues to do! So Part I , here it is!
To end my 2016 I had an amazing adventure around Europe. Planes, trains and automobiles- 10 days in France, Belgium, Spain and back to France. Road trips, wide open beautiful countryside covered in vines, the Mediterranean Sea, streets of Barcelona. sleeping in the oldest Medieval Castle in France and the sparking Eiffel Tower outside my window. To say the trip was good would be an understatement.
For me, travel, by far, is my greatest source of inspiration. Being in a different atmosphere than your everyday, getting outside of your comfort zone, enjoying another culture and I am so lucky to get the opportunity to do that!
We started the trip in Sainghin, my boyfriend's home town. Quaint and country. I found myself meandering old cobblestone stone side streets, ancient churches and I knew I was the only American for miles. It is a very small town outside of Paris and I was mostly taken by what I saw in terms of the architecture. All of the homes were very traditional stone, but new builds were popping up in the middle of farms that were wholly modern. The black steel and wide open windows in stark contrast to the traditional surroundings. And I loved it. I also love and noticed everywhere the French philosophy of repurpose. My boyfriend's family home has been in his family for generations and it has been built on, added to, converted, creating a warm and unique atmosphere where everything is worthy of saving.
Next stop a trip to Bruges and Ghent. Drinking hot wine along the winding canals I took in these fortress like cities made more for walking than cars. And dont worry of course I had a waffle!
The next day we flew to Toulouse and I have to say I wished I had more time to enjoy this city. It was pouring rain, so we hid out most of the time in a cafe, but did venture out a bit under the arcade. And the pink city did not disappoint. I have always been a fan of those "big little cities." Maybe thats why I love San Francisco so much! Toulouse felt like that. Meandering and green set atop drifting rivers. Modern and old in the perfect mix, a vibrant outdoor scene and who doesnt love an carousel! I intend to go back and spend a few more days there to really take in the beauty that is there.
Road trip! Unbeknownst to me I had a surprise in store on our way from France to Spain. Sleeping in a beautiful castle in Carcasonne. It was raining when we left Toulouse and as the old walled city lights came into view our little car got closer and closer, until I was told that the hotel was inside the castle! Score! Our adventure to actually get into the hotel was very Woody Allen, trying to drive our mini Euro car on tiny winding roads that were never made for cars, waiting for a bellhop to arrive in the pouring rain and finally arriving to the magnificent hotel in the old walled city.
Part II- Espana and Paris! I cant wait to show you around El Nacional, my favorite place in Barcelona! In the meantime I am heading to Tulum next week. Check out my pinterest board as my plan my warm weather vacation!