Here are some more pictures from my trip to Spain this last September. After leaving Barcelona we flew to the island of Mallorca. It’s a really short (less than one hour) flight from Barcelona and could easily be a weekend trip from the mainland. Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands; it’s more well know neighbor is the party island Ibiza. We spent 3 days on the island, staying in the old medieval capital, Palma. Palma was larger and more urban than I imagined, with all the modern conveniences of beach front restaurants, department stores, farmers markets and easy public transportation. My favorite part of the trip was taking a 1920s train from downtown Palma to the beach town of Soller. Soller is nestled in the Serra de Tramontana mountain range, an area travel guides had recommended visiting, and since we didn’t rent a car we thought that the train would be the best way to explore Mallorca. It rained during our day in Soller but cleared up right before we left, just in time for us to get an epic view of the mountains.
I’m home now after two weeks of holiday in Spain. Half of our vacation was spent exploring Barcelona, a city I had never been to but was eager to visit. I have heard many things about Barcelona – both good and bad – and have many friends who did not like the city and wouldn’t go back. It may seem strange to be eager to go someplace where the reviews weren’t glowing, but the truth is I was curious to see how I would feel about the city. Some places I’ve traveled to have been raved up by everyone I know (and everyone I don’t know, for that matter too) and when I went there I was left wanting, underwhelmed and flat. So Barcelona seemed like a risk, a wild card, where anything could happen. Well I LOVED Barcelona! And by loved, I mean that I could see myself living there. The architecture is incredible, the fashion and shopping is amazing, and the cuisine some of my all-time favorite food I’ve had in Europe (I’m a big seafood fan so I was blissed out in food heaven the whole time!). Most importantly, I found the city warm, vibrant and diverse. In many ways Barcelona reminded me of San Francisco with its similar carefree, and eclectic quality to it’s people. We stayed in an apartment near the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, which was within walking distance of the gothic quarter, the waterfront and the underground train. But Barcelona is also like SF in that so much can be explored by walking (with the added bonus of the city being flat!) so we would stroll all day and visit stores and restaurants that caught our eye.
With my imminent trip to Spain, I’ve started to get nostalgic of past holidays spent in Europe. Here are some pictures of northern Italy, almost exactly 6 years ago.It had been two years since my internship in Tuscany when I made my way back to Italy. This time I traveled up north to Riva de Garda, a small town right along the banks of Lago de Garda. It was marvelous to travel to another part of Italy that looked very different than the region I knew so intimately. Being back in Italy felt so good; a time to practice my Italian and indulge in all the foods I had missed. Riva is very small, you can see everything in a few days, but there are tons of surrounding towns that are a quick bike or ferry ride away. And its compact quality has a lot of charm; you can easily get to know your local grocer or settle into a pattern of afternoon dips in the lake.
It’s summertime and the urge to go to the mountains is so strong it’s hard to resist. Growing up I would spend summer break at my grandparents cabin in South Lake Tahoe. I carried the tradition into adulthood, and still try to go whenever I get the chance. When I’m not there what I miss most is the smell of the trees and pine needles crunching underneath my feet, and the excitement of seeing the lake for the first time as we drive into South Lake.
(My photos are of some of my favorite places: Fallen Leaf Lake at dusk, Emerald Bay by canoe, summer lupines in South Lake and views from Lily Lake )
Sometimes the desire to move back to a beach town is so strong, it hurts. Especially when we’ve had a month of thick fog in San Francisco with no end to the cold in sight.