Melbourne, Australia-August 2017

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After a very rocky start, I have become to love Melbourne. When my friend, Katherine, who lives in Sydney, mentioned that she has never been, I suggested that we do a girl’s weekend.  Have I mentioned how much I love the Grand Hyatt Melbourne? Seriously if you are heading to Melbourne, this should be your first choice. Book a club level room, and be spoiled by the amazing lounge staff.

As what usually happens with trips like this, we start out with like 10 people and end up with 4. And we wonder what we were thinking inviting anyone else in the first place. I was flying down from Brisbane and arrived before the others. I “cheated” and hit up my one of my favourite shops, Tiffany Treloar, with the promise to wait to buy for when the girls were with me. We had grand ideas going on a tour or something, but in the end we barely made it off Collins St.  We appropriately started off with champagne and macaroons.

Followed by some serious and I do mean, serious shopping……

Love that Katherine’s boyfriend was such a good sport about shopping with the ladies.  We headed off to Rockpool at the Crown Casino. If you know Melbourne, you know that the Crown is huge entertainment complex,  but really there is a like one main entrance. Our taxi driver insisted that there were 5 Crown’s in Melbourne and we needed to be very specific about where we were going. We gave him the exact address and even then insisted that it was not sufficient.  He then started making racist comments.  Note to the wise, I would avoid Melbourne taxis, if at possible.

The weekend was just what the doctor ordered, good friends, good food and lots and lots of laughs. I hope to be able to repeat it again in the future.

Until next time.. Safe Travels!

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London, England-July 2017

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London with my Ladybug, yes please!

After Brussels, I headed over to London to meet up my cousin and her family. We had grand plans of attending Adele’s final show at Wembley Stadium. The concert that cancelled. Ok, moving on.

On my previous trip to London, my friend Katy and I took tourist shots with red umbrellas. I thought it would be fun to take tourist shots with my favorite bug.  And well it was not raining and she’s 2, I was lucky she even took the umbrella from me in the first place. IMG_2940

Despite the fact it was sunny and the concert was cancelled, we manage to have quite a nice visit in London. We took a boat cruise along the Thames and tried to pop into the Palace to Hello to the Queen, but she was just not receiving visitors that day.  And of course we had the requisite fish and chips.

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And somehow, I managed to do even more shopping then I could have imagined. This resulted in me having to purchase a new tote bag to get all my loot back to the States . #travelfail ( one should always leave enough room in their bag for spare purchases).

All in all, London was great! Especially nice to to experience it with family. I hope to get to have more trips like this again in the future.

But sorry Adele, not sure that I will fly over again to attempt to hear you sick. Oh who I am kidding, of course I would!

Until next time………

Brussels, Belgium- June 2017

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The whole purpose of this European adventure was to attend my cousin’s wedding.  My entire immediate family flew over, as well as several members of my extended family.
I had an early morning flight out of Seville. I always think that an early flight is good when I am booking it, but so stupid when I actually have to take it. The nice lady that helped with my missing bags on my way in was working again on my outbound flight.
She remembered me, and politely suggested I take my bags on the plane.  I don’t blame the flight attendant for not wanting to help me, stupid weight about 40 pounds.

After 105 degrees in Spain, Brussels felt chilly at 72.  With my entire family being in town, I took the coward’s way out and booked a different hotel. This was to guarantee I didn’t have to share my bed with my nephews, aka. little moneys.

I got lucky one morning, and I got to hang out with this guy.IMG_1350-2

I asked him if he wanted to find a bar and drink champagne. He looked at me in horror and said it’s 10:00 am. I said how am I your daughter? He countered with let’s go shopping. Love you, Dad!

Overall had fun hanging with the family. Too soon it was time for the next part of my trip. Next stop London. Stay tuned.

 

Gibraltar-June 2017

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There is family of wild monkeys alive and well in Europe. In case you were wondering they live on the rock in Gibraltar. They are Barbary Macaques and the only wild monkey to be found in Europe. For the most part they will leave you alone, but not everyone is comfortable with wild monkeys running around.  I mean somebody was like a scared school girl… ( Love you, Jon)

Gibraltar is located at the southern tip of Spain. It’s an overseas British Territory.  And it felt a like like we were walking into an Austin Powers movie.  It takes about 2 minutes to cross the border, and it was like opposite word. Some cars have steering wheels on the side. And you need Pounds not Euro’s. But be careful getting too many pounds. They are issued by the Bank of Gibraltar and will not be accepted in United Kingdom.

We had a nice lunch along water and then took a trip up the rock.

We just grabbed a taxi, but maybe that not the best idea. Because when we were done, good luck finding a taxi to take you back. So piece of advice, if you are doing a day trip, I would just do a tour.  But if you do opt to go against my advice. Here is the contact information for local taxi companies.

IMG_1334So how did we end up in Gibraltar? Well Jon and Lesley were headed down to Costa del Sol, to Marbella.   Since we driving down from Seville,  we figured we would stop and check it out.  It was interesting day trip. I would recommend it if you are in the area, but probably would not make a destination.

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Seville, Spain- June 2017

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Oh the joys of travel.  I sometimes wonder what I am I thinking when I look at my schedule. Then I remember life is meant to be lived and for me that means traveling the world.
My friends, Lesley and Jon, had booked their bi-annual vacation to Spain. My cousin was getting married in Brussels around the same time. So when they asked if I would be interested in meeting them, it was not really a question.
Jon and I were texting trying to work out the details. What a mess, I was planning on being in the wrong cities on the wrong days. I highly recommend picking up the phone and having an actual conversation when travel plans are involved.

When the dust settled my itinerary would, Seville, Spain for 4 nights, Brussels, Belgium for 3 nights and London for 4 nights. I have to be honest this trip was a bear to book. In part because of the different cities, and transport between them.  Waiting for the last minute to book a trip to Europe during high season, proved to not be the best idea.  My outbound flights were Chicago to Boston to Madrid to Seville. Which would have been fine, but my ankle was still broken.

My trip started out with drama. I had requested a wheelchair in Chicago. I waited 30 minutes and it never showed up. I finally was told to walk because my flight was about to board.  Luckily the flight was delayed and I was able to make it on time. Then I arrive in Boston, more wheelchair drama. And yet another flight delay. Upon arrival in Madrid, gold star if you guess wheelchair drama. I had to wait an hour, because it was a 20 minute walk and I was in pain.  I should have walked. Upon arrival in Seville. I have no bags. Apparently they did not think I was on the flight due to the wheelchair drama.

I arrive at my hotel only to be told that of course my room is not ready.  Perhaps I want to out by the pool?  It was 105 outside!  IMG_1198

I had traveled in pants and I wanted to change. So  I hit the local department store, El Cortes Ingles.  I also remember that my credit card (Citibank Prestige) has a baggage delay insurance that cover me purchasing any necessities.  2 new dresses and some really expensive sunscreen later, I got my cocktail on. Promptly followed by a very serious nap.

Jon and Lesley arrived early the next day and off we went sightseeing.

Seville is quite compact and easily walkable.  We started by heading over to Plaza de Espansa. Followed by Plaza de Museo where a weekly art market is held.  We also checked the Seville Cathedral.  As previously mentioned it was insanely hot. I was still rocking a compression sock and a ankle brace. I was melting. Jon and Lesley stood in a line for about 10 minutes and realized that there was a handicap entrance. No shame, if meant I did not have to stand in that heat.  My polka dot sock meant we got to skip the line!  And then we did what the Spaniards are famous for, we took a siesta. Well we went swimming. Honestly it was so hot, there was really nothing more to do.

More sightseeing the next day, including an early morning tour of Real Alcazar de Sevilla, a tour in horse drawn carriage and a boat tour. Followed by afternoon siesta in the pool. And a lot of Tinto de Verano’s.

Seville is great town. I would visit again, but probably not in the height of summer, or with a broken ankle. I am not a fan of high heat. And a broken ankle is not ideal for buying shoes. I would also have liked to see more in the nearby towns.

Stay tuned for more…. until next time safe travels!