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!

 

 

Boston, Massachusetts- June 2017

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Let me start this one by saying I love my friends and family. They support me and my crazy. Truly, I am blessed.  When I decided to buy tickets to see my “boyfriend” perform in Boston, plane tickets were immediately booked. I think it was more so they could watch me drool, more then anything.  I LOVE Leslie Odom, Jr. He’s not my “boyfriend”, as he has a beautiful wife. And besides, I moved on this his piano guy, Michael Mitchell. More on that later.

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Leslie was performing with the Boston Pops. Couple that with the opportunity to see my favorite German. DONE!  I loved my friend’s Bruce’s answer, “is there a question?” It was a corporate event, so I ended up with 10 tickets.  Enter in my super supportive friends, Natasha, Jan, Carrie, Nick, Michelle, Beth, Rob, Megan and Drew. What a night.

It was pretty amazing. Watch the piano guy. That is Michael Mitchell.  Hmmm…… Again, back off Beth, he’s mine. Lucky for him, I was still in my boot, or I would have rushed the stage!  The finale was super cool. They performed the Star Spangled Banner. And since we were inside they released balloons.

The owner of the New England Patriots was a guest conductor for the last song.  So Pat the Patriot came out. My friend, Carrie, has the biggest crush on Tom Brady.  When I saw Pat come out, I thought she was going to launch herself off the balcony.

We actually did a little sightseeing in Boston as well. It was actually a really nice visit.

Stay tuned…… Safe Travels!

 

Adventures in Australia- May 2017

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My little accident resulted in me having to cancel my planned trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Since I was not planning on being in Brisbane, I decided to head to Melbourne for a change of scenery.  I booked into the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.  It turns out that was a blessing in disguise. I was practically unable to walk.The poor staff had to put up with me whining for the week. They were fantastic! Once the managers, Jessica, felt bad that I was missing my trip to Vietnam. So she arranged for Vietnam to come to me. Best hotel stay EVER!  Even if the lounge staff was trying to force feed me bananas and yogurt.

My Australian parents, Jenny and John, were heading off a 7 week trip of the world. So as one does, I decided to join them on the first leg of their trip. I actually surprised them at the airport, and flew with them to Sydney. I do sort of admit this is taking Bon Voyage a little too far.  But hey why not?

For some reasons, the hotel rates in Sydney are really high. So I used my points to book into the Park Hyatt Sydney. Big Mistake!  I got lucky and they gave me an upgrade. The pictures show just how horrible it was……

That view…… so funny thing the hotel is only 4 stories. I was on the 2nd floor.  When I woke up I opened curtains and saw this. I sat up to take a picture. I had no regard for the fact people walking right below could see me clearly. Oh well.

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At the end of May, I was scheduled to fly back to Chicago. I was booked on Qantas to Sydney, then United to LA then Chicago.  I am not a fan of the day time flying, so I did not sleep much night before. Plus I had a 6:00 am departure.  By the time I arrived on the United flight to LA, I was ready for a nap. We were originally delayed for 30 mins, then it was hour and then well, 4 hours later, it cancelled.  United was AMAZING.  Seriously, I was laughing with the flight attendants and the ground crew.  It was not ideal, but they made it fun. And the best part? I got to go to Vivid Sydney with my friend Madison.

52 hours later, I arrived in Chicago. I went to follow up with my Dr. regarding my broke ankle. I ended up back in the ER, again. I had developed a blood clot, that was the horrible pain I had in Melbourne. Let this be a lesson, GOOGLE is not a doctor. Don’t be stupid, if you don’t feel right. Seek medical attention immediately. I am not being funny.  Seriously, my clot is pretty much my whole leg. I am currently taking blood thinners and I have to wear a compression hose.  It’s not fun.  So my PSA, if in doubt get checked. Don’t trust google.

Until next time, Safe Travels!