Hello, ciao, yassou, guten tag, olâ, السلام عليك, hoi!
That would be english, italian, german, greek, arabic and dutch, representing the last 25 days of my life! It was an absolutely fantastic trip from beginning to end, as always over a little too soon, but all good things must come to an end sooner or later.
The trip started off with a bang with the opportunity to travel with my parents, introduce my Dad to Europe and share some of what my life was like for the 7 1/2 months I was away the previous year. It was a treat to be back in Rome, surrounded by the wonderful history and culture, and the food… oh the food.
Shortly after that we made our way to Elba to celebrate the wedding of my cousin, and now cousin-in-law, Laura and Matteo. A truly wonderful occasion, I’m so glad we got to share in their celebration. The opportunity to hang out on a gorgeous island with our family was such a huge bonus too – it’s so often that we’re only together for a few hours a year, which isn’t really much more than a “meet and greet” hi how are ya kind of thing, so it was great to really spend time together.
The stunning wedding didn’t hurt 🙂
After that a quick jaunt off to Greece was fantastic, still with my parents. New to both Mom & Dad, they got to experience some of the stunning sights that Greece has to offer, including one of the beautiful islands. And again, the food… oh the food!
After parting ways I got to spend almost a week in Switzerland visiting one of my awesome host sisters, Jana. It was so cool to meet and spend time with her wonderful family, and experience the stunning Switzerland, or at least a little piece of it. I’ve still got lots left to see, as she pointed out to me 😉 Jana’s sister Nina took me for a little climb……. up a mountain! Truly an unforgettable experience, and one of those little reminders that I’m a little more sporty than I sometimes give myself credit for. :p
From there I got to return to one of my favourite places ever – could have easily spent a week there just relaxing and visiting the different nearby cities – Lisbon, Portugal! A 23 hour stopover, super relaxed, super beautiful… ahhh it was so nice. Wonderful to be back, even if just for a short time.
Then the interesting part began… Marrakech, Morocco. Which I’ve finally learned how to spell. I get it right… 85% of the time. It’s not Merrakech, not Marrakesh, it’s Marrakech. And two c’s on Morocco. Not two r’s.
Anyway, fantastic experience, actually recommended to me by Laura. Beautiful Riad to stay in, very interesting country, very interesting culture, and such a different visual experience than Europe or home. Very little greenery, which really can surprise you. It was a really neat experience, and opened the door to Africa for me! Is a Safari next…????
And then last but not least, a quick stop over in the Netherlands… an overnight sleep in an airport, for the first time. A beautiful walk through Amsterdam before the crowds woke up. Some one on one time with Laura. Some awesome bike rides and walks through the amazing city that is Den Haag. A cool random meetup with one of my iRYLA friends who just happened to be in The Hague for the same few days I was…. perfect end to a wonderful trip.
I fully realize how lucky I am to be able to travel like this, to be on this trip, to spend time with the amazing people that I know around the world. Travel has truly opened my eyes and expanded my horizons, and I would encourage every single person to travel while you can! Drop what you’re doing, save, borrow whatever, and spend some time traveling. If you’ve never left the country, get out!
My favourite travel quotes this time around…
“Tourists carry maps, travelers carry curiousity” – Air Canada
“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and I remember more than I have seen” – Benjamin Disraeli
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” – Leonardo di Vinci
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going” – Paul Theroux
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself” – Danny Jaye
And that’s it! There’s the trip! All over… but the memories live on 🙂
Till next time…