Tag: travel

Valencia, Spain Day 2 and 3

spain beach day 2Day 2 and 3 have come and gone here in Valencia and they can be defined by one word- BEACH!!! I’m sure some people would be up in arms at my missing out on cultural attractions and historical landmarks but aside from seeing my sister the reason I came on this vacation is to go to the beach. (Today we should be getting more of those cultural attractions). It’s also been so hot that all I really want to do is be at the beach.

Day 2 we went to a beach called Pinedo Beach.  It is close to where I went on day 1 but a little more crowded. I’d like to find that beach from the first day because I think it was still the nicest I have been to yet.

This time Anna and Steve were able to join me at the beach and we had a great time together. These beaches are different than what you get in Hawaii- more of a commercial feel but it is still beautiful and tons of fun!

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When we got home Anna made Italian food, we talked and then crashed! I still haven’t adjusted to the time zone change yet and have fallen asleep very early each night I’ve been here.  That’s probably why it is 6 am and I am writing this post right now. I am also finding it a bit hard to sleep with the heat. It’s just tough to deal with being hot all the time.

I have started to get more sun despite my best attempts. I think it just goes with the territory when you are the beach a lot. Everyone gets a little pink.

sunburnThe next day was Sunday so I went to church on my own.  That was an interesting experience attending sacrament meeting without understanding a single word that was spoken.

church in spainThen I ducked into some little shops which was really fun to interact with the local Spanish people.  So far I haven’t had any real Spanish food yet but everything I’ve had has been delicious. There is a pastry shop close to my sisters that was a lot of fun to try the various treats.

spain treatsWe were all so overheated we decided to go to the beach again but this time went to Playa de la Patacoma. This is a very crowded beach but it had nice big waves that were very fun to play with.

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I almost wished I’d had a surfboard but it was fun to use my safe swimmer and ride the waves a little bit. I think you can see in these videos how strong the waves were.  It was great!

We were all pretty tired out from the strong waves and 3 days of sun but it was still a wonderful time.

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After the beach I started to notice I had been bitten by something in the ocean. This of course concerned me especially with how purple it appeared.  I didn’t want it to have some kind of venom that would really hurt me.

biteBut Anna and I went to a pharmacy and got some gel with antihistamine and pain relief qualities. It has already helped a lot.

spain day 3Between the bite and having more than a little bit of redness from the sun we may not do a beach day today. I think it is good to give your body one day to heal and then be ready for the next day! Like I said we are going to the market today and that should be very fun.

I hope you all have a Happy 4th of July holiday and we will be celebrating America one way or another here in Spain!

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Valencia, Spain Day 1

The first day in Valencia has come and gone and I am tuckered out! (If I fall asleep while typing this you will understand why when you hear all I have been doing!)

First a quick update on my day of travel to get here. So I was pretty nervous about the long flights. Being a bigger girl I usually try to get an upgraded seat but it wasn’t an option for this flight. It was just too expensive. Part of my apprehension came from a bad experience I had a few years ago where a woman made a scene because I had to sit next to her.  It was very embarrassing. Anyway, I was nervous something like that would happen and the flight would be a nightmare.

Well, it was a long, exhausting day of travel but luckily nothing too terrible happened.  It was uncomfortable and things were definitely tight but I made it through. The Paris airport was a maze and very overwhelming- probably the  most complicated airport I have ever seen in my life. But after 16 hours of travel I made it to Valencia and my sister Anna was there to greet me. What a nice smiling face to see! spain day4Once we got to my sister’s apartment we went to thai food of all things. Despite it being after 6 pm none of the restaurants were open.  I have learned quickly that you have to eat late in Spain! 9 pm is the opening time for some of these restaurants.

After dinner I had been going on 48 hours with no sleep and my body felt it, so we went home and crashed. I woke up early in the morning because of the jetlag and then Anna and her boyfriend Steve and I went to a neighboring restaurant for a baguette sandwich that was fine but kind of boring. After that Anna and Steve both had to work/go to class so I was on my own.  I took a taxi to the beach and as you can see from this photograph was in heaven!

DSCF0012I was a little nervous about going to the beach by myself because I didn’t want anything to happen to my stuff but I put my phone and other valuables in my safe swimmer which kept everything dry. There was a man selling chair and ‘umbrella’ space and that was well worth it. I got to enjoy the sun and ocean without being over-exposed to it. I was in heaven!

spain day1 spain day3Here is a little video clip I took of me in the water!

I stayed at the beach for 5 hours and loved every minute of it.  The water was the perfect temperature and it wasn’t too crowded to make it unfun.

Then I went and met Steve for dinner but again everything was closed so we ended up going to Burger King of all places but I was so hungry it didn’t really matter.

Once we finished dinner we met up with my sister for a concert of salsa music.  It was so much fun and made me feel right at home in Spain.

DSCF0028 DSCF0042Here’s a clip of some of the music.

A bunch of couples started dancing along which was fun to see!

Here is Anna and I at the City of Arts and Sciences building where the concert took place.

anna and rachelFinally we made our way home and I am one tired gal!

So that was the travel and my first day in Spain. What a busy great way to start out my trip! More updates to come

News and Updates

Hey guys! I just wanted to give you a quick update as Memorial Day is coming to a close. I hope you had a great day! I am happy to inform you I am pretty much healed from my illness of the last 2 weeks. It was brutal but I’m so grateful for all the support I had. If there’s one thing a tough experience can teach you it is it shows you all the love you have in your life. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers.

I have some fun news to share with you! The first exciting news has to do with the church congregation I go to. I have done my fair share of complaining on this blog about my family wards and how out of place I feel. Unfortunately it was my only option because I was too old for the YSA singles ward and the midsingles ward was 30 minute drive and that wasn’t going to happen. Well, I am so excited to announce that we are getting a midsingles ward in Draper!!!!  They announced it last week and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  It is going to start up right away with a fireside to be held on Sunday and the first meeting on June 12th!

This does have its downside because the ward will be massive- containing singles 31-45 from 28 stakes in the Sandy and Draper area. I am sure I will feel somewhat lost but as I already feel that way in the family ward at least there is some potential to make friends/date. Currently my life has little opportunities to meet new people so I am most excited for activities/Family Home Evening and other gathering times in the new ward. It should help my social circle at least a little bit (hey even if I meet one additional person that is a plus!)

midsingles

The other drawback is I will lose my home teachers, The Porters, who I love very much. Hopefully we can still stay in touch because they are only 2 houses down from me but I will miss their visits. They are the coolest people I know and so warm and accepting of me with all my flaws. I could talk to them for hours and have on a more than a few occasions.

Other than that I am excited to at least try something new. Hooray!

The other exciting news is I had to get my passport because I am going to Spain for the beginning of July!  I will be visiting my sister Anna in Valencia, Spain. I was determined to go to the beach this summer and she was there so I figured why not take advantage of it? I don’t know much about the area but am doing research. It looks like a neat place with beautiful water, which is most important to me.

valenciaI have been to Europe since I was in high school and haven’t been anywhere aside from a Mexican cruise since 2005! I am very excited.

I also don’t think I will be swimming the GSL race this year. It was a very hard decision for me but this recent illness finally sealed the deal. I just don’t think I will be strong enough Saturday to take that on. It’s so hard on my body with the salty water that it just doesn’t make sense. (It pains me to write that and a side of me still wants to do it. Darn it all!).

Anyway, that’s my news. I hope you are all doing well.  Let me know what you think!

Peachtree Food Tours

P1070018Today I had a lot of fun on my first day of traveling here in Atlanta.  I went on a food tour called Peachtree Food Tours.  It was something new and different and a very pleasant way to get to see Atlanta and eat some very yummy food!

The tour is led by John Hannula and he lives on Peachstreet in Midtown and is very well versed in the neighborhood, history, architecture and everything else.  We ended up going to 6 different spots and one bonus and while it was a little more walking than I had at first thought I had a very good time.

It started at the Varsity Diner a massive local hot spot where we tried some orange shake and peach pies.

P1050994 P1050992Then we walked about 4 blocks to a beautiful old building that houses the Georgian Terrace Hotel and a restaurant called Livingston.  We got to enjoy the southern classic shrimp and grits.

P1070004 P1070003I was with 2 other patrons and the tour guide Daschelle and Doug and our tour guide.  They were all very friendly and I enjoyed spending the afternoon with them.  There were some beautiful buildings on our way to the various stops including a couple lovely churches and the Margaret Mitchell house.

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Fox theater is an Atlanta landmark
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Margaret Mitchell house
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This was a very pretty church
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Fed reserve

Then we went to Cyprus Street Pint and Pub for a wild hamburger tasting with a burger with a donut for a roll.   That was pretty nuts to have a donut on a burger but it did add a layer of flavor that was pretty delicious.

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P1070009Next up was a little bit healthy at a place called the Hi-Five we had a kale salad.  This wasn’t my favorite item or stop. It didn’t feel Atlanta enough and since I am so in love with the kale and quinoa salad in Utah I didn’t think this was as good. They had alcohol at most of the stops but I of course did not partake of that portion of the tour.

P1070017 P1070013We learned that Georgians like to have peanuts in their cokes.

P1070016Next stop was Max’s Wine Bar where we had the best bite of the meal this amazing fried chicken.  It was so crispy and there was a chipotle honey that was delicious. Mashed potatoes were creamy and the greens weren’t too bitter.  Very good and the kind of place I would never have gone on my own being it is called Max’s Wine Bar

P1070026 P1070025Final stop was Cafe Intermezzo which was an Italian coffee and dessert type restaurant with a dramatic pastry case and like 82 different types of coffee/tea.  I had a drink called Island punch that was a mixture of different juices with club soda and a red velvet cake with whipped cream which is perfect for a Southern day.

P1070044 P1070043Like I said it was a little bit more walking than I thought it would be but that was good to work off some of that food! Overall it was a great way to spend an afternoon in Atlanta.  I got yummy food, visited with some nice people and learned a little bit about a new city.  It makes me want to look up food tours at other cities I go to and have a similar experience.

To learn more about the food tour go to http://peachtreefoodtours.com/

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NYC Trip Day 4: Rainy Goodbye

Quicker than it probably should have the final day of my trip came on Saturday and while I was sad to see it all come to an end I had the beginnings of a wicked virus, my feet hurt and I was tired.  Ready to come home you might say.

But fortunately we still had Saturday to enjoy and it ended up being a rainy day in the city. We decided to do a bus tour because we figured that would be better than walking in the rain and I wanted to see the 9/11 memorial before I left.

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Megan on the bus

 

Here I am on the bus
Here I am on the bus

The bus was fun but I wish it had been more of a tour.  There really wasn’t much of one so it was kind of like a wet taxi ride and then to my great annoyance they dropped us off like 8 blocks from the 9/11 Memorial.  It was the 9/11 stop and we had to walk forever and again nowhere in NYC has benches to rest. There is also construction at the site and it is very confusing where to enter and go but eventually we found it and I was able to stop for a moment and pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that horrible day.

9-11 memorialWe didn’t have time to go to the museum but at least we were ale to see the Memorial and then we made it back to the bus and finished the tour.  After a quick lunch my shuttle picked me up and it was bye bye New York!

nycI was exhausted and have been sick all week but it was worth it.  It was a great experience to take a risk, do something different and unexpected, a little bit unplanned which is hard for me.  Everyone at the RHAP Survivor event couldn’t have been nicer and I’m so grateful to all of them.

I am also grateful to my sister for coming up and spending the time with me at my pace.  It is rare I have anyone who is fine walking with me and waiting with me and occasionally listening to me moan and groan over my feet.  She was there just to spend time with me and that was really touching. I’m someone who isn’t often doted upon and it meant a lot to me that she did that.

Overall it was a great trip.  Highlights were the RHAP event, my trip to Soho Birchbox and video, American in Paris and the yummy food. Thanks New York! Hope I see you again soon!

NYC Trip Day 3: An American in Paris

Day 3 of my New York trip was pretty simple. I had a rough time getting to sleep the night before because my cold was coming on strong and I normally have a hard time sleeping. Well, I slept in ridiculously late which Megan was kind enough to let me do.

Then we enjoyed a leisurely walk down the Manhattan streets.  It wasn’t too cold during our trip but it could be quite windy which made it feel colder. Given the winter they’ve had we certainly brought some good luck with us because at least it wasn’t snowy and freezing. P1050863 My favorite thing in New York is all the flower stores.  They are so beautiful and I love how they have different than just the ordinary boring flowers I can get in the suburbs and at low cost.

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We then had delicious New York bagels! Nothing quite like them and we talked about books and movies and had a lovely time.

2015-03-13 13.00.05 Megan had an appointment with her editor that afternoon and I rested at the hotel.  My only regret on the hotel is that it didn’t have a hottub or pool.  That would have been very nice especially on my poor feet which got the beginnings of an ingrown toenail I had to work on.  Ouch!

toeLater that we went to an Italian restaurant that was reasonably priced and yummy.  I got chicken Parmesan and Megan got gnochi.

italianThe big event of the day was going to Times Square

2015-03-13 19.30.40 2015-03-13 19.32.54 2015-03-13 19.33.00And seeing the opening night premiere of the new Broadway musical An American in Paris!

an-american-in-paris-large-643x441It was an amazing show full of incredible Gershwin music. The story is minimal and sometimes it was a little hard to tell the actors from each other but I really enjoyed it.

an american in paris3 An American In Paris an american in paris2It’s probably the most dance heavy Broadway show I’ve ever seen.  Just like in the old Gene Kelly/Leslie Caron movie there are long stretches without any dialogue and just dance.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on dance but I really enjoyed watching it.  To me it seemed exceptional with choreography that really popped.

The sets were minimal but effective and the costuming was simple but it all worked.  There is also a very small cast with only 6 leads and a few ensemble performers but it had a big feel.  I think the music is so grand that it can hardly help but feel big.

At first I was worried because our balcony seats were so steep looking onto the stage below but it actually worked out great and we could see everything just fine.

2015-03-13 20.01.38 2015-03-13 19.57.19 So that was our Day 3.  It was a lot of fun and featured a show I won’t soon forget. Sometimes the simple days are the most fun!

NY Trip Day 2: Empire Falls

birchbox2So day 2 started on the late side as I had a cold coming on and had done a 48 hour marathon the previous 2 nights.  Once I was up I took uber cars over to Soho and the Birchbox Soho store.  I wanted to make the trek out to the store because I had heard about their ‘build your own box’ section and wanted to feature it on my channel.  I didn’t even know if they would let me film in their store but when I got there they couldn’t have been more accommodating.  They filmed segments for me and even gave me a free $300 value Vanity Fair special box! I’m thrilled with how the video turned out:

(Btw, if you haven’t subscribed to my youtube channel please do! I would really appreciate it)

After visiting the store and filming my video I went across the street to the Chobani Yogurt Shop and it was so yummy!  It was the best food I had in New York City.

chobaniI’m excited to try and recreate both of the yogurts I had.  It was savory on one side (Red Pepper, Harissa,  Feta, Mint, with Olive oil and chips to dip it in) and sweet on the other (Pistachio, Chocolate, sliced oranges, mint and honey).

Just the combination of flavors and textures was so delicious.  I can’t wait to recreate it.  A whole new world of yogurt!

After brunch I headed home to meet up with my sister Megan who took the train up from DC.  It was so nice of her to come up and spend some time with me.

flowers selfie We had a delicious lunch of the biggest salad I’ve ever eaten and then decided to go to the Empire State Building for the evening activity.  It was fun but a bit of a letdown.  The lines were so long and just to get to the 86th floor cost $32.  My feet hurt so bad by the time we got to the top and it was so hot in the waiting areas that it wasn’t my favorite.  I also hit my lip with my camera going through security which ended up bleeding more than you’d think!  Probably the only person to injure herself in line for Empire State Building.

You can see the cut above my upper lip.
You can see the cut above my upper lip.

That kind of standing and walking is really hard for me now and if I’m looking for what is ‘fun’ it will always be at the bottom of the list.  And vacations are supposed to be fun right?  But it was nice to spend the time with Megan and catch up and the view was pretty great.

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One thing I noticed about all of NYC is there are very few benches. Even by most of the bus stops there is nowhere to sit and rest. This was a major bummer to me but I guess it is the reason why it is the ‘city that never sleeps!’. No benches to sleep on!

So I finished day 2 having a good time but a little frustrated and sore at the same time. Birchbox Soho, Megan and the yogurt made it all worth it!!