Last day of my European vacation 😪

It was a great day, but I feel torn. I’d love to keep traveling but I’m excited to share Thanksgiving with family. So onward!! I was trying for an adventure this morning but it was a failed attempt due to the funicular not being open. My bad. So….I headed for the market!

patty locktov…. Gummies!!

marzapan!!

So after a hard core nap, I went back to the market for lunch and sat down at this place. I knew the local Catalan dishes were made of beans and I saw a woman eating this so I said… I’ll have what she’s having. It was canelli beans and squid that I think was swimming 15 minutes before. It was absolutely amazing!! Best squid I’ve ever had. There were two Spanish business men next to me eating rabbit ribs who were trying to figure out the Catalan language. They were from La Coruña in the North. So cool to see men in suits eating at a market. The guy on the other side of me was from London and he ordered the same thing as me (he was super skeptical) and loved it. He said it was a very well known restaurant…..wellllll……

this was our waiter…. Owner… And had a book written about him!!!! I just happened upon this place. So awesome!!

i ended up going on an “uncensored” tour this afternoon. While it was interesting, I don’t think I’d do it again… Imagine a group of tourists walking through a street full of prostitutes, dodging pickpockets, sticking out like sore thumbs. Anyway…. This was a hole in a the wall of an orphanage…. Yep, you hand the baby through the hole when you don’t want it. You can also drop money in the slot to the left.

Picasso hung out here…. Right next to where the prostitutes hang out.

cool tiles….. That ended up being….

this huge mural!!

random church I walked by on the way to dinner

Finally the beach… Sand brought in from Egypt for the Olympics at barcalonetta beach. There was no beach before 1992.

And that’s all folks!!! Thanks for going on the ride with me!!

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Madrid at night… So gorgeous!

Ok so when I arrived yesterday I thought Madrid consisted of a bunch of modern high rises… Then tonight I walked over on the other side of town…OMG!!

I also learned that Madrid is one of the most pedestrian friendly cities because most of the major roads are under the city. It was also voted one of europes most livable cities.

gorgeous parks that need to be explored tomorrow!

I did a walking tour today and this is part of the old city walls

Guinness book if world records… Oldest continually operating restaurant

plaza mayor… Many executions were performed here long ago… Having to do with religion of course. Now a vibrant square where people meet and socialize.

finally i met this family from Georgia (the state). He just retired at age 36 and they are traveling around the world until the kids are college age! They have only just begun!!

Madrid…olé!!

I made it to Madrid this morning and it’s huge and awesome!!

steps at the metro station in Madrid

cute little pool on the 15th floor of my hotel. Thanks capital one points!!

these guys are all holding strings that are attached to each corner of the sheet their goods are on… To make a quick escape I think. They did that in Italy too and ran when the cops came.

the cave restaurants… I’ll be there tomorrow

art class

very cute side streets

the Royal palace

the church across from it which I think is written into dan browns new book, origin

and he wrote about this altar also!

changing of the guards

beautiful fall colors

ok this place!!! Mercado de San Miguel. Amazing!! You can get tapas for 1€. And they are all gorgeous! I ate my way through this place. A woman in Lisbon told me about it.

olives olives olives

drinking wine in the market at noon

sausages to go

A type of baklavah… So flipping good

oh my gosh…. Burrattas with blueberries and almonds…. To. Die. For.

nasty fish

i might get brave tomorrow

barnacles!

pulpo for dinner!

famous churro and chocolate place!!

and then I found a place who sold tickets to flamenco at the last minute for 11€. It was absolutely amazing! Spanish guitar, a guy singing who sounded like the guy in Gypsy Kings, and three amazing dancers. The guy moved his feet so flipping fast it was a blur!

I saw flamenco…. In Madrid…. In Spain!!!

Final day in Toledo… Or was I in the middle east?

Today was a great day for seeing a lot of what Toledo has to offer. So much culture here! And I had a little adventure also!

the alcazar is the home of the military museum but I was there to see it’s courtyard.

impressive building

a lot of Toledo has such an Arabic Moorish look. So multicultural!

this is what Toledo is known for… Not potstickers….mazapan!! So flipping delicious!!

Jewish symbols everywhere in the Jewish quarter recently installed to attract more attention to the area.

kittens in the El Greco museum courtyard!

very cool fixtures

Santa Maria la Blanca synagogue. Absolutely stunning! Oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe… Of course who owns it… The Catholic Church.

and then I rounded the corner and found this…. Arabic baths in a 12th century building. I went in and hung out in the baths and got an exfoliation medujar massage. It was so awesome!

a hot pool, tepid, and this one was freezing. You alternate between the hot and tepid with a quick soak in the cold one in between.

the massage was on a cold slab of marble where she slathered me up with some pretty rough gritty exfoliant. Felt great!!

my after massage treat.

you feel like you’re in the middle East half of the time!

cristo de la luz mezquita

These are the two women I met in Toledo. They are both from Ohio (get it… Ohio in Toledo…) Friends since 7th grade!

same Gatos from last night

san juan de los reyes monastery. Gorgeous!!

rock climbers!

view of Toledo from the parador hotel. Madrid tomorrow!!

New Zealand…I mean Washington…I mean new Zealand… Olympic National Park!!

I just had a 3-day weekend and wasn’t sure what to do. At the very last minute I decided to head for the hills and check out Olympic National Park. It brought me to my days of exploring New Zealand and it absolutely overwhelmed me with its beauty. I’m so happy I went. I was only gone for 36 hours and on the drive home I knew I had a long drive ahead of me but I kept stopping and pulling over stopping and pulling over stopping and pulling over. There is so much beauty in the northwest corner in the state of Washington. And also if you’re Twilight fans… Yep that’s where I was. Forks and La Push. I did drive through Kurt Cobain’s birthplace, Aberdeen Washington. Very depressing there. Glad to have moved through that town fast. Alright enjoy my pictures! Also I must have gotten a little button pushing happy with my phone camera because halfway through my trip I had to reset my camera to the original settings and all was all right. I need to quit pushing buttons. But I will never quit pushing people’s buttons. It’s my thing.

There is a park dedicated to Kurt Cobain and I went under the bridge where he used to hang out and there was a homeless person passed out. 😪

Have a disability??

Wild hydrangea everywhere at Lake Quinalt.

Lake Quinalt

Ruby beach

Hoh rain forest. These pictures don’t capture the enormity of these moss covered maples.

Woodpecker!!

This tree root was in the middle of the walking path through the moss-covered trees. Throughout the years people have stepped on it and it has worn down and the shiny beautiful wood beneath the bark has come through.

Hoh River

There was a heard of at least 10 with a calf.

First beach at La Push

La Push for all of you Twilight fans. Are you Team Jacob or Team Edward?

Surfing lessons with massive wetsuits! I’d rather learn in Waikiki.

Lake Crescent. This place took my breath away. Reminded me so much of New Zealand and Europe.

La Push

Hurricane Ridge

Nature’s diamonds

Hurricane Ridge

East Beach of Lake Crescent

yes that is the color of the water

Lake Crescent Lodge. Dreamy.

Rialto Beach

so many perfect skipping rocks

rough-skinned newt. Good thing I didn’t eat him because I would have died.

her best side

So I went to Marrakesh tonight…

But people who I work with are saying… Yeah right.. Just saw you a couple of hours ago. I went to the Moroccan restaurant in Portland called Marrakesh! So yummy!

My friend Sean was in town from Seattle and I gave him a list of restaurants to choose from. I was secretly hoping that he would choose Marrakesh because I have found after living here for a year that the restaurants that have the most flavor are the ethnic restaurants. I would say that that goes for anywhere in the world. Recently I have become a lover of different spices. Ethiopian, Lebanese and Iraqi food are some of my most recent favorites. I can now add Moroccan.

I was also very excited to go to the restaurant because they have belly dancing. Sean came to my house tonight and announced that he was very excited to participate and he even shaved his belly for the occasion. I’m still pretty sure he was joking… I think.

And now for some of the pictures of the food. Five courses for $21.95. Such a great restaurant!

The waitress washed our hands at the table before our meal.

B’stilla Royale… Filo dough with powdered sugar, filled with ground chicken. Yummy!! We also had a salad and lentil soup.

Eggplant and lamb….to. die. for.

She sprinkled essence of Orange Blossom on our hands before we drank tea with a fruit dessert that was mixed with cinnamon and cardamom.

©2018 Stacie Tanner. All rights reserved.

Napoli…I love you

While I was only there for a few hours, I absolutely fell in love with you. I have to admit that at first I was scared of you because of the stories I had heard. Mafia, pickpockets, dirty… That is what makes you you. I felt like I was in the stereotypical Italy I had always dreamt of. People chatting, loudly, from balcony to balcony, sheets drying in the wind, love. Thank you for being so full of life. I will be back.

©2018 Stacie Tanner. All rights reserved.