June - July 2016
  • Day24

    Until Next Time

    July 13, 2016 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Well, I'm back in Toronto - the first landmark of the beginning of our trip. It's a bittersweet moment for me - as I had THE BEST trip with the girls and could not have expected anything else, but I wish I could be continuing on the adventure with them.

    The two girls escorted me to the airport this morning as my flight was a few hours before theirs.... but I only ended up taking off 40 minutes after our departure time. Turns out there was unexpected turbulence for the incoming flight. I sat next to this mother and son - and they were FANTASTIC. Amazing people - she actually grew up in Toronto and went to Portugal to complete her university. She said if she could move back to Canada she would, but her husband has very minimal English. Our flight was pretty empty (not as empty as our one to Ireland, but some people were alone or it was 2 people per 3 person bench). Why are the flights so empty?

    I am currently in Toronto airport - of course - timmies in hand (and I bragged to the girls). Thankfully I have a long layover - security took forever (but customs was easier than ever). I'm anxiously waiting to see the girls' Greek adventures and to live through their experience. I can't help but hope they have the best frickin' time ever!!!!!!!!!!

    But no one worry, we're off to Georgia together next. After which, who knows.... moving in with Bree when she settles down in Portugal with her Portuguese husband..... who without doubt will have the nicest eyes ;). We already know....

    Already looking forward to our next adventure as SBT. Until then 😘
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    Taylor MacEwen

    OMG you almost made me cry :( 😭❤️

    Shaunessa Boyle-Giuliani

    😘😘😘 can't wait for ya go be back to hear all about it.... I'll bring wine with a cork ;)

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  • Day23

    Neighbors we borrow sugar from.

    July 12, 2016 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Well, today is my final day on vacation and I'm extremely sad that it has come to an end ALREADY! Did I mention time doesn't exist here?

    This morning we headed to the beach (5 mins walking) near us. It was beautiful. Many people on the beach bring wind blockers (our host provided one for us) and we now know why. The wind on the beach is chilly - it did not feel like 24 degrees out there. Taylor manned it out and tanned while Breanna and I bundled ourselves up with our towels. I still managed to get some color... I'm not complaining.

    After the beach, we walked to a delicious bakery. Breanna and I got a sandwich that tasted similar to a cold pizza. We went to visit the Cathedral in Miramar that is located directly on the beach. It was stunning. We stopped into a snack bar where Tay and Bree had something to eat. Don't worry - we ensured that we had 2 drinks.... 2 drinks?

    We returned home, after picking up things for dinner (pasta and sauce) and more drinks?. We are definitely cultured.

    We ate and packed.... and drank. Then our host invited us in where we tasted another dessert, Portugal beer, and coffee. Oh, and learned some more Portuguese words. See, didn't I say we were cultured?

    Once all that was done, we had some more drinks and played drinking games. What a good way to end my time with the girls (not that jealousy is in there or not). I already can't wait to hear about their Greek adventures!
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  • Day23

    There's probably a reason they haven't

    July 12, 2016 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Up and at 'em this morning - no not really. We were on the train to city centre by 11:12 am.

    We took boat cruise that included to visits to a Callem and Quvedo. In the callem visit, we had a guided tour, this included information on how their wines are made, stored, and how long you have to drink them. They have white, tawny, and Ruby port wines. They recently introduced the rose port wine, but not many of them are made. Some wines can be stored between 2 years while others are between 4 and 6 years. Most of the grapes are grown in Oduro Valley where the climate is better. They are then brought to 'Porto' which was more well known and the weather doesn't get as cold (hence the name). However, much of the wine cellars are in Gaia because there wasn't enough room in Porto. The wine is stored in large barrels thst vary by litre (in a cave). The largest one wad 60 litres. On the outside of the barrells there's a chalk board that indicates the type of wine and the lengyh of time its been in the barrell. Thry alsi havr what looks like a thermometer to indicate the liters in the barrel. When the wine is bottled, the label indicates the year it was produced and the year it was bottled. Thus, to know how long it has been aging, you read the front and back labels. In Quvedo, it was a self-guided tour. Don't worry though - both places we got to taste the wine.

    After this we walked up to El Corte Ingles for a delicious lunch. This lunch was at the top of a mall and had a beautiful outdoor terrace. The waiters were great..... but did kissy noises at each other. It was the strangest thing.

    After a tad of shopping, we went back to city centre to find some night life.... well, we didn't find anything. So, we stopped on a terrace and had some delicious sangria. Then off to our place we went.

    Now, we're slowly getting ready for bed.
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  • Day22

    16 years in the making.

    July 11, 2016 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Bem-vindo a Portugal.

    That's right,, we have landed in the beautiful city of Porto. Our Ryanair flight landed 15 minutes early (and it felt like we were on the plane for 15 mins ;)). Coming off the plane was a touch colder than Madrid.

    We ordered an Uber (as transat takes over an hour to our place). Our uber driver was Carlos and was FANTASTIC. HE couldn't have been more pleasant and it was a great way to start our time in Portugal - we of course we're thrilled people are so amazing. He even called Karla, the host, to ensure the address was correct (thank you Carlos).

    Juan and Karla are the people we rented our accommodation from. They also gave us an AMAZING first impression. They toured the house with us, bought us cookies, made a list of things we should do during our visit, and wanted to bring us to the train directly (to ensure we didn't get lost).

    The girls and I quickly got ready (probably the quickest all trip) and off we were the Porto, by the San Bento train, where we also saw the Portuguese Justin Bieber. Once in the city, we decided to ditch the map and wonder. We made our way down to the river, and we were BLOWN away by the view. You can see Gaia on the other side and this nice bridge that connects Porto to Gaia. Gaia has all the winery's;) - I'm sure you know what that means.

    We stopped for a quick bite to eat, and noticed the big screens being set up in the square (for the Final of the Eurocup against France). With that, we decided to get a spot sitting so, we could watch the game. In the meantime, we were sweating the sun was so hot. The first half was about to start and the fans immediately loved each other after the national anthem, except two people were sitting and they kept singing "sit down" so one lady went a napkin and threw it at them (but missed). The fans cheered when they finally sat down. (*France dominated the first half).

    Tay and I had to pee so, Breanna saved our seats. Once we were up, we underestimated the amount of people there was (Pretty sure the whole Porto side was there). Coming back, people wouldn't let us sit down anymore so, Breanna came to meet us and we watched the second half from the side (next to two men who were true Portugal Fans). The game was getting really intense when it went into double over time. FINALLY portugal scored making the store 1-0 with time left in double overtime. My heart was racing for them. The game ended with Portugal winning -it was their first time in 16 years - and the fans cheered, sang, and danced. It was SUCH AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE (more intense than Montreal). Let us note too, that no one was drunk during the viewing, but a lot of drinking happened afterwards. One of the older men beside us, began on cry and it was SO touching. Go Portugal!

    We stood by and took in the experience. Wow! Probably our best night in Europe thus far. Fans were asking for our pictures, especially the tourist (we must be local). We took the train back to our place where a Portuguese guy say next to us. Breanna kept singing their song and we were fooling around (with a reminder to the gorls that a lot of people speak English). Finally the Portuguese guy turns around and says I know everything youre saying we instantly died laughing. He was nice and taught us a few Portuguese words and had a super fun conversation with us (we told him we tried to be locals and he laughed and said we don't look Portuguese, but I could probably get away with it - heeeeey!).

    The horns were honking at our flags - and then we were all settled for bed.
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  • Day21

    Time doesn't exist here.

    July 10, 2016 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    After a late night out and Breanna passing out on the couch, we (and by we I mean Bree and Tay) slept in. Being the terrible sleeper I am, I was up around 9:45 am convincing myself to go back to bed. I decided to shower and get ready on the meantime. Keri and I spent an hour or so discussing her upcoming festival.

    The girls and I spent some time packing before heading out to do route #1 of the booklet. We decided to do this so we wouldn't have to worry about packing later on. Keri served us some Spanish meats - AMAZING. Breanna and I really enjoyed them - thank you Keri for being so amazing to us.

    Finally around 2 we were off to visit the rest of Madrid. We saw the royal palace, place villa, the Puerto de sol, and so on. We went to St-Miguel church - were not quite sure if there was some sort of mass - but we felt inredibly uncomfortable while we were there. It was just as hot in the sun today as it was yesterday. Again we met up with our Australian friend, Phoebe. We met for supper at this cute little place. We surpringly all order something different and it was all delicious. We're getting good at choosing things (sometimes). We had a nice chat and can't wait for her to get to Montreal (end of September/beginning of october).

    By this time, it was already 10:30 so we made our way back to Keri's place. We have an 'early' wake up call got our flight to Porto. This is beyond sad as my trip with the girls is quickly coming to an end... not sure I'm ready for it. We've had the best time ever and are looking so forward to celebrating the euro cup finals.
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    K Harve


  • Day20

    Guppies and Cheese Burgers

    July 9, 2016 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 23 °C


    We finally went out to explore Madrid. We took a booklet from the information desks. The booklets explained some of the sites and provided two routes. We chose to do route #2 first as it was the longest one.

    We had lunch at this little restaurant on a side street. We had pasta, fries, and sangria for 6.90£. Hello amazing deal. We're pretty sure the food was frozen, but it tasted super good and not to mention that the sangria was refreshing.

    We did a little shopping - especially for the girls to find a bathing suit (maybe even for some of the stores a/c). The hear here is so hot, but in the shade the temperature is significantly different.

    Once we were done, we headed to back to Keri's. Breanna took a nap while Tay and I relaxed by chatting and watching some netflix. We finally got ready and Keri took us out. She taught us some Spanish words (not sure how appropriate they were, but perfect for the occassion). In turn, Breanna taught us sign language (and that's all you need to know about that).

    We started the night off with a "pre-drink" at the bar. We had their well known drink that is lemonade and beer mixed together. THE PERFECT SUMMER DRINK (and it was a little for 4£ 👌). After this drink we drank on the street with the locals. We headed to the "club" (they only open at midnight) that Keri knee nearly everyone at. They had great music and the girls and I danced the night away (while also pretending to only know French, or being deaf). We were awesome. We headed home after this and it is just after 5 am (Keri said this was early as bars stay open until 6 am).

    Well, I think bed is calling my name.
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  • Day18

    Sleep. Eat. Netflix.

    July 7, 2016 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Well, today we arrived in Madrid! With a long night behind us, we decided today would be a catch up day. We took an amazing shower, napped, and went grocery shopping.

    I'm not sure any of you realize how amazing a home cooked meal was. We made chicken tacos, and salad for supper. We also spent some time with Keri, our host. She is incredible and so accommodating. We are beyond lucky.

    Tomorrow were off to city Centre and Keri is going to meet us at night for dinner and a few drinks. She wants us to fall in love with what Madrid has to offer.

    Oh, and she has such an amazing apartment. Her kitchen is PINK.
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  • Day17

    I have a new best friend.

    July 6, 2016 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    With Camp Nou being closed yesterday, this was the first thing going on our agenda.

    Last night we were in bed around 5:30 am. After meeting some Irish and England friends, we walked home with the England girls. They were all such a blast!

    We got up in the morning, with nothing less than a struggle to pack and be checked-out by noon. With this, there was no host on site, so, we sat in an alley way contemplating bag storage for the day. Of course we opted to store it at the bus station. We looked homeless.

    We were off to the stadium. The stadium nothing less than incredible. I wish I could have had a soccer ball in hand and ran on the field. At the stadium, they also have a ice rink - being the Canadians we are, we found it (and it was refreshing).

    After camp nou, we found a local place for lunch. We had all been dying for carbs and that's just what we had. PASTA! Yum yum! But we were still starving. It was the first thing we had eaten in over 24 hours.

    After we went to spend some time at the strip before heading to the bus station. Then, we were off to Madrid. I was next to a local who stared me down every time I did something... I opened a bag of chips and she sighed. This will be an interesting 6 hrs bus ride!
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  • Day16

    If a boy can't accept you as a wet dog..

    July 5, 2016 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Guess where we are again!? Yup, enjoying the beautiful night at Barceloneta beach (especially after spending day of heat).

    This morning, after a night of sleeping in the heat, we said "fuck you" to the alarm and took full advantage of another nights sleep. I surprisingly slept a lot better than I expected to in the heat, but then again, tonight's our last night.

    We grabbed a quick smoothie and cup of fruit at the market before taking a 'Hop on, hop off' bus tour. It was such a great idea as we got to see so much of the city. Barcelona's not like the other cities as everything isn't in walking distance. Unfortunately we wanted to see the Magic Fountain, but it only operated 3 days a week, 3 hours a day. The same happened with the soccer stadium (the opening hours). So, our plan tomorrow is to visit tomorrow afternoon, before our night bus to Madrid! The bus tour was a great way to learn about the city, but some information was provided that was useless. On the green line, much of the building's and such were built for the Olympics. They were meant to be temporary, but with much demand from city, they became permanent sites. The Sagrada Familia was breath taking - especially seeing it still under construction - unfortunately we didn't get to go inside as the tickets for the day were all sold out and the only time available was at night when we wouldn't be in that area. The Sagrada Familia can also be seen by the hospital, where Gaudi passed away.

    Also, it was beautiful to see the inclusion of Gaudi a lot of the structures. The beautiful mosaics ❤. We saw the old bull ring, that has now been turned into ANOTHER mall (there's about 5 million here).

    For lunch, we ate lunch at Moka in Las Ramblas where we met Phoebe, one of our roommates from Dublin. She is such a ball to be around - so friendly and charming. We've convinced her to add Montreal to her trip (she's traveling for 9 months - Europe, Caribbean, U.S and Canada). We're so stoked. Our lunch was incredibly good - only our second sit down meal - and it kept us full all day.

    Don't worry we splurged and had ice cream cone before heading to he beach. Yum yum. Well deserved with this heat!

    Sitting at the beach, the girls and I were talking about how fast the days have been passing, yet, there's so much time left. I'll be sad to leave the girls when they continue to Greece!
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  • Day15

    This doesn't resemble the picture

    July 4, 2016 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    Guess what? YES, we made it to Barcelona!

    Don't worry about what Vueling has to deal with now. We're fighting to get reimbursed on our accommodations we lost and on our checked baggage fees. They offered us an 8 £ voucher which couldn't even get us a sandwich and a drink, but thankfully we waited through the b.s to not being our trip down.

    Upon arriving to Bracelona, after Bre and Tay call it the worst flight ever (I ACTUALLY slept - miracle for me), we were amazed by the beautiful palm trees that awaited us from the subway exit.

    We checked into our place, a little different from the pictures, but a bed is a bed. We're only here two nights and it's in an AMAZING location - I guess there is nothing to complain about. Also a huge shout out to our friend Anil for showing us the ropes, getting us to the place and letting us borrow his phone!

    Once checked in, we quickly put on our bathing suits and off to the beach we went (oh and tje beach is a topless beach). We ended up sleeping on the beach from 7 30am to about 10 30am. We woke up to a million people on the beach, and Bree and I have a wicked sunburn (it's our 'base').

    Around 1, we headed back to the hotel and showered. Off we went to the shopping district. People weren't kidding when they said Bracelona has great shopping.

    Now, I'm currently blogging from the beach as we enjoy the beauty of the ocean and night sky.
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