Guess who’s back?
Actually, I’m writing this as I make the last leg of my trip, and I’m heading home! After all, after weeks of traveling, home is where the heart is. Home is where I hang my hat.
And, as it turns out, I’m a Euro Traveller! At least, that’s what British Airways called me as I traveled within the European continent. By that, I assumed they meant that I carried lots of Euros with me. Which, technically, I did not!
Though, I did start out with plenty of euros at the beginning of my journey, but all those pretty postcards, and bookmarks did add up and I just had to have that adorable little mosaic-sculpted owl from Barcelona (so reminiscent of Gaudi, after all). That owl is sure to look perfect in my ever-growing owl collection.
Then, there were the pair of Italian shoes, a genuine leather purse for my daughter, a couple of tote bags with the names of the cities we were visiting emblazoned on them, a picture book of the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona–the most visually stunning architectural achievement ever created, if you ask me. Not to mention all the meals–croissants, meats, seafood, bottles of “still” water, Sacher tortes—along with public transportation fees, water closet fees, and one delightfully bouncing wooden bumble bee on a spring coil, which I couldn’t resist, and refuse to discuss further.
And, of course there were the chocolates. Ah, chocolate!
As English comedienne Jo Brand once said, “Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”
And, she should know. She’s from the continent that specializes in all things chocolate. If you ask me, if there’s one thing Europeans know how to make, it’s chocolate. In America, we eat chocolate that can’t hold a candle to its European counterpart. Much of ours seems to be a blander version of their chocolate, and, frankly, I wonder if you can legally call what the big candy companies in the states sell here, chocolate, particularly when it has so many other ingredients, such as emulsifiers, artificial flavors and the like.
Even the European version of the popular American candy, Kit Kat, tastes better. Tres chocolatey, if you ask me. Those Europeans take their chocolate seriously and accept no substitutions in their ingredients.
Which is why our suitcases were stocked with chocolate to last us the coming year. Chocolate bars,
biscuits, fudge, truffles, cookies, bark, wafers, you name it. Dark, bitter, semisweet, milk, fondant, and even my least favorite, white. All the colors of the chocolate rainbow. And when it comes to chocolate with nuts, the nut of choice, hands down, is hazelnut.
Plus, chocolate makes great gifts for all my chocoholic friends. (There’s one with your name on it, Trisha!)
We procured so many chocolates while in Prague that it earned us two free passes to the Chocolate Museum, which was headed by a snappy Czech, looking rather Willy Wonkish in his big chef hat and white apron, and red ascot.
Which is why I don’t have any euros left, or, for that matter, korunas (which is the currency used in the Czech Republic), except for a few coins. I still have my American money, but, turns out, they’re useless in these parts, and not worth as much as the euro. I also have one pound, a leftover of my trip to London seven years ago, which I brought with me because I knew I’d have a stopover in London and perhaps have time to get a Summer Olympic souvenir.
So, British Airways may call me a Euro Traveller, but, as it turns out, all they really mean is that I’m traveling within the European continent, which I did twice. First, when I boarded a plane from London to Barcelona, and then another from Prague to London. Soon I’ll be boarding my flight back to the states. And, according to British Airways, that makes me a “World Traveller!”
I can’t wait to be officially back and regale you with stories of my adventures abroad, including my bizarro, Fawlty Towers experience, and my never-ending search for ice.
But let me unpack, and gather my bearings. Let’s hope jet lag doesn’t overtake me. Think of me as one of those astronauts who’s been away from the planet for an extended period and now must remain in a holding pattern before resuming life as I once knew it: Blogging away!
And while I’m busy, ahem, with these other matters, and sorting through the over 1,200 photos I took, I will resume reading your blogs and playing catch up wherever possible, and hoping you’ll forgive me if I miss a few.
All I need now is someone to pass me a shovel so I can unload all the chocolate from the suitcases. And, while I’m doing this, please take a moment to let me know what you’ve been up to, and please leave a link to any of your favorite posts that I may have missed while I was away.
Monica, I’m working my way back reading all of the lovely posts that I missed. I feel like a kid in a candy shop! hee hee! You had me at chocolate. I confess that I was hard pressed to keep reading after seeing that wonderful list of chocolates you acquired on your travels! Be still my heart! Barcelona is fantastic. I knew you would like it and yes, Gaudi is a god. I was utterly impressed with his work when I saw it a few years back. I am so happy you had this opportunity and I hope you are able to jet set to Europe again in the near future. There is so much for you to see and experience, chica! I’m glad you’re back! 🙂
Welcome back to reading my blog! It’s so good to see you around here again, as it’s been too long, mija. I can’t wait for you to read my post, Senator Yenta and let me know what you think.
I loved my trip and miss being there and having all the time in the world to sightsee. No work, no blogging. Just walking through exotic cities and seeing something new everyday!
OMG. I’m drooling. I would have had to buy a whole new wardrobe just for the plane trip home.
I know, Jayne! So much chocolate, so little time. Delicious!
Welcome back, Monica! Glad you had such a great time and indulged in the finer things in life (namely CHOCOLATE)!!
Thanks, Becky. Chocolate and pastries. In a nutshell, that’s what my vacation was all about. A cornucopia of delight!
Sounds like you had a wonderful time and oh to be surrounded by all that luscious chocolate, yum!!
Welcome back 🙂
I sure did, Misty. It was, for the most part, rather lovely, complete with breathtaking scenery!
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HOW FUN. did you just LOOOOVE LONDON? It is like the pulse of the universe! What do you think? Did you see Kate & William?
and all of that chocolate is sinful and beautiful.
I missed you. Welcome back
More more more photos.
Unfortunately, London was just a brief stopover. My travel agent advised against going there because of the Olympics, so the closest I got to the games was spending a few minutes in a store that sold Olympic souvenirs. But I have been to London before and I loved it. Such an amazing city!
So much yumminess! Hope you had/have a safe trip back!
I did! Thank you. And feel free to stop by anytime for some of this yumminess. I think I overdid it in how much I brought home! 😉
All that chocolate is making me drool.
Bongo, don’t try to eat it though. I hear chocolate isn’t good for my canine brethren. Your person might like it though! 😉
Now I know how to get me sisters to go to Europe with me – I hear they have really good chocolate there. Welcome home. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip.
Savvy, the chocolate is out of this world. You will feel like you walked into Willy Wonka’s candy factory. And, everywhere there’s chocolate. As far as the eye can see. I barely saw anything else!
OMG….I would go just for the chocolate…….
Michael Ann, In many ways that’s exactly what I ended up doing. Each day was another chocolate adventure, which started with the abundance of Nutella at the breakfast buffet offered by each hotel.
Au chocolat! A mouth-watering welcome home, indeed. . . Can’t wait to read/see more. Barcelona was clearly the place to be this summer. First my daughter, now you. 😉
And, my daughter, too, Deborah. She absolutely loved Barcelona!
Welcome back Monica! As much as I love to travel – I am in love with old Europe- it’s always so good to come back home! Can’t wait to read and to see more of your trip.
You are so right, Ariana. There’s really no place like home. Amen to that!
Yay, so glad you’re back! Can’t WAIT to see every photo and hear all about it so we can live vicariously through your exotic travels.
Clare, I can’t wait to see you and all the gang. We have so much to catch up on! By the way, are you married yet? ( 😉 )
Welcome home, lady of international travel and intrigue…
I’m so excited to hear all about your travels. Europe?!?! I can’t even imagine. SOOOOO jealous.
And I have to say: I’m honored and humbled that you took time to read about my engagement — and comment on it, too. Thank you, friend — your congrats means the world to me, especially in the context of unpacking and jet lag and catching up on life!
Take care, and we’ll be waiting with bated breath for the next installment.
Mikalee, such a beautiful, happy event awaits you. You have much to look forward to, so a little trip to Europe? It’s nothing! You can do it anytime. Maybe you and Fiance Brett can plan a trip for your honeymoon or for your 10th anniversary (and save up for it). And, when you do plan your trip, let me know. I have a list of recommendations for you! Always good to hear from you! Hugs!
That Belgian waffle looks a mile long!
Prague is a beautiful place. I can’t speak from experience, only from pictures.
I’m curious about how much that chocolate-bearing suitcase weighs 8).
Glad you had an exciting and restful time away and that you’ll soon be back. Have a safe trip!
That Belgian waffle was sumptuous! As was the chocolate, the cream, the strawberries and everything else we tried. Good to be home, and good to be writing again. I missed you all!
Missed you too! I had gotten the impression that you might be taking a looooooong hiatus 8( – glad that’s not the case!
Welcome back! And yum! I hope you post more pictures of your trip, chocolate and otherwise!
Will do, Lisa. I have so many angles to write about, that I’m actually in a conundrum as to where to begin? Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out!
Lordie, that chocolate looks good! I recently returned from Greece and Turkey, where the fish and salads were amazing.
Greece is next on my list. Would love to go. Seems so majestically blue there!
Welcome back, Monica! What a splendid trip you’ve had — reliving it through your photos will be a treat for you, a delight for us readers. How I wish I’d stowed away in one of your suitcases — I’ve never been to Europe, and I do want to go. The chocolate, of course, is a very tempting proposition, and if you find you have W-A-A-Y too much, why, just say the word, and I’ll gladly take some off your hands!!
Thanks, Debbie! Yes, you should definitely go to Europe at least once. I have not been there twice and it is so worth it. So much history, and I know you would love touring the churches. Every building seems to be a work of art. And the statues! I just love them. Which is why I took so many photos. Not something you generally see in this country.
Delicious, delicious – what an incredible trip Monica. Super glad to have you back, but, if you sort of miss it, I can completely relate. I went in March and it feels like last year 😦
Okay, I’m really excited about your finds: I too have a springy bouncy lady bug from Sevilla which I love. I bought it for my girls but have secretly taken it over. I spent most of my money on bookmarks, journals and pens too – slightly strange, I know. And then, there was the chocolate. I brought back some really yummy chocolate from Athen. I never pegged Greece for its chocolate. Oh the sacher torte is to die for isn’t it? how fantastic is it to be able to have it where it all began. All those chocolates, not to mention the the waffle concoction with gelato. How does the gelato in Barcelona compare to Italy? Did you visit La Boqueria? Ooooh I would love to have one of those Belgian waffles on a stick with dark chocolate – yummy. Again welcome back!
MM, I have my memories, my souvenirs and my chocolate (not necessarily in that order). So, I’m okay and happy to be home! Unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to visit La Boqueria. Was closed the day we went. But, I loved Barcelona all the same.
Pass a shovel! You’re awesome! Totally have been wondering where you are! We’ve even holding down the fort! No problem!
I’m sure we’ll see some photos soon!
Yes, Jodi, you will. I am sure to bore everyone to pieces with my photos. My daughter started calling me a paparazzo (that’s the singular of paparazzi, I’m told).
What a delicious trip! I think chocolate is the perfect souvenir. Every taste will take you right back there. Welcome home!
(I haven’t been posting because I’ve been rehearsing like crazy for the California Rhythm Project Labor Day weekend show. My feet are tired from all of the tapping, but my heart is very happy.)
Shary, best of luck with your Labor Day show. Sounds exciting! Remember, tapping takes your troubles away! (sort of quoting a song from the musical, “Mack and Mabel”–one of my favorites!)
So happy you’ve had a glorious European adventure, Monica! Can’t wait to hear all about it.
One can never have too much chocolate – especially when it’s European!
That’s right, Nancy, though I am all chocolated out. Can’t eat another speck. Not until tomorrow, anyway. 😉
Great to hear from you, Monica! Sounds like you’ve been having a fabulous and fudge-filled time.
(My aunt and uncle live in Brussels, and my mother spends up to half a year there, so sometimes I get chocolate, too.)
At any rate, I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures in YUMMY. May the jet lag have mercy on you. (God, I know it can be bad. All those trips back and forth to Asia used to dizzy my internal clock into crazed confusion.)
Safe travels, my friend.
Kathy, why can’t the entire world be in the same time zone, I’ll never know! I’d go for it, assuming everyone else adapted to my time zone, that is. After all, I wouldn’t want to look at the clock at noon, and see that it was pitch black outside, as some would likely experience once we’re all in the same time zone. But, a small price to pay, for no longer having to deal with jet lag! 😉
Have a safe flight home and welcome back Monica. I’ve been in Chicago all week helping my daughter move, but one thing that helped us get thru it was the decadent choc ate hazelnut gelato at RPM Restaurant!
Thanks, Susan. Hope you had a wonderful week with your daughter. Mine graduates next year, and I expect I’ll be doing the same then. Helping her get settled in her new home.
OMG, chocolate and hazelnut are a lethal combination. Not to be taken lightly!
What a great trip! I spent seven months traveling in Europe in 2001/2002, including a very long stay in Prague. Would love to go back. As for now I’m excited about returning to the west coast after a year traveling in the eastern half of the U.S. I’ll be back in Seattle on Oct. 1 but hope to have time to revisit California and Oregon. (May stop by San Diego, by the way.)
You’re like a nomad, Joe, aren’t you? How nice that you can travel so. Not sure I could do it. I’m so attached to my home. I often don’t realize just how American at heart I am until I travel abroad. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Ahhh…several glorious weeks in Europe. I look forward to hearing about your travels. The view of chocolate choices is artistic, delicious and irresistible. I’m impressed it’s an authentic photo and not a Google image. Nope…no Google images forthcoming, I bet.
Yes, Georgette, I took all the photos you see here and about 2,000 more! I plan to show them all, about four per week for the next 10 years! 😉
I envy you. I have never been anywhere much. I did go to the mall. Two years ago.
The mall! What a great place! And so many to choose from. The nice thing about it is, you don’t need a passport or to pack for the trip. Makes it much easier! 😉
Sounds like you had a great time! If you want to shovel some of that chocolate over here to Sardinia, I’d be none too pleased!
I’ve been going batty with a bat that’s been living in our rafters since May. You can read about it here: http://laavventura.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/the-crazy-bat-house-of-sardegna/
And I finally wrote the post I’ve been meaning to for years on the flag of Sardinia. http://laavventura.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/the-mysterious-flag-of-sardinia/#more-4596
Hope these two posts keep you entertained while unpacking all that chocolate.
All the best from Sardinia!
Thanks for sharing your links, Jennifer. Loved your bat story, though a bit scary, if you ask me!
Really pleased you had a great time around Europe, but a shame no real time in th UK.
You must come here again soon and the wife an I will give you a tour of all our culture.
I know what you mean about chocolate, it is one of my weaknesses I must admit.
Looking forward to seeing your pictures and hearing about your adventures especially the bouncing bee!!
In the middle of a busy weekend here on the railway with monsoon weather. Have a safe flight.
Robert, would have loved to spend more time in the UK, but because of the Olympics, prices for hotel, etc, were exorbitant. So, I passed. Maybe next time. We did have some rain, but overall, the weather was sunny, humid and rather warm.