Updated: Aug 25, 2019
I haven’t written a blog post in FOREVER. Many apologies people.
I have been so busy trying to figure out what to do with my blog, that I haven’t even been blogging.
I have been going back and forth now for so many months trying to figure out how to make my blog something useful and valuable for others. How to bring some attraction marketing and make others want to see and hear about what I’ve been up to.
It’s a tricky thing to do though. I have thought about doing podcasts and YouTube videos, a whole slew of things, but then I have pulled trigger on approximately none of them. Good job Rach!
I'm writing you now from Barcelona, Spain. It has been a whirlwind of a summer, and I couldn’t ask for anything better right now. I am content as can be and excited for the next chapter. I decided not to head home in August because it is a really expensive time to fly (apparently) and also because I'm not quite sure what to do yet when I get back, so I figured I'll stay over here and keep doing my thing until I do decide!
Since updating you last I have been up to quite a bit.
In the end of May I headed to Germany to be with my Grandma and little sister Jessie. I spent 3 weeks in total there and enjoyed it very much. We started in Bremen, which is in the bottom of Ostfriesland. It is a quaint little town where we visited the first of so many more churches to come.
The idea was that I would “help” my grandma with her tour (help in quotes because my grandma is a rockstar and really needed no help but was happy to have me along) which meant I got to hangout with 12 other elder members of society from the US. This was by far the longest stretch of time I spent being able to have awesome conversations in pure English with no language barriers, and I am always grateful for this.
As a broad overview, we visited different parts of the region everyday to find the places where these people’s ancestors came from. We saw churches, gravestones, museums and lots and lots of wind turbines. Everyday was fun getting to know these people, learning about their lives and seeing their passion for history. It is so important to remember where we came from, so we know how we got where we are today.
At the end of the wonderful tour, we headed to Amsterdam for a grand finale, and because I think it might have been cheaper to fly out for for the others!
Amsterdam was one of my favourite places, and eventually I’ll write a city guide about it to share my experiences etc. We met up with my little sister Jess here which was awesome. I hasn’t seen her in almost 8 months and it was nice to be reunited. After Amsterdam we hopped in our beautiful BMW rental car (thanks Omi!) and started our 2-week road trip through the south of Germany with a final destination in Berlin.
We had actually a really good time in the car. The German countryside is breathtaking, and of course my grandma had us take all of the scenic routes along rivers, through small villages and beyond. Interstates are boring we decided so even though sometimes we added an extra 40 minutes, it was always worth it for the scenery.
One of the days (maybe the first), we drove from the Netherlands, to the border of Belgium and Luxembourg. The entire day my phone was getting texts each time we would go in and out of a country on the border, I think it was maybe 10 or 15 times!
Our full itinerary will be made available eventually as a guide as well, I think, if I find the time to get around to it. We had so much fun in each city, eating at cool restaurants, taking the big red tour buses and learning about SO much history that happened in each of these places sometimes dating all the way back to Roman times.
This time with my family was irreplaceable and I was so sad to leave when we finally reached Berlin (which is super cool too, by the way) - My next stop was back to Italy to meet my mom, step dad and two siblings who were already in Torino waiting for me. Our plan was also to road trip, and also for two weeks, hitting all of the best spots along the western Italian coastline! It was a long trip, but also super worth it, we got to see and taste some of Italy’s best.
We started in Torino, hit Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano, Capri, and then back to Rome for one last hurrah before we also had to say goodbye. We had so much fun in each city taking pictures, eating (so much pasta) and swimming in the ocean whenever we had the chance. I have learned so much about this country this year and am excited to see how it becomes a part of my life in the future.
From Italy, I flew into Athens, Greece baby. Greece has been on my bucket list since I was a little thing, dreaming about scenes from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Mama Mia. I was so excited to finally be going there to experience everything I had dreamed about. I did MINIMAL planning beforehand which has kind of become a trend for me. I booked my hostel in the middle of the historical centre of Athens so I had an easy walk to the Parthenon, fun downtown shopping areas, and everything else one might want to see in Athens.
I toured that evening and the entire next day before getting an overnight ferry to Crete, the furthest South island of Greece. This island is incredible, might I add, there were SO many flowers, fun bars and restaurants and the clearest blue water my eyes ever did see. I ended up renting a car last minute because apparently it was the easiest and most cost effective way to get around the Island.
I am so proud of the fact that I can drive a manual car, all of my Euro friends might not understand but when an American girl asks for a manual rental, most people double and triple check that I am actually capable of driving said vehicle. It has saved my butt a few times and saved me money too! Anyways, I listened to audiobooks as I drove, I listened to my music and enjoyed the scenery. It really was so freeing and beautiful. The second night with the rental, I decided to sleep in my car, instead of staying in the hostel and this was a mistake. It wasn’t a mistake because of safety but for sure because of comfort and then definitely because of paranoia. I think I slept a total of 3 hours, I really should have found a more secluded place to park so I wasn’t terrified of someone peeking in all night.
After this I headed to Santorini, then Naxos and back to Athens for two days before getting my flight to BARCELONA.
I will be writing another blog post about the last month in France and Spain and my thoughts about going to Turkey in the next few days! Stay Tuned.