If you move often enough, the ritual of leaving begins to feel like dying. You make sure to get in your lasts—your last trip, your last seaside walk, your last Friday-night gathering, your last morning in a place that will change from “I live there,” to “I used to live there,” in just a few short hours. Right now, everything is changing—again—in my life. Once again, I’m moving cities, but this time it’s a return instead of an entrance into the unknown. I’m happy and sad and nostalgic and excited and a veritable mixing bowl of emotions as I say goodbye to all my new friends, to the rituals I’ve created here, to the easy access to parts of the world I’m still so unfamiliar with, and say hello to a city I fell in love with a few years ago, to old friends, to familiar coffee places and some of the best food I’ve ever had (yes!). Let’s just cut to the chase and say that right now, I feel ALL THE THINGS. So feeling. Many nostalgia.
Instead of my usual list of monthly favorites, I’m giving you some visuals from my year of living across the Atlantic and exploring everywhere from Krakow and London to Stockholm and Barcelona. As I was choosing images to share with you, I can’t tell you how many times I told myself “I’m so lucky, so grateful.” Lucky and grateful to have seen so many wonderful places and met so many fantastic people. And also lucky and grateful for Ryan as such a great travel companion, blog-fixer, and breakfast expert. (You can check out what he’s up to over at his blog, where he shares his love of tech, efficiency, and everything else.) So I’ll leave you with these, and I’m off to pack up and have more coffee and squeeze in a few more “lasts.”
Parque Güell always reminds me of gingerbread houses. Lovely! This second trip to Barcelona solidified the truth: I love Barcelona!
Maastricht was absolutely lovely. It’s on a much smaller scale than most of the other cities I’ve visited lately, but precious. The city also has a gorgeous cathedral bookstore that you don’t want to miss!
I had never heard of Bruges before, to be honest, but as part of our trip to Brussels, Ryan and I decided to stop by this historical town. It’s known as the Venice of the North and has some delicious beer at De Halve Maan.
Never, in my life, have I eaten as much cheese as I did in Morzine. What a weekend! Fondue and snow and cheese samples and hiking and raclette… DELICIOUS.
Rococo was never really that appealing to me, until I saw it in front of my own eyes. I fell in love with the Amalienburg hunting lodge in Munich and took enough selfies in the Hall of Mirrors to shame myself for many years to come.
When I was tiny, I had a murder–mystery puzzle that was set in the Colosseum, and I’ve wanted to visit Rome ever since. Luckily, my parents were also up for the adventure, and we walked nearly 14 miles every day we were there and indulged in so much beautiful art, architecture, wine, and food.
Northern Ireland has some gorgeous, ancient-looking landscapes, which is why the Game of Thrones crew chose many spots around Belfast as their filming locations. Ryan and I nerded out completely and took a Game of Thrones road trip, and we loved every minute of it!
I never expected to feel much of anything for Poland, but after meeting some great people, eating amazing food, and digging into the country’s tragic history, I really fell in love with it. We visited both Auschwitz and the Wieliczka salt mines (where even the chandeliers are made of salt), and everything was simple and wonderful.
In keeping with my newfound love of rococo and—basically—all things shiny, we visited Versailles. It was INSANELY crowded (really, you couldn’t hardly move through the wide hallways because they were so jammed, and all my photos had to be cropped to get the people out!) but also gorgeous. I only wish we’d visited in one of the colder months so the crowds were thinner. Live and learn! (Tip: never go in June. Ugh!)
London brought to life the stories surrounding Anne Boleyn, and while visiting the city, I realized that I always thought the Tower of London was one of the towers on the London bridge! PARDON my ignorance. (Still blushing. Terrible!)
OMG STONEHENGE! Lifelong dream, fulfilled. ❤
There’s nothing like winging around on a tram car from the 1940s and feeling like the brakes are going out on the downhill rush! With the sea so close, the fish so fresh, and the wine so rich, Lisbon really made going home a difficult thought to entertain.
As part of my “lasts” list, I finally, finally made it to see the Book of Kells this past weekend. While beautiful, the book itself was kind of something to just tick off the list (sadly), but Trinity’s Long Room was welllll worth the trip. It’s definitely got the Harry Potter vibe, and I spent my time there imagining that I was actually in my own library. I’ve always wanted a rolling ladder!
What a year it’s been! I’m taking off at the end of this week for San Francisco and will be in the air for a good 12 hours. I’m gathering reading materials as we speak (including Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement), but I’d love to hear any reading recommendations you might have that suit a 12-hour flight time!