Ok first of all, I’d like to point out that I’ve blogged more this week than I have any week in the past, what, year? In Europe without constant internet connection, borrowing other people’s computers, I’ve had more opportunity to blog than at home. Europe is good for me. So here’s a quick update:
I arrived in Madrid on Saturday morning, where I was picked up by Jorge and taken to the train station. I got on a train and rode to Caceres, where I was picked up by Tim and taken to Betsy’s apartment. I spent the rest of Saturday, all day Sunday and Monday breakfast with Tim and/or Betsy. They introduced me to lots of fun people, I got to go to church on Sunday with them, and we went up a big hill to a chapel where you can see the whole city. It was lovely. On Monday morning, they put me on a bus to Bejar, where Craig picked me up. I stayed one night with him and his lovely (Spanish) wife, Ada. Bejar is tee-tiny, y’all. Like I think I could walk the whole thing in about ten minutes. They were cool, though, and one of their sons force-fed me bananas all day. I definitely got my five that day.
On Tuesday, Craig put me on a bus back to Madrid, where I found AMARIS!!!!! waiting for me at the Ibiza Metro stop. I am not sure that Madrid was ready for us together, but I think it handled the situation quite well. We traded bags and headed out to meet Chris and Paul, two guys she’d met through her classmate Kent, who was staying in the same hostel with them. Are you confused? Welcome to Amaris.
The four of us (later five when Kent joined us) walked what seemed to be a large portion of the city looking for a restaurant that had vegetarian paella, but by the time we found it, it was closed, so we went across the street to a market that had absolutely delicious mozarella concoctions among other things. Then we hit up a bakery our friend Adam had told me about. Amaris bought me an empanada de dulce de leche that was aaammaaaaazziiiiiiiiiiinnng (I sang that) for my birthday, and then we made a video that I think she put on facebook. After that, we went up to a park that overlooks the city, where we took super silly photos. Super.
Jorge picked me up around 8:30 and took me back to his house, where I had dinner with him and his wife Elisabeth. They are both German but have been in Spain for 20-some-odd years. Jorge has actually been there longer, and the story of how Elisabeth got there is both hilarious and insane, so ask me to tell it to you later. I spent the night with them, hung out with them the next morning, and around 3 in the afternoon, Jorge took me back to the airport. As I sat on the plane, exhausted, I took comfort in the fact that I would only be in one city in Italy. One city! For two and a half whole days!! What joy! What bliss! I fell asleep.
When I woke up, y’all, we were flying over the Alps. If you have never done this, you absolutely must try to. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. It was really cloudy, and I couldn’t really see anything. Then we broke through a cloud, and holy crap there they were. Like RIGHT THERE. Like we could have dropped a skiier. I took pictures, but they don’t really do it justice or properly show just how close we were. I’ll show them to you when I get home anyway, but seriously, you need to do it. I just kept imagining the Von Trapps crossing them on foot (even though I know they weren’t the same mountains they crossed), and I was amazed.
Ok, so. I got into downtown Milan around 8:15 last night, where Daniel picked me up and took me to Ron and Amy’s house. They had prepared a delicious meal for me, and we chatted for a bit. Then Ron brought me back to Joi and Daniel’s, where I’ll be staying while I’m here. Bless their hearts, they had made up the sleeper sofa and turned down the corner of the bedding. All it would have needed to be a fancy bed and breakfast was a mint on the pillow. Oh but this morning…
Y’all, no mint is necessary with a breakfast like that. Joi made pancakes and homemade apple sauce. They had peanut butter, maple syrup, honey, bananas and walnuts to put on top. It was absolutely amazing. Then they drove me up to Lake Como to hang out and walk around. I will show you pictures of this too, but I’ll just say this: cute town + serene lake + snow-capped Alps + risotto alla parmigiana + knowledge that all this is accessible by train from Milan = Spain Who?
That’s been about it. On the way back, we stopped by a health food store so Joi and Daniel could get oatmeal. Joi said they sell it in regular grocery stores now, but they used to only sell it in health food stores and pharmacies. Yes, pharmacies. Because it’s a health food. I think they really just wanted me to see all the amazing vegetarian options available here. For the record, there are many. We came back to their place for a snack of dried figs, apples, walnuts and cheese.
Now we’re resting a bit before I go over to Ron and Amy’s again for dinner. Actually, I think we might be going out with an Italian guy from their church, but I’m not 100% sure about that. We’ll see.
Okie doke. That was your “short” update. If I have time again before Sunday, I’ll try to give you another one, but I don’t know if that will happen. I would love to tell you more when I get home, though, so please ask me lots of questions if there’s anything you want to know.