I can hardly believe that the first month of 2013 has already come and gone! What a month it has been.
From the coasts of Europe, to settling back into the heart of the Midwest. From record 74-degree January days to freezing subzero temps (within a 3-day timespan, of course). From hours working my tail off to completely getting lost in great downtime with friends. And of course, from missing my pup across the ocean to finally being able to cuddle up close each day. What a month!!!
One of my goals is to remember and document my life in photos a little better this year. So having been inspired by my good friend Cassie, I bring you the first installment of my year in photos via Instagram. Here is January!
After 3.5 weeks abroad in Europe, our final destination was a quick day back in London before flying home. Of the six group members remaining, I was one of two who had spent five days in the city prior to leaving for Oxford and Shrewsbury. So while part of the group took out across the city to explore some of the sights, I took it easy and enjoyed some downtime in a coffee shop and spent a lovely afternoon with a blogging friend.
After Sara’s wedding in Shrewsbury, we made our way to Oxford. At this point, we still had all 8 of us in the group, although Nathan and Kerry left a day early to make it back to the States for New Year’s Eve. But as you will see, those of us who stayed had a special time ringing in the new year Oxford-style!
I think all of us completely loved the town, and all of the energy in the air from the universities and all of the history everywhere you turned. But the one bummer of traveling around the holidays was that many things were closed. School was obviously out of session since it was Christmas break, but since pretty much everything in Oxford is connected to the universities, many of the landmarks we had hoped to visit were also closed for the holidays.
Next up on our England adventure was the event that inspired the trip — our friend Sara’s wedding in Shrewsbury!
We all knew that the wedding was going to be a total highlight of our trip. But I think none of us had any idea how much we would also adore this small town!! From the endless beautiful Tudor architecture, to cute cobblestone streets, to friendly townspeople (even a jolly policeman who helped us find our hotel), to great pubs and live music, we completely enjoyed our time in Shrewsbury and wished we could have spent even more time exploring the town.
Ok, three weeks later, I’m finally getting my pictures up from the second half of my trip. Better late than never!
Barcelona was a total highlight of my trip. My 3 days there were pretty much 100% spontaneous, due to pretty much zero advanced planning. But I seemed to luck out every step of the way, beginning with where I stayed. At the last second, I decided to forego a hotel, and instead booked a flat in the Barri Gotic (Gothic neighborhood) with a couple from Air B&B. And I already can’t wait to go back and visit them!
For our last full day with the Costa Pacifica, we were all elated to spend some time in France. Our ship docked in the port of Marseilles, but then I hopped on a bus with some friends for the “A Day In The Heart Of Provence” excursion.
We first visited the city of Arles, a town with a rich history having been originally Celtic, and then later conquered by the Gauls, the Romans, and finally becoming part of France. Then after we traveled to the nearby Provencal village of Saint Remy, home of the renowned Nostradamus. (I love how his name is pronounced in French – so regal!) Afterwards, we all returned for a delightful final evening on board before returning to Barcelona to disembark the next morning.
Our fourth stop with the Costa Pacifica was the small town of Savona. Clearly, it was a bit of a cloudy day. And everyone seemed a little tired after Rome, so we chose to stay near the ship and just explore the town right next to the port. (Can you spot our ship in the photo? We didn’t have to walk too far!) The visit was lovely, and then as you will see, our day even ended with a bit of magic.
Sorry, crazy few days, and was having some issues with my wireless. But after visiting three countries in the past three days, we officially disembarked today and I am now back on solid ground. Cannot believe how quickly time flew!