Tuesday, May 31, 2016

France: Carcassone (Stopover in Barcelona)

Despite is being halfway into 2016, I have to still catch up from our Spain and France trip LAST SEPTEMBER! 

We enjoyed a nice direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Barcelona, but upon arrival to Barcelona we discovered that both of us had forgotten our driver's licenses and had no way to pick up our rental car. Not the best of starts for a two week vacation. Despite that snag, we were quickly able to readjust thanks to a super helpful travel agent in the Barcelona Airport, and we had train tickets in hand for all of our trip. MY FAVORITE WAY TO TRAVEL ANYWAY! We had a 6 hour window between new travel arrangements and our train departing for Carcassonne, so we ventured into Barcelona for a few hours to stretch out our legs.

Sangria! There were two pitchers of this happily consumed

Tapas happiness

After a nice meal, we caught our train to head to France for a few days. Despite getting there MANY hours later than originally planned, we were able to enjoy a really nice starlit walk to our accommodations a few kilometers from the train station. The view was incredible!

It was late by the time we arrived, so we just showered and crashed out, wanting to start the day bright and early the next morning. We wanted to tour  the castle complex of Carcassonne and to be some of the first people in (to avoid the crowds). I highly recommend this approach, it was empty when we started! And DEFINITELY pay to do the audio tour! It is one of the best narrated audio tours that we have ever done.

 True to form, we booked our accomodations through AirBnb and it did NOT disappoint. We were immediately below the castle walls and our host had an amazing breakfast spread ready for us at our early hour.

Breakfast with a view

And a nice leisurely stroll up to the castle complex:

Basilique St. Nazaire 

Our host recommended a restaurant (personal friends with the owner) within the castle walls, and it did not disappoint. Name: L'Escargot

Menus on chalkboard

More wine, more tapas. Satiated bliss.

Adam loves his moldy cheese.

We seriously spent THE ENTIRE DAY walking the walls of the castle, doing the audio tour, and then exploring EVERY.SINGLE.STREET within the walls. It was so nice and relaxing, and absolutely beautiful. Carcassonne is seriously a stunning and picturesque city. I cannot imagine anyone, of any travel type or desire, not loving this city. It has something for everyone.

We ventured back outside the walls as the day came to a close, to enjoy the changing of the colors with the fading light.

Sunset colors of the castle walls

Moon rise over Carcassone

If you go to Carcassone, you absolutely MUST go to this restaurant. It was our favorite meal of the entire trip. We STILL talk about this place, in a lovingly reminiscent way that brings stars to your eyes when spoken about. It is all things delicious wine and truffles. It is owned by an ex-rugby player and his chef wife. It is just the two of them and it is incredible.

Restaurant Name: Truffle & Terrior

The second bottle

Carpaccio with a generous shaving of truffles. This was the second platter. Adam did not like having to wait for the picture to be taken before we dug into this one. It was THAT good.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Life of Love

We are truly blessed with a few incredible people that fill our lives.
The kind of people that put their own life on hold, are available at all hours for anything, and are truly absolutely THERE for you.

As wonderful as traveling and the freedom of living and going wherever we want is, it knowing that we have a solid group of family and friends to turn to that makes anywhere/everywhere feel like home.

Pieces of my heart lay all over the world now and I am truly grateful for that.

To all of you. Thank you. For you.
For everything.

Rosewood Family and the Reem adoptees

The bromance

The love

The Annual Mayer Thanksgiving came to pass. It was fabulous jamming over 30 people into our apartment and sharing the smorgasbord of traditional faire contributed by all attendees.

Debbie and Chris sandwich

Lovely Rosewood Ladies

The A-team

And then I got to sneak away to Zurich for a few days to spend time with my Roomie Nora.

Roomies for Life <3 my Nora

Our daily sunset view

New Year's Eve

Rosewood Ladies

Toasting in 2016 was bittersweet. While I was more than happy to put many parts of 2015 behind me and start afresh, I was not looking forward to the farewells that were to come.

Final drinks with the McGoverns ;)

Beloved Greenhalghs

Can you find Debbie?

Crushing a 5k

One of the big work projects, that I spent the better part of a year on, was organizing the first Pediatric-dedicated nursing conference for the Emirate and it came to fruition in February. It was a 3 full-day event of speakers and received high accolades.

Almost a decade of friendship, love our Pennock crew

Qbaby Love

10k crushing

Post-10k Shake Shack reward

Comic Con
I married this man

Christopher Lloyd!!!!

Night in with the boys

Did I mention that we are taking dance lessons? Oh hell yeah, it's a beautiful disaster trying to teach me grace and balance, but it really is going well!

Dance Studio Party

And then there was the 36 hour trip to the US to kidnap my parents to the Middle East. I was able to spend some time with a few of my favorites <3

Uncle Steve and Aunt Gretchen

Aunt Rita and Uncle Pete

Liz and my Mom

My Boston People: Liz and Rick

My incredible parents

Uncle Neal, so glad he made exceptional efforts to ensure our paths crossed in the brief time that I was stateside

Obviously, Adam needs to do a better job of taking pictures of family and friends when he is back in PA, because their pictorial presence is lacking in this blog between September and now, but most certainly NOT in life. That being said, the Mayer/Adams clan needs to work on getting their butts out here to visit (Ahem...HINT!).

I am grateful with every fiber of my being for the amazingness that you all fill my/our life/lives with.
I am also extremely thankful for the technological options available to keep everyone feeling so close and connected. A big toast to WhatsApp, Google Chat, Skype, Facebook, and all the archaic method of email. No where is really that far.