2012 Travels in Review: A slideshow of Photos

2012 started off with a bang of travel. I left San Francisco for Madrid a few days after New Years to catch a  flight only 8 hours after touching down on European soil to join a friend in Lisbon Portugal  for a long weekend. I have this idea that the things you do on New Year’s Day or within the week are a reflection of how the New Year will be. ( I haven’t actually collected data to see how accurate this is, but I certainly like the idea). As 2012 comes to a close and I reflect on all the lessons, experiences, memories and incredible people I’ve met, I thought to recap my travels (if anything, more for me to remember all the travels I had the opportunity to take).



Lisbon, Portugal

I fell in love with Lisbon almost the moment I stepped off the plane and 4 days later when I boarded the plane to fly back to my sunny spot in Andalucia, I couldn’t wait to return to beautiful Portugal. I put it on my travel wish-list that in summer, I’d return to travel from North to South.

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Dublin, Ireland

Dublin had been on my radar since meeting my friend Sarah by chance while staying at a hostel off the Wild Coast in South Africa. We hit off immediately and after our day and half together, we kept in touch throughout the years and I visited her when I had a 4 day weekend! We had a blast in Dublin just roaming around and catching up on life.

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March: Granada, Spain

Granada is an important city in Andalucia where the Great Alhambra was built during the Moors rule. Though I lived only a 2 hour bus ride from this beautiful and lively city, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit until March. But things have a way of working out , a week before I visited, I stumbled across a blog by a California gal, Michelle whose been living in Spain for several years. She suggested we met up and hit it off immediately, especially after learning we have a love of food. I returned several more times to Granada in the Spring to visit Michelle and for an unexpected school field trip.

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April: A 12 day adventure in Morocco

For the last few years, one of my travel dreams was to travel in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. When I had a 10 day break for Spring break, I decided to forgo witnessing the festivities in Sevilla and take adavantage of the time to visit Morocco. As I researched, I realized there is so much to see and had to decide on how to spend my rather limited 10 days. I was happy with the decision to split time between Marackesh, a road trip to the Sahara to ride camels and a short visit to Chefocaeun.

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May: Feria in Sevilla

Sevilla is the capital of Andalucia and is antoher city I had on my list for a long time but took me almost 7 months to visit. A city 5 hours from Almeria, I was delighted to have a Puente weekend to experience Sevilla and the famous feria de Sevilla that happens at the end of April/early May. Many Spaniards told me not to bother visiting because they assumed I wouldn’t be able to enter the casetas and participate in the feria but I have my ways and I imagined.

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June: Traveling with my brother in Portugal: Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve

When my brother showed interest in coming to visit me, I nearly fell off my chair. A dream come true to travel with my brother since taking off to Africa in 2007, I was stoked to have him curious of my life in Spain and how I travel. We had a fabulous time and turns out, we compliment each other well as travel buddies. We’re both flexible and easy going, like to eat and are more interested in meeting folks in the cities were in than crossing off a number of sights from our list!

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July: San Sebastian, Spain

After a cool 5 day festival in the desert, my friend Jessica and I decided that we’d take the next bus leaving the station from Zaragoza, wherever it was headed to. I was crossing my fingers for San Sebastian since I hadn’t been before and we were hoping for some sand and beach time. Lucky us, the next bus was to San Sebastian but when we arrived it was raining. Typical weather of the North of Spain but the sun did shine for us on our last day! San Sebastian is a beautiful place, rain or shine, and it was here during my last few days in Spain that I wondered, “maybe I do want to have a second year in Spain.” and then quickly talked myself out of it! I surely didn’t know then, that I would move back and be an hour from this paradise.

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August: Home in the San Francisco Bay Area

August was a month of focusing on what came next for me and I wasn’t interested in traveling. I enjoyed staying home, spending time with friends and making big decisions.

September: Moving to a new city: Vitoria- Gasteiz

September marked a big change in my life- moving to another city in Vitoria-Gasteiz. I didn’t know what to expect- except lots of gray skies and rainy weather! It’s definitely more than cold weather and I’m enjoying getting to know this city and meeting new people. 

Posing for a photo in the rain!

Posing for a photo in the rain!

October: Toulouse, France

My first trip to the South of France, I was surprised to see how much it reminded me of Northern California’s wine region.

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November: Madrid and a day trip to Alcala de Henares

Madrid is one of those cities that keeps me coming back. There are so many places to visit, museums to see, streets to roam and a lot more variety of ethnic food that I can’t always find in other cities and towns in Spain. It also helps a very good friend lives here and a gal needs quality time with friends.

Retiro Park, Madrid

Retiro Park, Madrid

December: London

Because life always brings me back to London…

More to come on why!

Beautiful Big Ben

Beautiful Big Ben

Did you travel much in 2012? Visit some places that have been on your list?


14 thoughts on “2012 Travels in Review: A slideshow of Photos

  1. Pingback: Saying “Hasta Luego” to Basque Country! | Roamingtheworld

  2. Quite the year of travel you’ve had!! I hope you’ll be able to mention me again in your 2013 travels!! ^_^ I should hopefully (fingers crossed) be set to go by Spring!

  3. A very productive year, and not just a travel one! It’s clear that you are growing as a person, writer and Spanish speaker! Tons to be proud of. Love the slideshow on each city and completely agree with you that travel is best enjoyed eating and meeting or observing locals, as opposed to seeing sites. Also LOVE Portugal. If I’m still around in Spain after your course year is up I propose a bike trip north to south or south to north.

    • Thanks Lauren for the very kind words!
      I’m sure I’m growing in many ways I’m not aware of yet and I’ll look back at this time and realize it all!
      I love Portugal too! There is something magical about the country. A bike trip, eh? Though we haven’t met, I think you’d be a great travel buddy but I’ll have to get in shape for a bike trip!

  4. Great to see your year has been productive Lauren! Haven’t travelled as much as I wanted to this year – but who knows what the next year hold 😉 May the next year be even better for both of us!

  5. Wow, you got to travel a ton this year! I was at the Feria this year too – I did get to go into the casetas and you probably didn’t miss too much.

    By the way, how did you get the slideshows to do that? I can never get mine to work!

    • Too bad I didn’t know you were going to feria last year. We could have met there…Managed to get into the casetas and had a blast! Feria is one of those special places for me. Magic.

      guess just means will have to meet sometime this year! somewhere between our cities!

  6. I didn’t know you were in London in December. I haven’t been in that many places this year but I relocated into 2 big cities( London and Hong Kong) and visited 2 countries that noone can situate in a map or pronounce properly (Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) and back to my home in Asia, Philippines…So no complains at all and looking forward for the trips of 2013!! 🙂

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