the after party

May 25, 2012 § 10 Comments

So we made it to the Farm –


nice horsey.

and we partied!

Dana does it best.

As for the after party – why not add another country onto our adventure!?

Why hello there!

The farm is a hop, skip and a jump from the Portugal border. And there is an amazing restaurant just on the other side.

This is what exhaustion looks like.

This is what amazing food looks like –

Who doesn't love a good garbanzo...

or prawns the size of your head...

with a side of photo fun.

Bryanna loves Coke.

I love my Dad's face.

In typical Spanish style, lunch started close to 3 and we didn’t leave until after 5. PM!

When you are tired, full and happy, all you (I) want to do is curl up in the couch and watch a movie. OR you can drive 5.5 hours back to Madrid.

Our caravan made in back to city and then our party dispersed. The American globe trotters had more trotting to do. Paris, Rome, and Barcelona was on the agenda with their respective flights leaving early Monday morning.

My flight was straight to my bed. I had more travelers visiting me!

Justin and Bryanna were going to be in Spain for one more day and my aunt and uncle (who sadly missed the Farm Party – how is it that the only direct flight from the U.S. is the one that is cancelled? We don’t want to talk about it.) landed in Madrid on Sunday.

We were determined to make the most of their European time.

Toledo, Segovia and La Granja were explored for the remainder of the week.

Words can’t express – these posts can’t fully display – a picture can’t completely capture – the love, joy, and gratitude I felt from day 1 of this trip. To be surrounded by my family and friends. To be with my groom and celebrate our marriage surrounded by his family and friends.

I was exhausted and overwhelmed. Happy and loved. So many emotions in 10 short days. But mostly I was thankful. So very thankful.

Photos: Erin, Justin, Bryanna, and my Momma.


Let’s skip to the smoking car. It was awesome.

May 17, 2012 § 13 Comments

I left off on Day 3 of the Farm Party adventure. On Day 3 my parents landed. You’ve met them before:

Granada, Spain

Day 3 was more walking, shopping and eating in Madrid. Just imagine 9 Americans traipsing around the city together. Do you have a visual? It was awesome.

But what I really want to do is skip to the smoking car.

Smoking Car. Day 4.

Friday, Day 4, was travel to the Farm day. We all rented cars. We were driving to the Farm!

Shear stress and exhaustion.

Picture again, now 10 Americans (Abbie arrived!), luggage in tow, walking single file through the city to the rental car garage. Do you have the visual? It was awesome.

10 people = 3 cars. 3 manual transmission cars.

Paperwork – Signatures – and 3 Key exchanges later – and we were off!

I believe we traveled 2.5 blocks in 15 minutes (oh Madrid traffic) when we started to smell something. Something foul. Road kill? Burnt rubber? Umm… stripped gears? Ding Ding Ding!

Driver #2, Mary (god bless her!), didn’t remember as well as she thought she would how to drive a manual car. I guess it isn’t just like riding a bike.

Picture this: 10 Americans, in 3 cars, in the busiest section of Madrid.

The middle car is smoking, the hood looks like a pack-a-day smoker. (Fits right in on the streets of Madrid.)

We play a game of musical cars. My dad running back and forth to see what is happening asDana joins our car to make room for theĀ good Spanish Samaritan. A complete strangerĀ leaves his work truck on the side of the road to drive the chimney car back to the garage. Do you have a visual? It was awesome.

To make an already long story a little shorter – we caravanned to the massive Hertz Garage in the south of the city – the manual car was traded for an automatic – and we once again tried to get on the road to the Farm.

This time – Success! With a huge thank you to Abbie!

Abbie joined us Friday morning from her pre-Farm vaca in Lisbon. Abbie is a master when it comes to European roadways. She calms me down and helps me think. 10 minutes after leaving the second Hertz (2 hours after the first departure) we were on our way!

We stopped midway for lunch. I love that Spanish rest stations are full-on restaurants.


Happy to be alive and well.

On the road again…

Sweet sweet relief – we made it – we made it!

All in one piece.

And still smiling.

It’s funny. Friday morning I was complete basket case. My stomach was in knots. I was completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of getting everyone safely to the farm … but as soon as the car started smoking all of the pressure was released. All I could do was laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.

Laughter and alcohol.

Everyone made a beeline to the hotel bar.

We enjoyed wine, olives and bar’s fantastic nut mix until dinner. (Who doesn’t love a good nut mix?)

Dinner was 4+ hours of food, wine… and more wine.

Maybe too much wine? The night ended with pillow hugs at the table. (Don’t even ask.) I’ll let you determine your thoughts on where wine consumption should have ended.

By the end of the night I could barely keep my eyes open. The stress. The physical exhaustion. The complete relief of a trip well traveled. I spent a whole 10 minutes with my groom – and then I crashed.

Friday night was the first time I laid eyes on the Spaniard. He left for the farm before I landed in Madrid. A perfect ending after a long day.

East to West. Madrid to Farm. Surrounded by the ones you can be you with… it was awesome.

Photos: Justin, Bryanna and my Momma. Documentation – one thing I wasn’t worried about.

knock knock – walk walk

May 11, 2012 § 13 Comments

Day 2 started with a knock at my door.

First thought – “this better not be those water men. I don’t have time for this!!!”

Well, I opened the door to these three gems:

everyone needs a photo touching a naked lady's rump

Dana, her mother Mary, and sister Devan. Faaaaar better than the water men!

The plan was for me to meet these three at their hotel at 2 PM. It was 11 AM. It’s a good thing Dana had my address (clearly noted in her 15 page itinerary… and 5 page map attachment.) She lead the group directly to my door (and right past our unfriendly doorman, might I add. No help. No help at all!)

When you can’t check into your hotel until 3, you come to hotel Kristen. I offer breakfast and coffee… and free guided tours.

As yesterday displays the best way to combat jet lag is to get out into the city. Get out – and drink up!

a new discovery around every corner

We had lunch at a swanky restaurant with great views of Retiro Park.


So swank that I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the water in the bathroom. Seriously. Yes.

soap covered hands... and 10 minutes later... water!

In case you find yourself in a similar predicament… try stepping on the black button on the floor. Just saying.

We toured the park:

buttonless water

Toured the art that covers the city:

Will be auctioned at Sotheby's one day.

And walked until they couldn’t walk anymore.

I dropped Mary, Dana and Devan at their hotel for a 1.5 hour nap. No more! I run a tight ship.

We had a schedule to keep – and the next 2 Americans arriving.

the shining couple in the middle

Welcome Bryanna and Justin! (parents of baby (not so baby anymore) SAM!

We all ventured into the city for dinner… drinks… and more drinks.

mas vino, por favor.

One restaurant – and 3 bars later – and I was ready to drop. I don’t party. I don’t drink… a lot.

enthralling story I am sure.

When this happens:

This happens:

I know we are only on Day 2 but I am going to give myself an A+ on entertaining.

Bar 1

Bar 2

Could be any bar... anywhere.

We eventually called it a night. Day 3 would begin with my mother and father’s arrival. And the city exploration would start again…


All photos: Devan.

Stolen straight off Facebook (or F-book, as I affectionately call it.) Thank you M.Z.

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