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.


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.

Celebrating Love… and ham. Lots of ham!

May 3, 2012 § 36 Comments

10 days in Spain – with 12 Americans to guide around the country – I’ve been back in the U.S. for one week and I am just beginning to feel normal. Rested. Sane.

I’ll have to re-cap the other 9 days of travel on another day. For now I’ll start with the main event. The reason we all flew halfway around the world. The reason us Americans rented cars (almost ruining one) to drive across the Spanish countryside – to the Farm – to paaaarty!

To eat, drink, and be Spanish.

How do I tell this story. How do I describe the beauty of the setting.

How do I put into words the seamless and flawless chain of events that was simply this: 12 hours of white gloved waiters passing wine, beer and Fanta. 12 hours of passed silver platters full of one delicious bite after another.

12 hours. Non-stop.

I have never seen anything like it. And never expect to see it again.

The day started with my love. And a hug.

My dad helped feed the horses.

I don’t think I have ever seen my father hold a bucket. (No, no I cannot recollect.)

A house tour was given to the family.

And then the guests arrived.

We welcomed them with a toast. And the party began.

The eating – The drinking – The mixing and mingling.

Flags flew.

Americans met Spanish.

The mothers (mine and Dana’s) found their party perch.

Cigars were smoked.

The horses were loved.

Or peeved. (I doubt hay counts as a treat.)

Ham was carved. And carved some more.

5 entire legs were consumed!

I entertained my guests. And met a million more for the first time.

I didn’t sit down once.

I enjoyed every glance across the yard from my groom.

I basked in every boisterous laugh and unstoppable smile.

There are no words for me to fully explain the love and support I felt. From friends and family standing next to me in Spain. From friends and family sending love and thoughts from afar.

One can never really imagine where their life will go… and who could honestly ever imagine this?

I was beyond grateful. Beyond loved. And beyond exhausted at the end of the day.

The most important love is my Spaniard Love. This celebration started and ended with him.

The Fiesta al Campo was more than I could have imagined.

It was quite the celebration. A celebration of love – of food – of the Farm’s prized ham. Of good wine and even better friends.

Our story has not been without it’s trials – but with views like this:

and a smile like that:

I can’t possibly want for more.


All Photos: La Tortuga Viajera – friend and photographer extraordinaire.

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