Thursday, August 6, 2015

El Fin (well sorta)

I cannot believe that I have failed to blog since we were last in Napoli. Regret. Regret. Regret.

So here is the best recollection of events the past month that I can muster.

After the nightmare that was Napoli, we boarded a night train to Geneva, Switzerland. Man, was that a switchup from Napoli. We went from one of the dirtiest cities I have ever seen to the most pristine city I have ever seen - all to my extreme delight. It was clean and gorgeous. The lake is pristine blue and crystal clear. We ditched our bags in the station and set off into a spectacular day. After grabbing some snacks (surprise, surprise) we bolted to the lake. Which, to our actual surprise, was hosting the European Triathlon Championship. A huge public event = free portapotties everywhere! Yay! The triathlon was incredible to watch. The lake was beautiful and clear. The chocolate was to die for. The hotel prices were through the roof. So we boarded a train and set off for Lyon, France. About 2 hours away and stayed in an airbnb with a kid our age.

*Turns out this was to the favor of the Lord. This kid, Theo, told us about his experience using "blablacar", which we ended up using when our train pass expired. Blablacar is a carpooling website, similar to uber, where drivers enter their trip detail and riders pay the drivers a set price for gas and maintenance. I would highly recommend it.  

Anyway, this led to a Sunday in Lyon. Where there is a Hillsong. So we attended church in France, where they only spoke French. We had a earpiece translator and we worshiped in very broken French. I still am overwhelmed with feelings that I worship a God that is glorified in every language. After two nights in Lyon we headed to the infamous South of France: Cannes (pronounced Can). Many puns were used.

Cannes was beautiful. Sort of a French Beverly Hills on the beach. We treated ourselves to a $50/night 5th floor loft apartment. Holy French it was SO hot up there. So, we spent most of our time on the beach. The French Riviera is warm, clear, pretty crowded, and gorgeous. We love France.

We love France so much that after Cannes, we boarded the train back to Paris. Then, transferred to Compeigne - where Trav's friend from high school lives. We explored his adorable town, saw the most impressive castle in all of Europe, his mom cooked for us and we ate like Royalty (thank you, Claire), drive to Reims for the Pommery Champagne tour, and had a really really good time. We love you France, we will return someday.

 France to Barcelona. Where we thought we may actually be able to communicate with the locals. Lol. Good try, Wentworths. You learned Mexican spanish. Spain Spanish is entirely different. They speak so incredibly fast and combine their words. Such a beautiful language, just not one we were able to understand very well. BUT we could read all of the signs and most of the menus, which was encouraging. Barcelona is beautiful. I would say that it is Santa Monica, CA in Spanish. Which I loved. Fun fact: the Barcelona beach is man made. They constructed it back in 1992 for the Olympics, along with most of the other modern art throughout the city. We went to Hillsong Barcelona, which is held in a prestigious night club. It was awesome. We didn't catch everything that pastor said but the worship was unbelievable. You know that song "This is Living" by Hillsong Young and Free? The bridge is Lecrae rapping. Well a 17 year old who was leading worship whipped out this Lecrae rap. In Spanish.

On to Madrid. We spent 8 hours in Madrid. It was 104 degrees. Travis pooped in the Royal Botanical Gardens. Literally.

On to Seville. So hot. Another 104 degree day. The architecture in Seville was gorgeous, there were loads of tourists, and it was sweltering. We ate ice cream, sweated through out clothes multiple times, and slept in A/C. Praise the lord. It really is gorgeous in Seville.

Here is where our train pass ended. And where blablacar began. We found a "resort" in Albufeira, Portugal. It was a beautiful resort about 30 years ago, and hasn't been changed since. So it was cheap and right on the beach, sign us up. So we found a blablacar from Seville to Albufeira. The kid and his girl were going on vacation. They didn't speak a lick of English. It was hilarious. But, we made it to Albufeira safe and sound, dropped off at our hotel door! We spent three nights in this beautiful paradise. Where the cliffs meet the beach. The water is freezing but dazzling. We bought this paddle game where you stand next to the water and hit a little ball back and forth. Oddly entertaining. This toy turned into one of our only souvenirs. The food was cheap, the sun was hot, and it cooled off at night. It was amazing, one of my favorite vacation spots in the world.

After some days in paradise, we blablacar-ed to Lisbon. En route, the dude ran out of gas. In 100 degree weather. Hilarious. How does this stuff even happen? So he paid some 30 euros for 5 liters of gas from some insurance guy that he called and we were good to go. Lisbon was AMAZING. I want to go back now. Seriously. I think some may compare it to San Francisco, though I have never been. There is a Golden Gate Bridge replica, a yellow trolly is Lisbon's signature, and there are some incredible hills. So, I have been sunset chasing all over Europe, and I finally chased the sun to the most western point of it all. Travis drove a 50cc moped with me on the back 30 miles to the west coast topping out at 30mph downhill. I am not joking when I say that it was the strongest winds I have ever experienced. We could barely walk and the sun went down over Guincho Beach. Travis and I spent the afternoon hiding along the cliffs, sheltered from the pelting sand, having conversations that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Then the sun set and it was magnificent. The waves were crashing, the sky was a show of colors, and God's creation was dominating our thoughts. That night, we drove back to Lisbon on the moped in the freezing wind with the memories of the night warming our hearts.

The time came when we had to leave Lisbon. We battled the Lisbon Airport, sprinted through the airport, got our beach umbrella taken from us because apparently my lime green striped umbrella is a "violent weapon" lol wow, nearly missed our flight, and finally landed in the good 'ol US of A. By "good 'ol" I mean, best damn country in the world.

We love America and have a newfound appreciation for how smoothly the entire country runs, the workers, the language, and our car.

We had a few more adventures in the US before we finally settled back into Charlotte. But, that's going to have to wait for another time.

So much love,
M & T

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