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14 Most Memorable Moments of 2014

Yesterday was my one-year BLOGIVERSARY!!

Wow, I still can’t believe it’s been a year!!! I’ll never get over how fast time seems to fly right on by.

These past few weeks I’ve been sorting through my pictures from the past year- categorizing, editing, deleting– and I couldn’t help but smile. I realized it had been a pretty freaking awesome 12 months! As I scrolled through my iPhoto, I was flushed with memories. The good. The bad. The hysterical.

  With the exception of my summer holiday, my entire year had been spent overseas.

Over the course of 12 months I had visited:

3 continents, 9 countries and 38 cities.

After two years abroad, I may not have much money to my name, but I sure have created some memories I’ll keep with me for a lifetime! It may be nearing my time to return home to the real world, but I’ll always keep these experiences in the fondest of my memories.

So, in honor of my one-year blogiversary, here is a #tbt of my 14 most memorable moments of 2014!

1. Floating through the thermal baths in Budapest, January 2014

Oy, this experience still brings me a smile. Floating around in hot thermal pools in the middle of January, wearing last-minute makeshift matching bathing suits- what could be better? We watched the steam escape from the warm water and evaporate into thin air, while unexpectedly getting sucked into crowded whirlpools. We almost drowned we were laughing so hard. A big thanks to the ‘City of Baths’ for my first memorable experience of 2014!

Turkish baths

2. Trotting through Geneva, February 2014

My friend Julie is an active (to put it lightly) runner and often packs her shoes for weekend trips. One early morning in Geneva, I was feeling motivated and decided I’d join her for a run …… My fingers were numb for hours and my legs ached for days, but every second was worth it!

Geneva

3. Finally making it to the top of the Eiffel tower, February 2014

I first visited Paris when I was 13 years old during a summer vacation. My family, my friend Kate and I ventured to the Eiffel tower on a hot humid day. The intense summer sun mixed with my irrational fear of heights was just too much. Dizzy, wobbly Lauren sat in a café with Dad, while Mom and Kate continued on to the top. It may have taken 10 years, and a cool breezy day, but last year I finally made it up!

IMG_4495

4. Spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, March 2014

Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin may be a ‘touristy’ event, but it was still fabulous! Green foamy beer, traditional folk music, and shamrock printed foreigners- it was the St. Paddy’s day we all dream of!

Ireland

5. Sitting 2nd row at an Atletico game.

Let’s just say, I’m officially converted. I used to be a Real Madrid ‘fan’ (AKA I just went along with the masses), until I sat second row at Vicente Calderón. The tickets were crazy cheap and a bunch of my friends were going, so I figured- why not? I’m not really sure how to explain the experience, but I’ve never seen such an enthusiastic and passionate crowd. Their energy was completely contagious. I ended up screaming along with Spanish chants that I didn’t even understand. Vamos Atleti!!!

atletico

6. Having a photo shoot with my talented friend Shea, April 2014

Let’s face it. I’m no model. But it sure was fun to romp around Retiro followed by a photographer acting like one! Shea is a photographer who was also teaching English in Madrid at the time. She was in the process of boosting her portrait portfolio and I needed some shots to start-up my blog! Win, win!

Shea

7. Seeing Lisbon from up above May 2014

Lisbon was one of those cities that I instantly fell in love with! It is an extremely hilly city (which can be hard on the calves), but allows for tons of high vantage points with amazing views. Even though we had to pay a fee to enter, I’d have to say my favorite was the terrace in Castillo de San Jorge. Looking down from above at all of the red-roofed buildings below was completely inspiring. I’ve never seen anything like it!

Lisbon

8. Experiencing opening weekend in Ibiza, May 2014

Ibiza is unreal. I actually mean that. It’s literally not real. After 3 days in Ibiza, I spent a week bedridden, pathetically begging for my mommy. Hey, I guess that proves it was a good one, right?

9. Getting a scrub down in Marrakech, June 2014

This is definitely an experience I will NEVER forget. We jollily arrived at the Turkish Hammam, bathing suits in hand, ready for a day of pampering. Little did we know what this back-alley spa had in store for us. We were firmly ‘suggested’ to remove our swimsuits, each handed a disposable cloth string and lead into a claustrophobic steam filled room. Buck naked… lying on a table… being forcefully scrubbed and bathed… in front of my two, also buck naked, friends …. I’ve said enough. We still can’t talk about this experience without hysterically laughing. Eh, I’ll chalk it up to an adequate bonding experience.

Turkish hammam better

10. Exploring my roots in Hamburg, July 2014

My trip to Germany this past year was one I had been dreaming about for as long as I can remember! Not only was it my most memorable trip of 2014, but this one will go down in the books as one of the most memorable trips of my life. Hamburg is the city of my ancestors and it was absolutely amazing to see where they came from! We even got to honor their memory in a privately held ceremony! The ceremony was televised on a popular German newscast and I was interviewed by a reporter with my father! The entire weekend was extremely emotional, but utterly and completely perfect.

Hamburg Ceremony

 11. Sampling pintxos galore in San Sebastián, July 2014

Have you ever had an eating experience that made you so happy you legitimately felt your eyes swelling with tears? If you haven’t, I genuinely feel bad for you and you need to get to San Sebastián stat. My pintxos crawl through this little coastal city was my favorite eating experience of 2014. Never have I seen such elaborate displays of mouth-watering morsels. Each and every bite was euphoria.

SanSebastian pinxtos

12. Sailing around the French Riviera, July 2014

During our stay in Cannes, my family and I decided to try something a little different. My parents have never been big ‘boat people,’ but I somehow convinced them to book a charted sailboat cruise. It was one of the most relaxing days I’d had in a long time. Sometimes, we travelers get so caught up in sights, activities and packing a lot into a short time that we forget what it’s like to simply stop and relax. We leisurely sailed to a private island and had a delicious ‘boat’ cooked lunch. We snorkeled, we kayaked, we napped in slowly rocking hammocks. Pure bliss.

Sailing Cannes

13. Joining an impromptu Burgos football rally in Logroño, October 2014

I wish I could say my friends and sought out this adventure, but the truth is that we happened to be in the right place at the right time. We head to Logroño’s main strip to indulge in one last round of pinchos and wine before catching the bus back to Madrid. All of a sudden we were smack in the middle of a Burgos football rally! The Burgos fans welcomed us in with open arms, taught us their chants and made us feel like a part of their crew. We may have almost missed our bus, but we rode up a little bit happier (And a little tipsier) 😀

Lorgrono

14. Getting up close and personnel with the Cliffs of Moher, December 2014

Even though I’m pretty sure I just about blew over the edge, the Cliffs of Moher were absolutely breathtaking. These magnificent natural wonders have the overwhelming power to put you right in your place. They remind you of how small you really are. I wrapped my scarf in a bonnet around my head to shelter the wind and just stared in amazement.

cliffs of moher

Well, there you have it!

What are some of your favorite memories from the past year??

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