I know that by this time, we've all stopped rehashing 2014 and have started looking ahead to 2015. But I can't just summarize last year with pretty photos of Paris and Europe - I need to pause and share my reflections of a special year.
5 Rental cars
131 blog posts
And countless sheep
2014. I think of this year as my “gift year.” That’s not to say that every day we get on this earth isn't a gift, because it is. I mean it in the sense that when I think about 2014, I think “we shouldn't still be here.” Michael had a contract to work on an assignment in Paris for almost two years, ending in December 2013. Except by the end of that year, we had realized that Paris wasn't merely the home base for our travels throughout Europe. We had somehow built a life here, entered into community, and fell in love with life in the city. Things were looking bleak for a while and it seemed that we did in fact have to move back to the US as planned. Until things turned around and we were able to stay. We weren't supposed to still be hanging around the City of Light this year, but somehow in the end we were gifted with more time. Read More
Last Wednesday I shared my round-up of my favorite photos taken in Paris in 2014. Now it’s time to see the year in review through a collection of my canvas-worthy contenders from our European travels outside of Paris. Here’s where I traveled to during the year! Read More
I’ve been making a list and checking it twice...and am ready to reveal which European Christmas markets made the naughty or nice list. This by no means is a conclusive list of markets throughout Europe, but it’s my thoughts on 20 markets spanning 8 European countries. So without further ado, here’s the breakdown by country: Read More
Or how I saved € 50 in a day for two adults.
Traveling can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to save money with a little planning. My recent trip to Madrid spanned five days but due to New Year's many sights had abbreviated hours or were closed for the holiday. Shortened hours were not going to stop me from seeing the sights though. I enacted a carefully concocted plan of whirlwind sightseeing on a Sunday to maximize what I could see free of charge.
This itinerary is for a Sunday in Madrid, but I've included tips on how to avoid entry fees for sights on other days as well. Michael and I enjoy walking everywhere so the only costs on this day were for food. Factor in a subway ride or two if you don't like walking as much as we do.
The Plan: Read More
In the "Simply Sara Eats " series, I recount the my favorite food and drink discoveries .
I spent the last few nights of 2013 in Madrid, Spain. Here are my favorite places to go for a bite or drink in Spain's capital.
1. Mercado de San Miguel
Our first destination once arriving in Madrid was to the Mercado de San Miguel. We were tired after waking up at 4am to catch our flight, and hungry. This market promised lots of food options. I know now that on a Saturday afternoon, it also promised huge crowds. Read More
Hands clapping, feet stomping, castanets chattering. Add a song that erupts straight from the gut. Those sounds are what I will forever associate with Madrid, flamenco, and my last night of 2013.
I found myself in Madrid at the close of the year. I've historically had pretty low-key New Year's plans and don't like the pressure of having to find mandatory, expensive fun on the last year of the night. So although I didn't feel the need the go all out, I did want to celebrate in a way unique to Spain.
Option one was to gather in Madrid's plaza Puerta del Sol with many others to participate in the New Year's countdown. But not wanting to deal with the crowds (and besides, it wasn't as warm as you might think in Spain), I ruled that out quickly.
As you already guessed, I went with option two: attending a flamenco show. Read More
We started by looking at our best canvas-worthy photos of Paris and then expanded the scope to all of France. Now it is time to conclude with our best pictures from our European travels of 2013.
There was much to discover on our travels in Europe. The first trip of the year outside of France was to Iceland, a country completely off my radar to visit. Now I can't help hoping to spend more time there enjoying its spectacular natural beauty.
The summer brought an amazing trip to Sevilla which once again proved just how wrong I was about Spain. I once had no interest in seeing Spain at all. Then I got acquainted with tapas (oh, the tapas) and the warmth of the country. Now I keep trying to scheme ways to return.
In August I joined my fellow Parisians in a mass exodus out the city. I found myself in Ireland on the most relaxing trip of the year, drinking lots of tea with dear friends in a house overlooking the Dingle peninsula.
Fall brought a trip to Bruges with good friends who, not coincidentally, were very knowledgeable about Belgium beers. I was afraid that I overly romanticized Bruges from my first trip there in May 2012 but found that I love the city all the more.
I closed out the year on a Christmas trip making my way through Germany to be in Seefeld, Austria over Christmas. All I can say is I'm already planning to be there next year for Christmas.
Here's the year in review: Read More