This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Lone Elk Park. This park is about 30 minutes from campus but definitely worth the drive! Lone Elk Park is 546 acres of beautiful scenery located on top of a hill where you can drive around and look at beautiful elk and bison. There are even pavilions and grills where you can stop and have lunch with your friends or family. While here I was not able to see any bison but, there were plenty of elk to look at that came right next to the road. Lone Elk Park is free to get into however, donations are welcomed. Be advised that no motorcycles or pets are allowed in the park. If you have free time and want to enjoy the beautiful weather and foliage, take a drive down to the park to check out some of these astonishing animals.
Just how close we were able to get to the elk!
Me on top of Barcelona
Traveling from country to country in Europe is like traveling from state to state in the U.S. Since London is fairly close, I flew to Barcelona for a long weekend. I have family that lives in Barcelona, and I wanted to take advantage of that wonderful opportunity while I am abroad. I stayed with my aunt, uncle, and cousin, and had an absolutely fabulous time. The last time they had been to the U.S. was seven years ago, so it was nice to catch up with them. It was so helpful to have locals show me around the beautiful city and give me background info on what I was looking at.
The first day (Thursday) I explored a fun street called La Rambla. This eventually led me to the water, where I walked along the dock. I also visited a lovely park called Parc de la Ciutadella. As I wandered, I saw many neat statues, churches, and buildings that have very typical Spanish architecture. The Arc de Triomf was quite a sight. It’s actually flat in that area, making it a popular place for biking, skateboarding, etc. The next day (Friday) I visited the Estadi Olimpic (stadium used for the Olympics). Then I went to Parc Guell. There were beautiful, colorful mosaic tiles everywhere designed by the artist Gaudi. I also saw a famous, massive church called Sagrada Familia and went to another park full of beautiful gardens. There was a maze of trees there that was a lot of fun to navigate. Finally, Friday ended with a walk around the Born neighborhood, which was very classy. Saturday morning we went for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea. The water was very clean and refreshing. This was my first (and possibly the only) swim all summer. The afternoon was spent visiting Castell de Montjuic. This was a beautiful castle to wander around in. Next was my favorite part of the trip. We went to bunkers that were at the very top of a hill (it was worth the daunting climb). We were literally on top of the city. The view was spectacular and breathtaking. To end the day, we went to Fundacio Joan Miro, where fountains lit up and danced to music that was playing. I made my way all around the city and got to see most of the key sights. I definitely made the most of my short time spent there.
The food is another story in itself. I was willing to try things authentic to Spanish culture, and I’m so glad I did. Everything I had was amazing. Here are some of the highlights. Dinner the first night was at a nice restaurant. One of the entrees was calamari, and it tasted so fresh. For dessert, I tried a Spanish dish called crema catalana. It was custard with a caramelized crust on top. For dessert the next day I had fartons dipped in orxata. Fartons are light pastries topped with powdered sugar. Orxata is cinnamon milk. For dinner the second night, my aunt made a variety of Spanish omelets (they look different than ones I’ve had in the U.S.). One had fresh veggies, another with mushrooms and goat cheese, and also one with potatoes. My favorite part of dinner the third night was the gazpacho soup. It’s a cold soup commonly eaten in the summer there. It was very smooth with tomato and garlic flavors topped with croutons. All I can say is “yum”!
Having this experience in Barcelona has just continued this dream life that I have been living since I’ve been abroad. Ahh…
I love traveling, and this summer I got a chance to go to one of my favorite places, Mexico! I went with my family, and this trip was kind of the final hurrah because we are all getting older and growing up. I got to spend 7 days in paradise, which was a great stress reliever. I had quite a bit of stress over the last school year, so it was nice to just lay back and absorb some sunlight! Not to mention use some of the Spanish I learned in high school!
We did a few things other than relax on the beach in Mexico. One excursion was an adventure park, where I ziplined, sky-walked, and swam in a cenote. I am terribly afraid of heights, so the ziplining and sky-walking were major feats for me. I was kind of surprised of how I handled it. Beforehand I was pretty sure I was going to be near death, but in the end I’m so glad I did it. I was zipping across the tops of the treetops in the Yucatan jungle!
It rained for one entire day on our trip, and my family spent most of the day playing cards. It was great to spend some “family time” together. Other than the occasional rain shower on some days, the sun was shining. The only thing I wanted to do was get some sort of a tan, and I accomplished that! My summer job, nannying, has begun and I’ll be increasing that tan over the summer at the pool with the kids. I’m looking forward to the rest of my summer!
Thanks for reading..
Over the weekend, I had a friend tell me that when you live simply, unexpected happiness surprises you out of nowhere. Sunday, I left everything that I really needed to do, like laundry and some reading homework, aside and jumped in the car with my friend. At that moment, I had no idea where we were going, but I started to drive. As we were headed down Big Bend, I decided to turn on to 44 West. An hour and a half later we were in Rolla. It was so nice to get away and to let all my stress go. I did accomplish one thing that has always been on my bucket list: shoot a gun. It was a 22 rifle. On my very first try, I hit one of the three cans. I had the biggest smile on my face and on the inside, I was jumping up and down dancing. I was so proud of myself. We came back a little later that night and passed out in a snap of a finger because we were so exhausted from being outside all day long. A day I will never forget.