Iceland. Scotland. Switzerland. Italy. France. I started my summer off by traveling with one of my best friends, Sadie. She's the friend I got my misspelled tattoo with(check out that blog if you haven't), so you know sending us off into the world together is a recipe for a delicious story. Sadie and I travel well together, because we share similar travel philosophies. We both value good wine & beautiful sunsets. We love to see historic sites, and know the importance of dry shampoo while on the go. Sadie and I were both confronted by a young/power hungry TSA agent, who forced us both to toss our dry shampoos. Our dry shampoos weren't breaking any size limit, but the woman was hell bent on us having greasy hair. I felt like throwing my hands in the air. Instead I tossed the hair product, and went on my way. There is something about being in Europe, that makes you forget all about your hair dilemmas ;)... Sorry, I digress. Onto the travels!
As some of you may have noticed, I went ahead and name dropped all the countries I traveled to at the beginning of the blog, I felt like I was listing my credentials. Libby Groseclose, Travel blogger. We started our journey in Iceland. Iceland was my first experience with midnight sun. It was a little disorienting trying to sleep with the light still in the sky, but it also aided in our adventures, because we never had to worry about losing daylight. Sadie and I rented a car, and drove around to Iceland's nature hot spots. The drive was remarkable, because everything was a contrast of vivid blues and greens, to black and dark red. The black sand beach we visited felt like something out of a painting. The black sand stretched along the beach with the blue ocean kissing the shores. There was a fog playing over the ocean, which added to the picturesque quality. The little beach in Iceland left me feeling grateful. I noticed as I traveled, and appreciated sights like the black sand beach that I felt more whole having seen that beautiful part of the world. I was grateful for this experience that left me with a deeper understanding of natures beauty. As I wind down my experience in Iceland, I must worn everyone how expensive it was. Sadie and I, being the broke college students we are, had to eat rice for just about every meal while on that leg of our trip. Suffice to say, Iceland was not where we dabbled in foreign cuisine. The next country we flew to was Scotland. AND LET ME SAY IT LOUD AND PROUD; SCOTLAND ACCENTS ARE FUCKING GORGEOUS! Although, at times, the accent was so thick I couldn't tell if they were speaking English, I still thoroughly enjoyed listening to people talk. We walked all over the old town in Edinburgh, and drank plenty of beer along the way. The castles and shops were massive, and gave us plenty to explore. We spent a good chunk of our day walking around the Edinburgh castle, which was rich with history. It was a little spendy- about 45$ for the both of us-but it was well worth the money. After walking all day Sadie and I sat down for dinner where we continued our beer consumption, as well as trying haggis. For those who don't know what haggis is, it's sheep heart+liver+lung+spices all chopped up and cooked in a stomach. And it was surprisingly delicious, we ate the whole dish. After trying haggis Sadie and I were feeling confident. We had covered a lot of ground and tried new things. How did we try to celebrate? Getting tattoos. It was definitely influenced by the beer. The shop we walked into was about to close, so our tattoo celebration was short lived. This was probably a good thing. As I mentioned earlier in the blog, last time I got a tattoo with Sadie it ended up misspelled and prominently placed on my shoulder. And I was sober when that happened... Counting my blessings this time around. We ended our night walking around Edinburgh, and looking in little shops. Our time in Scotland was short, and I am certain I will return someday. It was fantastic. The food...the history... THE ACCENTS ;)
The next country we visited was Switzerland, where we rented a car that we drove to Italy. At this point in our trip, Sadie had done ALL the planning, and I pulled a brief stint where I attempted to help. Let me clarify this stint lasted thirty minutes in the car, and I caused more stress than anything (God bless Sadie's patient+humorous+Libby-forgiving nature). As we sat in the car and scrolled through sites to help us decide where we wanted to go (because Sadie and I are FUN broads who live life without over planning- side note; is it redundant that I had to refer to us as FUN?) ... I digress.. We were searching through websites when I came across a cute little site I want to shout out for any one who is traveling locally, or out of the USA myitchytravelfeet.com their catch phrase is "the baby boomer's guide to travel" WHICH I THOUGHT WAS BAD ASS, and as I scrolled through the site, I found it super helpful. Sadie had ultimately done all the real heavy lifting, and found us a gorgeous little room in the mountains of Italy. The drive from Switzerland to Italy was something I will always cherish. The mountains were all consuming. Sadie and I listened to songs that were meaningful to us as we drove through the vast mountains. Listening to music and taking in scenery on car rides is my favorite. The drive to Italy was like nothing I had ever seen, between the mountains and stone roofs, I was mesmerized. While in Italy we overindulged in pizza, ice cream, and wine. Heaven.
We ended our two weeks of travel by staying with Sadie's family in France. After being left to our own devices, the home cooked meal Sadie's cousin, Gaelle provided us with was a little slice of home that I had missed. It was nice to sit down with family and enjoy a meal. Gaelle owns a goat farm, so on top of the hospitallity, I was also indulged in goat cheese for every meal.(XOXOXO, Gaelle). The time I spent with Sadie's family was precious. Gaelle worked in the morning, and showed Sadie and I around her town in the evening. I'm grateful to have met her friends, and seen where she calls home. As I prepared to head home, Sadie prepared to stay for another two weeks. Sadie and Gaelle found me a carpool deal to take me part of the way to the airport. I was very interested when I got in the car and found the driver was a rugby player from Argentina, the front passenger a Welsh woman, and beside me was a little old lady in bright yellow pants from Toulouse, France. Most of the car ride the passengers spoke French, and occasional the little old woman beside me would grab my shoulder and laugh. I had no clue what she was saying, but her happiness was a little contagious, and I learned while in France everyone is very close. People greet with kisses on the cheek. When I got to the air port I said goodbye to my car pool friends, and made my way inside. I was sad to leave the adventure of travel, but excited to go home and see my family.
I hope that I continue to make travel a priority in life. I feel strongly that there is much to be gained by exposing yourself to new people and experiences. There is so much joy to explore in this world.
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Libby Anne Groseclose