Thursday, October 25

4 Passport Stamps Later....

So it has taken me long enough to get this post on, sorry about that! I know there are a few people in particular I have kept waiting, and again, I apologize. The only problem is... where to start! It was an action packed, relaxing, beach loving holiday in the Spanish sun along the Costa Del Sol. As you can see, I was thinking about all of you while I was on the beach of the Mediterranean... so you should feel very special!! I first stepped on to Spanish soil with my nose in my Spanish phrase book, you know- so I could socialize with the locals. One phrase I used a lot was habla english? And on the plane ride there, 2 and a half hours, i taught each of the kids a phrase to say to their mum when we arrived. Gemmas was this, "Donda Esta La Playa?" which translates to Where is the beach? and Callums phrase was Ares Muey Guapa" Which says "you are very attractive". Now these phrases are coming from memory so if any of you speak Spanish and notice any spelling errors on those words... just sound it out or something ha ha. Cause anybody that knows me knows that wherever there is a sentence (made by me) there is a spelling error! Thank goodness for the age of spell check!

So we arrived in Sevilla late Wednesday night, and in the morning went touring around a bit. Now I have to admit that prior to this experience, I was not in the least bit interested in Spanish culture. But now that I have seen Spain and how rich the culture is and how amazing everything is there, I have this overwhelming desire to learn to speak Spanish.

This is the slide show for Sevilla, I took a gazillion pictures to try and capture how incredible it all was, but I still don't think I did it justice! Just push play.

After Sevilla, we drove through the beautiful Spanish countryside down to the beach where we were staying. These are a couple pictures I took on the drive, and in Rhonda- the city we stopped into to get some grub!

Anybody else think that the Spanish countryside looks very similar to Utah? I did. The mountains are very much the same and so is the basic landscape. Now if only Utah had a beach...

this lake was so blue, Sarah and I went trespassing just to get a picture, right over a barbed wire fence and padlocked gate. I was waiting for old Spanish guys with scraggly beards and blood hounds to come chasing us with their shot guns screaming Spanish profanities. Luckily for us though, that didn't happen!This is what Rhonda is most know for, the gorge and the bridge. It was a fabulous sight!We were very lucky because the weather was in our favor the whole time we were there, beautiful sunshine and perfect temperatures! If you want to see some pictures of the beach and of around the place I stayed, click play on the next slide show!

One of the days we were there we went to Selwo Adventures, which is similar to Out of Africa in Arizona... if any of you have ever been there. I can't think of another way to describe it because it's not exactly a zoo, it has great animals in natural habitats. There is even a safari you take in a big safari truck with a mad (crazy) driver who goes way to fast and spins the tires on the edge of cliffs. It is set up in the mountains over about 3 levels and provides amazing views over the seaside. There is also a Selwo Marina, which was also really neat, and the following slide show is all my pictures of both parks!

We also went to a place called Mijas, which was very beautiful. It is a completely white city built up on a hill, and it looks stunning from a distance.
This is the view from Mijas facing the Sea.
We went to a bull fighting ring...and it was neat! This picture was taken in the stands, and if you look closely and notice the numbers I am sitting in between are 19 and 20... any

On Sunday I happened to run into a guy who does these tours to Africa, Tanger Morocco to be more specific. Sarah and the kids had already done the trip a couple times and didn't really care to do it again. I, on the other hand, was excited out of my mind just to be able to see the African continent from Spain- which you could do on a clear day. Sarah assured me that the trip was totally safe, and she wouldn't hesitate to go by herself... so based on that I ran with the opportunity to to go to Morocco, by myself. A tincy wincy little fact I neglected to tell my parents until after I got back... you know, I just didn't want them to worry!

So the pictures aren't that impressive, but that is because I didn't feel like pictures could capture the scenario as well as my video camera could- so I spent most of my time there behind that lens. Since I am still struggling with technical difficulties when it comes to getting video from my camera to my computer, there is no video to show you...yet. But when I finally get it all sorted, I will put up lots and lots of good stuff! Morocco was simply wonderful though, I met these two couples that were about in their 50s that adopted me for the day. They were soooo incredibly nice and really made the whole experience enjoyable! I was really nervous about going over there by myself, but once I was with them I felt completely at ease. Seriously, I don't know what I would have done without them! One of the first things we did when we got there (now this is all with the tour group) is go and have a traditional Moroccan meal in a traditional Moroccan tent, with authentic Moroccan music, belly dancers, and traditional dancers as well. After that I rode on a camel, and so did my adopted mom and grandma. Then we went to what is known as the Hercules caves- which photo is at the beginning of the slide show. What is cool about that picture is that it is a mirror image of Africa in the rock, with Madagascar even included in the corner. Its "natural" supposedly, but I am sure there has been some human efforts somewhere in there to make it look exactly like Africa.

After that we moved on to the "old town", which is where most of my pictures were taken. It was nearly impossible to stop and take a picture for two reasons. One being the fast pace of the group walking through the streets and me not wanted to get separated from them, for obvious reasons. And secondly because the street vendors are vicious, and if you so much as slow down they shove 8 different products in your face and shout out numbers and try to get you to buy. I found myself exceptionally targeted by these guys, and my "family" saved me...several times! They told me to try and not look so innocent...and I am not exactly sure how that is done! If you have ever gone anywhere with me that actually has street vendors, you will know that in a crowd of 100 people I will get singled out and targeted by these guys. I don't know how or why, but I guess I have one of those faces that says "I have money to burn, and I am irresponsible, and I am dumb on top of that so throw at me the highest number you can think of". Its quite annoying, and you really have to hold your noodles tight cause they have this sneaky little way of hypnotizing you into buying things. Trust me, it must happen, cause some of the stuff people were buying looked incredibly cheap and were absolutely hideous. Hypnosis is the only way I can see for vendors to get people to buy stuff like that. Again, I have my adopted family to thank for my protection! Street Vendors and all, it was a fantastic trip!!! I feel so incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to go, and to meet the people I got to meet while I was there. It was sooo wonderful!!!

That night I was able to sit and relax on the beach by myself because the fam wasn't back from their day's adventures yet. It was so nice just to have that time to enjoy the beach and the scenery alone, it's not something that I can do very often! Here are some last few pictures I saved for the end, because they are my very favorite! Hope this gave you a tiny peek into how great my holiday was! I feel so blessed to be able to have all these wonderful opportunities to see the world and experience different cultures. It is truly eye opening, and helps me gain a broader perspective of the world and it's people. Basically, it is just all around wonderful!!


Marie said...

What a wonderful trip you had Nichole! I have not been to Spain yet and now want to go in the worst way! Beautiful pictures and very entertainingly written!

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love the pictures! It thrills me no end that you are able to have these cool experiences! Though I am glad you are so adventurous, you are right, I would have worried about you going to Morocco alone. I am glad you found some good people to hang out with. Now Dad and I will have to save up so we can go see Spain with you someday. Is the world starting to seem smaller to you yet? Glad you had such a great time. Tell the family that they are so incredibly wonderful to give you such a neat opportunity. Love you tons! your mum

Lecy said...

nicole! you are so lucky! and brave :) you take great photos! have a blast! I love your writing! keep it up!

Anonymous said...

It's thrilling for me to read about your adventures and see your great photos ! Nobody does clouds and sunset photos like you ! That is indeed your specialty - to me your earth and sky photos bring a feeling of worshipful awe for The Creator. Like in the hymn "For the beauty of the earth - For the beauty of the skies For the love which from our birth over and around us lies. Lord of all to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise."

Your blog's closing photos & expression of gratitude stirred up gratitude in me - Like I'm feeling thankful that you are thankful :)

Family night hugs & grateful prayers -

Dona and co. said...

oh my freakin' heck. No, seriously and I don't even use that word (or atleast I didn't use to). Oh my frrreakin' heck! You are SO far beyond cool! Really. You are killing me. (In a good way!)
So glad you had a lovely time on holiday. [obviously that last line was to be spoken with an English accent whereas the first part was all Utah (and "Elf")]

Toad and Sue said...

I'm so jealous...I'm lying here in a puddle of my own tears--I can barely type my comment, I am that jealous. I LOVE SPAIN. I WANT TO BE SPAINISH. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO CALL ME! or when can I call you! I need to hear about the details so I can pretend I was there. aaaaAHHHHHHH!

Spencer said...

Cole! I am still so jealous of you! Yes, it has been a few weeks since I was a faithful uh, "bleeder.." but good news, I'm baaaa-aaack! Well, at least until I leave on the 28th. So you better make this month's blog good! I'm glad that you get to experience this exciting life. You really deserve it! I love reading about all your fun experiences and pretending that I'm the one who is really there. haha, I know, I'm such a loser that I must live excitement through friends... I'm glad you had a wonderful holiday and I hope to hear from you soon!

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Amie said...

Nicole, Your pictures are amazing! You are one lucky and courageous girl to go off and explore the world by yourself. Anyways, it seems to me that you had a great vacation. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and update. I was happy to read about your exciting adventures!