Best of the Best

The Adventure in Akureyri

The Adventure in Akureyri

During this contract, I was able to do and see some truly incredible things.  Since coming home, I’ve frequently been asked about my favorite places, and I’ve had trouble answering!  There were so many wonderful places, but I liked different ports for different things.  Looking back through my photos, I tried to break down some of the highlights of the past few months.  This is what I came up with…  The Best of the Adventure.

Best Hike

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

Best Beaches

Paradise

Paradise

Photo doesn't do it justice!

Photo doesn’t do it justice!

Just look at that water

Just look at that water

Best tours

Tuk tuk tour

Tuk tuk tour

Camels at the base

Camels at the base

Magic at the top

Magic at the top

Best Place for Beer

  • Beer Wall in Bruges
    • I made a special category for Bruges, because I had such a great day there!  The beer is fantastic, but the whole city is worth visiting!
Beer Wall

Beer Wall

Favorite Landmarks

Amazing to see

Amazing to see

I could visit every day!

I could visit every day!

Best Museum

  • The Guggenheim Bilbao
    • The architect, Frank Gehry, also designed the Guggenheim Museum that will soon be built in Abu Dhabi.  There was an interesting article in the New York Times about the new museum.
Beautiful Gehry building

Beautiful Gehry building

Favorite City

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

Favorite Country

Sunset in Reykjavik

Sunset in Reykjavik

Northern Lights.  Photo by: Daffodaleia Williams

Northern Lights. Photo by: Daffodaleia Williams

I knew the quality of the places I was visiting was pretty astounding, but I just recently added up the quantity!  I’ve now been to 39 countries.  I can’t wait to add more to the list in the New Year!

Casey’s Travel Map

Casey has been to: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, China, Curacao, Denmark, Fiji, France, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican, Vietnam.

Get your own travel map from Matador Network.

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Back to Barcelona

Amazing building

Amazing building

In Barcelona, I joined a group of musicians to go back to La Sagrada Familia. We purchased tickets the night before to go inside, but were too late to get tickets to go up the towers.

The altar

The altar

More stained glass

More stained glass

The five of us were able to fit into a taxi van and go straight to the cathedral. We were a little early, so we walked around the outside before going in. Once inside, I was awed by the stained glass windows. The ceiling was also incredible. The top of the columns branched off into multiple beams that wove their way into the peaks and patterns of the ceiling.

Ceiling

Ceiling

I attempted to go into the prayer room, but was turned away because my dress was exposing too much skin. After walking around the main area for a while, we went below the church to the museum.

Inappropriately dressed

Inappropriately dressed

The boys I was with were not interested in spending much time in a museum, so we quickly walked through. I did learn about a hanging model Gaudi used for another design, and saw a model of La Sagrada Familia in its finished state.

Hanging model

Hanging model

Model of La Sagrada Familia

Model of La Sagrada Familia

Our next stop was a nearby restaurant for pizza and drinks. It wasn’t a very “Spanish” meal, but it was delicious! We stopped in the food market on Las Ramblas before walking to the shuttle stop to go back to the ship.

Gaudi

Gaudi

It was a quick afternoon out, but it was fantastic. I still want to return to La Sagrada Familia, my favorite building, to go up in the columns, but I was very happy to finally see part of the inside!

I'll be back!

I’ll be back!

Exterior details

Exterior details

Blissful in Barcelona

In Barcelona two weeks ago, I set off with one goal… to see La Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia    

When I was about 11 years old, my sister and I went to Europe with our dance company. Being “big girls”, we didn’t want our parents to chaperone. Mom and dad agreed to stay home, but wanted to make sure we had some sort of cultural experience, so we had to write a research paper about something we would see on the trip. My sister and I spent a day at the library, and ended up writing about Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia. When we finally saw the church, we were so excited. Now, 14 years later, I was anxious to see the changes in the building.

So incredible!

So incredible!

When we got off the ship, some of my girlfriends and I got in a cab and went straight to the church. The line to go inside was already wrapped around the block, so we opted to just enjoy the view from outside this time. It is such an amazing structure. I wish I had my photos from my previous visit so I could compare then and now. Next time we’re in Barcelona, I hope to pre-book and inside tour.

Lunch time

Lunch time

Our next stop was for food. With maps in hand, we set off in the direction of Casa Mila. About halfway there, we found a cute restaurant with tables outside. Since it was a beautiful day, we decided that was the perfect place to stop. I had a “small” sangria (AKA a pitcher), and a chicken copa. It was delicious!

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

We then continued on to Casa Mila. Unfortunately, it was covered up for repairs, so we were unable to see it. We walked down the street to find Casa Batllo, another one of Gaudi’s creations. The house is incredible. The front is covered in blue and green mosaic tiles, and the windows are full of stained glass. I hope to go back for an inside tour there as well.

Beauty everywhere

Beauty everywhere

We kept walking in the direction of the ship, and along the way stopped in some shops, a square with statues and lovely flowers, and then came to Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is full of street vendors and tourist shops, and since it was where the shuttle from the ship dropped people off, it was also full of guests and crewmembers. After running into some friends in the ice cast, we followed their recommendation and went into a market. There was so much food! The butcher stands were unlike anything we see in the States. For example, there were heads still on some chickens! There was also some delicious looking candy, and an abundance of juice stands. I tried a mango coconut juice, and enjoyed it so much; I will probably buy it again next time!

Sweets in the market

Sweets in the market

Since the weather was so nice, we opted to walk all the way back to the ship instead of catching the shuttle. On the way, we stopped in a few more shops and ran into some other friends. By the time we reached the ship, I was exhausted, but happy. It was one of the best days I’ve had since joining the Adventure. I love Spain!

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas