Our adventures continued after spending nearly 12 hours in the airport when we finally landed in Veniza Italia! It was close to 3am and Trey and I were a bit nervous about this portion, because we had booked a hotel in the heart of San Marco, which is surrounded by water. We thought no problem, we will take a taxi...right...wrong..what water taxi runs at 3am? We grabbed our bags from the carasole and Cash sleeping like a baby in his carrier, when we decided if we had difficulty finding a way to our hotel, we would stay near the airport and try for San Marco the next day.
Day 1: It was time for The Stones to begin our big European travels. 21 days 3 different countries 9 different hotels, and true hunger for exploring! We put on our packs and were heading out the door to catch our first means of transportation...a plane to Majorca. Just has I had my hand on the door knob, I received a text saying that our flight had been cancelled. We were ready to go, bags packed, Cash on leash and he was ready. We were not going begin our vacation on that note...so we headed towards the airport in hopes to catch another flight. When we arrived we were informed that the pilot had taken ill so we would not be flying out until the morning. They graciously told us that they would shuttle us to a hotel with a dinner voucher and would shuttle us back to the airport to catch a 7am flight to Majorca for the inconvenience. We kindly accepted and began our holiday. As we boarded the bus cash was not enjoying being in his crate, especially in the unbelievably hot Spanish heat. So once we got our things settled we put him on my lap where he let his white hair blow in the air conditioning, a leisure amenity that we all had left behind in the states but not forgotten!!! A distinguished polished looking couple sitting a few rows ahead took notice of our silly Cashman enjoying the bus ride and we began small conversation as we all were heading to the hotel. We learned they too of course were going to Majorca to visit family. We all herded off the bus and into the hotel to check in. When we got to the desk we told the receptionist we had our dog with us and I tried to tell her, in Spanish, we had proper documentation for Cash to be in a hotel room with us, because he was a service animal. She refused to look at my papers and told me they could put him in a room with the luggage but animals were not allowed in the hotel room. Our new friends overheard them giving us a hard time and stepped right in telling the guest representative that he was in fact a service animal and it was the law to allow him to stay with us. She immediately apologized and said, "I didn't understand he was a service animal that is fine he stays with you if that is the case." I AGAIN gave her the documents translated in Spanish stating Cash's certifications. We received our keys and headed to our room. When we entered Cash immediately sprawled out on the cold wood floor directly underneath the A/C vent. We couldn't help but laugh at him but we too were just as excited to be in air conditioning as he was. It had been over 3 months since we had slept in an air conditioned room. We turned it up full blast and went to dinner and looked forward to walking back into a freezing room. We ran into our friends just as we were finishing dinner and they invited us for a drink in the lobby bar. There is nothing better than meeting someone who speaks both English and Spanish because you can exchange assistance with the other language. We talked for nearly 2 hours when realized it was 1am and needed be on the shuttle to the airport at 4 am so we decided to call it a night. It was wonderful meeting them and we hope to meet with them again back in Madrid after the holidays.
Day 2: We arrived in Majorca around 9am headed towards our week retreat at The Bella Colina 1953! This wasn't just any day either, it was a special day...Trey's Birthday! When we arrived to the beautiful entrance of the hotel I remember thinking this was going to be the best vacation of our lives. We walked in and were greeting by the receptionist Linda. She was very hospitable, and made us feel very welcomed. She showed us to our room and answered all of our questions with the ending phrase..."I will do that for you...you are on vacation ENJOY!" We felt like royalty!
We unpacked and looked out of our french door balcony overlooking the gorgeous pool and sea just about 300 meters from us. It was a dream come true! We put on our swimsuits and headed to the pool. When we asked if it was okay for Cash to sit with us, without hesitation Linda said, "of course and I have a little pool for him." When we got out to pool there was very large blue bucket with water in it for King Cash. He jumped in cooled off and the Stone's spent the entire afternoon poolside basking in the warm Spanish Island sun. I remember feeling my heart beating in my head and the sweet sweat dripping down my face as I woke up from my slumber in the sun. I sat up and without giving second thought plunged into the pool. I sunk to the pool floor and felt as I was completely weightless. As I poked my head up out of the water for air I sighed with utter satisfaction. I looked at my sweet family sitting in the beach chairs and thought out loud..." This is the life." Trey hearing my thought he, mumbled back at me, "yeah it is!"
It was time for us to get cleaned up for dinner and I wanted to make sure this was one we wouldn't forget. We were celebrating Trey's Birthday after all! I looked up restaurants near me and looked at several Trip Advisor reviews and came across the Gran Tortuga! As I read off a few items from there menu to Trey...his quick response was yes yes lets go there. I called to see if they had availability and made reservations. We took Cash on a happy hour walk, which became a nightly tradition in Majorca. We walked up to the winding road up a hill to our destination. The views of the sea were breathtaking and the sun was just beginning to go down.(insert inspiring, tranquil music here). Words cannot describe the beauty of this island and pictures don't do it justice but the way I felt that evening was as if we were the richest people in the world. We walked down 4 flights of stairs to make it to the base of a rock where we over looked the sea. It went as far as the eye could see. Trey and I discussed all the different colors of blue and how it changed as the night progressed. We began by ordering a bottle of Spanish Cava. The traditional starter is fresh olives, aioli and bread. I of course could live off of this traditional starter but didn't want it to make me full in anticipation our fried goat cheese salad we were about to receive. Oh the flavors, we both scrapped the plate clean and were temped to use our fingers to ensure we ate every morsel but decided against it since we were at a nice restaurant. Next, was our main course. Trey ordered the sword fish with wok vegetables and I order the spinach stuffed local fish over risitto. We had such great conversation it was a night that will never be forgotten that is for sure. Our fine meal was followed by a Bailey's and coffee for me and a local grappa for Trey. Food coma aside we walked back to our hotel and looked down at the quite beach. Trey suggested we go on a night walk with our little buddy. I couldn't think of a better way to end the evening. We let Cash off the leash and away he ran! We noticed in the distance an outline of a very large animal. As we grew closer it we realized this large figure of an animal was a beautiful Greyhound. Cash was so excited to meet Luna and they ran up and down the beach chasing each other until Cash came and sat right on our feet to tell us he was tired and ready to go to bed. There was a perfect summer breeze in the air and the moonlight on the beach gave us just enough light to find our way to our room. We slept with the doors open that evening letting the cool sea breeze put us in a very deep, Happy Birthday sleep.
Day 3: I remember waking up to the sun shining through the blue shutters of our room. I looked over and Trey had gone for a walk with Cash and I slept so well I barely recall him leaving earlier that morning! I did my big morning stretch and opened the shutters, falling right back into the bed and looked out our balcony of the incredible sea view! Trey and Cash came back from their morning walk on the beach and we headed down to breakfast. After breakfast we went down to the information center to book a day at sea cruise and lunch. We noticed on our walk that most people were carrying rafts to and the beach. We stopped and purchased 2 rafts on the way back to float in the sea. We went back to the hotel to laze around in the pool and then headed to the beach. We used our rafts and floated out in the open sea letting the waves slowly bring us in and then we swam back out. As the sun began to descend we made our way back to the hotel where we got cleaned up, grabbed Cashman, and headed to our family happy hour. It was around 8 when most beach goers began to come out for dinner. The streets were full! We stopped at a cute place along the main street with all the restaurants and beach shops they were playing fun music and the chairs were super comfortable. We noticed alot of the customers had a Sangria so we followed suit and we were not sorry either as the Sangria was fantastic! We then headed back to the hotel scoping out where we were going to eat for dinner when we came across what looked to be great Indian! As many of you may know Trey and I love us some Indian food! We dropped Cash back off at the room and headed out for a Taste of India! It was fantastic! We finished the evening early that evening because we had a big day coming up. Another incredible day in Majorca!
Day 4: we woke up at our pleasure, walked Cash and headed for the boat dock where we would board a catamaran with about 100 other people. We were the last to board at our stop and headed straight up to the top deck. The seats were filling fast when Trey noticed two spaces near the bar, the perfect spot! We asked the people if we could sit and discovered they were a family of four. We struck up conversation with this fun German family exchanging small talk back and forth. I can honestly say one of my favorite things about traveling is the amazing people we meet. People from all over the world doing the same thing we love most...traveling!
The captain of the ship and entertainer reminded us of our favorite Chef back in the states, Mike! He was the life of the party explaining what areas we were traveling through speaking 3 different languages. One phrase he said after every description was, "mmmmm Sangria"! A phrase all languages understood very well and toward the end of the trip we were all saying together. We sailed all day stopping at two points where we could jump off the boat and swim in the deep clear blue sea. It was a dream! In the August heat we needed those refreshing swims and tasty Sangria drinks! The captain then threw anchor and headed down to the main cabin to assist in serving us all lunch. Seafood papaya and pasta salad was on the menu for lunch and it was absolutely fantastic. In Spain you can never go wrong with a papaya! The captain amazed us as he was slinging plates for the 100 people in line and still had a smile on his face. He was a very versatile guy doing it all! After lunch we rode around Dragonera Island. It was amazing to see how these rocky islands formed and have made there way to the surface. After sunbathing for another 45 minutes it was time for us to get off the boat. We went back to the hotel to get cleaned up and enjoy a little siesta time! It was yet again time for...Happy hour! We grabbed Cash and headed to a new spot for a fresh fruit smoothie with a shot of rum and it was glorious! We then went across the street and ordered Doner Kebobs and falafel pitas and took them back to the hotel and enjoyed eating them the in hotel courtyard. We went up to our room for some creative time and opened our balcony doors to embrace the cool sea breeze when we began to hear live music coming from a distance. He was singing classic songs like "Danke Schoen" and "New York, New York". I finished reading and sat I out on our balcony listening to our personal private concert. It really felt like a personal serenade when he began to sing "My girl", which was the song I danced with my dad to at our wedding. I recorded it and sent it to my dad to let him know I was thinking about him. Another moment that made me feel so grateful to be experiencing this opportunity and be living this beautiful life.
Day 5: This was the first day I woke up to an alarm because I made an appointment to get pampered. I headed down the strip to get a manicure and pedicure! I walked into the little salon and was greeted again in 3 languages, Spanish, German, and English! I told them I spoke English and a little Spanish. They were so friendly, offered me a cup of coffee and made me feel right at home. I have such wonderful conversations with the manicurist everytime I go. The first time I went in Spain she gave me my first Spanish lesson. Here we talked about our travels, what brought us to where we were, what we both wanted for our future, family, and of course Cashman! She thought it was so funny we brought our dog on Holiday with us and remarkable we brought him to Europe with us period. By the end of the mani-pedi I felt like we had been friends for years. A great start to another beautiful day! When I got back to the room Trey had already walked cash and had an enjoyable morning himself. We decided to go for a walk along the beach and check out how we could book tickets to take a tour to the Cuevas del Drach. Since I missed breakfast we stopped in this little tiki restaurant with swings as seats for some toastado con tomate (Toast with tomato. A very common breakfast here and my favorite) and Trey had a smoothie and fresh eggs. We had great conversation and discussed our afternoon plans. We decided that today was a beach day! After booking our tour we grabbed our floats and headed for the beach. When we first arrived we plopped our floats on the shore and basked in the sun. We began practicing Spanish verbs and conjugating them, since we were in an area that was mostly Germans this was the most we spoke in Spanish while in Majorca and we began to miss it. We had two other countries where we knew would not be speaking Spanish so we tried to practice what we had learned thus far so we wouldn't forget. We then took our rafts and floated out in the sea for 3 hours. It was glorious and the water felt so good. We would hold on the the rope that split the swimmers and boats floating in silence listening to the waves slowly wisk under us. We began to get hungry and most of all thirsty. Trey and I decided to make our own happy hours this time before our reservation at Playa 5. We went to the store and got strawberries and Cava. We then went to a restaurant and ordered assorted meat, cheese, bread and olives. We went back to the hotel courtyard area and enjoyed yet another happy hour. We headed out shortly after for Playa 5. We again made reservations and were lead to the most beautiful table in the house overlooking the ocean. We dined on fantastic curry soup and a surf and turf which included a great steak and the biggest most beautiful prawns we had ever seen! After dinner we walked along the beach front, people watching and engaging with each other in conversation about our future. Our minds were clear and it was yet another magical evening!
Day 6: The alarm was set for 8am. Yahoo it was another adventure day! We read our tickets thinking we would be picked up right outside of our hotel. After all it had the address of the hotel on it so we leisurely had breakfast and waited out front for our bus. About 5 minutes after I looked at the ticket again and realized that it had another pick up lo action written in Spanish. I quickly ran to the desk and asked her where this "pick up spot" was. She said we better run but it was just down the hill on the right. Trey and I ran down the hill and looked at our watch seeing we were 10 minutes late. We thought they had left us so we had the bright idea to run to where we got our tickets. 15 minutes now went by and I thought oh let's call them. As I caught my breathe I managed to get out we didn't know where to go. Please keep in mind this was around 9am in the morning and no one except for two or three men drinking there coffee reading the paper watching these two Americans run frantically back and forth. It was quite a sight. The gentlemen on the phone said they would wait for us in front of the supermarket which we had passed already three times. We see the spot for pick up and board the bus. We weren't planning on a work out that morning but we managed to get it in! We travelled from one side of Majorca to the other to get to the famous caves. Since the island is very small it took us around an hour and a half. Once we were in the caves it felt cool and humid. We were simply in awe of this beautiful natural piece of art. I have never seen anything like this before. Centuries and centuries of water dripping in the cave to make these remarkable icecycle like rocks dangling from the ceiling and forming all over the cave walls and floors. It feels like we were in the Goonies movie! We then began to see patches of crystal clear water and when we approached the bottom of the cave we were looking at the worlds biggest underground fresh water lake in the world. The views were absurdly breath taking. They had an auditorium set up on one side of the lake where we were seated for the show. Yes a show! They lowered the cave lights and two glowing boats slowly rowed there way towards center "stage". On one boat there was an organ and on the other a string trio including the violin, base and cello. They began to play excerpts from famous classical music pieces. As they played I began to cry because I was so moved by the entire experience. They played three songs and rowed off into the cave. As the glowing boat exited the "stage" they got quieter and quieter and until the lights on the boat disappeared into the distance and so did the music. It was extraordinary and I have never seen anything like it!
We then continued to make our way through the cave taking enough pictures to last a lifetime. We then boarded the bus again and Carmen, our tour guide, told us we were stopping at the pearl factory. The pearl factory is where theMajorca pearls are cleaned and formed into jewelry. Trey and I looked at all the jewelry and he bought me a beautiful ring as a 2 year anniversary gift. As if this trip wasn't enough... I am one lucky girl! We then all boarded the bus again and began our journey back towards our part of the island dropping people off in different parts. It was fun to see Majorca this way I feel like we got a private tour of the entire island...and we were in air conditioning. When we got back to our stop we were famished. Trey said he wanted an American meal, a hamburger and fries, so that is just what we did. We had the friendliest waiter and yet another delicious meal!
We went back to our room to get the Cashman and take him for one last long happy hour walk in Majorca. When we began packing and Cash sat on our clothes. He was just getting used to things there and comfortable with his personal fan to keep him cool but we told him it was time for the next part of our adventure! We finished packing, all clean clothes compliments of the hotel, just another great touch and talked ourselves to sleep about the amazing time in Majorca!
Day 7: We woke up to yet another gorgous day in Majorca ready for our next leg of our adventure Italy. Our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 11pm so we had some time to kill in Majorca. We ate breakfast, took cash for a walk and confirmed our pick up time for the shuttle. Well when I booked the shuttle I wanted then to pick us up at 7 pm since our flight left late but what I had scheduled was 7 pm departure. They always pick up 4 hours before flight departure. When I discovered this I tried contacting the shuttle service and they said unfortunately it's not refundable and we cannot change the time because the driver already had his route. Me in a frantic worry that we were getting there too early, Trey convinced me to relax and realize it wasn't the end of the world and we still had 6 hours until we had to go to the airport. The wonderful hotel clerks held our luggage and showed us where the showers were in case we wanted to go to the pool or Beach for the afternoon. We put in our suites and took our towels and Cashman out to the pool deck. We laid in hammocks all afternoon taking a dip in the pool to cool us off after sitting in the hot sun long enough. It was a glorious afternoon! We then showered up and jumped on the shuttle for the airport. Once we were there we were told we had to want until two hours before the flight left before we could board. We posted up in a spot near an electrical outlet on the floor, plugged in the computer and binged watched Breaking Bad for six hours. We hadn't seen it before and just started watching it before our vacation. We weren't going to watch it on vacation but while at the airport waiting 6 hours before our flight we thought why not. Cash grew impatient after about four hours so we walked him around outside in this little courtyard area. He loved marking his territory there. It was time to check in and go through security. We made it on the other side in about 30 minutes. When we went to look up our gate realized our flight had been delayed. So when in doubt watch Breaking Bad! We were delayed until 1am. Tired yet too excited to fall asleep The Stones finally boarded the plane to Venice Italy!
We had finally figured out what country we were moving to and what we were going to do for jobs while in Spain, but finding a place to live seemed to be a bit more unnerving. For starters we had never been to Madrid so we were uncertain of the good areas to live in, what a good commute would be, transportation access... and the list continues. My employer of course was very helpful with assisting us narrow down a location and we searched two recommended sites from her... idealista.com and fotocasa.com. This helped us get an idea of price range, location and size. Trey also contact the school where he was going to be receiving his certification from to see if they had any recommendations. They advised us to a fantastic guy who owns a company called reservebookgo.com. We contacted David, the owner of reservebookgo, and what we felt like was one of the most nerve racking task, quickly became not so scary. We emailed David of what we were looking for... you know the basic must haves... one bedroom, pet friendly, heat, furnished, close to a metro station, a safe area, close to the city center, washer, and a kitchen was a requirement with a stove, oven, and a regular size refrigerator. I know many of you Americans are thinking well of course it would have a kitchen right?...WRONG!Many of the apartments we were looking at didn't have a full kitchen. Space is definitely limited when it comes to European living so they improvise. Our friends from the states that moved to Germany gave us the ins on what we needed to communicate to our across the ocean assistance, this way we didn't end up with an apartment with a wet bar as our kitchen, or a studio in a basement with no windows. We had plenty of time for our search because we notified David in early Jan. He advised us to wait until it got a little closer, so we could go ahead and put a deposit on something we thought was right for us and we had a place upon arrival. It was around April and David flooded our emails with options. We had him go to a few places he thought would be for us and take pictures when he finally said, "I think I found the perfect place. " Apartments go very quickly in Spain, and many people put a deposit down site unseen, especially in a prime location. He was the first appointment of the day which was much to our advantage. He sent us pictures and we completely trusted his judgement. Two hours later our security deposit was paid and we now had a home in Madrid.