Kayla's Adventures

2015

Hi there! As you can tell, I have really postponed my final blog post- mostly because I am so sad to say goodbye to this year of adventure. I decided to wrap up Kayla’s Adventures by highlighting some of my favorite posts from my time abroad. Feel free to click on the underlined text to review the posts.

Madrid (I, II, III), Pamplona (I, II), Barcelona (I, II), and Valencia with Grandpa, Grandma, Patrick, and Laura.
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Las Fallas Festival in Valencia (I, II, III).
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Spanish language school at International House Valencia (I, II).
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School trips: Castillo de Xàtiva, Peñíscola, Altea, Calpe, Alicante.
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Paris (I, II, III), Madrid (I, II), & Valencia with Taylor.
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Palma de Mallorca (I, II, III) with Sally.
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Rome, Italy (I, II, III) with Sally.
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Amsterdam with Ilana.
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Seville (I, II), Granada, and Switzerland (I, II, III) with Mom, Dad, & Sara.
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Balearic Islands with Jay.
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Here’s a little snapshot of some highlights since I’ve been back!

In August, a group of us celebrated Sara’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas!
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I began working full time in the farm office when I got back and spent September & October helping with harvest!
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In October, Jay and I got engaged! We are planning a wedding for August 2016!
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Right before Christmas, we joined Jay’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew for a weeklong relaxing Maui vacation!
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I feel so fortunate to have had such an exciting and busy year! Thank you to every single one of you who followed along on this journey. I have received the nicest comments about the blog and I am so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. Can’t wait to see what 2016 holds!

Adiós!
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Balearic Islands

Hello! Where to begin? Well I have been home for one week now, and boy does it feel good! Sorry for the silence for the past few weeks. After Switzerland, Mom, Dad, and Sara flew home, and I took a short flight back to Madrid where Jay had flown in from Seattle. From Madrid, we took a train to Valencia where we spent a day, then finally flew to Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands. Mallorca is the island where Sally and I visited and explored the town of Palma. Jay and I actually stayed on the north side of the island, so it was fun to see a completely different coast. After spending a few days in Mallorca, we took a ferry to the smallest Balearic island of Menorca. Menorca was definitely our favorite of the two- it is small, quiet, and beautiful- can’t beat it! Below are a few pictures from our time on the islands.

The obligatory picture in front of the Cathedral in Valencia!
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We also had to eat Valencian paella, of course.
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We visited La Lonja in Valencia, which was the remaining attraction on my Valencia “to do” list. La Lonja was built between 1482 and 1548 and functioned as a silk exchange for many centuries.
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Moving on to Mallorca. Below is the entrance to our resort where we stayed for 3 days. Although the pools were very nice, we spent most of our time at the nearby Pollencia Beach.
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When we were in Mexico a few years ago, we found one of those Wibbit obstacle courses on the water and Jay loved it, so when we saw one in Mallorca, we had to do it! So much fun.
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We finished off our trip by staying on the south side of beautiful Menorca. In Mallorca we were able to take the bus everywhere since it ran quite frequently, but on Menorca the public transportation is really limited. So we took matters into our own hands and rented a moped! With the moped we were able to ride all over the island and explore many different beaches and small towns.
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Menorca is filled with beaches that are only accessible by boat or foot, so we did quite a bit of walking! To get to this beach, we walked 45 minutes each way, but the clear blue water waiting for us was so worth it! We also rented a kayak one day and paddled to some nearby beaches and even into caves!

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View from our hotel!
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Thanks for stopping by, and again- sorry for the wait!

Switzerland, III

Today I will be sharing some pictures from two towns that we visited while in Switzerland, Lucerne and Rapperswil. First up, Lucerne.
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We spent our day exploring the town, walking the famous Chapel Bridge, eating Älplermagronen and swiss chocolate ice cream, and cruising Lake Lucerne by boat.
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On our last day in Switzerland (Wednesday), we took a train to the quaint town of Rapperswil, located on the east side of Lake Zurich.
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We had such a wonderful time visiting family, sightseeing, and enjoying the beautiful weather that we were fortunate enough to have. Until next time, Switzerland!

Switzerland, II

Grüezi! On Monday morning, Grossdady’s brother Werner took us to the town of Lauerz (Grossdady’s hometown) to visit his other brother and sister. The drive took us through the mountains in the beautiful canton of Schwyz. 
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A little background. Grossdady is my mom’s father. He left Lauerz in 1953 when he was 18 years old to live and farm with his uncle, aunt, and cousins in Manteca, California. He never returned to Switzerland to live, but has been back many times since  to visit his family and friends. His two brothers and one sister still live in Switzerland with their families. Grossdady’s parents ran the post office in town, which his brother took over and ran up until he retired. When Grossdady was young, he helped deliver the mail throughout town and high in the mountains behind town that you can see in the following pictures. Lauerz is very small and is comprised of a church, a few restaurants, a post office, and a small school, all located along the main street. Lauerz sits right between a lake and a mountain, which makes a picturesque view for the residents in the town.
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Inside of the beautiful little church in town. Grossdady says it still looks the same!
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The same baptismal font that Grossdady was baptized in.
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The small cemetery right outside of the church. Grossdady’s parents are both buried here.
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The bottom window on the far left is the room where Grossdady was born! The outside of the house has since been remodeled.
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We had a typical swiss lunch of pork chops, noodles, and a creamy sauce at the town’s restaurant. From right to left, Grossdady’s older brother Werner, dad, mom, his sister Annelies, his oldest brother Sepp, Sepp’s wife Heidi, Sara, and myself.
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The funniest thing ever. After we had lunch, we went to Sepp & Heidi’s house for dessert and broke out the iPhone to FaceTime Grossy and Grossdady back in California. It was a whole new concept to them, and we were laughing so hard watching them marvel at the fact that they were actually able to talk and see each other at the same time!
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Remember The Mythen mountain that we were able to see from the top of The Stoos in the last post? Well here is the view of it from Sepp & Heidi’s balcony!
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We had such a good time in Lauerz but sure missed Grossy & Grossdady!
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We have been staying with my mom’s cousin, her husband, and their family. Here we are with our second(?) cousins.
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We have been making sure to eat all of the standard swiss food- lots of chocolate, cheese, and bread!
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Sara enjoying Älplermagronen- a rich pasta made from the best swiss cheese, onions, bacon, and potatoes.
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Bratwurst & cervelat.
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More FaceTime- I think they’re hooked!
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Swiss cookies!
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Thank you Andrea, Jorg, Cristina, Michael, and Gian for having us! We are so lucky to have such great relatives and can’t wait for you to visit us in Washington!
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Switzerland, I

Sali from Switzerland! After about a week in Spain, we headed over to Switzerland to finish off our vacation by spending time with family and touring the beautiful country.
First stop, the second-largest city in Switzerland, Zurich. My mom’s cousin and her family (who we are staying with) live just outside of Zurich, so we took a quick train to spend the afternoon in the city. Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in the world, which was very evident in the shop windows as we walked around.
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The next day, we did the complete opposite of a city tour and hit the mountain! We first took a cable car and then a few chair lifts up 1,922 meters to the top of Stoos, a mountain located in the canton of Schwyz, the same canton my grandfather (grossdady) grew up in– much more on that later!
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Chapel on the top- what a view!
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See the cowbell? They really do all wear them… such a pretty sound!
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The Mythen- this mountain is the famous landmark of the region.
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Beautiful views of mountains, lakes, and wildflowers every way we turned. We spent a good few hours up here and could have easily spent more. As I mentioned earlier, we took the easy way up, but there are many options for hiking trails up the mountain as well as between the mountains once you are up there. During the winter, the ski hill options in this area are endless. I can only imagine how beautiful the views are when all of the mountains are covered in snow!
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Granada

Hello! After spending three great days in Seville, we headed southeast to the town of Granada, which is located on the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains and is best known for The Alhambra.
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Granada’s cathedral is the second-largest in Spain (behind Seville’s) and houses many masterpieces created by Spanish artists.
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On Wednesday night after we arrived, we made our way up to Mirador San Nicolás to enjoy the sunset view of The Alhambra. The following pictures are all pretty much the same, but you can see the change in the lighting during the sunset.
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The next day, we ate breakfast then climbed up the hill to The Alhambra for our 2:00 pm entrance time. Since The Alhambra attracts around 8,000 visitors a day, purchasing tickets ahead of time is a necessity. The Alhambra carries so much significance because it was the last Moorish palace to be overtaken by the Spanish in 1492. Previously, they had ruled it for over 700 years. I thought that the intricate detail inside of the actual palace was less impressive than The Alcázar, but the size and the architecture of the grounds is truly one of a kind.
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Thanks for stopping by!

Seville, II

Hello! Today I will be finishing up Seville by sharing pictures from The Royal Alcázar, a 10th century Moorish palace built for the governors of the local state. This is also the palace where Queen Isabel met with Christopher Columbus after his New World discoveries to review his voyage. The intricate detail of the palace is incredible in today’s standards, let alone hundreds of years ago.
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The gardens of The Royal Alcázar
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Here are few random photos to finish off our time in Seville…
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Seville at night…
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Many windows were adorned with these designs made from dried palms, which are sold here in Spain during Holy Week.
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A typical Spanish breakfast of fresh squeezed orange juice, toasted bread with tomato spread, tortilla, and bocadillos (ham sandwiches).
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Until next time, Seville!

Seville, I

Hello there! As I mentioned in my last post, on Sunday morning we took a train from Valencia to Seville, where we will be until tomorrow (Wednesday). Seville has impressed us all with it’s abundance of cheap tapas and historical sites. Since there is so much to cover here, I will be doing a few posts over the next couple of days about this beautiful city. First up- The Cathedral, Giralda Bell Tower, and Plaza de España!

Seville’s Cathedral was built over the span of 120 years, beginning in 1402, and is the third largest church in the world.
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The High Altar in the Cathedral is 65 feet tall and the largest altar piece in the world. It contains 44 scenes from the life of Jesus, which are hard to depict here, but are very detailed in person.
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Dad is standing in front of Christopher Columbus’ tomb, being carried by four kings. In 2006, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ death, the remains from the tomb were sampled, and the results clarified that yes, those are his actual remains.
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This angel is a part of a jeweled crown that is housed in the Cathedral. The torso of the angel is made from the world’s largest pearl. That must’ve been one big oyster! 😉
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The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral, and provides sweeping views of the city from the top.
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The Plaza de España is a square located in the Maria Luisa Park that was built in 1928 for the 1929 International Fair. I loved the colorful tiles and beautiful panorama view of the square.
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Let’s not forget about the amazing food… just a few pictures to hold you over until next time!
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Father’s Day beer! We love you, Dad!
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Family in Valencia

Hello!
Last Thursday, my parents and Sara made it to Valencia after over 24 hours of traveling! I was SO excited to see them and we have been having a blast ever since. We spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Valencia, and then took an early train to Seville on Sunday morning where we will be until Wednesday. We spent most of our time in Valencia relaxing- I finished up school (I passed my last test!) and they worked on adjusting their sleeping schedules! 😉 We did manage to squeeze in a few activities and sightseeing outings in Valencia, which I will share with you today!

First meal back together! Ham, cheese, bread, fruit, and tinto verano in our apartment.
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Their first Spanish mid-day menu experience.
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Playing tour guide.
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We had lunch at a nice restaurant on the beach that specializes in paella with my host family as a thank you for all that they did for me over the last four months.
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Afterwards, we walked around the City Arts and Sciences area, where Sara pointed out to me that I never shared it on the blog. This area is a very modern collection of buildings located in the river. These buildings include an aquarium, a museum, an iMax theater, music palace, and dance club.
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We also stopped by Jardin del Mar (the bar right below my apartment) and drank some sangria with Sally!
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Welcome to Spain, family!
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Last Week of School

How does the time fly by so fast?! My last week here in Valencia was mostly spent packing, but I was able to sneak in some final fun with some great people here in Valencia.

Celebrating Sally’s 24th birthday on Monday! We enjoyed Korean food, pizza, fruit salad, wine, and tinto verano outside on her terrace!
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Sangria making lessons! There is a bar literally right below my apartment that Sally and I were known to frequent weekly for their delicious homemade sangria. We became really good friends with the owners Armando & Margarita and I always told them that I wanted to learn how to make their sangria, so this week I finally did!
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Amparo always told me about this tapas bar called Tasca Angel that had the best grilled mushrooms, so we finally went together!
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Lunch dates!
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Beach day!
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Last day of school! From left to right: Nuria- one of my professors, Carla- other professor, Sally- South Korea, Ilana- New York, Veerle- Holland, Noor- Holland, Yasmin- Germany, Ines- Germany, me, Marjolein- Holland, Zjef- Holland.
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Each one of the people above wrote a message on this card for me. Such a sweet and thoughtful surprise, and a great way for me to remember my time here with each one of them. A big thank you to all of you for making my experience here in Valencia one that I will never forget!
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Goodbye, International House!
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