My Birthday Abroad

“A Birthday is just the first day in another 365 day journey around the sun, so enjoy the trip!”

I turned 28 while drinking a bottle of wine, eating a baguette with cheese & chocolate under the Eiffel Tower while it twinkled under the night sky. I couldn’t have asked for a more picture perfect night.

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I decided to do a quick 5 day whirlwind birthday tour. 48 hours in Paris to see Tatiana (and I had never been), and then do 3 days in Seville Spain to meet up with some other friends. The entire trip was amazing and I don’t think I will ever be able to top it.

PARIS

I won’t pretend that I am the best tourist. When I visit a new place I don’t really go into it with a plan. I would much rather play things by ear and see where the adventure takes me. While I love learning about different cultures I would much rather get lost in the streets of Paris making friends as I go than set out to explore and spend hours in museums. I feel like I have all my life to do the museums and take in the historic sites…I can’t always Mexican wrestle in a underground cave bar, which is exactly what happened.

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The trip started out with us just exploring, aimlessly walking while stumbling into sites like Notre Dame. Paris is just a romantic and stunningly gorgeous city. Every time I looked around I felt as if I was in a dream.  It was everything I pictured and more. And we did do some typical tourist things, we walked around The Louvre hungover, and saw the Eiffel Tower, but the rest of the trip was just us 3 girls drunkenly wandering the streets of Paris.

The first night there we grabbed the food and wine and made a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. The tower is lit up every night…the most magical thing I could see! On the hour and every hour the tower puts on a light show until midnight. Tatiana sang me happy birthday in French while it twinkled for the last time at midnight! The next night we got all fancy (even thought it was Wednesday) and started out for the big birthday night. We ended up at a Mexican bar with some great Happy Hour priced drinks. At 8pm they open the basement. The basement looks like an underground cave and in the middle there is a wrestling ring. For 4 euro you and a friend can put on sumo suits and wrestle! It was so much fun and obviously I won!! From there we went to Crazy Horse and saw a real burlesque show. I have never been to one but it is stunning. The place was great and I had gotten the birthday package and they just kept giving us free bottles of champagne ( I will never complain). After that we danced the night away at various bars/clubs we stumbled upon. Ending the night at a local bar she knows that is underground in caves that were built in the 12th century. The bartender also just kept making me grilled cheeses, which if you knew me you would know that I couldn’t end the night in a more perfect way.

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SPAIN

We wanted to pick a place in Spain that no one had been to and so we ended up in Seville. Seville is gorgeous but because it is off the beaten tourist path it was the first place I have run into in Europe where I couldn’t just speak English. I would say 90% of the people there did not speak a word of English, so my 3 years of high school Spanish (which I swore I would never need) was put to the test. The people were very nice though and the food was so delicious! I did have a few sites that I did want to make sure we saw. Friday we went and toured the the Real Alcazar, which are these very old gardens and a palace. It is huge but every turn there is another stunning room lined with intricate tiles and gorgeous colors. The underground ancient swimming pool was my favorite secret treasure. Most people didn’t realize you could venture down there so it was pretty much empty and you could just take in the beauty and the moment. It was rainy and cold but we did manage to see the Plaza de Espana which is equally as gorgeous. Both of these places have been used as backdrops for a number of movies/shows including Game of Thrones.

But again a brief few hours of culture and then it was time to celebrate. We went to an amazing dinner at El Trago, and then wondered the streets finding bars and dancing the night away. I will say everything you hear about the Spanish way of life is true. Our dinner wasn’t until 1130 pm and our one friend who went home at 330 am was considered to be calling it an early night. We ended up staying out at a club until 7 am, pushing me in a shopping cart down cobblestone streets, lost. And a group of random strangers sang me happy birthday in the street. Our final night it was pouring so we just went to a real Flamenco show and called it a night.

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Needless to say this past year has been a whirlwind. Meeting and making new friends that have become like family to me. I have been traveling the world and making amazing memories that I will cherish forever. I still can’t believe I rang in my next year under the Eiffel Tower, in the greatest of fashion. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday, and I can’t wait to try to top it off next year!

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