September 16, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 67-70

We absolutely loved The Hilton Buenavista Hotel & Spa  Toledo, Spain.
Pool. Sun. Sleep. Pedicure. Perfect.

The guidebooks said to spend one afternoon in Toledo. We reserved a room for three nights.
Once we got to the hotel, we rearranged our schedule so that we could stay an additional night... in luxury.

In this case, luxury means the following (hostels have really started making us miss the basics)...
-king sized bed with more than just a sheet
-a 'pillow menu'
-a tub, shower, two sinks, AND separate stall for toilet
-a huge terrace
-a hallway
-personal space, in general
-very large tv with music channels
-robes! slippers! mini fridge!

After swearing off hostels and finding an amazing deal at this hotel, we decided that Toledo deserves more than just a passing glance. As I sit here, writing this, it is day three of our Toledo experience, and we haven't even stepped foot inside the city limits. The hotel is about 3km outside of town, and from what we can see of the town, it looks spectacular.

Honestly, though, this 5-star hotel couldn't have come at a better time. I'm not sure what y'all think about us going on a 3-month backpack tour of Europe, but in no way was this trip ever supposed to be a typical, stress-free vacation. On average, we are traveling to a new, unfamiliar, non-English speaking town every three days. It is exciting, humorous, fun, stressful, sometimes boring, but most of all, work. Work to find a place to stay. Work to find places to eat three square meals. Work to figure out what sights are and are not worth seeing. Work to get places on time. Work to follow the budget. Work to find another place to stay. Etc, etc. And this is all pretty rapid-fire-like. One of the downsides to a journey like this is that we have to keep truckin' along even if we aren't feeling well. Or if we have  little to no sleep (mostly due to one or more of the following reasons: sleeping in dorms, having  no air-conditioning, parties until dawn outside our window, and sometimes trying to sneak in an espresso at 6pm with the locals).

We were super aware of the potential stress of this trip, and being the organized planners that we both are, virtually pre-planned every day of our journey prior to leaving the States (of course, the little details, i.e what sights to see, are planned upon arrival).

One thing that I have been adamant about is to schedule days of rest, days of complete nothing-ness. I think the guidebooks say to plan 2 days of rest after every 4 days of traveling. And to do this regularly. We've done a decent job of giving ourselves breaks, but we are still mentally exhausted.

At times while reflecting on our journey, it seems as if these last two months of travel have flown by in the blink of an eye. And then I look forward to the one remaining month, and think how it is going to be fun, the best part of our journey, but what I wouldn't give to sleep in my own bed every night, to be able to cook all three meals in my own kitchen, and to be able to watch American TV! Or what I wouldn't give to drink a coffee at Square One. Or eat a crepe at Rachel's. Or splurge at Target. Or dance at Low Places. Or cookout at CRW. Or shop Anthro at Market Fair. Or tend my garden. Or see a movie in the theater. Or hang out with (in no particular order) and (yes I'm really going to do this) MomDadChrisKristaCarlyDerrickKristenJoeTaylorAnthonyRodneyChaseCodyClintJuddDarrenNoahAriValSaraReneeJoySamMarieJennAbbyGrandmaGrandpaRhondaWayneJenniferRhondaNikkiKatieJessieLindsayMa&PaTurnerMattJosh...

While in no way is that an extensive list, but if your name was there just know that I think of you quite often.

Please, don't get me wrong. This has been a WONDERFUL experience for both of us. Its been a trip of a lifetime. And though we may focus more on domestic travel these next few years, we thank you for all the support, love, and communications from back home. We feel fortunate every single day that we are able to wake up and experience a different culture, a different way of life, to witness something other than us...

...even if that witnessing HAS to take place poolside...

/insert smiley face here/

These few days of peace in three months of chaos is a much needed rest. This is our Sabbath.

Even though I say we are living luxuriously right now, to be able to stay in a real hotel with a sweet pool, we have to sacrifice in other areas. For instance, as I sit here by the pool, I'm drinking a sink-filled-reused-for-3-weeks Sprite bottle, watching other guests being served bubbly water in glass bottles that costs more than my last meal. Last night we served ourselves a select "bedside tapas" menu from the local grocer while fellow hotel guests were served tapas on china plates just one floor below. For lunch today, we may or may not have made soup and paninis in our room using the coffee pot and iron. Yes, we are living in luxury.

(ok, so looking back over our homemade food pictures in this entry pretty much makes me want to vomit... but in the moment the food didn't look THAT bad. I almost removed the photos after publishing this post, but then decided 'Hey, why not make other people vomit laugh?' btw... We washed the iron before AND after...)

Oh, but for reals, I did get a much-needed pedicure from the glamourous hotel spa today. 

We are hoping to get around to 'doing Toledo' tomorrow, our last day here. Here's to hoping...


I'm on the plane right now, heading to Barcelona (which we have heard nothing but great things about... Only downside is we couldn't find a hotel so we are forced to keep our prior reservations in a 12-bed dorm). I thought I would take this time to tell you about the exciting four hours when we dragged ourselves from the pool and went to town to explore actual Toledo. Enjoy...

The hillside town was very pretty. We explored, going nowhere in particular. We wasted or money trying to have a 'real' meal. We realized we were better off going back to the pool.

So we went back to the pool.
>Food 0
>Location 1
>Activities 1
>Comfort 1
>Hotel 1
The Turner FLACH Rating? 4 sunny stars. (Had we allowed ourselves to bask in the elegance of the hotel restaurant and actually have fancy tapas and drink sparkling water, we would have given it a perfect 5.)

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