Saturday, February 1

Adventures of the Traveling Cupcake: Spain & Portugal

Wanderlust: a very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to travel the world. 
"You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself" 

And just like that, a whirlwind of a trip has come to an end and here I sit in a squeaky airport chair waiting for the last leg of my journey home. Time can pass so quickly, it's so vital to savor every moment you have and fully experience every morsel of an experience: the taste, the smell, the feel, the electricity. 

Spain was my first stop, Madrid to be exact. With little Spanish under my belt I managed to navigate the tube on my own, figure out where to get off, get to my hotel and check-in all before 10 a.m. - I was rather pleased. The rest of the day was spent exploring historic Plaza Mayor and the surrounding areas. The streets of Madrid were cool and crisp, little old men sat smoking their pipes outside of their spice stores, couples dotted benches and monuments completely enthralled in each others presence; what a scene from a movie. Fountains and statues erected to long-forgotten warriors graced every street. Tiny little shops were stuffed with sangria, spices, fresh meat and wine. For the next four days my friend and I explored the nooks and crannies of Madrid from the Royal Palace to solemn cathedrals to street markets and wine cellars. The heartbeat of Madrid was apparent at night, life began around midnight with endless bottles of sangria and the intoxicating beat of salsa music loomed in the air. I literally danced the night away.

A plane awaited to whisk us off to our next adventure. A quick hour nap and time change brought us to Porto, Portugal. The city had the strangest mix of historical significance and modern day destruction; gorgeous historically significant buildings had been completely abandoned, terrorized by years of taggers and homeless generations. The town felt old and decrepit yet eerily luring. All I wanted to do was get lost in the catacombs of destitute little shacks that people lived in and capture the images of reality. A gorgeous town on the ocean, forgotten and yet completely modern at the same time. Moss clung to the old churches and a dampness clung to you no matter the hour. The lure of Porto drew you in and mesmerized you by it's quiet story. 

The train lurched past the ocean at brilliant pace. The journey to our final destination had begun. As we zipped along the Atlantic Ocean was a feverish pace, I couldn't help but be enthralled that I was sitting on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The waves were huge and crashed on the jagged shoreline. Unlike our smooth and salty shores of North Carolina, Portugal was jagged with rocks and pebbles. Three hours after departure, we arrived in a sunny haven- Lisbon "Lisboa". A complete juxtaposition to Porto, Lisbon was bright, modern and sunny. The city had a level of sophistication and class, our particular street was dotted with every store a girl could dream of: Prada, Burberry, MAC, Longchamp, Kate Spade, oh and the list went on and on. Just a short 5-minute walk out of the bustling modern city brought you into brightly colored neighborhoods of lime green, hot pink and yellow. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it was breezy and sunny and invited you to get lost in the vibrant world of Lisboa.