Girls Trip to Malta

This is the year that many of my friends hit a big milestone birthday. 40 always seemed like a daunting age to me. It felt like the time when you become “old”. When my mom turned 40, a neighbor put up “Over the Hill” decorations. It seemed like an age I was not excited to…

When You Meet Family Around the World

During my time in Barcelona in early 1999 my mom went on a quest for the mysterious cousin M. This was someone she had been close to when she was younger. Cousin M had moved to Barcelona for a scholarship opportunity. Then…she seemed to disappear. Mom knew a few snippets. She had some kids. She…

La Universidad de Barcelona

The University of Barcelona is a sprawling organization with campuses all over the city. However, for whatever reason, in 1999, all the exchange students took classes at the old campus, right off Plaza Universidad. The building, built between 1863 and 1882, is classic Moorish architecture, with big courtyards and lots of greenery. I remember being…

Barceloneta

“My cousin wrote back…she wants to meet for lunch!” “Your cousin? The one in Barcelona you haven’t seen in 40 years?!” “Yep, here is the address of the restaurant we are going to meet at.” Look at map…”Are you serious? If I remember correctly, that’s the not so great area of Barcelona. It’s full of…

Las Ramblas

As a student living in Barcelona, my classes all ended before lunch. One of my favorite activities was to walk the short distance to Plaza Catalunya and then down las Ramblas, eventually steering into el Barrio Gotico. People watching was cheap and entertaining, so I’d get a coffee at a café and nurse it for…

La Sagrada Familia

In 1999, I was a young exchange student living in Barcelona and having the time of my life. While there I went on a tour of the Sagrada Familia. At that time, the tour did not have a set price, but donation based pricing. And the “tour” was simply access to the museum on Gaudí…

Gilroy Gardens

“You should really take your kids to Gilroy Gardens, they’d love it!”. That was my best friend, R. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’d get around to it” I said. So when our weekend getaway was coming to an end, we had a choice, see more of Monterey, or try and check out Gilroy Gardens. On a…

Cannery Row

When you hear Cannery Row, if you are a Steinbeck fan, you immediately conjure up imagines of a gritty factory filled row that smells of fish and poverty. At the very minimum you imagine factories and lots and lots of metal and aluminum. What you likely don’t imagine is world class shopping and dining, luxury…

All Types of Family Travel = Stronger Bonds

Growing up in small town NJ, I had the privilege of having my grandmother close to us almost all of my childhood. We often would travel with my grandmother, doing road trips, going to Puerto Rico to see family, and even once doing a family cruise with five of us in a small stateroom on…