Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SO WE WENT TO EUROPE... April, for the first time. And I've been meaning to blog about it ever since, but just kept bloggin' about other nonsense. Anywho I have almost 2,000 pictures from my trip, yes 2,000. Basically I like to take photos a lot, actually I would love to be a photographer maybe if I wasn't a singer-songwriter, girl with glasses kind-of actress. Dave thinks I took way more pictures than necessary, I think you can never have too many. Especially of Europe... wow, wow and wow is all I have to say. Well that is not all I have to say, but if you've been you know what I'm sayin'. If you haven't been, get a jar, make a little label that says "EUROPE FUND" with your label maker if you have one, or just write on a sticky note with a sharpie, and then start putting all your change in there, a few dollars here a few dollars there, maybe dedicate $20 a month to your Europe fund, and even if it takes you twenty five years, you gotta go. And I do realize that it's not that easy to just pick up and go to Paris... most of us got jobs, families, school, rent to pay etc... but, somehow, someway, someday YOU MUST GO TO EUROPE. (safely of course)

We live in a beautiful world, yeah we do, yeah we do...( name that tune) There is a whole lot going on out there... So many people with lots of different ideas, buildings, mountains, oceans, flowers, food, music, animals, weather, language, style, culture and beyond. It really blows the the mind open to plop yourself in the middle of a foreign place, it's kinda scary and maybe even uncomfortable initially, but there is just so much to stuff to see, experience and learn. And when our eyes our opened to the beauty of the earth, we are never the same.

So long story long, Dave and I had saved up and booked this trip to Europe long ago for our sixth Anniversary, with plans of going to England to visit Dave's aunt and uncle, and then to Italy and France. But then I had gotten a call to from Disney asking if I would be willing to come aboard to sing for just one night and then relax for the week on a Disney Cruise ship (Simon Cowell would be so proud) that was sailing across the transatlantic. So we cancelled our original plans and decided to go float on a boat with Mickey Mouse, and with my good pal and TV guide idol finale co-host Justin Guarini who also was singing on the ship. We brought along our guitar players Matt and Kedge, and made friends with our Disney Guide. After we performed it was vacation time, It was an unusually good gig...

Boarded the ship in Portugal...

The view from the ship...

First Port... Cadiz, Spain. Cadiz was quaint, Cadiz was color... hues of blue from the sky to the turquoise sea, clean narrow streets paved with stones in shades of gray, canary yellow apartments stacked on top of flower markets and old book shops, hand painted tile boarders and windows wide open to let the sunshine in. We ate gelato, hugged a large tree, had some questionable ravioli for lunch and walked along the ocean wall... this was my first taste of Europe and it was delicious. I was in Awe...

Then there was Gibralter... what's goin' on in Gibralter? Monkeys, lots and lots of monkeys that aren't afraid to take your potato chips right out of your human hands. They jump, swing, scream, fight, play, pull hair, hug, snuggle... they live on the edge. We had to take Gondola Ride to the top of Gibralter to see them, I was terrified, was certain the chord would snap and we would fall to our death. We survived and saw a lot of monkeys, and took lots of National Geographic type photos. I found them monkeys frightening and yet fascinating from a distance. It was cold and way up high, but a site to see...

Last port... Barcelona, Spain or "Barthelona". Barcelona is a big big city with lots and lots of people. Pretty people with olive skin, light eyes and great style. We happened to be there for this holiday in which the girls give boys a book and the boys give girls a rose. I can't remember what this holiday is called... Saint something day? And then there was this church, Sagrada Familia, it is massive and has been under construction for centuries, you'd have to stare at it for days to behold all of it's ornate details, in the unique style of "Gaudi". We also roamed through this massive market that had lots of chocolate, candy, scary fish and giant toostie roll pops, I tried to take a picture with one and a lady yelled at me in Espanol, I almost cried:( Oh and we ate more gelato...

After our magical cruise ride through the transatlantic we de-boarded and said goodbye to Mickey and our friends, hopped on a plane and headed towards our final destination of our European expedition... England to stay with Dave's loveliest and kindest Aunt and Uncle. Our first day was a Sunday, we put on our church clothes and uncle David drove us down to church, only to find no one there. So instead, we went to the Winchester Cathedral, known as the resting place of Jane Austen. As we entered the large red doors, we were greeted by the sound of angels. The tiny blonde hairs all stood tall on my arms as the heavenly voices of the choir filled the chambers of the church, tears came to my eyes, I didn't want to leave...

The second day Uncle David and Auntie Yolandie took us to to see the ancient historical phenomenon known as "Stonehenge". I have to admit, at first I wondered why it was such a big deal, but after learning more, it does cause one to wonder... rather remarkable and mysterious. We took a lazy drive through the English country side while listening to the Eagles. There were these wild ponies that ran along side the road with long flowing manes, straw roofed cottages that look like the kind of place that Snow White would live in. And then there were the swans... and all the swans belong to the queen of course.

The third day Uncle David dropped us off at the train station where we jumped on a train to London. London is to date, my favorite place that I've ever been. It is magical... like riding through the stars over Big Ben on the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland, but it's real. It's like strolling through a life size Christmas village that you set up in your window. And just like a tourist I flipped over the red telephone booths, and double decker buses and the buckingham palace. The people are so hip in their topshop clothes and sophisticated with their vintage boots and english accents, oh how I wish that I had an English accent. I bought some fancy perfume at Liberty, ate pizza at Harrods, toured the Westminster Abbey and roamed through museums and took a ride on the London Eye... even I, with my serious fear of heights. Dave was proud and we got some amazing shots of the city from above... We spent two days, it wasn't enough. I need a whole Summer...

We spent a few more days with David and Yolandie doing crossword puzzles over breakfast while listening to BBC radio, and ate the tastiest lunch at the Stanwell House near the isle of wight and found little souvenirs to take home to family and friends. Then it was time to pack up and go back to America...

We didn't make it to Italy, however we had a 45 minute lay-over in the Paris airport where I bought some chocolate. Would love to see Germany and Switzerland, We'll have to start saving our change in a jar for the next trip... someday.

And no matter where you go, it's always good to come back home.

(this might be the longest blog post in the history of Brookie Babble... probably should have been broken up into two or three posts... or four)


  1. Wow! What a great blog post. These pictures are so beautiful. I can't wait to travel to Europe myself. Thanks for sharing!


  2. A European adventure! What an amazing way to celebrate your anniversary! All of these photos truly capture the beauty of each destination. I absolutely love London. I've never been before, but I know that my heart belongs in that city. Better start saving up...
    I hope you guys get to venture over to Italy, Switzerland and Germany soon!

  3. I think that's the best post you've ever posted, while reading I was shocked you've described so well the "soul" of each city. I'm from Barcelona and the festivity you are refering is 'Sant Jordi' and I think is one of the most romantic days of the city. What a coincidence I live just in front of La Sagrada Família, I would have been funny and nice to meet you there while I was coming back from college.

  4. I live in Lugano Switzerland, you are right. As Americans we do not get enough travel. Just returned from Rome and Naples and will venture to Florence next week. You must see Italy and Switzerland! Your blog was excellent.

  5. You are an awesome artist through and through. I love your creativity. It brings out the best in other people! The photos are fantastic!!

  6. So nice you had the time to visit Europe last year! Try to visit Scandinavia as well at some point, north is so different from central and southern Europe. :)

  7. I LOVE this! Your post makes me want to go to Europe even more than before! Saving up for a Europe trip just might be one of my New Year's Resolutions! ~ Libby :)

  8. Ah, Brooke, thanks for sharing your trip and experiences-brought back memories! My hubby and I (& our daughters) have been to Europe several times and absolutely love it. You described it so well. Barcelona was one of our very favorite cities, and England, too, is a favorite of ours, but Ireland and Scotland even more. We did France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries, as well. So glad you experienced it, you must go back for more. Never can get enough of it. Susie (Nantucket Breeze)

  9. Wow great pictures and sounded like so much fun.

    For me, the trips that I have made to the US (I am a norwegian living in Germany) have been wonderful. All the nice and friendly people and oh the great food.

    If you ever need a tour guide of Munich and the southern part of Germany, I would love to help you out.

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  11. It's official, when I get my big girl job I'm going to Europe! Thank you for posting this blog!! I'm in love with the pictures of Sagrada Familia! It's absolutely breath taking! I looked it up on wikipedia and it's estimated to be done in 2026, so I figured at the rate I'm going, that's probably around the time I'll be able to go haha. Seriously though all your pictures are beautiful and thanks for sharing them with us!

    p.s. I'm proud of you for riding the London Eye and the Gondola! Oh and I'm sorry the lady yelled at you, that wasn't very nice :/

    p.s.s. One other country you should consider visiting is Greece! My brother showed me pictures from when he went there and it is Gorgeous!!

  12. I am completely with you on London. I spent three months there back in the mid-70's and still didn't see all it had to offer. The history, the shopping, the theater (especially the theater) were just amazing.

    I also got to travel a bit throughout England, Scotland and Wales and they are equally as amazing.

  13. I love all of your pictures! You have a great eye for photography!

  14. That is amazing, Brooke! And I agree, one can never take too many pictures. London looks incredible! I've always wanted to go there someday. Everything about the place just seems so special...guess I've got to start saving my coins, right?
    Just curious, I wonder if you had any issues with the culture barriers?
    Anyways, I'm happy you and Dave had an amazing trip!

  15. such an awesome post, brooke. it gave me major wanderlust. ;)

  16. I grew up in Barthelona :) ...April 23 is the day of Catalunya's patron saint, Sant Jordi (St. George) and also the day of the book. It's the day when men give women roses, women give men books, and publishers launch new titles.

    Love the pics and seeing Winchester Cathedral. I'm a big Jane Austen fan.