What’s your dream vacation destination?

This post is my entry in Fly Thomas Cook’s Valentine’s competition. All travel ideas and declarations of love are my own!

I love dreaming up new getaways, and living in Barcelona means nearly all parts of the EU are accessible. In the last four months, I’ve been to Cadaques, Figueres, Sitges and Tossa de Mar in Spain, and I’ve hopped flights to Istanbul and Paris.

Weather-wise, Barcelona has been acting like a petulant teen lately: warm some days, cold (and windy) others, and fairly unpredictable. It’s got me longing for beach days, sundresses and fruity cocktails. And it’s got me plotting an island excursion.

I’ve always dreamed about visiting Tenerife in the Canary Islands. For one thing, there are miles and miles of coastline and beautiful beaches.

photo by Webber264 on flickr

photo by Webber264 on flickr

For another, there’s Canarian cuisine like pollo al salmorejo (chicken marinated in garlic, pepper, cumin, paprika and white wine) and papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes).

And there’s Loro Parque, where you can see the world’s biggest collection of parrots.

Above all, it’s home to Pico del Teide, Spain’s tallest peak, an ideal place to hike above the clouds and stargaze. When I saw this timelapse video of Teide by ISO Photography, I was completely sold on Tenerife – and even a little teary-eyed. The beauty is  other worldly.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Fly Thomas Cook is running a Valentine’s-themed travel blogging contest, and I want them to make my beach-combing, cocktail-imbibing, parrot-visiting, star-gazing dreams come true and send me to Tenerife!

youngadventuress

picture from youngadventuress.com

I’ve got a travel blogger/friend crush on Liz from Young Adventuress, and she’d be the perfect hypothetical companion for a Valentine’s weekend in Tenerife.

She takes risks, dreams big and is as obsessed with tortilla de patata as I am.

She also knows how to attract some questionable male attention, so I’m sure we’d be able to get ourselves in trouble and pick up local company for a sexy Valentine’s double date. Sunbathing and skinny dipping, anyone? What happens in Tenerife stays in Tenerife … Actually, that’s not entirely true because I’m sure we’d both blog about it!

Where would you go if you won a trip to the Canary Islands? What’s your dream destination?

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Link love: Things to do in Barcelona

fountain

Ready to soak up some culture in Barcelona? ;)

I’ve got a whole bunch of half-written blog posts on places I’d recommend to take visitors, but since those aren’t quite ready yet, I’ll share a few resources I’ve found helpful over the last few months:

+ Le Cool: A mix of art, culture & shopping.

+ BarcelonaYellow: All sorts of info, from nightlife to apartment rentals to transportation.

+ The Spain Scoop: Travel advice & tips, especially helpful for folks making a long-term move.

+ BCN Week: A weekly newsletter on events, culture & politics.

+ Barcelona Life: Even more info on nightlife, restaurants, entertainment & more.

What am I missing? Tell me your favorite Barcelona sites & ‘zines.

some pics of Spain

My weeks are filled with teaching, applying for teaching jobs, eating, stressing, stress-eating, and the like.

My weekends are a bit more chill, thankfully.

So I’m putting together a Flickr album of my adventures in Spain. Take a peek here, and tell me where I should travel on a budget!

Weekend getaway to Cadaqués, Spain

I can sum up my weekend like this:

boats in Cadaques

TRANQUILITY.

Shelby and I headed to Cadaqués, Spain by way of a train to Figueres, then a bus ride over the mountains into the dreamy bayside town of Cadaqués. It’s one of those places that takes your breath away – all white-washed buildings with blue shutters, charming older couples winding their way through the streets and children playing ball on the beach.

We had our fair share of red wine, pizza, chocolate desserts and deep, contented sighs. (Totally worth the carsickness on the bus ride there and the inflated price of tapas in the town.)

I also read a book while I was in Cadaqués! Yes, it’s true! (This is likely not shocking to you, but it shocks me since I’ve had precious time for anything but my TESOL course since I arrived in Barcelona.)

Take a look at some of the pictures I snapped with my phone (I’ll post again when I’ve uploaded my camera’s pics to Flickr), and put Cadaqués on your must-visit list when you come to Spain …

A fancy little shop:

shop in Cadaques

Shelby, leading the way to our hostel:

Shelby in Cadaques

We only got lost *every* time we tried to walk back to our hostel. The narrow streets all looked the same.

A view of the town from where I went jogging:

View of Cadaques

I think I fell in love on this run. Who wants to buy a house in Cadaqués with me?

The town at dusk:

Cadaques

Cadaqués doesn’t have much in the way of things to do (if you’re on a budget), but that’s part of the appeal. We wandered the streets and simply relaxed. We walked to the nearby town of Port Lligat, where Salvador Dalí lived, and we lingered over glasses of wine at several seaside cafés.

More than once, I thought to myself, How is this my life right now? How am I so lucky?

While it’s easy to get caught up in some of the uncertainties here and begin to stress about money and visas and plans and to-do lists, I let most of that go this weekend.

I’m happy to be here. I live in Spain right now. Wow.

I’m grateful for the chance to have this experience, no matter how long it lasts.