MontREAL Fun!

A few weeks ago, I planned the most epic bachelorette weekend ever (and when I say “epic,” I mean something along the lines of a “grandmas who like to drink a lot” kind of vibe)!

The seven of us celebrated Carolyn’s love for Ryan by… eating the classiest brunch in Old Montréal. We all ordered savory dishes, and mine consisted of salmon, cauliflower purée, cranberries and greens.

After the boozy brunch, we wandered the streets of Old Montréal; this immediately reminded Carolyn and me of our time in southern France. All of us were on the same page and ended up at a street festival with tons of food trucks, zip lines and happy people. We even rode the giant ferris wheel, which is comparable to the London Eye.

Even though our night out at the comedy club and bowling were pretty low-key for a bachelorette party, we had a riot! Prior to going out, we played some drinking games in the hotel and were able to get to know each other quite well!

The next day, we visited Ontario Street (aka: where all the hipsters live). It was a different vibe for sure, but I loved it regardless. I felt like I was in a different city or country all together. We had another wonderful brunch and spent the afternoon on a pedal bar tour.

If you haven’t been on a pedal bar tour, you need to! My brother and I did this last summer in Portland, and both times were absolutely awesome! Whether you’re with one person or several, you’re going to have a good time with the others you’re pedaling with 🙂

We had two bachelorette parties on our bike, so we all knew we were in for a fun time!

I can’t wait to see these wonderful ladies at Carolyn’s wedding this month!

Myrtle Beach (May 2018)

I realize I am very late to the party here, but better late than never 😉

Over Memorial Day weekend, my then-boyfriend of nearly six years proposed to me!  I knew it was coming, but the weekend was truly special and being in such a beautiful place with such a beautiful, loving man means the world to me.

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A few weeks prior, Juan asked my dad for my hand in marriage.  Although I knew we were taking a trip, I had NO idea where we were going until I boarded the plane!  My dad knew and apparently told Juan that I enjoyed Myrtle Beach in high school (true!), but I’m so impressed they both lasted so long without telling me.  More importantly, I’m (pleasantly) surprised that I didn’t guess our destination correctly!

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Feeling the sand in my toes, seeing sharks and dolphins swim around and enjoying the sunshine with my babe was the perfect way to spend a long weekend 🙂 I am truly blessed to have this man in my life, and I’m even more grateful that as of 11-16-18, Juan is now my HUSBAND!

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Juan has had this stone for me since I was 19, yet this whole journey still doesn’t seem real…

Machupicchu with Mom (July, 2018)

Looking back at these photos is bittersweet; we really miss this trip but still cherish every memory and are grateful for the opportunity that we had together.

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The trek up to the old civilization was an adventure in-and-of itself!  Our bus driver was winding through the narrow roads like nobody’s business, abruptly dodging other tourist buses on the way up!  I was too excited to be nauseous on the way there, but the way back down was another story…

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We had the BEST group on our tour and our guide was amazing.  Jamie (pronounced “Hi-May” in South America) was the perfect combo of educational and entertaining!  He joked and said he hiked the Inca Trail at least once a week to get away from the world; part of me thinks he was serious because you could tell he was at home here at Machu Picchu.

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What still amazes me the most about the Incas is how forward and advanced they were, especially for their time.  The way they worked collectively, farmed with innovation in mind, and how they utilized everything they had astounds me.

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The views, no matter which direction you faced, were beyond impressive.  As soon as I uploaded this photo, I was shocked that I was physically standing there not too long ago; I am truly blessed. AND I got to see some llamas in their natural habitat, which obviously made my dreams come true!

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My mom and I were exhausted on the way back home, but our train ride fashion show kept us fairly engaged 🙂 I recommend Machu Picchu, Peru, and South America for anyone who loves cultural immersion, friendly people, and adventure!

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Exploring Cusco, Peru (July, 2018)

Lima had its highlights, but Cusco had a flare of its own!  Aside from the turbulent plane ride and altitude sickness, my mom and I really enjoyed ourselves (and wish we could go back)…

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The city center had a lot to offer!  The architecture was a mix of what you’d envision in places like Spain or Portugal with South American charm.  There were terraces and balconies on almost every building, especially the restaurants!  We were in this valley surrounded by mountains, tourists from all over the globe and many friendly street vendors (AND pups).

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The narrow streets really fascinated my mom and me because there were so many cars AND so many people weaving through them.  We would chase after the sun because the wind and cool air picked up in the images you see above.  I’m also lucky that I didn’t twist an ankle because the fitted sidewalks were incredibly uneven!

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My mom and I saw TONS of friendly dogs and bright colors while walking in the evening.  We also heard beautiful music and were able to see a fun parade during one of our nights in Cusco.

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Many consider Cusco a tourist trap, but I hope these photos prove otherwise.  My mom and I really immersed ourselves in the culture and didn’t want to come home!

First Day in Lima, Peru (June, 2018)

I’ve been missing my mother-daughter travels and have been holding off on posting photos from my Canon Rebel.  Early this morning I’ve finally uploaded them and am ready to share them with all of you 🙂

My mom and I were in no rush during our first full day in Lima; we decided to walk in gardens and explore off the beaten path.

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We admired how bright and colorful everything was!  We truly knew we were in a new place that was very different from life in Michigan.

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After visiting a local garden, my mom and I chose to walk toward the coast and visit some parks.  It was the perfect day: not too hot, not too cold, not too bright!  Seeing families and dogs at the Parque del Amor (Park of Love) reminded us of Chicago.

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Although the colors at the park were admirable, the architecture was also impressive.  I was never able to visit Barcelona when I was in Spain, but I felt like I was at the famous Park Guell!

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Even though Parque del Amor was surrounded with romance, I am thankful to have shared this experience with my mom.  We both enjoy walking around and soaking in new culture, which made Lima a great destination!

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Machu Picchu, Peru in iOS (July, 2018)

Being with my mom was obviously the best part of Peru.

The second? Walking the steps of Machu Picchu (llamas are the third)!

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My favorite movie growing up was The Emperor’s New Groove (lets be honest, it still is!) and being here made me feel like I was alongside David Spade and John Goodman. I’m so happy my mom found these Kuzco shirts!

More importantly, I have been fascinated with The Inca Empire since the sixth grade. I had a teacher who had been to Peru many times and shared his experience and stories with us in great detail. Plus, my fiancé is Ecuadorian and I somehow felt closer to his culture and past.

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Our guide, Jamie (“Hi May” in Spanish, Jamie in English) was THE BEST! He provided us with unique information that we otherwise wouldn’t have learned. We also had a phenomenal group with us (one guy lives ~30 minutes away from me)! The experience as a whole was incredible. My mom and I also felt like Amazon women walking through the ancient city, standing at 5’8” and 5’10”!

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After our amazing day, we had to take a bus back down to the city centre. Unfortunately, I was a bit car sick and my mom had a killer migraine! We relaxed in town, then headed back to Cusco via train. Our Machu Picchu Train was awesome and I was even able to dance with the god Carmen during the staff’s “fashion show!”

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Cusco, Peru in iOS (June/July, 2018)

Although my mom and I enjoyed our time in Lima, Cusco was our favorite!

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Spending all of this quality time meant the world to me! The only downside about Cusco? The altitude adjustment (or lack thereof on my end)! I instantly felt hungover, even when I was only drinking hot water. Being with my mom and petting/holding baby animals made me feel better though!

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Our first night in Cusco consisted of me puking and the two of us watching old Denzel Washington movies 😂 At least the next day I seemed to make a full recovery…

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We ate at the chocolate museum (twice!), saw amazing parade floats, visited more animals, climbed the cathedral for the best views, ate more incredible meals, and met some of the kindest people. Cusco, we’ll be back for sure!

Sharing this experience with my mom is indescribable. We brought back lots of memories (and llamas)!

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