Our 20th anniversary trip to Spain – Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona

Spain has been on our bucket list for many years.  So when we started planning our 20th wedding anniversary trip, we knew it was time to go!  We try and travel often and every five years on landmark anniversaries go on our adventures sans children.  We missed them terribly, but it was nice to have some time to connect again as a couple.

In planning the trip, we decided if we were traveling that far we wanted to see as much as possible.  Both to experience a wide variety of the country and to plan where we might like to go back and linger the next time around.  And so we started in Madrid, went to Avila and Segovia, took the train to Seville, explored the white hill towns of Andalusia including Ronda, then ended the trip in Barcelona.  It was a lot, I know!

One of the many highlights of our trip was visiting Spain during the Holy Week (Semana Santa) where every day we were able to be spectators in some of the most beautiful and spiritual processionals I have ever witnessed.  Although I will say that as an American, it was a little difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that the robes and clothing that the capirotes wore as they look dangerously similar to a hateful organization here in the States.  In Spain, the capirote is the symbol of the Catholic penant and worn to show gratitude for a blessing bestowed to them in the previous year (as explained to me by a wonderful woman we met at one of the processionals in Madrid).  It was beautiful, solemn, and an experience I will never ever forget.

From our short time in the country, we found Spaniards to be as laid back in their daily life as they are fierce about their traditions and heritage.  There, bullfighting is considered an art form and pig is consumed in every way imaginable including it’s suckling form.  It’s a way of life they cherish and hold on to dearly and was something I’m grateful that we were able to experience.

It was also interesting to see how much different the Northern and Southern parts of the country really are.  Almost as different as Northern and Southern California.  The South is the home of bullfighting and flamenco and the influence of the long gone Moors is still everywhere.  In the North and in Barcelona you can start to feel the influence of their French neighbors and they even speak a whole different language (Catalonian) that also has a French feel.  Every place we went was unique and beautiful in it’s own way.

Like with most of our adventures, we filled it to the brim with activities.  So much so that I think I might need a lay on the beach and do nothing vacation to recover from our crazy itinerary.  But honestly, I could not imagine doing it any other way.  Sometimes I feel like there is so much to see and do in life that too much rest leaves me…well restless!

It was an amazing time and I would go back in a heart-beat.  Here’s the rundown on this adventure and a few snaps I took with my handy Fuji x100s (the best travel camera ever):

Day 1: Travel, jamon, tapas, wine and sleep!

Day 2: Museo del Prado, Sobrino de Botín, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Day 3: Day trip to Ávila and Segovia

Day 4: Afternoon train to Seville – Plaza de Espana

Day 5: The Alcázar of Seville and the Catedral de Sevilla

Day 6: Day trip to Zahara, Grazalema, and Ronda

Day 7: Calle Sierpes, Triana, and a show at Tablao Flamenco El Arenal

Day 8: Morning train to Barcelona – Museu Moto Barcelona, and La Rambla

Day 9: Sagrada Família, Casa Milà (La Pedrera), and the Cathedral Basilica of Barcelona

Day 10: travel home!

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Firehouse Wedding | Downtown Sacramento | Betsy and Alex

There’s something about travel and the experiences of meeting new people from different backgrounds that opens your heart, mind, and soul. When Betsey went to France, I don’t know that she expected to find the love of her life. But that’s exactly what happened. And it was nothing short of magical.  But with the warmth and infectious smile that flows so easily from Betsey, it was easy to see how Alex fell for her.  And Alex, he is as charming and handsome and he is open and warm (which is saying a lot as the serious French man that he is!).  The two of them together was pure magic.

Seriously, what an incredible wedding and family! So many of the guests traveled from France for the wedding and many only spoke French. But the language barrier between the families was never an issue. The love they had for Betsey and Alex and their openness and excitement over the union was tangible. It was not something I could easily describe. It was more like something you could feel, pure love surrounding them and lifting them up as they became man and wife.

Their Firehouse wedding was perfection and a marvelous blend of both American and European traditions. They shared their vows during a traditional church wedding with a reception serving the best food and wine at The Firehouse restaurant in downtown Sacramento. They had a gorgeous cake and, of course, cheese plates for dessert (my kind of party!). The atmosphere was so full of life and excitement for Alex and Betsey’s future together paced at a relaxed French speed.

This wedding was truly such an amazing experience! I couldn’t be happier for such a fantastic couple and family, and can’t imagine two more deserving people of such love. They were such a joy to work with, and I wish them nothing but the best on their adventure of life together as husband and wife!

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Make-up artist : Jill Briggs
Florist : I Do Floral (Kathy Simeone)
Videographer : Graham King
Ceremony Venue : First Baptist Church
Reception Venue : Firehouse Restaurant
Cake / Dessert : Jaynee Cakes
DJ / Band : Matthew Cope Entertainment

Highland Dell Lodge Wedding | Monte Rio | Rebecca and Michael

To say I’ll not soon forget this wedding would be the understatement of the century! Everything about Michael and Rebecca’s beautiful Highland Dell Lodge wedding was rich in Bavarian tradition.  There were so many elements that held such sentimental meaning for everyone involved. From the jewelry Rebecca wore that was borrowed from Michael’s grandmother in Germany, to the wedding dress custom made for her in a neighboring village to where Michael grew up and his parents still live to this day.

Rebecca also has two daughters, to whom Michael gifted two gorgeous necklaces at the wedding ceremony.  It was so touching.  And my favorite part…wait for it…their wedding cake was actually three wheels of their favorite cheeses.  Jon and I don’t always partake in the dessert but I am here to tell you YES, we ate the cheese and it was DELICIOUS!!

Michael’s family came all the way from Bavaria for the wedding and only spoke German, I loved listening to them talk and laugh and celebrate together.  Although many of the guests did not speak english, it’s funny how love can be understood in any language, and the love was surely flowing that day! As heavy as the raindrops falling from the sky.  And I mean that quite literally.  It was clear and sunny right up until the outdoor ceremony started, and then it just poured buckets and buckets of rain.  But let me tell you, the rain didn’t deter anyone from having a wonderful time and made for a uniquely special wedding ceremony memory for everyone (Jon and I included)!

The celebration of the love that these two share was such an incredible thing to be able to document. Congratulations Michael and Rebecca! I have nothing but the best wishes for a future filled with endless laughter and boundless love for you and your family.

Highland Dell Inn wedding

Make-up artist : Darcy Hunt
Hair stylist : Brooklyn Santiago
Florist : Eve in the Garden
Ceremony Venue : Highland Dell Inn
Reception Venue : Highland Dell Inn
DJ / Band : Lucky Devils