Posts Tagged With: party

Here comes the bride! 9-28-17

The term destination wedding refers to a location outside of your hometown that generally involves a gorgeous landscape in a distance place. Typically it lands at a snow capped mountain resort, inside a foreign castle or in my case, on a stunning tropical island. I called Barbados home for just long enough that it really wasn’t a “destination wedding”, however for a handful of our guests, it most certainly was!

If you’d rather just skip to the amazing Wedding video, click here!

Let’s begin with the landscape. Well, for starters it’s a beach!! We chose a quaint little surfers bar overlooking the southeast coast called Moonraker at Surfers Bay. It offered a partially covered outdoor seating area with a U shaped bar and an open section for my favorite part, the dancing! Our guests had the option of kicking their shoes off and walking in the sand, dancing on a wooden deck or socializing around an oversized bonfire. So we had love, earth, wood, fire, water, sun, stars, open air and an abundance of positive energy from all of the friends and family that gathered… a recipe for the perfect wedding.

Accommodations – Surfers Bay restaurant and bar was conveniently on the property of a colorful hotel called The Moonraker.

The wardrobe – Most of you have read a story or few that included my dear friend Bree. From our adventures in Chiang Mai, Thailand to her first visit to Barbados, she’s been a beautiful addition to my traveling adventures. What you may not of known is that when she isn’t backpacking, she’s an incredible fashion designer that has even worked in NYC for Ralph Lauren (friend bragging moment). As her gift to me, she designed and tailored my gown start to the very last pin before I walked the aisle. Matt wore a classic beige jacket that was once wore by his dad who was there with us in spirit.

The jewelry – I felt so honored to walk the aisle with an arm full of authentic bangles and an ankle decorated with jewel covered bands, all from India (another gift from Bree and her family). My wedding ring set is a combination of Matts opal birthstone and a diamond band given to me by his mother, a ring that was once given to her by his father…. again, I’m honored. The unique funky earrings? Those were $7.99 from Claire’s (a handy accessory boutique in the states).

The flowers – Instead of pre made bouquets or red roses, I went to a local florist (the day of the wedding) who so graciously allowed me to pick 12 flowers from a variety of local bundles in their back freezer. I don’t know too many businesses elsewhere that would of been so eager to help a last minute Gypsy bride.

The ceremony – my walk down the grassy aisle lead me to a dozen of my dearest girlfriends from around the world, each holding a single tropical flower. As I hugged and thanked them for their friendship, attendance and love, I collected each flower leaving me with a bouquet tied up by a strip of lace that was left over from my dress. This was all being serenaded by Matt on the guitar before he passed it along to come and greet me for the rest of my walk. The service was guided by our dear friend Derek who peacefully spoke about higher connection and divine love. We said our own vows, exchanged rings and sealed it with a kiss.

Drinking and dining – The Bajans and their heartfelt gifts. Instead of presents we asked each local guest to bring a dish to share. (If you’re wondering what the island cuisine consists of, take a moment to check out the posts Welcome to Barbados, let’s eat! and Mr.Delicious doesn’t serve pig tail . Our wedding spread ranged from traditional recipes to creative desserts and most definitely extended beyond what any catering company could of offered. Drinks? Not a dry mouth in the place, if a guests didn’t bring food we invited them to bring a beverage to place on the open bar. Wine, champagne, cases of local beer, liquor, juice, soda and what Barbados festivity would be complete without rum punch! Música! Personally speaking, I can survive any party regardless of food, drink or decorations as long as I have happy people and good music. As if our plans couldn’t of gone any smoother, in walks Dj Trev! He perfectly mixed every genre we wanted to hear, left out all of the songs we didn’t want and had a dance floor that never went empty. He was the icing on our wedding cake!…and the party kept going… and going! I’m so grateful for the experience and love we were able to capture, I’ll hold it dearly forever!

…to be continued.

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pumpkins and parties!

Halloween. The dictionary says it’s the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows’ Day on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November, thus giving the holiday on 31 October the full name of All Hallows’ Eve. To most of us, it’s a family friendly holiday full of costumes, candy and spooky decorations. To others it’s the perfect excuse for adult parties in which grown-ups act out of character (or fully in) as they strut around in costume.

Since I’ve been on the road, my Halloween celebrations have ranged from completely non existent like in donating blood at the Angkor Children’s Hospital in Cambodia to the skull and bones of the Oakland Raiders game. Last year I decided to sport the 80’s while painting up my buddy Hayden before a night out in the capital city of Sacramento, California. 

Best costumes of my backpacking journey most definitely go to the Sevens Tournament in New Zealand!

Halloween 2016 took me covered in pumpkin guts to pool side costume parties. Let’s begin!

First up, let me reintroduce you to Cole, creator and director of Enlightened Studios. You may recognize him from the post Music for the soul and friends for the spirit. All of us feeling like children, we gathered some pumpkins and snacks before clearing an area for the mess to unfold. Picking your pumpkin and design seems like it should be an easy task, but I feel like most of our time (meaning my moms) was spent on this process.

Luckily there’s extra thinking time as you hollow out each canvas. Sensitive to slimy seedy textures? This wouldn’t be a task for you then.

Pumpkins picked, scraped and cleaned… check! Now comes the carving tools to bring your ideas to life. Warning, these “carving knives” may appear stronger than they really are.

While waiting for everyone (mom) to finish, I lightly covered our seeds in coconut oil and a dash of sea salt for some home roasted treats, delicious! Cole went above and beyond and even painted his ninja turtle pumpkin green! I dig it.

After hours of snacks, pumpkin guts and laughing to tears we felt accomplished with our creations. Mom did the peace sign that sits to the left of Coles Ninja turtle and I went with the Om symbol.

Next up, dress up! I was lucky enough to be invited to a few separate parties to get good use of my costume. Fun fact, I owned most of my attire all ready, just added a few tattoos, gems and bedazzled jewels. 

The first gathering was a bundle of live music! With a gypsy sister (mom) as my hot date, we enjoyed our evening at the 30a singer and songwriter cafe. We were graced with the presence of Cole (Ace Ventura) from our pumpkin carving night and my angel of a friend Erica!

The following night was a larger party located in the same spot from the post Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach

My hot date for this evening? Enter Matt, remember him from Light attracts light? With a last minute decision, I through my same costume on and put a dash of eyeliner on him. A face tattoo and jacket created as close to a rocker as we could get him before we headed off!

A glossy swimming pool and clear sky made for the perfect outdoor party. Care to dance? A popular DJ played all night! Thirsty? Easy accessible bars surrounded the venue. Notice the photos projected on the wall? They were taken throughout the night and exposed for all to see, over and over… and over again. Photo from above curtesy of alysbeach.com, check it out for more events! 

Our friends arrived as Cruella Deville and a Dalmatian, classic. Amongst others was a variety of characters from movies, politics and of course your traditional zombies, princesses, ghosts and the wizard of oz crew.
That concludes my better late than never Halloween post. Next up, the great outdoors! Till then, just keep smiling…

Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crete, the hometown of Zeus

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and sits just north of Africa. The wonderful people here consider themselves “Cretan”, not Greek and do a fine job of representing their independent culture. One of my favorite fun facts, speaking in mythological terms, Crete is believed to be the place where Zeus grew up!

I’m here visiting a dear friend of mine that I met years ago while dressed in a dirndl (I was, he was in lederhosen) singing German songs on a table at Oktoberfest in Munich.

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Year after year we’ve stayed connected and this time, our reunion sweeps me to his summer job at a hotel in Chania. Before I take you to Crete, lets sneak a quick look at the journey to get there starting with a hanging tram in Dusseldorf to a layover in Athens. I got excited when I saw the writing on the back of the seat. Almost there!

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Landing in Athens brings you an open designed terminal with many options to keep you occupied. With several museums, gambling halls, and cafe’s you’ll find quite a selection of entertainment. There’s even a kids play room if you care for a sitter while doing a little souvenir shopping. Hayden was behaving that day, so I let him hang with me.

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The dreaded airport lunch? Not today! A salad buffet full of raw veggies, herbs, toppings and fresh dips like tzatziki and hummus. This definitely beats the usual option of an iceberg lettuce bowl with a few slivers of carrot and a bag of dressing for the same price!

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A friendly and helpful side note to all of my frozen yogurt fans out there, at the Athens airport there are two different options for this cold delight. No need to worry, I did the exhausting hassle for you and tried both to confirm there is most certainly a better choice! Your welcome. The winner is…

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Ok, finally landing makes my stomach fill with excitement as seeing sweet Florian is soon to be! If you know this guy, you can confirm that his kind smile matches his sincerity and his German quirky sense of humor leaves your cheeks aching from laughing!

We meet up for our first breakfast after a good nights sleep, meaning a few hours as the sun was coming up (thank you to the unofficial welcoming crew and the deck of cards). Check out this view!

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Right away I felt my shoulders drop a notch and my busy mind lower gears. Between the Cretans love for food and drink, the warm sun on my skin and the ocean as a back drop, it only seems silly to allow any stress to hinder positive thoughts. Let me take you for a quick walk from our doorstep to the main road that hugs the shore.

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Next, lets explore the work place of Florian. This type of hotel is new to me as its specifically designed for German travelers on vacation here. Not only does the staff speak German, but their news letters, guided tours and special events are all centered to help the guests feel connected and comfortable. Welcome to Hotel Dimitra!

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Johanna and Jule, both here working from Germany, greeted us with eager smiles and fun conversation. Maybe its because we just came from their home country, but their sweet and spicy personalities made me feel comfortable instantly!

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On this evening, the hotel was throwing a themed party they described as “bad taste”. Apparently you’re supposed to dress in an awkward fashion and sport a “unique” look. Of course we were invited and yes, I encouraged (made) Hayden dress up. I think we did just fine! The walk from our place to the hotel was the best part. All of the tourist on the street and people dining on the terraces staring at us as we giggle our way past them. Great memories!

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A flash back of Jr.High popped into my mind when we were peaking around the corner to make sure we weren’t the only ones in costume. Coast is clear!

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I am one lucky lady.

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What better way to mingle with a crowd of Germans while visiting Greece than a theme party!

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Such an energetic event to kick off our time here. Also, many thanks to Florian for not only the personal invite, but the exposure to bring me some haircut clients along the way!

I’ll end this post now with a neat photo I snagged from the bar decor. More Crete to come!

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The Rastafarian Cancun of Ecuador, Montañita

Montañita is a growing town that was once a hidden gem for local surfers. Back in the 60’s it was a fishing village and linked to the hippie movement, thus explaining the Rastafarian vibe that still exists today. Amongst the several residence, there’s a large population of backpackers, beach bums and travelers just passing through. I was told it’s the “Cancun of Ecuador” and to enter with an open mind, no intentions of sleeping and to have a proper exit plan. Thankfully, I had Sophie with me and we were both on a chill vibe during our whopping 30 hours in this tornado of controlled chaos.

We checked into our hostel, knowing not much time will be spent there. Quick tour of the Iguana Backpackers Hostel. The front area with kitchen is small, but a few backpackers show that it still does the job.

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In the back there’s a relaxed open area for well, anything you want!

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Our room equipped with the necessary sleeping nets. Ps, having the mosquitos trapped in with you is not beneficial to a good nights sleep.

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My favorite part of this entire hostel was the sign that made me giggle out loud when it caught my eye.

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Approaching the outside of town, it looks so innocent and welcoming.

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As you turn the corner and head into the main strip, the vibrancy begins to deliver.

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Perfect handstand photo, thanks Sophie!

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Ceviche on the street? Yes please! The choices were shrimp, conch or fish. We shared a mix of shrimp and fish to be topped off with hot sauce and corn nuts.

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Fortunately for us, there was surf finals happening the day we were there! After observing the streets we agreed is was time for sandy toes. Here’s the walk as we head towards the competition.

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I haven’t had a real snow cone in years! I skipped out on the green goo topped with condensed milk and went with the piña and fresa (pineapple and strawberry).

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As we near the action, you could feel the energy was building. Over the roar and applause, you could hear the announcer listing countries with their scores. Both of us had a confused grin as he says, “Ecuador… Peru… Brazil… Hawaii… and…” Now I’m not a part of the surf world, so there’s probably something I’m missing, I just didnt realize Hawaii had separated into it’s own country.
An additional peculiar thing, is seeing a sun loving surf crowd fully clothed, on the beach! Bizarre or am I unaware of another memo?

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I also didn’t realize it was relay style. One would sprint out of the water as the other was racing in. Apparently I need to study this sport a little more before I observe!
Side note: If you say you’re from California, expect to give a full explanation to why you don’t surf.

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I thought these were pretty cool shots.

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As the sun goes down, the crowd doesn’t stop. In fact, the streets light up and what was once the fruit stands have turned to drink stands and the restaurants are now dance clubs.

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Believe it or not, that’s all you get from my evening pictures, as we turned in for an early nights rest before the bus tomorrow. (Yes Bevan, I know… I’ll have to try again with you next time).

My favorite photo of the day in Montañita!

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This was also the last evening spent with my (perfectly opposite) new pal Sophie.
You were such an unexpected gift that enhanced my journey along the coast of Ecuador. Cheers to broken bunk beds, awkward email names, and no bananas in a smoothie… ever. I send you off with much love and a “Salud” till next time!

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick recap of Birthday Shinanugins

I had a wonderful time in California visiting my hometown of Folsom and reuniting with the dear friends that I call family. This past November 25th, I celebrated a birthday that pleasantly welcomed me into the “30’s”. For multiple reasons, I chose not to have my camera in hand at all times, so here are just a few snap shots from some of the shinanugins.

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My personal favorite is the only photo captured from the “Birthday girls night in“. This evening was one in which cotton candy pillow fights and cute lingerie were definitely not a part of the celebrations. Included however, was homemade food, drinks, laughter, girl talk and memories that were life changing (seriously). Thank you from the deep mushy part of my heart to Crystal, Stephanie and Kimmie. What a warm welcome back!

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What do you get when you mix 4 Germans, 2 Dutch and me?

A party in Amsterdam!

Quick recap: I met Carina and Florian, years ago at Oktoberfest who introduced me to Julia and Sebastian this year. Denise and I met while studying in Spain last year and just met Ioni in Argentina this March. Since I know all 6 of these incredible people I felt more than than driven to connect us all at once. Success!

We met up early in the day to wander the streets before heading out on the town. I got to take them to one of my favorite open markets!

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I honestly couldn’t figure out if this was a real man. He didn’t budge or blink for the awkward moments I just stood there… I’m still not sure.

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We were extremely tempted to purchase snow suits and wear them out as a huge group, next time!

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Most vendors have some sort of design on the outside of their closed shed. Gotta love the one and only Bob Marley!

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After snooping through bags, books, clothes, tools, posters, jewelry, plants, and still trying to figure out if that guy was alive or not… we head to Dam Square to meet up with the rest of the bunch.

While waiting, I offered to take a picture of a group of lovely ladies that ended up being so sweet! Besides the great conversation with these intelligent girls, I now have a place to stay in Indonesia!

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Who took the group photo of us? Italy on my right and Spain on my left!

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All right, time to dance! Amsterdam is full of bars, clubs and offers a variety of entertainment every night of the week. We didn’t have any specific plans which led us on a walk to see what we could find.

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A crazy disco club? A loud sports bar? A classy cocktail lounge? Nope. An old school bar in which we were the youth by a solid 35 years… priceless! All eyes peered over in curiosity as we bounced through the entry way. I wonder what they were all thinking?

After only minutes I saw this woman ever so slightly shaking her hips to the tunes and that was my cue… That girl wants to dance!

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…and this was the beginning to our self-made dance party with new friends. I hope the locals will look back and smile remembering the enthusiasm we brought and the energy we left with.

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The first photo is the owner playing bottles of liquor with two sticks making them chime to some crazy Dutch song. Then naturally Carina and I end up behind the bar pouring drinks. We both agree that these taps poor differently than back home.

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As the evening wrapped up, we handed my camera to one of our new pals for a group photo.
Judging from the pictures, he wasn’t sober. Here’s what we ended up with! (In the exact order they were taken).

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The closing to the night was finding a solution to the growling tummy’s of my dear buddy’s.

What’s this? For those of you in the dark like I was, this is a form of fast food vending machine style! Instead of a bag of nuts or skittles, you have your choice of hamburgers, chicken strips, friend cheese, hotdogs and so on. This smile says it all!

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Carina, Florian, Julia, Sebastian, Denise and Ioni… I hope you stay connected as this evening should be the first of many! I’ve got to be the luckiest “tourist” around these parts, thanks for joining me! Doei and Tschuss!

Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Siesta’s and Fiesta’s in Spain!

The culture here tends to feel like a slightly more “grown up” version of the college life. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but they all seem to live it to the fullest and love it!

So what is this lifestyle I speak of? Let’s run through a typical 24 hours in Spain. Of course I realize that being in tourist cities can bring out the party people, but even when I’m with the locals, they claim that they do it bigger than the travelers!

7a – 10a
If you were to stroll the streets at this time, you would mostly find a few locals bringing in the fresh ingredients to prep their shop for the day or an eager tourist family patiently pacing the streets waiting for one of the vendors to put down their coffee and open the front door.
Me? I’m an early bird and thoroughly love strolling the empty beaches and quiet streets while watching the city wake up. Smelling the buttery batch of croissants and homemade bread from the corner bakery, watching the birds search for the first crumb, while listening to the family in the back of the restaurant argue about what should go on the “Menu del día”. (Momma always wins).

Here are some random shots of the beaches, cities and cafes at this time of day,
Awh… Buenos Dias.

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Here is the view from the balcony at 8am followed by a shot taken around noon.

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This is another duo picture with the first being around 9am and the second photo was in the afternoon.

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10 – 14:00 (10a-2p)
The streets are coming alive… barely. It’s comical to look around and see the difference between who had a restful night compared to the ones who crawled out of bed to try and recover over coffee and toast at the local cafe. Let’s not forget the hooligans that are still going strong from the previous evening. The vendors are now open, the tourist are happy and the fresh sand now has little toe prints from the early birds.

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I stumbled upon this little antique street fair and caught myself wondering why things are so much more “adorable” or “cute” when you’re on the road, verses just at home.

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I passed by this venue that had chairs with little fish swimming around in the foot tanks. What? Sure I’ll give it a go! It felt like tiny little taps of dull needles all over as the hungry fellas nibbled off any old skin cells. Once in awhile you could see (and feel) a determined one get a little aggressive… And I thought pedicures tickled!

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As the heat peaks, you can see the beaches that were once made of sand now home to a number of umbrellas, towels and sun craving people.

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14:00 – 18:00 (2p – 6p)
Although not every shop closes for this length of time, most break for the typical siesta. No, this doesn’t mean the entire country goes home for a nap. After chatting with several different locals, I found that this time is used wisely depending on their personal life. Many spend these hours prepping their business for the busy night to come, others go home to take care of errands and chores while the kids are still in school. If you wander the streets, you may get lucky and catch a group of locals sitting outside appreciating this time with multiple generations of family.
If you’re a new tourist to this culture, you’ll find yourself lost in empty streets… hungry, confused and wondering if there was a bomb threat in which you didn’t get the memo to hide and cover.

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Here’s a main indoor market during “Siesta”. Only just an hour prior to this photo there were hundreds of shoulders squeezing their way through the crowds. The sounds of casual conversation mingled with the shouting of product prices and sales… Kids with chocolate covered faces playing hide and seek while their parents (with stress on their faces) reach for the last item before the doors close.

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18:00 – 22:30 (6p – 10:30)
For most around here, the earliest dinner isn't until 7p and the usual time to sit and eat is 8p – 9:30p. If you're not prepping dinner or finishing up your sight seeing, you might be out roaming the streets shopping again or in my case, having a cold beverage with a friend. Either way this is the down time before the fiestas kick into full swing!

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22:30 – Daybreak (10:30 – Sunrise)
Depending on how late your dinner or when the celebrations begin… once the sun goes down, the energy goes up!

Some evening pictures of the “calming before the storm”.

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The last night in Alicante, a group of us gathered for appetizers and drinks for a relaxing start. Pretty tricky to top tasty food, adult beverages and a variety of nationalities lounging to the relaxing sound of your friend on the guitar. Did I mention it was on the beach that sits below a castle? Kind of forces a deep breath, right?

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Here is a mess of photos that should give you a solid idea of the “party” scene in Spain (or at least the one shown to me!)

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To truly understand the excitement of my buddy Ian celebrating his 30th birthday at a show in Ibiza, you must first know TIESTO (funny that my auto correct puts his name in all caps). This DJ is award winning, Grammy nominated, and recently titled a “Universal phenomenon” after he performed at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles before an audience of 26,000 fans. That’s the largest single headline DJ show in United States history.
So here’s a glimpse of the Ibiza birthday night that started with a bus ride to a concert, traveled to the VIP section (notice that we’re standing slightly above the crowd) and ended to the sun coming up… Happy birthday pal!

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All thumbs up and a sunrise to hug us good night…

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