Welcome to another Seasonal Digest! Reflection is an important part of life and in my effort to be self-aware and grateful, I will go through a summary of what’s been going on in my world season by season. This Seasonal Digest covers Summer 2019 June to August. If you want to read more Digests, click here.
Okay, really trying to plow through these seasonal digests to catch up to current time! Life has a been a little crazy as of late, but it’s still so important to take a step back and look at everything that has actually happened.
Victor and I always commit to staying in England during the summer months and avoid traveling abroad. The reason is that summer is often the worst time to travel anywhere… but also the best time to enjoy London! London is magical in the summer and I would really rather not miss out.
Consequently, we get to know London so much better in the summer.
Of course, having said all that, we did have an opportunity to visit Barcelona as an add-on to our respective work trips (mine to Barcelona and his to Valencia). It had been a while since I had visited Barcelona during the summer, so it was fun to be back in such a sunny environment in a beautiful city. I always feel so at peace here — I guess it truly feels like a home to me!
First stop? Going for some beer and patatas bravas. It’s really hard to explain why something as simple as going for aperitivo is so special and something I always look forward to when I’m in Spain. There’s some sort of weird, cultural magic going on and I dig it. Want to see something else magical? Head to Plaça del Sol. Drinking in the streets technically illegal and can end you up with a massive fine. However, there are certain times and places where the police are slightly more relaxed. One such place is Plaça del Sol. I’m not sure how it started, but essentially this is a safe place to buy some beer and drink in the square without having to go to one of the cafes.
The next day we headed out on a little side adventure to somewhere even Victor and his parents had never been before. Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens are hidden gardens situated at the foot of Montjuïc. This location is actually perfect because it turns out that temperatures in the middle of the gardens average two or three degrees Celsius higher than the rest of Barcelona. This microclimate protects the species that are contained within the gardens, including plants and trees from the desert and tropical areas. There are also about 800 different types of cacti from all over the world! This place is incredible, but unfortunately not very well-known. Best of all, it’s completely free of charge.
Later that evening, we had a couple options for dinner. Once such option was to go to Tast a la rambla, culinary festival that takes place along the bottom part of La Rambla. How could we not pick that option?! It takes place in June and the vendors are all representations of restaurants throughout the city. There are even some Michelin restaurants serving tapas. We had an amazing time, so if you’re ever in Barcelona at the beginning of June, do try this out!
After amazing long weekend away to Barcelona, Victor’s parents funnily enough came to visit not too long after our visit. We dined, wined, and had a simply jolly ol’ time.
July was busy quite busy as well! On the 4th of July my best friend from college and her fiance came to visit for almost a week. It was really great to show her London and my life here. Oh, it’s also good that I got to meet her fiance for the first time.
Just a few days after my friend left, Victor and I went on our annual anniversary trip to somewhere in the UK. This time? Liverpool! This trip was actually designed around a trip to the Tate Modern in Liverpool as they were hosting a Keith Haring exhibition. Keith Haring is one of my utmost favourite artists, so I was super excited to get to see so much of his work outside of the US.
And just to add to the list of visitors, my mom and youngest brother came to visit as well! It was Connor’s first time to London, in fact anywhere in Europe outside of Portugal, and I loved showing him around. My mom also threw in some home improvement work into our flat, which was just awesome.
Even though summer was panning out to be the best season ever, I did have one event that made me incredibly sad and disappointed in the world. My new iPhone from the Christmas before was stolen at Borough Market. My phone was just in my pocket, but obviously someone had seen it and swiped it without me noticing. I did realise about 10 seconds later, but by then the thief was long gone. A lesson to everyone — even if you know the city like the back of your hand, always be vigilant!
My brother and Mom left to the Açores and Victor and I followed suit just a few days later. I’m so happy we got to make this trip happen — the Açores is my happy place and I still hope each summer I’ll get to visit this special place. Usually, my trip is about the same each time. However, this time we engaged in something truly extraordinary: whale-watching! I’ll write a post about this soon, but needless to say it was a life-changing experience. Whales are such beautiful creatures and I can see why a marine biologist loves their job.
At the tail-end of August, during the bank holiday weekend in fact, we made one last summery trip to Whitstable. The oysters were fantastic, the weather was great, and it was a perfect getaway. It was truly the best way to finish off summer.
Where do you like to spend your summers?