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Category Archives: Travel

Traditions are Made to be Broken

Oh boy, the holidays are officially here!  It’s now time for the Christmas tree, ornaments, lights, and stockings.  It’s time to buy and wrap presents, send out our holiday greeting cards, and plan that Christmas day feast!

For me, this is literally the most wonderful time of the year.  I love the pine smell, the red, green, and white colors, the family traditions, and that Michigan white Christmas.  I look forward to the end of the year holidays, and I thoroughly enjoy spending that time with family and friends.

However, this year, for Christmas 2012, I am away from Michigan, away from the snow, and away from my family.  I am celebrating the holidays for the second time in my life away from everything I know and love.  I am in Spain, a country who only recently began celebrating Christmas on the 25th – their Christmas (or Reyes as they call it, when the Kings came to see baby Jesus) is celebrated on the 5th of January.  I will not see my mother, or my father, or my sister.  I was not able to decorate my family Christmas tree, and share in our tradition of watching ‘White Christmas’.  I am missing out on a time that is usually so special to me.

However, I can see Rudolph’s red nose at the end of the tunnel.  Because though I may not have the regular traditional Christmas I am used to celebrating, I will be surrounded by my boyfriend Sergio, his family, and my cousin and her boyfriend whom are flying out to be with me.  So, I am pleased to say that the 2012 holiday season will not be lost!

Here in Pinto, the small town outside of Madrid where my boyfriend and I live, we did manage to bring some Christmas cheer to our small but homey apartment.  I had to replace a large yard and rooftop with a small 2nd floor balcony; a real green Christmas tree with a short white fake one; and real cold snow with stick-on snowflakes.  It may not be the real thing, but it is our thing.

Our 8 Euro Christmas tree fit inside that box.

Our 8 Euro Christmas tree fit inside that box.

We named her Snow White!

We named her Snow White!

The ball of present lights.

The ball of present lights.

Snow White all lit up!

Snow White all lit up!

Our favorite - both ghetto and tacky!

Our favorite – both ghetto and tacky!

España all lit up!

España all lit up!

My handy work - and yes, each snowflake is different!

My handy work – and yes, each snowflake is different!

I'm a proud Christmas mama!

I’m a proud Christmas mama!

The view from the street.

The view from the street.

And we can't forget about Santa, who is riding a lego VW van!

And we can’t forget about Santa, who is riding a lego VW van!


Traditions will always be there, no matter where in the world you may be.  And though this may not be my regular traditional holiday decorating, it’s something new that I will forever be able to cherish.  So, for this year, goodbye my regular Michigan Christmas, and hello my unique, once in a lifetime Spanish Christmas!

Happy Holidays Everyone and Happy Decorating!


Will you be missing out on any usual holiday traditions this year?  If so, let us know in the comment section below!


Celebrating Cervantes

World Book and Copyright Day


World Book Day is celebrated in honor of the birth and death of William Shakespeare:

and in honor of the death of Don Quixote author, Miguel de Cervantes:

I have had the good fortune of living in Spain, the birth-country of Cervantes, and have even visited his hometown and where he studied, Alcalá de Henares.

So, to celebrate this wonderful writer, I would like to share a few pictures with you that I took while I was in Alcalá.

A statue of Cervantes stands in the middle of his hometown, Alcalá.

The actual university where Cervantes studied. Today, students are still able to attend it.

When we were there, Alcalá was having their annual Mercado de El Quijote, or Medieval Festival.

This "Chocolate Man" is wearing the typical dress of the times of Cervantes.

A craftsman, also dressed in clothes from the times of Cervantes, sculpts a bowl out of metal.

Alcalá is an artist town.

Alcalá was an interesting city.  Today it is a college town however its history and culture still remain important.  It is a city that represents artists and their work, and is proud to be the hometown of Miguel de Cervantes.


I could never conclude a World Book Day post without asking what you are currently reading!

At the moment, I am reading Babylon’s Ark by Lawrence Anthony, an inspiring true story about the author’s attempts to save the war-stricken zoo of Baghdad.

What are you reading during World Book Day?  Please tell us in the comment section below!




*The first 3 pictures – of Cervantes, Shakespeare, and the World Book Day logo – were taken from their Wikipedia pages.  The pictures of Alcalá were taken by me: © Kalie Lyn, 2010.*

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Happy Wednesday Readers!  Can you believe that Christmas is this Sunday?!

This will be the first Christmas in my entire life where I will not be home for the holidays.  There will be no snow, none of my family’s holiday traditions, and no presents underneath my Christmas tree.

Instead of being home for Christmas in Michigan, I will be spending my first Christmas here in Madrid, Spain.  Instead of snow, we have rain.  Instead of Santa Claus, we have the Three Kings.  And instead of opening presents on the 25th, we open presents on the 6th of January.

Yes, it will be an extremely different Christmas, however new Christmas traditions form with age and change.  And besides, the best and most important part of the holidays is being with family and loved ones.

Which is why, even though I will not be home, it will still feel like the “most wonderful time of the year” because my family – my sister, mother and step-dad – are here in Spain celebrating the holidays with me!

(from left to right) My sister, my boyfriend, and myself in Madrid.

I have not seen them since October, and after they leave on the 6th of January I will not see them again until summer time, so it is extremely nice to be in their presence for these upcoming 3 weeks!

So, because the holidays are here and I have my family to entertain me, I would like to apologize for my lack of posting yesterday, and warn that in the future – at least for the next 3 weeks – I may not be updating Palm Trees & Bare Feet regularly.  

However, I’m sure you won’t be too sad without my regular posting since I’m sure I’m not the only one unable to blog regularly during the holiday season.  And besides, with family and friends, hot cocoa and gingerbread, and snowball fights and present giving, we will (at least should) completely forget about the un-realities of the virtual world.

So Happy Holidays All and Merry Christmas!

I Hope This Truly is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year For You!

One of the lit up Christmas trees in Madrid.


Link of the Day: Strange Hotels

The Huffington Post:  Hotels with Strange Sleeping Arrangements 

Link of the Day: I’d Like to Make a Reservation, Please

Flavorwire:  12 Strangely Fascinating Hotels Around the World

Daily Question: Uniquely You

Daily Question by Thought Questions


I own a lot of unique things which I got from my travels.
I have a coconut I took from the Bahamas.  I carried that thing back in my luggage and it’s been a “centerpiece” in my room.  It’s all dried up now but I still love it.
I have a Djellaba I bought in Morocco.  It’s royal blue with a gold head piece.  It’s absolutely beautiful.
And one of my favorites is a sign my grandfather made which he had on his sail boat when he and my grandmother sailed around the world.


What is something unique you own?


*Don’t forget to leave a link of your own answers to the daily question in the comments section below!  The photo was taken from*

Daily Question: First Experiences

Daily Question by Thought Questions


My cousin, sister, and I, every summer, would travel to the Bahamas to spend three months with our grandparents, whom lived there.  It was always exciting flying without the parents, and us three teenagers had so much fun and freedom!
While I did start traveling without my parents at an early age, I still had my two best friends – cousin and sister – with me.  It wasn’t until I was 18 years old when I traveled by myself, from Michigan to Poland, to spend 2 weeks with my new – but now current – boyfriend.  
The flying by myself halfway around the world was an exciting first experience in itself.  However, it was being in an entire different country, and with someone whom I had only met maybe a month before, which was the exciting first experience I will never forget.
If you have the option to travel the world, do it.  Traveling, the different places you go, and the different people you meet, is definitely worth everything and will be something you will never forget.


What was a first experience of yours which you will never forget?


*Don’t forget to leave a link of your own answers to the daily question in the comments section below!  The photo was taken from*