As you may already know, most of our travel occurs over long weekends. Thus, our trips are generally pretty quick, lasting two to four days.  At first, I thought the timeframe was too short, but now I think the full four days is too much to visit some cities in Europe.  Barcelona is not one of them, though!  There were so many things to do here, we could have definitely stayed a bit longer to explore. One thing I loved about Barcelona (besides the food) was all of the COLOR! Just wait – you’ll see.

We actually took this trip over Thanksgiving and funny enough, Black Friday is a thing in Europe too (see the rest of the Best of 2018 here).  So, what would I recommend you do if you only have a weekend (or couple days)?  Scroll on to find out!

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Catalan Cuisine

The food in Barcelona is on point. There are a plethora of options, so you will definitely not go hungry. We made sure to try the paella, potatas braves, bombas, crema Catalana, and of course, Jamón ibérico ham. The first thing we saw as we stepped off of the plane were pig legs and Jamón ibérico sandwiches. Of course, we snatched one up, as we had to taste the world’s most expensive ham!

If you’re looking for a tapas restaurant that won’t disappoint, Tapas 2254 will hit the spot. Their olives stuffed with Sicilian orange and olive oil caviar were my favorite!!

We also made sure to stop by Mercado de La Boqueria (a large public market) to grab some fresh fruit juice and some food.


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Modern Architecture

Part of the fun of Barcelona is checking out the incredible Catalan Gothic and Modernisme architecture, which was like nothing else I’ve ever seen in my life! Sometimes, I feel like tourist attractions are overrated, but these were just soooo worth visiting.


Sagrada Família

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Sagrada Família before, as it is a true masterpiece. The famous architect, Antoni Gaudí, joined the building of this church in 1883. Construction still continues today as only EIGHT of EIGHTEEN towers have been built. Construction is expected to be finished in 2026, but it’s worth visiting as it is. We visited the tower on the Nativity façade, the facade that was completed prior to Gaudi’s death in 1926.

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Not only is the church itself absolutely breathtaking on the outside, the inside was just so stunning!!

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We also really enjoyed the views of the city from the top! You can also see Torre Agbar, a slender, conical building from the top as well. The tickets to visit were a bit pricey, but seriously worth every penny. I highly recommend reserving as far in advance as possible.

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Park Güell

Part bushy parkland, part Gaudi design, Park Güell is definitely worth the steep uphill trek. Definitely be aware of this, as it was a bit strenuous. If you want to see Gaudi’s designs, you have to purchase a ticket BEFORE coming to the park. We didn’t have a firm plan for our trip, so we did not purchase tickets beforehand. It did appear that most of the Gaudi part appeared to be under construction.  We took some time to explore the bushy part and enjoyed.

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La Pedrera – Casa Milà

An apartment building that Casa Batlló commissioned Antoni Gaudí to build. You can purchase tickets to visit and acmes the roof terrace.

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Casa Batlló

Another of Gaudí ‘s masterpieces.

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Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

An arch originally built as the access gate for the Barcelona World Fair in 1888. We had a fun photoshoot here for our friends, Rachel and AJ, and their parents, who just happened to be visiting at the same time! Check out more from our session here.

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Flamenco Show

We made a decision on a whim to go out for a show with our friends Rachel and AJ and it was worth it! Rachel actually cried. Full disclaimer, we were all shoved into a crowded little room with uncomfortable chairs, but the show was fantastic!!


Like Paris, the city has some hidden passages that are worth exploring if you have time. The Yurbban Passage, just happened to be right beside our hotel, the Yurbban Passage Hotel & Spa.

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Art Browsing/Shopping

We really enjoyed checking out the art shops around Barcelona. This particular shop in the Jewish Quarter was pretty neat!

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Yurbban Passage Hotel & Spa

Our hotel was pretty sweet! It’s not central-central, but requires a tiny bit of a walk. We never mind a little walk for a nice hotel! The views from the rooftop were stellar. If it were warm weather, it would have also been a super cool place to hang!

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Needless to say, 2018 was a HUGE year for us that was full of exciting change!  The moment that topped it all off was our move overseas from Virginia to Sicily, Italy in February.  So much has happened over the last 12 months, I thought it would be fun to relive the best of 2018!

I really loved going back through all of my photographs from this year and reliving so many memories!  So, without further ado, here is a recap of my 2018 including some of my favorite memories:


The Best of 2018

The BIG Move

  • 2018 started off with a BIG announcement that were moving overseas! The next month was completely insane as we shipped off all of our things, sold my car and our home, and made arrangements for our new digs in Sicily!  Once we arrived, we immediately moved into our Americanized-Sicilian townhome and patiently awaited the arrival of our car and household goods. That period of time was truly crazy!


Exploring Our New Home – Sicily

  • We began our time in Sicily with some trips around the island. I (sadly) didn’t get around to blogging most of them, but here are a few of my favorites:
  • Agrigento (photos below)
  • Catania
  • Taormina
  • Syracuse & Ortigia Island
  • San Vito Lo Capo & Erice
  • Enna
  • Caltigerone
  • Noto
  • and Cefalú

You can find “highlights” of all of these trips over on my Instagram, if you are interested: click here.

Exploring Europe

  • Our first trip off-island was fast-paced, fun, and exciting! We ventured to Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast (Positano) during Easter weekend.  It was a quick trip FULL of hilarious stories.  From visiting catacomb after catacomb, to our friends’ car getting locked in a parking garage before our trip to the airport.  Our Naples trip was one we will never forget!


  • Malta was GORGEOUS and a literal dream of mine. We traveled all over the main island, but would still really like to go to Gozo and Comino if we go back.


  • Lyon, France (blog post coming soon!) for a long weekend was ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!! In particular, I enjoyed the shopping and the food, but I never got around to blogging this one. Whoops!

  • In the heat of summer, we visited one of my old faves – Berlin. Berlin is always amazing, the food is always delicious, and the weather is HOT in the summer.  Nevertheless, it was refreshing to hang out with my friends Pauline and Michele again, and meet Pauline’s boyfriend, Ben.


  • For our week long “vacation,” we flew to London for 24-hours (STAAAAAP, London, I love you!!!!!) and then to Dublin, Ireland, where we embarked on a 5-day road trip around southern Ireland. This was my favorite trip of 2018 for sure – the nature was just breathtaking and the people, so kind.   If you have ONE trip you could take to Europe, I’d recommend this one, hands down. See why I’m so in love here and here.


  • For my birthday, we jetsetted off to Sofia, Bulgaria – a country I’ve wanted to visit for a long time!! I got to visit with my college buddy, Rashko while I was there, and my best friend Ashley’s college buddy, Niya kindly picked us up from the airport and sent me lots of information about things to do. It was a cool experience and I’m so glad we went.  Blog post on this one is TBD!


  • In September, we flew to Munich to meet up with Ashley, John, Maddie, and Justin for OKTOBERFEST!!! I personally was not that excited about the actual festival before we went (I know, I’m so weird), but I actually enjoyed it and had a fabulous time!  The city of Munich was clean and beautiful, and the people were seriously, so kind.  Also, Bavarian food!!!!


  • TWO DAYS after our Munich trip, we boarded another plane for Paris, France. What a romantic dream trip Paris was!! From sunrise at the Eiffel Tower to strolls around the Louvre, Paris was everything I thought it would be!! Unfortunately, I did acquire some unknown “life-threatening bacterium” (words of my doctor) at some point during this trip and spent nearly three weeks recovering.  As I’ve said before, the bacterial infection (as horrible as it was – truly effing horrible), won’t stop me from returning.  As a matter of fact, I’ve already booked my next trip!


  • After Paris, we embarked on Barcelona, Spain (blog post coming soon!) for some R&R and more incredible food! We spent the majority of one day at the hotel spa (no regrets!) and the remainder of our trip jaunting around the city!  We also got to meet up with our friends Rachel and AJ and their parents for my first international photoshoot!!


  • CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN GERMANY was another item on my “bucket list” that I got to cross off this year! We flew to Berlin for a quick weekend trip to visit Pauline and Ben and THREE of Berlin’s MANY markets.  It was a dream trip and we can’t wait to visit more next year 😉


We are heading to one more place before 2019, but I’ll wait to post about this one until we have actually returned!

Volcanic Eruptions

  • We visited some of the other islands around Sicily. Stromboli (one of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily), was our first island hop.  We ventured there for one night and a SEVEN, yes SEVEN, hour hike to the top of Stromboli volcano at night.  It was as exhausting and strenuous as it was enchanting!! We got to watch the volcano erupt many times, so it was worth it!!


  • We got to witness not just one but TWO volcanic eruptions!! On Christmas Eve, Mount Etna erupted with plumes of smoke, over 130 earthquakes and two fresh new craters spouting LAVA! It was an unexpected Christmas surprise that has kept many native islanders on edge!

Time with Family

  • Despite ALL of the above, my favorite moments of 2018 were with those I love. Being at home with Jordan, Birdee, and Chalupa was by far my favorite thing I did this year.  As all military families know, time (and holidays) together are not guaranteed.  I think this makes me appreciate every moment with them so much more.


My life has changed in so many ways over this past year, reflecting back on it all is really actually quite surreal. I think my biggest takeaway from this past year is that you never know where life is going to take you.  As a person who was extremely “type-A” for so long, stepping back and allowing life to take over a little bit has helped me to realize that sometimes the best things that happen to us are the unplanned ones.  I’ve also developed an even greater sense of YOLO (you only live once, right?!), that I’m a little bit overwhelmed with the fact that I will never get to see or do all the things I want to. So, for 2019, I aim to be more present in everyday life; to enjoy the little moments just as much as the big ones!

If you’ve ever read my blog before, you probably know I write about two main subjects: photography and travel. Besides my little family, they are my greatest loves!! So, when the opportunity presented itself to combine the two in Barcelona for a family session – I jumped!!!

For those of us who live in Sicily, it’s a big deal when family members come to visit.  Rachel and AJ are a part of our community here, and to commemorate a visit from AJ’s parents, they wanted a family photo!  Originally, Rachel inquired about photographing their family in Sicily, but I was (fortunately?) unavailable on the date she requested.  Upon talking with her more, I learned they were planning an amazing family adventure to Spain, Portugal, and France with AJ’s parents!  So, I thought, “Why not just photograph this beautiful family in another country?” And thus the planning began!

The Eustaquios’ first destination was Barcelona, so we met up there for an iconic sunrise shoot at the Arc de Triomf.  Although it was early, we had a ton of fun and LOTS of laughter.

Rachel, AJ, Eric, and Carmen – Thank you all so much for including me in a small part of your family vacation! I hope you had an absolute blast and love the photos for years to come!


The Eustaquios

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