Down the Coast of Spain

For a variety of reasons, I left my job at Stoke Travel a week early during the Running of the Bulls. It was a tearful goodbye, but I did what was best for my situation. I am forever grateful for the past three years of fun and friendship that Stoke has given me. 

My boyfriend Louis and I caught a bus from Pamplona to Barcelona with no idea what we were going to do for the next few weeks. On the way, we formulated a skeleton plan to head down the Spanish east coast, ending in Lagos, Portugal by the 21st of July (the date then was 10th July). The four main stops would be: Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, and Granada. Each stop had something different and great to offer. 

Barcelona – Great Food and Magic Fountains

Going to Barcelona is always like returning to home base. It is where Stoke Travel is based and where many current and former Stokies live. Our friend kindly offered us a couch to sleep on for the few days we were spending in Barcelona. 

Louis and I had both been to Barcelona many times, but had somehow evaded doing most of the tourist activities in the city. So on our first day, we made a plan and set out to do a couple new things a day. But first, we had to get dinner at my favorite restaurant in the world, La Malandrina. 

After dinner, we hiked up to Gaudi’s Park Guell for the sunset. Park Guell is inside a large park that you can enter for free, but to enter the actual Gaudi compound costs €7 and has to be booked online. There is a house and a gift shop, designed by Gaudi, and some other beautiful little features around the grounds.

Louis’s birthday fell while we were in Barcelona, and on the word of my friend the head chef at Stoke, we went to Quimet y Quimet, a tiny tapas bar off the beaten path. We had a huge variety of gourmet tapas, like goat cheese with truffle and mussels with caviar. 

After dinner, we headed to the “Magic Fountain” of Montjüc. From 9:30 to 10:30, it performs a light show to music, like the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas. It is free to the public and one of the coolest things in Barcelona. 

After four days in Barca, it was time to head down a few hours south, to Valencia. Buses were expensive so we booked our ride on Blablacar, an app where people offer seats in their car for a pretty cheap fee. It has become one of our preferred methods of getting around in Spain. 

Valencia – Home of Paella

Valencia is a small town near the beach about five hours south of Barcelona. It is the third largest city in Spain and, as I later found out, home to a branch of Berkelee College of Music. We headed to Valencia on the rumor that you could get a pint of beer for €1 (we never did find it). We booked a room on Air Bnb that turned out to be huge and air conditioned, with a balcony. Oh, and they had a beautiful dog named Canela. We did not deserve such luxury. 

Paella, the traditional Spanish rice dish, was apparently invented in Valencia. The most traditional paella is made with chicken and rabbit (fittingly called “Valencian paella”). We figured it would be a crime not to try Valencian paella in Valencia, so we found the highest-rated-without-being-bank-breaking paella around and had two bowls with sangria. It was the best paella I’ve ever had. 

One of the perks of staying in an Air Bnb is getting to ask a local what the best things to do are. Our host gave us a long list, which included trying a horchata, which is a cold milky drink made from hazelnuts (I think). She pointed us in the direction of this horchateria, which served up cheap and authentic horchata. The place was nice, but the drink was pretty gross and didn’t leave us feeling too good afterwards. 

While not indulging on infinite Spanish snacks, we went for a very long walk around the city. One of the most notable things to see is the Center of Art and Science. It is a huge compound with an art museum, a science museum, an aquarium, an opera house, and a cinema. Surrounding the buildings are pools of very blue water, where you can actually rent kayaks and stand up paddleboards and ride around. For €15 for ten minutes, we chose to save our money.  

From Valencia, we caught a train down a couple of hours to Alicante. 

Alicante – Beautiful Beach and an Old Castle

Alicante is a tiny coastal town just outside of Murcia. We came across it in our research because it has a beautiful beach without the intense tourism of places like Barcelona. We rented another Air Bnb just outside the city center and close to the old castle. 

The Castell de la Santa Barbara is an old fortress at the top of a huge hill. The hike to the top was hot and a bit treacherous (but if you have a car, there is a road to drive up), but the views from the top were stunning. 

The ocean in Alicante was warm and lovely. For the first time in Spain, we were able to leave our things on the beach and go swimming without worrying that someone would steal them. 

Possibly our favorite discovery in Alicante was a Taco Bell on the Main Street. Louis had never been, and we felt we deserved a little unhealthy snack. We ordered off the dollar menu, and on the way out, we found a sign saying “three beers and a quesadilla for €4, 5-7 happy hour.” At that moment, it was 4:58. So we went back in, and enjoyed a little Taco Bell happy hour. 

From Alicante, we got a ride in another Blablacar to Granada. Our driver was an older man who spoke no English and had a bit of a lead foot. We made the 4 hour drive in 3 hours…

Granada – FREE TAPAS 

Before we headed to Granada, Louis had posted in Facebook looking for recommendations on what to do during our trip down the coast. Several different people all said the same thing: Go to Granada, they give you free tapas with every drink. 

We decided to stay in a hostel in Granada because we found a room for €9 a night, right in the center of town. As soon as we checked in, we headed out on the hunt for these mythical free tapas. 
As it turns out, our friends were right. We found the first open bar (it was siesta so most places were closed) and ordered two beers. There was a tapas menu on the table, and when the bartender brought the beers he asked which tapas we wanted. They ranged from cheeseburger to grilled octopus, and we dipped a toe trying a few different ones. When we went to pay, it was only €8- €2 per beer, for four beers. 

Riding the high of free tapas, we spent our first night bar hopping all the “best tapas bars,” according to Google. We spent less than €20 all day and were full of delicious food and drink. 

On day two, we took a bus out of town in search of a waterfall our friend recommended to us. Unfortunately, the directions were vague and we spent two hours wandering around a mountainside looking for a “dirt path.” Eventually, we found the right path, but took a wrong turn and ended up walking down river and back to where we started. We never found the waterfall, but the river walk was still nice. We decided to stick to what we are good at: eating tapas. 

Granada was by far the cheapest city we had been to on the journey. What was really cool was how obviously influenced by North African culture the city was. Our street was lined with little Moroccan shops and eateries. I got a cute leather wallet for €4 and we got a new mandala blanket for the beach. 

On our last morning, we went to a lookout point to view the Alhambra, a very old castle once again on a hill. We couldn’t get tickets to go inside the grounds, so we just had a look from afar. The castle was the home of Ferdinand and Isabella after they retook the city from the Moors. Annnnd that’s the extent of my Spanish history knowledge. 

From Granada, we caught a bus to Lagos, Portugal, with a short pit stop in Seville. In just 11 days, we had opened our eyes to a whole new side of Spain. I highly recommend paying a visit to all of these cities in your travels, and I can’t wait to explore Spain more in the future. 


Don’t Let the Terrorists Win

I’ll do my best to avoid sounding like an idiot American, despite a title like that.

So here’s the thing. In the last few months, as I’ve been gearing up for another few months overseas, I’ve received countless requests from worried family members (mostly my grandmother), urging me to cancel my trip and come home. This mostly comes as a result of increases in violent attacks and threats of terrorism over pretty much the whole of Europe. Continue reading “Don’t Let the Terrorists Win”

Spain: First Impressions

I am in Spain. It took me what felt like 8 years of traveling, but I made it. I flew into Barcelona yesterday morning and immediately boarded the train to Pamplona. Four hours later, here I am. 

 Pamplona on a Sunday was pretty much like most European cities on a Sunday; the only things open for business were bars and gelaterias. Luckily, I found one “American” restaurant that was open for business. You betcha I wanted to see what the Spanish thought of our food. 

On the menu was a burger that had two glazed donuts for buns. Well then. I have only ever seen this once in America, for a limited time at Dunkin Donuts. Well played, Spain. I ordered the “Sunset Boulevard” hot dog, which came with cheese, grilled onions, and actual American bacon on it. It was 1000000000x better than any American hot dog I have ever had. 

After eating dinner, I walked around for about 5 minutes before I felt like I was going to pass out and die. Jetlag got me so good today. I slept for twelve hours. Twelve whole hours. I never do that. 

I’m just at this hostel for the one night before heading off to my job at Stoke Travel, but it has been a really nice experience. I chose Aloha Hostel, right in the city center area. It is small, very clean, and they speak some English. 

The whole speaking Spanish thing wasn’t a huge concern to me before coming here because I’ve been all over Europe and have never had a problem finding English speakers. Well, plot twist. Either they’re all playing a joke on me or there really aren’t many people here that can speak English. Dammit. I don’t wanna be that asshole American expecting everyone to speak English but yet here I am. 

So far, I’ve spent most of my time here sleeping. But Spain is a beautiful, hot country I intend to explore very thoroughly in the next 75 days. So stay tuned. 


Fleeting Loves- 1/11/15



Weekly Fleeting Loves?

Kaptain Kylie tries something new!

What I’m into this week:

  • I am reorganizing my room and totally re-did my jewelry system. I bought two jewelry holders- one necklace stand and one three-tier stand. So cute and so functional!
Not the same one, but this one is so cute!
Not the same one, but this one is so cute!
  • OLYMPICS BOSTON 2024?! Yeah, it might happen. And I just so happen to have catered the event for the Olympic committee last month when they placed their bid. This makes me a celebrity, I think.


  • I can’t get enough of Sophia Grace from the Ellen show. And now she has a rap music video?! ITS ADORABLE. AND ACTUALLY CATCHY. Watch it here.
  • Speaking of new music… have you heard the new Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj song Feeling Myself? Talk about a female anthem! Here’s a link to the audio. Can’t wait to see the video!

Have a lovely week friends.

Xo, Kaptain

Fall Favorite: Roast Squash Recipe



On a crisp fall day, there’s nothing better than chowing down on some classic fall flavors. This week, I made some delicious roast squash to accompany my famous maple grilled salmon. This recipe came straight out of my head, so as far as I know it is my recipe. Oh, and it’s all gluten free. Yay!


1 butternut squash

6 fingerling potatoes

1 white onion

3 cloves garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

a pinch of sugar in the raw

a pinch of cayenne pepper powder

Set oven to 425 (FAHRENHEIT!)

I started off by cubing up the butternut squash. I put all the cubes in a large bowl. Then, I washed and cubed the fingerling potatoes. I minced the onion and garlic and added this, along with enough olive oil to evenly coat the mix. I added the salt, pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper last and mixed evenly. I spread the whole thing out on a large baking sheet and popped it in the oven. After 20 minutes, I stirred it around and put it back for another 20 (or until the edge pieces get pretty crispy!)

It came out to be an awesome blend of sweet, salty, and spicy! Enjoy!

College Traditions: The Underwear Run


Every year, during Parent’s Weekend, the students of Northeastern University gather in the freshman quad, rip off their clothes, and run half naked through the streets of Boston and the Prudential Center.

This year marks the 9th year of this tradition, and it is going stronger than ever.

The Boston PD has at this point accepted the fact that they cannot arrest thousands of naked students, and even help to block off the streets now to allow us to run without getting hit by cars.

Yes, we block traffic. Yes, people yell. But really, how can you be angry at a bunch of silly college students?

I have participated in the run every year that I’ve attended Northeastern. It is one of my favorite nights of the year.

Traditions are important, no matter how silly they seem. They bring together the student body and show us that no matter what you look like in your underwear, you’re awesome and we love you.

So here’s to another great year of running through the city in our underwear. Cheers, Runderwear.