Traveling Under the Weather: Rockport, MA

School is out and it is time to travel! The day after graduation (I was congratulated twice by strangers and had to explain that the teachers wear academic regalia for graduation too), I headed up to New England with my mom and sister. We chose to take the urban route to enjoy all the city skylines. It was kind of fun, since we don’t normally head north for vacation. The down side was about $45 worth of tolls. You’ve been warned!

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Our first stop was Rockport, Massachusetts. Wonder where the name comes from? The coast was mainly rocky, a great place to find sea glass and beautiful, rounded stones. Sand is overrated anyway. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by one-of-a-kind homes and B&Bs instead of sky-rise hotels. Many yards and gardens went straight to the edge of the rocky outcropping. We stayed at The Seafarer Inn and had a beautiful view of the cove from our window. The innkeepers also served wonderful breakfasts each day!

We explored the shops along Bearskin Neck and in Gloucester. Of course, we admired the famous Motif #1, known as the most often painted building in America. One of the days, we splurged at the Roy Moore Lobster Co. It was literally a shack on the pier with some picnic tables behind it. We enjoyed trying fresh caught lobster, oysters, stuffed clams, and good old-fashioned clam chowder.

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The downside of the trip was that one can never predict the weather. It was cold and rainy most of our stay. On the bright side, we didn’t have to pay for parking at the public beaches. There was no one else crazy enough to make it worthwhile for the city to charge. However, we were rather damp at the end of each day and had to dry out our shoes by the fireplace. We were very excited when we had sunny weather the day we checked out. Also unpredictable, I caught a cold our second day traveling. It was disappointing to have to stay inside during several outings and be so tired at the end of the day that I couldn’t even enjoy a book. It was a good reminder to rest, even while traveling when it seems so important not to miss out on anything.

I’ll share more about Boston and our time in New Hampshire in the next post.

Photos are my own.

Saludos Sayulita!

Our little weekend trip to the beach literally started with a flash and a bang, when lightning struck the ground very close to where we had stopped for road side tacos. This was followed by an hour or so of heavy rain. Our luggage was in the back of an open truck, but fortunately we had put all the luggage in garbage bags (not entirely water proof it turns out, but better than nothing). Those who had been riding in the back of the truck crammed up front with us for the remainder of the trip after tacos. We reached Sayulita around 9 in the evening and after getting the keys to our super cute bungalow, we went into the town square to look at the shops and watch the people dancing to the band playing in the gazebo (a feature of almost every Mexican town I have been in).

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After going to bed early and sleeping in late, we enjoyed biscuits and gravy with eggs and bacon for breakfast before heading to the beach. We had heard that there was a pretty beach just a 10 minute walk away from the main beach area. We got all of our gear together and went to check it out. We walked past some super fancy villas and then came to a little sign pointing us away from the coast toward Playa de Los Muertos.

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This was a little short cut through a cemetery of sorts to a beautiful cove. This cove had natural rocks around it which we all enjoyed exploring. The waves were fairly gentle and more than half of the beach was naturally shaded by palm trees. I didn’t even have to set up an umbrella to be in the shade and read my book! That was a wonderful experience.

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After lunch, we decided to check out the main beach. It was quite a bit more crowded and noisy. There were also a lot of vendors and people offering to braid hair, give massages, make tattoos, etc. I hope you all appreciate the irony of this picture. In case you can’t read the key, the red flag means “no swimming”.

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For dinner, our group got to meet up with a couple from Lincoln who spontaneously decided to camp at Sayulita the same weekend. It took some looking, but we finally found a place where there was enough seating for 10 of us which also offered seafood tacos at a reasonable price. Shrimp tacos are just amazing. We got caught in a heavy rain on the short walk back to our bungalow so we hung out under an awning for about 15 minutes until is stopped. Rainy season isn’t over yet apparently!

Sunday morning, we all went our own ways until departure at 1:30. I enjoyed an hour or so at Playa de Los Muertos by myself. It was so lovely to just rest in the shade as I read The Princess Bride and listened to the waves crash. I also got some coconut ice cream in town because it was quite hot and how could I pass up coconut ice cream at the beach?

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The ride back had beautiful mountainous views. Our weekend wasn’t even over when we got back because we had Monday off because a good chunk of Guadalajara was celebrating the Virgin of Zapopan. I took the afternoon to go with my housemates to El Centro in Guadalajara to see the cathedral, the theater, and some other sites. We had a great time.

All photos are my own.

Stop!…relax

It actually happened last week! We had a Friday off for Teacher Appreciation Day and I traveled with my two housemates and another friend from Lincoln. We got up at 4:30 AM to catch a bus at 5:30 AM, which we almost didn’t catch because of a weird logistical problem with our ticket. Fortunately, I had volunteered to stay with the bags while the three of them redeemed the tickets. It was really nice not to have to take on the stress that early in the morning. I’m very thankful for them. We just made it onto the bus as they were calling our names over the intercom. We had a 5 and a half hour ride, but then the whole weekend at Barra de Navidad, a little town with a lovely beach and very little tourism. Here is our hotel which had air conditioning! We might have gotten a little excited about that.

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and a look down the street

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It was really nice to have no plans, hardly any stuff, and friends to relax with. We stayed at the beach nearly all day Friday, playing in the waves, enjoying the sun (though not the sunburn later), and reading. We had dinner at one of the restaurants with a sunset view. Perks of living on the west coast. =)

Saturday morning, after a breakfast complements of Oxxo, we made a wonderful discovery. You can rent an umbrella and chairs for the whole day for only 80 pesos. That’s about $5 split between the four of us. No more baking in the sun!

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The beach was really clean, with hardly any other people there, even for a holiday weekend. I could look across the bay and imagine a ship sailing into harbor like it might have hundreds of years ago. I was also pretty excited about being on the Pacific coast again and getting fish and shrimp tacos!

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It was a really lovely time to let go of stress, to read a good book (David Copperfield), look through home decor magazines my mom brought, pray about things weighing on me, and read the Proverbs. It was also nice to be with my coworkers and get to know them better. I also was reminded to be thankful for their patience with me when I get stressed out about something. I need to be continually bringing my cares and stress to the Lord and let Him take them away. And I certainly wouldn’t mind doing that at the beach more often.

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