Adventuring with Alia

Chronicles of a distance runner


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A week ago, I returned from my five-week whirlwind of a trip. Right now, I’m waiting for my bags in the Philadelphia airport, here to see my mom’s side of the family and my beautiful cousin Mira get married.

I’d like to think I’ve mastered the art of hanging out in airports by now.

Reverse jet lag has been interesting to deal with, to say the least. Sunday night, I actually woke up at 11:45 p.m., thinking it was time to start the day. It took me a couple minutes of staring at the digital time on the face of my phone before it sunk in that I really was that disoriented.

Since then, I’ve been doing all that I can to coax my body back to feeling well. I even bought gummy vitamins in an attempt to cure a sugar craving while being “healthy.” The result so far has been what I’m sure is a vitamin overdose and some of the most expensive gummies I’ll every buy in my life. No self control.

This blog has been absent of pictures for awhile now, but not to worry! That’s what this post is all about.

Here’s some international eye candy.



My first gelato in Venice…chocolate and coffee flavours. Only downhill from there.

I like doors.

Sign in a Venetian store window…typical island mentality. Sometimes I open. Sometimes I don’t. Deal with it.

Small island of Burano off of Murano, known for it’s brightly coloured houses. No image editing at all. Seriously, how can you live here and not wake up happy every single morning??

Carnival is one of Venice’s biggest holidays and takes place before Easter each year. Awesome masks everywhere!

My Aunt Gigi (more formally known as Mercedes), spent some time living abroad in Venice and told me to check out the Peggy Guggenheim collection. I loved it so much, that between the exhibits, permanent collection, small garden area, and cafe, I spent over 5 hours there one day. Awesome stuff.

Wish tree! Loved this concept. Beautiful intention, sincere messages.

Caprese salad + copious amount of olive oil + white wine + gorgeous cafe = writing performance enhancers.

Moving on to Spain…


Flamenco show on my first night in Madrid. The style is so intense, that I couldn’t help but think that flamenco dancers must get some serious forehead wrinkles early in life.

Churros and chocolate. Holy freaking genius chocolaty dessert-god. There was left over chocolate after all the churros were gone. No choice but to drink up. Wasting chocolate is against my personal code of ethics.

They like their ham in Spain. Those giant legs hung from more restaurants than not, hoof and all.

Glass palace in Madrid’s El Parque del Buen Retiro. Also, I like turtles.

Apparently my hostel was in the literature neighbourhood of Madrid. Lots of quotes in the pavement and buildings, and curb side book shops.

Went on a walk around my hostel, barely recognised the street when I got back. Huge protests going on during my stay, right outside the front door. Couldn’t find a picture to do the magnitude of it all justice.


Bike tour during a short 2 night stay in Sevilla!

Plaza de Espana. Apparently one of those bridges in the background was used during a Star Wars movie. Really cool tiling all around though!

Sangria, tapas and the streets of Sevilla.



Outside the hostel.

Fresh water everywhere! Love love love this.

A view of the Sacramonte, the gypsy neighbourhood in Granada.


Not the actual cave that I saw flamenco in during my time in Granada, but similar. You can see that it doesn’t allow for too large of a venue. Nice and personal!

View of the Alhambra. Got to go hike around there the next day! By far my favourite “touristy” thing that I did.

The Nazarene Palace in the Alhambra

Gardens in Alhambra

Not great quality, but I managed a couple pictures during the flamenco show in the cave with the camera on my phone on the sly.

After Granada, I made it back to Madrid for one night before my return flight to the UK.


I spent my last morning trying to somehow put my experiences, sentiments and general feeling of gratitude on to paper at an outdoor cafe in Madrid.

I still can’t believe my amazing fortune to have had this eye-opening experience, and am still “coming down” from my travels.

Thanks for reading, hope you’ve enjoyed.

Until next time.

Wander away!


Author: Alia Teixido Gray

I like reading, writing, running, and drinking coffee. Lots of it.

One thought on “Picture-perfect

  1. Love all the pictures! Looks like it was a great trip 🙂 I might start a wish tree…

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