The memory you keep from every city or country you go to, is largely influenced by the people who you visit with. When we do family trips with my mom and Philippe, it’s mostly to see the architecture, the art, and the culture in general of the place. They don’t really like doing anything that’s super fancy or commercial and hate with all their soul visiting a new place and sitting for hours doing nothing when there is so many things to discover. So since I’ve been travelling with them for the last 8 years, I really got used to it and thought I would hate travelling any other way.
However, during the pass few years, I’ve started to travel with friends or other family members and I’ve realised every kind of trip has a magic of its own. I no longer think it is about the person who you are travelling with per se. Like I used to think it was impossible to make a trip with my school friends because they are all about staying in 5 stars hotels that look all the same and eating in fancy chain restaurants that have nothing to do with local cuisine. Or I wasn’t sure I would like to travel with some other friends who are all about partying and sleeping and don’t really get to know the local culture (aside the hardcore nightlife that is).
Even if a trip is totally different depending who you go with, that is totally okay. There isn’t a right or wrong way to travel as long as you really get something from it. Maybe you will fight a little because when you want to go left and the other person wants to go right, and you’ll think a thousand times about why you should only travel alone in the future. But in the end, each experience has its pros and cons and they are all part of the magic of travelling.
You won’t always get to visit all the places you want, you won’t taste all the dishes you crave and you will get a little too tired of partying all night. But that is just another happy excuse to go back to that place you loved so much. Even if you travel by yourself and have a perfectly personalised schedule that goes exactly your way, I’m 100% sure you will still want to come back for more. So why be an annoying travel buddy who complains all the time, when instead you can get a grasp of a different point of view and maybe see the same place you have seen a thousand times in a completely new way.
The reason why I’m saying all this is because during the summer I got to travel with my dad for the first time ever. And I was SO scared it would be all staying at the hotel while he works and going to extremely overpriced but super nice places, which I love for the pictures but don’t apport much culture for my spongey like brain. Despite the fact that I was mostly right because the things we did together were mostly like that, I had SO MUCH FUN and got to meet new people and many brand new places I hadn’t been to before and will 10/10 travel with my dad again.
First thing we went to the hotel to leave our things and eat something because we were starving. We stayed at the East hotel in Brickell city center and it was SUPER NICE. All the staff is super helpful and I loveeed the design. We had dinner at the restaurant in the 5th floor, Quinto La Huella. It’s an Uruguayan restaurant and we ate there pretty much every day so you could say my dad likes it a lot.
Next, we went to Ocean drive, obviously. We walked a little and then had to stop because I saw Sugar factory’s huge cups and HAD TO GO INSIDE. Usually I can take super sweet stuff like nothing, but lately I think I’m getting old because I’m no longer as sugar resistant as I used to be so I went for something sweet and salty. I had a strawberry milkshake WITH A BACON STRIP ON TOP??? and THE CUP WAS COVERED IN CHOCOLATE. AND THE CHOCOLATE HAD M&M’s AND PRETZELS ON IT AND THE STRAW HAD A FUCKING CHEESEBURGER!!!
Appart from this day, I couldn’t really go out alone with my dad because he had to work but I had a huge epiphany during this trip. I thought I had the whole thing figured out, family trip is for culture and food, friends trip for party and food and romantic trip is kind of a family trip but more food and less culture. However it gets a lot more complicated than that.
There are always many layers of a city and a whole lifetime wouldn’t be enought to meet them all. I mean look at Brussels for example, I’ve been living here for 5 years and still every now and then I go out and find a brand new side of Brussels if never seen before, not phisically but in the people, the ambiance, the art, etc. So the more you try to mix it up and travel with new friends or just change it a little and do an adventure trip instead of a city trip or just go to the beach and relax for hours instead of exhaustingly walking around; it doesn’t means you are not getting the most of your trip, it just means you are getting to know the other side of travel.
Usually when I travel to a place for a little amount of time I don’t have enough time to visit museums, they are more like a rainy day back up plan, or something you do when you have already seen all the main attractions. However since I’m an Art History student now and I have so many museums to visit in my to-do list, I said fuck it, its too hot outside anyway, and spent the morning at the Perez Art Museum. Let me tell you it was SO COOL having studied the art works before I saw them in real life and thinking HEY THAT WAS IN MY FINAL EXAM! Or, wow first time I actually understand what it means.
I know a lot of people really get bored at museums because I used to be that way too. But when you find the type of art you really really like and you get to stare at it and study it and analyse it for hours with no hurrying and no pressure behind it but just for yourself, it kind of gives you peace.
I gotta admit, I was really sad that I didn’t get to go to Cuba this summer (it was my birthday present but I kinda screw it up by having exams during August). So as a replacement, I spent the whole afternoon in Calle Ocho feeling nostalgic and touristing as hard as I could. I asked Jorge (our super nice uber driver for the weekend) to take me to eat a real Cuban sandwich so he took me to Versailles.
After that however, I did a very stupid thing: I told Jorge to leave because I didn’t feel like a real tourist if I had somebody driving me everywhere during the whole day. Where is the local experience in that? Basically, the East Hotel is in Calle Ocho, just 17 blocks away. Turns out 17 blocks in Europe, under a cold breeze but a nice sun, feel like nothing. 17 blocks under MIAMI HEAT makes you want to die. Thankfully I stopped for an ice cream at Azucar and sat for a while to watch old people playing domino’s. Ice cream and good company what more do you need in life?
During our last day we were supposed to go shopping but my postureo side prefered to skip that and while my dad stayed at the hotel working a bit more (workaholic much??), I finally got to Visit the Wynwood art district. I took the Metrorail on my way there, so I could see the city from above, and then changed to a bus (while getting a bit lost between the two). The area itself was full of life and art galleries and trendy cafes and restaurant but what really took my heart away were obviously the Wynwood Walls.
The Wynwood walls is a concept created by Tony Goldman in 2009. He decided that instead of just having a bunch of ugly warehouses laying around, why don’t make their exterior useful and give an opportunity to the muralists and graffiti artists to have their own gallery too? Needless to say, you’ll be seeing my shameless selfies in front of walls until the end of times. My favorite wall (the one on the cover) was Codo a Codo made by Inti, an artist from Chile, it was inspired by a photography of child labourers.
Gracias papi por el super viaje!
p.s. YES I KNOW THERE IS WAY TOO MANY PHOTOS BUT GOT A NEW CAMERA SO DEAL WITH IT. Sorry, not sorry.