Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lakers Vs. Chicago Bulls: Farewell Kobe!

I've been a Kobe fan since he was drafted. I've loved the Lakers for as long as I can remember and the Lakers without Kobe is going to be very strange for me. 

When I heard that Kobe was retiring I knew that I would have to go see him play one more time. When we got back from our Honeymoon, I started looking at tickets for when the Lakers were coming to Chicago. Luckily, they were playing on a Sunday night (so Josh would be able to come with me) in February! I debated about the tickets for a while but in the end I splurged and got us front row tickets on the Club Level! Eek! 

I've never been to the United Center before so I did some research and found out that you are allowed to bring in posters so I made one for Kobe:

We arrived at the United Center and found our VIP Parking spot at 5:00 PM. The game didn't start until 7:00 PM but I wanted to get there early so we could look around the arena and get something to eat.

[Michael Jordan statue outside the United Center]

[It was cold but I was EXCITED!]

We waited in line for a few minutes before the doors opened at 5:30 PM. While we were coming in the lady at the metal detector told me that I couldn't bring my poster in! "But how will Kobe know how much I love him?!" I was super sad!

So we entered the arena and found our awesome seats!

We dropped off my Lakers foam finger and our Noah bobble heads then proceeded to walk around the Club Level looking for good food. Josh decided to go with a pulled pork BBQ sandwich with sweet potato fries and I got steak tacos, guacamole, and a margarita. YUM! Totally hit the spot!

We then went back to our seats so we could watch the guys warm up!


I was anxiously waiting for Pau and Kobe to meet at center court. They were so cute! I really miss Gasol! Come back to the Lakers PLEASE!

Then I saw that Kobe was signing basketballs at center court. I told Josh that I needed one. Maybe for Christmas?! ;-)

I knew that during his farewell tour a lot of the other arenas had done tributes for Kobe. And this one was AMAZING! Gasol ended up introducing Kobe! I loved it! 


[Kobe and Gasol hugging it out before tip off]

[Tip off!]

[I took this picture because we were actually ahead and I had no idea when that would happen again, but it ended up being a really close game!]

[The Bulls player at the bottom of the shot lost his shoe but he continued to play anyways. It was so funny!]

During the 4th the whole crowd started chanting, "We want Kobe!" *clap clap clap clap clap* and "MVP! MVP! MVP!" and "KO-BE! KO-BE! KO-BE!"

He was just sitting on the bench cracking up the whole time!

Finally, Byron put him in and the crowd went wild!

With a minute left, Byron called a time out and Kobe left the court for the last time. He was smiling and waving while the crowd gave him a standing ovation. I got a little teary-eyed! Seriously going to miss him!

The Lakers put up a great fight but in the end they lost. 

[Can you tell how much I love these guys?!]

Oh and since the Bulls won and scored over 100 points we all got free Big Macs. Um... yeah? I guess it's no better then the Staples Center where you get free tacos from Jack-in-the-Box. YUCK!

Thanks to Josh for putting up with my obsessions! And you don't have to get me anything for our Anniversary, or my birthday, um.... or Christmas? :-)

Thanks Kobe for retiring as a Laker! We will miss you!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Impromptu Trip to Europe: Part VI - Madrid and Toledo, Spain & The Trip Home

On the morning of February 16th, I got up, put on two pairs of pants, a shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater, a rain jacket, and my new beanie and gloves before heading out the door. I was still sick and it was in the 30s but that wasn't going to stop me from seeing the capital of Spain!

My parents and I went into the city and found a little cafe where we got some breakfast. We then headed back to our hotel where we joined a free walking tour around the city.

We walked over to the Opera House where we were split into groups according to our language. Our tour guide was super energetic and you could tell that he loves his city.

[The story of the Madrid tooth fairy - who was a mouse]

[Puerta del Sol]

[You are supposed to touch the heel of the bear for good luck]

[Plaza Mayor]

[Robin Hood]


During our 2.5 hour tour we zig-zagged through the city and saw things that we would not have been able to if we were on a bus or in a car. The tour was so much fun and we learned a lot! After the tour we went back to a spot that our tour guide recommended to get churro's and chocolate! I was still sick and I couldn't taste much but this chocolate was so RICH and I could taste it!


After our snack we walked over to the Almudena Cathedral to take pictures.

Next, we decided to go into the Royal Palace of Madrid and do a walking audio tour. The Palace was HUGE and each room that we were able to go into was beautifully decorated. Sadly, we couldn't take pictures inside.

[The Cathedral which was across from the Palace]

For dinner we got a variety of Tapas!

After dinner we went walking around the city and came across the Mercado de San Miguel! This is a large, indoor area with a ton of small shops that sell different kinds of food.

I ended up getting this delicious fudge ball (why would they give me two spoons?!), which was amazing! 

And my parents got some baklava (also delicious)!

After dessert we went back to the hotel and I went to bed since I wasn't feeling well. 

The next morning (February 17th) we went and got a quick breakfast before jumping on the hop-on-hop-off bus.

The walking tour was great but on the bus we were able to see a lot more of the capital!

After the bus tour we went back to the Mercado de San Miguel where I got some delicious mozzarella cheese and some rice for lunch.

After lunch we went on a walk to see more of the city.

[The center of the City]

The two days we had in Madrid were so much fun! This city is so amazing! I love all the history and the food was great! The weather was cold, but at least it wasn't raining!

The next morning (February 18th - Happy birthday Emily!), we got up and started the long drive back to Marbella. On the way we stopped in the beautiful city of Toledo.

[Dad with Don Quixote]

We went to the top of the Alcazar where we had a great view of the city!

After taking our pictures we went on a quick drive around the city. 

Toledo was such a beautiful city with such a great history and I wish we could have spent a whole day there but we didn't have time. Maybe next time!

We left Toledo and on the road south we saw an old castle and windmills on a hill. My dad thought of Don Quixote and the giants so we had to go check them out!

We then jumped back on the road and while we were driving through the Sierra Nevada's we saw olive tree groves as far as the eye could see! It was amazing! It was like driving through Iowa and seeing all the corn or wheat, but these were olive trees! 

We made it back to the apartment in Marbella and I started packing. I couldn't believe that my trip was over! Two weeks and three countries later it was time to go home.

We got up early the next morning and headed to the airport. My flights went a lot smoother then last time (I didn't throw up), but because of my cold I was having a hard time sleeping. As a result, I read an entire book :-)

By the time I got back home it was 5:40 AM in Spain and I was ready for bed!

I got three more pins to add to my collection!

Thanks mom and dad for letting my come out and visit! I had such a great time!