From Thrift Stores to eBay: Finds of the Week + The MOST DISGUSTING Thing I Ever Found in a Pocket

 

A valuable lesson I learned early on  – and hopefully this is something that you guys practice also – is the importance of checking the pockets of the thrift store items that you find.

I learned this the hard way unfortunately when a buyer took offense to a piece of used napkin that they found in the back pocket of a pair of jeans I sold.  Since then, I’ve been religiously checking every single pocket just to make sure there’s nothing in there that could lead to a negative feedback.

For the most part, I’ve been very lucky and most of the stuff that I  find are typically harmless – a receipt, a movie stub, and on some occasions I’ve even found cold, hard cash!

Then there are those times when I question why I ever stuck my hand in their in the first place.

Yesterday was one of those times.

I bought this FUBU denim jacket at Goodwill and as I was doing my usual pat-down I immediately felt something in the front chest pocket.  It definitely wasn’t cash or a movie stub, and as I slowly started to pull it out of the pocket, I found this…

extenze

Yes, Extenze male enhancement pills!  Fricken disgusting!

It was a 4-day supply and the individual already took two of them.  I showed my brother this pictures and he quickly commented, “Well, I guess they weren’t working…” Lol

You just gotta laugh it off sometimes.  I often hear resellers say that part of the joy of thrifting is that you never know what you’re going to find.

Indeed.

I’m curious, what’s the grossest thing you ever found in a pair of thrift store clothing?  Can you beat a box of used Extenze male enhancement pills?! Lol

-Meinard

Finds of the Week

Youth Air Jordan

I was hoping to get more for these Jordan’s but that’s eBay for you.  Still a decent sale though!

Air Jordan Cement

Item Cost:  $2.99

Winning Bid:  $29.00

Mizuno Running Shoes

Mizuno Prophecy

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $59.99

Oakley Bag

Oakley bag

Item Cost:  $8.99

Winning Bid:  $49.00

Brooks Running Shoes

Brooks

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $60.26

Ready to Get Serious About Thrift Store Reselling on eBay?

If you are really considering reselling thrift store item on eBay, then you have to check out my FREE Thrift Store Reselling mini-course.

In this 2-week course, I reveal some of my favorite and most profitable thrift store items that I consistently sell on eBay.

Best of all, it’s absolutely free!

Give Me Access To The Free Course!
Enter Your Name & Email Address:






From Thrift Stores to eBay: Finds of the Week (6/22/2015)

 

Happy Monday thrifters!  It was another incredible week on eBay and I can’t wait to share some of my recent sales.

It’s interesting because the summer season is usually associated with a downturn of business on eBay but I haven’t seen that at all.  In fact, my sales have been steadily climbing since the summer started.

This trend has been fueled, I’m sure, by my recent decision to go back to using primarily auction-style listing and it doesn’t hurt that I’ve been finding some AMAZING stuff at the thrift stores recently.  (I have a current auction with 9 watchers with 4 days left and the bids are already at $63!!)

I have several auctions ending in a few hours that also look promising, and I was going to wait until those auctions finished before providing this update, but I just couldn’t wait.  Plus, the Goodwill down the street is calling my name so hopefully there’s a bunch of good stuff waiting for me when I get there.

Hope your summer sales have been sizzling as well. Keep your activity level up -thrifting, listing, learning –  and watch those amazing things start to happen.

Good luck!

Meinard

Finds of the Week

Vintage Sawyer of Napa Leather Jacket

Sawyer Napa

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $24.99

Cabbage Patch Kids Babies

Definitely one of the most interesting items I’ve sold this week.  Oh well, a sale’s a sale!

Cabbage patch

Item Cost:  $2.99

Winning Bid:  $29.99

Adidas Porsche Hi-Top Sneakers

Adidas Porsche

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $59.99

Vtg Nike Penny Foamposite

Foamposite

Item Cost:  $8.99

Winning Bid:  $99.99

4 Ways to Avoid Burnout as an eBay Seller

 

burnoutYup, it’s going to happen.

As fun and exciting as thrift store reselling on eBay is, there will come a time when you lose motivation and the last thing you want to do is visit another thrift store or answer another buyers questions.

This happens to all of us and if you’re not vigilant – if you’re not constantly assessing your mood and energy levels – then you can easily find yourself burning out and losing the joy of being a seller.

I’ve been there a few times before (not so much recently, more so when I first started) and it’s not fun trying to work your way out of that funk.  Over time I’ve realized that the trick is to not get there in the first  place; to do a preemptive strike against burnout and prevent it from happening…

The following four tips are my go-to remedy for preventing reseller burnout and I credit them with saving my business on eBay.  Can you imagine if I decided to quit early on and not persevere?  That’s a lot of money I would’ve left on the table!

Sometimes you just need to take it one day at a time and find the strength – as tough as it is for eBay sellers sometimes- to show up and put in the work.  Hopefully, some of these tips will help you do just that!

Get Away

get away

Seriously, just stop everything you’re doing and get away from it all.

Unless you’ve just sold something and need it shipped right away (we need to take care of our DSR’s after all), you can manage to leave your eBay store on auto-pilot for a few hours or a few days even.  Trust me, your store will be just fine.

Often times, I think we’re so engrossed with solving our eBay problems – how can I make more sales, how do I get more views, what price should I set this item at, etc – that our minds just need to take a break and relax.

And here’s the amazing thing:  Not only will you relieve stress by letting go of those issues for a while, but often times you’ll actually find solutions to your problems while you’re doing other activities.

Dutch psychologists, based on recent studies, have concluded that “The subconscious mind is a terrific solver of complex problems when the conscious mind is busy elsewhere or,  perhaps better yet, not overtaxed at all“.

Yup, your subconscious is constantly thinking, grinding, and trying to shout-out solutions to you but it’s being drowned out by the avalanche of “details” in our lives.

So what does mean of us sellers?  It means take a mental-break from eBay every now and then.  I’ve been taking Off the Grid vacations for the past few years and they’ve been amazing at recharging my batteries and getting my energy levels back up.

bike ridingBut you don’t have to leave the country to do this; heck, you don’t even need to leave your neighborhood.

A simple walk, job, or bike ride around the block can work wonders.  Not into exercise?  Well, then read a book or connect with a friend over coffee.

It doesn’t matter the activity.  What matters is that you give  yourself a little breather and time to step away.

Sell Something. Anything!

“Sales Cure All”.

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my business mentors, Mark Cuban.  Yes, that over-the-top owner of the Dallas Mavericks and one of the investors on the show Shark Tank.

This man is worth billions – not millions – billions of dollars.  With that level of net worth you know he’s been right more than a few times in his life and he hit the nail right on the head with this comment.  Making a sale is often times all you  need to put the fun back in eBay.  I mean, that’s what we’re all here for right?  To make some extra money?

I don’t know about you but that’s what I’m here to do.  I want to hear the virtual eBay cash registers going off constantly and when it doesn’t – even for a day or two – that’s when I start to lose my mojo.  That’s when this whole eBay thing doesn’t become “fun” anymore.

I mean, how can you not get excited after hearing something like this?

We absolutely NEED to make sales on a regular basis or this eBay thing will turn into a drag..quickly!  I’ve gone to extreme lengths to make this happen and I suggest you do also.  I’ve accepted low-ball offers, started Air Jordan’s at $0.99, and I’ve even taken losses on some items just to get the cash flowing, just to get my momentum snowballing again.

Remember, you need to make sales – it means everything to your eBay-soul!  When you see your Paypal balance starting climbing higher and higher, it’s such an adrenaline rush and you’ll feel compelled to go out and start thrifting again.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

comfort zone

Not only is this good reselling advice – it’s good life advice as well!  Getting stuck in a rut or routine can make what was once exciting into mundane and boring.

It’s especially true with reselling:  It’s gonna get boring if you keep looking for the same things at the thrift store every single time.

The solution?  Keep learning and keep expanding!

I started this journey selling Nike’s and Air Jordan’s and even though I still enjoy tremendous success with niche I can’t imagine going to thrift stores and focusing only on shoes.  That’s so boring!

I’m constantly expanding my brand/niche vocabulary and this search for new items to look for has taken me into some items that I never once thought I’d get into.

For example:

Mugs

Korea $68

Sold for $68

Board Games

Follett $79

Sold for $79.00

Toys

SpidermanHulkSold for $99.99

You don’t have to expand into all areas of thrift store all at once.  That can be overwhelming for anyone.  However, you can expand one at a time.

Those dresses that you always pass by without a second thought, take a few minutes and check out what’s available.  Those toys sitting by the cash register that are still sealed, research through eBay and Amazon and see if you can find a similar one.

Believe me, eBay-life starts outside your comfort zone!

Keep Stuff for Yourself – It Can’t Be ALL about Reselling

This has been my favorite stress-reliever this year!  In the past, I was very strict on myself when it came to keeping items – “It’s all about the profits” was my mantra early on.

I got so caught up in the numbers and profits that I forgot that one of the main reasons why I started this journey years ago (and one of the main reasons why I keep going to this day) is because it’s so much fun!

One of the best advice I can give to someone who’s just starting is “Start with what you know.”  That’s how I got started with selling Nike’s and Air Jordan’s.  Well, if you start selling what you know, eventually you’re going to run into something that you actually want to keep for yourself!

Here’s some of the best stuff I’ve kept for myself this year:

ProphecyLakersCement

Believe me, these items are worth some decent profits on eBay but who cares?  I want them and they’re my size so I’m going to keep them.  I’ll probably find another one soon anyway, they always make their way to the thrift stores eventually.

Obviously you don’t keep ALL the stuff for yourself- you’ll have a closet  full of stuff instead of a business if that’s the case.  However, I am  HUGE proponent of rewarding yourself and, most importantly, HAVING FUN with thrift stores and eBay again.  And if that requires you to keep an item or too, then so be it.

If you see something you like and you’re heart tells you to keep it, well…then go ahead and keep it.  You’ve earned it!

 eBay Gladiators, I Salute You!

As sellers, I don’t have to tell you that it’s not all “unicorns and rainbows” on eBay-Land, but for me it’s not all bad either.  I think it’s important that  we inject some fun and perspective into our reseller business every now and then.

All sellers are equipped with an indestructible armor when we first start off and it gradually becomes weakened with every non-paying bidder, negative feedback, and extra fees that eBay imposes.

The four tips I just provided have been the best methods (for me, anyways) at repairing that armor so that we feel strong and ready again to fight on.

Hopefully you’ve read something here today that can help you in your business.  At the very least, it’s been a good reminder for me  that we all will struggle at one point or another, but it doesn’t mean it’s permanent.

Keep fighting and don’t forget to have some fun out there!

How about you?  How do you avoid burnout on eBay?  How do you stay motivated?  Let’s help each other out!

Meinard

(Photos courtesy of www.todayifoundout.com, www.healthylifestyleart.com, www.lightinternal.com)

Finds of the Week (6/9/2015)

 

Happy Tuesday,  I hope you’re having an amazing week so far!

My eBay sales have received a nice little jolt recently so I just wanted to quickly share with you a few of my most memorable ones.

These sales have given me a nice little boost of motivation so I’m off to a nice, long day of thrifting at Savers and the Salvation Army.

Talk to you soon and, to all you basketball fans out there, enjoy the game today!

Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, please please PLEASE list your Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers items on eBay right now on eBay!  It’s been a great NBA Finals so far and both fan-bases are excited and I guarantee you they’re willing to spend right now.

As always, you can contact me through email at thriftstorereseller@gmail.com or through Twitter (@thrift_reseller) if you have any questions or just want to chat about reselling.

Thanks and wish me luck today at Savers and Salvation Army, I have a feeling it’s going to be a good visit!

Meinard

Finds of the Week

Nike Youth Air Jordan

Fusion Pink

Item Cost: $2.99

Winning Bid:  $39.99

David Beckham Soccer Jersey

Beckham

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $41.00

Nike Dunk HI

Dr Feelgood

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $49.99

Retro Nike Air Jordan

IV Bred

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $147.99!!

Thrift Store Finds of the Week (6/2/2015)

 

Happy Tuesday Resellers! Thank  you for stopping by and I hope you’re having an amazing week so far!

I just realized, because of the Nike Flyknit Free Giveaway, that it’s actually been a while since I wrote a Finds of the Week post.  You ever get that feeling where you’re thinking, “Hmm, I know I should be doing something…”  Well, I had that recently and the lack of eBay updates was the culprit (I think May 11th was the last sales update I posted).

It wasn’t for lack of activity that’s for sure.

My Sunday Blitz strategy is still providing some pretty amazing results and there were even a few Buy-it-Now (BIN) sales sprinkled in there as well.

Here’s some of my eBay sales from this past Sunday:

Sunday Sales 531
More payments arrived after this picture was taken so the pile was actually higher when it was all said and done.  Seriously, thank you to the postman who picks up my packages every Monday – beats having to haul this lot to the post office by myself!

I have another bunch of great items ending on Sunday so hopefully I’ll be taking a very similar picture at the end of the week.

I also wanted to thank everyone who’s contacted me and shared their recent eBay success stories.  I ALWAYS get inspired by your sales and it makes me even more determined to go thrifting.  So thank you, it seriously means a lot to me!

Hope you’re having a great week and please enjoy my latest eBay sales!

Finds of the Week

World of Warcraft:  Burning Crusade

I had no idea that these are worth some pretty good money on eBay.  They’re worth a closer look if ever find them at your thrift stores.  This particular one that I sold was in used conditoin but a brand new, factory-sealed version can fetch over $300 on eBay!

world of warcraft

Item Cost:  $6.99

Sold for:  $37.00

Nike Running Shoes

FreeRun

Item Cost:  $6.99

Sold for:  $39.99

(Check out my FREE 2-Week Mini-Course to learn more about these valuable shoes.  Trust me, they’re AWESOME to sell on eBay!)

Adidas Philippines Jacket

I wonder how much I could’ve sold this jacket for if I sold it BEFORE the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?

AdidasPhilippines

Item Cost:  $9.99

Sold for:  $79.99

(I’ve Decided) I Could Care Less About the Latest eBay Seller Update

 

Hey thrifters, happy Wednesday. I hope you had an amazing Memorial Day weekend with your family and friends!

Savers was holding a 50% sale during the weekend and I know that some of you – actually, A LOT – were able to find some amazing stuff judging by the pictures that you shared over the weekend.

Congrats and I hope you get top dollar for all your items!

I actually stayed away during the sale on Sunday and Monday (not a fan of the large crowds, I need my “elbow room” when shopping) so I did my customary pre-sale visit strategy on Saturday night and I was able to find some amazing stuff as well.  It wasn’t for 50% off, but 30% off is just as good!

Adjusting to eBay Life After the Latest Seller Update

It’s been almost a month since eBay enacted their latest seller update.

For the record, I wasn’t happy with it.  Specifically with their decision to charge a listing fee for using an auction format.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the auction-format.  In fact, prior to the seller update, I upgraded both of my eBay stores from the Basic model (150 free listings, $15.95 per month) to the Premium model (500 free listings, $49.95) so that I can take advantage of even more free auction-style listings.

So much for that idea.  Now that we’re being charged for auction-formats, eBay basically eliminated the sole reason why I upgraded in the first place. You can bet that I’m going to downgrade both of my accounts the SECOND that I’m able to!  It’s just not worth it anymore.

The silver lining is that the listing fee will be credited if the item sells.  However, my auction items don’t sell 100% of the time and that just means more eBay fees being paid at the end of the month.

But oh well.  Life goes on, right?

And my plan of attack in this new environment was to test and see what strategy works the best.  It’s obvious that eBay wants sellers to use more Buy-it-Now (BIN) auctions, so does that spell the end of my HUGELY successful Sunday Blitz strategy?

In a word:  NO!!

I’ve been experimenting with more BIN auctions this month but compared to auctions they’re just not as effective at generating sales and moving inventory.

Here’s a pic of my some of my sales over Memorial Day weekend (more payments arrived after the pics were taken):

Memorial Day Weekend Sales

And here’s the breakdown of sales:  BIN = 6, Auction = 44

It’s hard for me to argue against  the results. To be fair, there are instances where I’ve had amazing success with BIN auctions, but for the most part this past weekend is indicative of the results that I’ve had with both formats.

Yeah I hate paying the additional listing fees and I am able to get higher ending prices for BIN auctions, I’ll give it that.  However, in my experience BIN auctions  violate 2 things that I value in my business: speed and volume.

I want to sell things quickly and I want to sell a lot of them.  With BIN,  you get the price that you want but it comes at the expense of speed and volume.  It may take forever to find the “right” buyer and it could end up sitting in storage for weeks and months.  That’s just something that I’m not willing to do.

The extra $10-$15 that I’m currently paying for auctions is worth the additional hundreds and – over the course of a month – thousands that I generate using auctions versus BIN.

 What’s the “Best” eBay Strategy?

I’m not saying that you should abandon BIN altogether and adopt my strategies.  That’s not what I’m saying.  We all have different eBay preferences, goals, and items for sale, and at the end of the day these factors will affect the pricing and format strategies that we use.

All I’m doing is showing you my  results and what I’ve learned from them.

If there’s something in their that resonates with you and it will make your business more successful then by all means please implement them.  If you’re current strategy is working for you, then please continue to do what you’ve been doing.

In the end, the best strategy is the one that works!

Hope you’re having a great week so far!

Meinard

And the Winner Is…

 

Drumroll please…

Tasia!!

Congratulations Tasia on winning the Nike Flyknit’s!  Please email  me with your shipping address at thriftstorereseller@gmail.com so I can send you your prize.

If you plan on using them to run,  then run strong and I hope you set a personal record in them.  If you’re going to resell them on eBay,  best of luck with the auction and I hope you find that perfect buyer.

Either way, please enjoy the shoes and keep  up posted on the results!

This Was So Much Fun – Value Galore

I just wanted to take a quick second to send  a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated.

I had a great time with this contest and I hope you did too.  The quality of the advice that everyone shared was pretty amazing and I had a blast reading them.  The insights alone made the contest worthwhile!

If you didn’t win this time, don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten about you.  It was so much fun that I’ll be holding another contest VERY VERY soon.

In fact, I already have the next giveaway item in-hand.

And if you thought the Nike’s were good, then you’re going to love this next one…promise!

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement.  Have a great weekend and I’ll talk to you soon!

Meinard

FREE Giveaway: Nike Free Flyknit 5.0 ($60+ Resell Value on eBay)!!

What’s up thrifters and welcome to my free giveaway!

You should know by now that I don’t buy just average, run-of-the-mill items at the thrift store.  I focus on buying only on quality, high-value items that resell for huge profits on eBay, so you’re definitely gonna wanna win this item.

Heck, I want this item but it’s a good thing it’s not my size :)

You ready?!  Let’s go!

What Are You Giving Away?

Well, I already spoiled it for you on the blog title (and on Twitter if you follow me there) but I’m going to say it again anyway:  For this giveaway, the winner will receive this AWESOME pair of NIKE Men’s FREE RUN+ FLYKNIT 3.0 “Rainbow” RUNNING SHOES!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this pair at Goodwill – I mean, $6.99 for this model is a steal!  I’ve been wanting to run this contest for some time now and when I saw this pair I knew that it was the perfect item to give away.

Here’s some pics:

Flyknit3

Flyknit2

Flyknit

They’re a men’s size 7 which also translates to a women’s size 8.5.  Those of you who enrolled in my free 2-week Reseller Mini-Course already know how valuable Nike Free’s are on eBay.

Plus, when you combine it with this “Rainbow” colorway (hint:  when it comes to sneakers, bright and “loud” colorways sell much better), you’re going to receive some good offers for these on eBay.  I guarantee it!

But don’t take my word for it.

Check some of these recent completed auctions for this exact pair that you’ll be winning.

The shoes in these listings are in used condition and, in my opinion, the pair that I have is actually in better shape than these pairs!!

Flyknit Listings

Excited yet?!

Is it FREE to Enter?

It’s ABSOLUTELY FREE to enter and you don’t have to spend a single dime!  I’ll even pay for the postage to mail the shoes (US only, no International shipping)!

To enter, simply scroll down to locate the RaffleCopter entry form on the bottom of this post. Complete any of the task mentioned on the entry form and you’re automatically entered into the drawing.

Each task counts as one (1) entry so the more you do, the higher you chances of winning.

It’s that easy!!

RaffleCopter will select a random winner at the end of the giveaway and the shoes will be shipped as soon as the winner’s shipping address is confirmed.

(Note:  I will be contacting the winner via email to confirm shipping address, so please use an email address that you frequently check.  If I can’t confirm a shipping address or if the original winner isn’t responding to emails, another winner will be selected.)

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your support and good luck!!

-Meinard

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Paid Time Off (PTO): eBay-Style

 

Is it just me or is that first week back from vacation really brutal?!  Could be just me, but it’s been a week since I returned and only now do I feel like I’m getting back to “normal”.

I’m not gonna lie, those first few thrift store visits were AMAZING but I felt a little out-of-whack in there since I haven’t visited a single one in about a week.

Thankfully, that awkward first week is behind me – I’m finally getting back to my normal sleeping patterns, and I’m ready to dive right back in to my eBay routines.

PTO:  eBay-Style

I always loved the concept of PTO:  I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of getting paid while you’re on vacation or doing something OTHER than work, right?!

No, eBay doesn’t have  a program like that (although it’s not a bad idea to implement) but I was able to set it up so that I had a nice surge of sales waiting for me as soon as I arrived back from my trip.

As soon as I got a reliable internet connection, I re-listed all my auctions and had them end on the day that I returned from vacation.  When it was all said and done, I received over $1000 worth of Paypal payments (shipping fees included)  from these auctions.  So it kinda like I got paid to travel around Spain :)

Honestly, having to deal with the packaging and shipping for all those items when you’re tired and with your luggage and travel clothes still hanging around wasn’t the ideal situation.

However, as difficult as it was, it was exactly what I needed because it gave me that jolt that I needed to get out of vacation-mode and back to work.

I still have 2 bags full of shoes and clothes from my latest Goodwill visits to clean and list so that’s first on the agenda for today.  After that, it’s another Savers run in the afternoon and maybe another Goodwill run in the evening, time permitting.

In the meantime, here are some of my best eBay sales since returning.  Please enjoy and I hope you have an awesome Monday!

-Meinard

Finds of the Week

Adidas Golden State Warriors shirt

It’s a good thing this Warriors fan bought this shirt BEFORE the start of the last playoff game against the Grizzlies.  If he waited until after the game, I’m not sure if he would’ve still wanted it.

Warriors shirt

Item Cost:  $6.99

BIN:  $31.99

Vintage Nike SB Skateboarding Shoes

Paul

Item Cost:  $6.99

Winning Bid:  $51.00

Nike Lifestyle Series Sneakers

flysteppers

Item Cost:  $8.99

Winning Bid:  $61.00

Disney Mickey Racing Shirt

Mickey Roads

Item Cost:  $8.99

BIN:  $69.99

 

 

 

Off the Grid, Part III: Barcelona and Madrid

Starbucks Mug

Buenas Dias thrifters!  How’s everyone doing?!

I gotta tell you, it feels so good to be back!  Not because my vacation sucked or anything (quite the contrary actually, more on that in a second) but after an entire day of going through airport checkpoints and boarding planes, it definitely feels great to be stationary and getting some much needed rest.

Well as you can gather from the title of this post, I just returned from visiting Barcelona and Madrid and, if you’d let me, I could seriously spend an entire day talking about how beautiful and amazing these places are – the sites and the people!

Return SalesI won’t spend that much time but I will share what I think are some of the highlights of the trip.

I actually got back on May 4th and I wanted to do this post then while the memories are still fresh but I made the mistake of having 100+ auctions end on the day that I return and I’ve been packing items and playing catch up ever since.

Remind me never to do that again will ya?!  Thanks!

Regardless, this past week has been amazing.  I mentioned to Jessica (@JMJ697MN)) on Twitter the other day that I went to Barcelona and Spain for my trip and she replied that it sounds like the vacation of a lifetime.  And you know what?  I couldn’t have described it better myself.

It definitely was and hopefully some of these pictures will do the trip justice.  Are you ready?  Vamanos!

First:  A Heartfelt Apology

The first comment I want to make is actually an apology – an apology to my high school Spanish teacher Profesora McCrary.  This wonderful women spent 3 years teaching me Spanish and how do I repay her?  What’s the best sentence I could muster?

This monstrosity:  “Hola Senor, bottled agua’s.  Cuatros por favor.”

Pathetic, so horrible.  Profesora McCrary would’ve been ashamed at my performance there lol

Barcelona

Princess SofiaIn front of The Princess Sofia Hotel

According to our guide, the city experienced a boom in their economy immediately after the 1992 Olympics and the town has never been the same.

I haven’t seen the ENTIRE world (yet) but of all the places that I’ve traveled to so far I would have to say that Barcelona is probably the most beautiful place that I’ve seen.

There were so many great parks, buildings, and historical sites to see.  The city is also in the midst of transforming into a “greener” city so there were always running and biking trails filled with people.  Heck, they even have a beach community!

All this combined to really give the town a sophisticated and charming “feel” and I found myself simply walking around just in awe of how clean and beautiful the scenery was.

FC Barcelona Stadium

The FC Barcelona Futbol stadium was a block from our hotel.  The love that the city has for their soccer team is pretty amazing.  I’m not knowledgeable about the sport by any means but I regret not watching a game, just to be a part of the spectacle.

FC Barcelona

Monserrat

Monserrat ViewPhoto Courtesy of World For Travel.  Sorry, I couldn’t quite get this view but I wanted to show you an overview of what it looked like.

This place was, hands-down, my favorite site of the entire trip.  Monserrat, which means “serrated mountain”, is a monastery/cathedral nestled high in the Catalonia Mountains.

The view was amazing and the air was so crisp – I could’ve spent the whole day there just walking around and taking in the scenery!

Monserrat1

Monserrat3

There was also an original Picasso in their Art Museum

Monserrat2

Monserrat4

The Monserrat Cathedral

Monserrat6

One last shot of the View

Monserrat5

La Boqueria Open Market

I loved this market!  There were so many different stuff that I wanted to try but we just ran out of time.

Bouqueria1

 Look how huge those Papaya’s are!Bouqueria2

Bouqueria3

bouqueria4

Madrid

We spent 4 days in Barcelona and after an 8 hour bus ride we found ourselves on the last stop of our vacations:  Madrid!

Now Madrid was a different experience than Barcelona was and if Barcelona was the most beautiful place I’ve seen than Madrid was probably the funnest place I’ve been to!

The vibe of this town was pretty awesome:  plenty of historical sites, stores and boutiques for shopping and souvenirs, and I even got a chance to watch a bull fight – or six)!

3 days was definitely not enough!

Paella

(They seriously love their Paella!  I don’t blame the, it’s pretty tasty!)

Paella

La Puerta Del Sol

I had a great time in this area.  There were scores of people walking around so the place was buzzing, plus there were tons of shops and places to eat.  It was a blast just walking around this place!

Puerto Del Sol

Puerto Del Sol2

La Plaza De Toros

Bullfighting is banned in Barcelona so we didn’t get a chance to watch a match, something that I’ve wanted to see since Spanish class in high school.

It’s fair game in Madrid though!

As someone outside of the Spanish culture, it was definitely shocking at first to witness the brutality of the matches.  The bulls get stabbed numerous times throughout the match and there was actually a person in our group who was in tears and had to leave the match early because she became emotional.

Sometimes, however, the bulls do get to exact some revenge.  2 of the first 3 matadors got gored and bloody by their bulls and their legs were gushing with blood.

Regardless of how you stand on the subject of bullfighting, there’s no denying the passion that the locals have for this event.

Toro

Toro2

1 Birthday, 4 Cities:  Heartbreak in San Francisco

As luck would have it, we left for home on my birthday, May 4th.  To be honest, an entire day of airports and flying wasn’t how I wanted to spend my birthday.

However, being able to travel (even though it was only for a few hours at a time) to 4 different cities on your birthday is a pretty rare experience.  So I at least took solace in the fact that this was probably something I’m not going to be able to do for a very long time – if ever!

We left Madrid at 6am and took a 2 hour flight to Germany.  I wasn’t sure when I would get a chance to return to Germany so, on my birthday, I decided to treat myself to a souvenir.

I walked around the airport shops and I narrowed down the choices between the following:

A Boot Mug…because, well…it’s fricken awesome!!

Boot Mug

And a set of 3 German beers

3 beers

I eventually decided on the 3 German beers because I would be drinking now instead of later.  Plus the beers also came with a large, Viking-style mug so it was the best of both worlds.

I didn’t want to, but I was prepared to drink all 3 beers on the 11-hour flight from Germany to San Francisco; not because I was that thirsty but because I was afraid of potential customs-issues with bringing beer from Germany into the US.

I was informed by the flight attendants, however,  that it wouldn’t be a problem as long as the beers are packaged with the original receipt.

WRONG!!

I already had a feeling that something was wrong in San Francisco because the TSA Agents set the beers aside and there was a crew of people, a meeting-of-the-minds gathering around my German beers.

I them what the previous flight attendants explained to me but sadly I was told that I was “mis-informed”.

Bringing the beers through checkpoint is not allowed and that I would have to check them in if I want to hold on to it.  I seriously considered it but the thought of paying an extra $50 to bring in some beers made it illogical.

Man, I was so bummed walking through the San Francisco Airport – I really wanted to try those beers!

Oh well, just another reason to go back and visit Germany I suppose lol!

Getting Back to Normal – Slowly but Surely

Thanks to the jet lag, it’s been a slow and grueling process getting back to my  normal routine, but I’m getting there.

I already received $1000+ worth of Paypal payments since returning and my 3 visits to Savers and Goodwill have been some of the best thrifting I’ve done all year – those items really accumulated since I was gone!

Return Thrift

I apologize if I haven’t responded to your questions/messages yet, I’m going through all of them now and I will definitely get back to you.

Again, it feels great to be back.  This trip was exactly what I needed and I feel re-charged and ready to crush it again on eBay!

Cheers and I’ll talk to you soon!

Meinard