When Thom and I left home three months ago I never planned to write about our travels. So even though I took my computer with me, I wanted complete freedom to take the summer off from writing if I didn’t feel I had anything to say or share. But if you’ve been following along then you know that several weeks after leaving home, I challenged myself to write a post that included a few photos and thoughts about our travels up to that point. Ten posts later, we finally wrap up our trip spending both a week in Porto and a week in Lisbon, Portugal. Our time in both locations gave us an opportunity to settle into each city and reflect on our trip. And as usual when our travels draw to a close, we began to look forward to returning to our lives back home. [Read more…]
One of the larger reasons Thom and I enjoy traveling in the summer is to escape the heat of our desert home in Southern California. We call ourselves “weather chasers” because we tend to prefer sunny, but temperate, climates. This summer was no exception and we’ve been very fortunate during our travels. Unfortunately, after leaving the Sintra near the coast of Portugal we headed inland to Tomar. And yes it got hot! Not as hot as back home, but hot enough to make us adjust our plans accordingly. Of course, one thing that is an essential item to take along when taking any adventure is flexibility along the remembrance that we are fortunate to be able to travel in the first place. So yes, we’ve still enjoyed our time in spite of soaring temperatures across Europe this July. [Read more…]
Portugal has been on my short list of travel for several years now. I kept reading about and hearing from others about how many people love it and plan to retire here in the future. Not just those from the U.S. either. It is popular with many expats from other parts of Europe as well. Why? The weather, the ocean, the culture, the people and the food. Obviously we had to check it out. We flew from Rome and landed in Lisbon. There we rented a car and headed south to the region known as the Algarve. Thankfully, after the heat in Rome, the weather was clear and cool. [Read more…]
After spending time on the Amalfi Coast it was time to head inland to visit our good friend Cheryl Morgan. Cheryl fell in love with Italy years ago and it was always her dream to buy a home there and do her version of Under The Tuscan Sun. So about four or five years ago, during one of her visits, she bought a house near a lake southeast of Rome in a little town named Posta Fibreno. Not only did she turn her new home into a lovely retreat, two years ago she bought another house nearby. When we heard she was remodeling it and making it available to guests, we figured it was time for us to visit. And it was just the sanctuary we needed for a few days. [Read more…]
Back when Thom and I were deciding where to go on our European Adventure I knew it was time to visit the east coast of Southern Italy. Like most people, I have seen photos of the Amalfi Coast for as far back as I can remember. What I had never really thought or read about was the coast below the Amalfi Peninsula. Plus when I heard that many Italians choose that area of their country to vacation to (and avoid the crowds of Amalfi) I figured it would be somewhere to explore. Plus, because the Amalfi Coast is so popular, it is less expensive to both stay and eat in locations further south. I found a vacation home that looked great and off we went through mountains and tiny Italian villages to the little town of Maratea. [Read more…]
The next step of our adventure takes us to Southern Italy. We loved our previous trip to Northern Italy a number of years ago, but had never ventured south of Rome. So, with a desire to experience somewhere new, I started researching the area and decided there was plenty to see. Ever heard of Puglia? Neither had I. But our first stop was flying into Bari, Italy which lies on the east coast of the region. As soon as we landed, we picked up our rental car and headed out of the city to our farm-stay near Locorotondo. Of course, our plane was late, and picking up a brand-new rental car, navigating an unfamiliar city, and then driving tiny country roads as night drew near to a new destination is just more of the adventure. [Read more…]
Our final destination in Spain is Seville. There is a great deal written about how wonderful the city is in books and on the internet so I decided we should stay here for a week. I found another great apartment in a central location and after visiting Ronda we drove our car into town (only getting lost once or twice) and turned it into the rental agency. All good. Once settled in we headed out to explore. Surprisingly because it doesn’t get dark there until after 10:00 p.m., it seems pretty natural to wait until 7:00-8:00 to eat. That of course is still early for Spaniards who typically wait until 10:00 to eat, but it worked just fine for us. We relaxed the first day in town (did some laundry) and prepared for our tour of the Real Alcazar–The Royal Palace–the following day. [Read more…]
After a great visit in Granada, Spain we rented a car and headed into the countryside. Our destination was a small town named Ronda which is considered one of the “white villages” of Andalucia, Spain. It is a lovely little town. (little compared to the other cities we visited) and a welcome relief from the crowds. As with our other stays, we checked into our vacation rental apartment and walked to dinner. We wanted to get to bed early in order to get a good night’s sleep before tackling our big adventure the next day–El Caminto del Rey.
One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Spain was to experience Andalucía in the Southern part of the country. For whatever reason I felt drawn to the culture and landscape. Past lives? Who knows? But after experiencing Barcelona we took the train to Cordoba before taking another train to Granada. The highlight there, at least in my opinion, is the Alhambra. This palace and former fortress is considered to be one of the most famous examples of Islamic architecture and one of the best-preserved palaces of the historic Islamic world. Plus, it contains notable examples of Spanish Renaissance design. Sitting boldly on a hill overlooking Granada, it is a must see when visiting. And I purposely selected a vacation rental that provided a view.
In 2019 I began a dream of traveling to Spain and Portugal for the first time. I’ve been fortunate to travel to Europe several times in the past but have never journeyed to either of those countries. I did my research, planned my itinerary, made all my plane and train reservations, and carefully selected all the places we would be staying. Then one month before we were set to leave, COVID hit. Fortunately, every single one of my reservations were refunded. Then as 2022 approached my dream began to return—but this time the plan is for an even longer trip. After all, if 2020 taught us nothing else, it was that time is precious and that it is SMART to seize every opportunity to do those things we have always longed to do. [Read more…]