Surprising Sintra

We weren’t planning to go to Sintra.  Actually we were planning to go and then we decided against it.  With 4 days to do something after the Algarve and already having been to Lisbon before, we had thought about Sintra.  But we heard there wasn’t much to do here that would take more than a day trip.  So we opted for Aveiro instead. We were wrong on both points. Continue reading

Exploring Old World Cappadocia

Cappadocia has a lot of history – thousands of years of it in fact!  There is so much to learn and to see and 3 days is really not enough to cover it all.  But we gave it a shot by setting out on an all day tour of Cappadocia.  The area of our tour centered around one particular area as the region of Cappadocia is actually quite large.  We stayed in the northeast corner which included Ürgüp, Avanos, Göreme and Uçhisar. Continue reading

North Wales: Llangollen

When we were looking for somewhere to stay in North Wales, we really weren’t sure where to start.  The guides that we read said to stay near Chester.  But when I started my search most places we wanted to visit took us closer to the coast or to Snowdonia.  We wanted to be able to visit castles near the border of England/Wales but to also head west towards Snowdonia and more north to the coast as well.  After some back and forth, we ended up in Llangollen. Continue reading

Bike Trip to Muiderslot Castle

With Josh out of commission the entire fall and most of the winter, we have really not done much as far as exploring our new “home” country.  Ok, we’ve done nothing.  A few trips into Amsterdam and that’s about it.  So now that spring is just about here, we’ve made it our goal to start taking some of that time on the weekend that was dedicated to Liam’s swimming (he’s now in private lessons) and use that to do some exploring.  Today’s subject:  Muiderslot Castle.

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Castles, Ghosts and a Mini Family Reunion – Weekend in Scotland

While trying to plan out the next year of travel, Josh had suggested a trip to Scotland.  I had been to Glasgow and done a tour of the Highlands, but I was hoping to get to Edinburgh before we head home to the States for good.  So this was a great opportunity for us to hit one more country over a long weekend.  Since the weather is not super fabulous any time of the year in Scotland, we chose to go over a long weekend at the end of Oct/start of November.  There were 3 things we wanted to do while visiting Scotland:  Stay in a castle, visit Stirling Castle (home of Braveheart and Robert the Bruce fame) and visit with our British cousins whom the kids had never met.
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Fun Surprises (and some disturbing ones) in Ghent

We decided when planning this trip that everywhere we wanted to go was within an easy train distance from Brussels.  And with little kids we didn’t want to be changing hotels every evening.  So with Brussels as our homebase, we decided we will spend one day in Brussels, one in Ghent and one day in Bruges – covering 3 of Belgium’s 4 cities (we won’t have enough time to make it to Antwerp) – our last day is a Sunday and since nothing will be likely open, we’ll just lay low around the area of our hotel til we have to leave for our flight. Continue reading

Beaching It

Yesterday we were all so exhausted from our 2 days of travel (and for myself and the kids, that was within 2 days of doing a trans Atlantic flight) we totally just laid back and had a spontaneous day of not doing a whole lot.  It was Sunday and it was strange to me that stores were actually open, unlike in Spain.  Though that could be because it’s now July and tourist season is here – I know in BCN a lot of stores in Placa Catalunya are open Continue reading

Road trip to Collioure, France!

As I mentioned in my last entry, we were supposed to rent a car last weekend and head up to France to this little seaside town called Collioure.  However, it was pouring rain last Sunday morning and so we decided to reschedule to this Sunday.  In the end, that Sunday was spectacularly gorgeous though I’d like to think it was raining in France so the 20 euro change fee for the car wouldn’t make me feel guilty about changing the date.  However, in the end, we made it there just the same, just a week later.  And it was worth the wait. Continue reading

Visitors!!! Becky and Ray come to visit!

One of the hardest parts of living abroad that I have found is how much we miss our family and friends.  We have a very close knit family on both sides and a great network of amazing and wonderful friends back home.  But being around 4000 miles away makes it tough to see people on a regular basis.  Last year we had just 3 visitors – it’s not exactly the cheapest place to visit (though I hope ALL of you know you are welcome ANY TIME!) and so we understand why we haven’t had a lot of people here.  So you can imagine how excited we were to have Becky and Ray come visit. Continue reading

A Quick Weekend in Lisbon, Portugal

The kids had a long weekend this weekend due to parent/teacher conferences so we decided to take the opportunity to start our crazy 6 months of travel in Lisbon, Portugal. Just a short 1 1/2 hour flight from Barcelona, it was easy to get to and we knew we could see a lot in just 2 1/2 days.  As I type this out I realized too late that I probably should have split this into at least two entries so I apologize in advance as this is a long one!!  But long with pictures, not words, I promise!

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