train

A Return to Ávila, Spain

A Return to Ávila, Spain

As our remaining time in Spain quickly comes to a close, not only are we working to cross things off our ever-growing to-do list of cleaning and packing tasks, but I've also got a small but (equally?) important list of things I'd like to see and do one last time around Madrid.  One of those things was a day trip to Ávila, a small town northwest of Madrid that we visited during our first fall in Spain (November 2015, actually, which sounds like forever ago now!).  Three of the best day trips from Madrid are, in our opinion, Segovia, Toledo, and Ávila, and while we've been to the first two multiple times, for one reason or another, we'd never returned to Ávila.

hallstatt, austria

hallstatt, austria

Hallstatt was one of the places that I'd seen photos of online but never really thought we'd ever make it to.  It's not a big town by any stretch of the imagination (less than 1,000 people, I think), meaning it wouldn't be a destination for us in and of itself, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's a popular day trip from Salzburg.  Thus, when we decided to spend time in Salzburg over Christmas, we built in some time for checking out this tourist mecca.  

villefranche-sur-mer, france

villefranche-sur-mer, france

After our second night in Nice, we took the train from the center of the city to the first town on the coast in the direction of Italy: Villefranche-sur-Mer.  Armed with our favorite chocolate chip breadsticks from the day before, plus a few new bakery finds (when in France!), we were ready to hop from one coastal town to another all day long.  

monte carlo, monaco

monte carlo, monaco

We spent our first night in Nice (after sitting through hours of traffic to get to our Airbnb from nearby Antibes) and nixed our plan of driving to different little towns along the coast and instead decided to take the train to Monaco, see how long we wanted to spend there, and then weigh our options based on how our morning went.  

sintra, portugal

sintra, portugal

Going through the photos we took in Sintra was so fun, probably because we had an amazing time when we were actually in Sintra.  Seriously, the colors, the bright blue sky, the four unique locations we visited (plus the town itself at the end of the day) - it's maybe one of my favorite places we've ever been.  If you can manage to scroll through all of the photos I've included, I'll be impressed - my self-control was lacking as I chose pictures, just like it was when we were snapping photos left and right and up and down during our visit.  So, you've been warned, and proceed at your own risk (mainly the risk of wanting to get to Sintra ASAP, but whatever).

lisbon, portugal

lisbon, portugal

Last month we took advantage of a long weekend off work and headed next door to Portugal for three days.  We met at the airport after school on a Thursday evening, flew to Lisbon, and got to our Airbnb at a decent time - the flight from Madrid to Lisbon is only about an hour.  We'd been eager to see more of Portugal since our trip to Porto nearly a year and a half ago (it was our first trip after moving to Spain and we were full of wonder and awe - we're taking a weekend trip to Portugal!  What is life?!) and while Lisbon had honestly never really been at the top of my list, I figured, well, why not? 

rabat, morocco

rabat, morocco

After spending a day and a half in Fes (see more here), we took the train back to Rabat to finish out the last day and a half of our trip.  We opted for first-class tickets again (now, don't be thinking "OH who do they think they are now?!"  Refer back to our Fes post for our reasoning on that, but basically, it afforded us a bit more space and guaranteed seats for a few more euros...so we 'splurged.') and had another good experience.  Danny ended up sitting next to a (friendly, English-speaking) military cadet for a majority of the journey...and you'll see more of him before too long :)

fes, morocco

fes, morocco

As any good Everett trip begins, this trip was inspired by a Rick Steves show we watched about a year and a half ago, the one where Rick visits Gibraltar (a British Territory in the south of Spain) and then takes the ferry to Tangier (Morocco).  Excuse my general ignorance here, but at the time I was thinking...Morocco?  Africa?  So close to Spain?  I've never been one to dream of going to Africa, but what I was seeing of Morocco intrigued me.  This wasn't savannas and villages and giraffes (Ignorance, I know!  You were warned).  It looked more Middle Eastern in style, and all of a sudden, it was on my list.  While we lived in Spain, I had to visit Morocco.