train travel

èze, france

èze, france

Èze was our fourth stop as we took the train along the French coast from town to town all day.  The train station is located near the coast, but the town itself sits high up on a hill, and is best reached by car or by bus (some kind of wheeled transport), or for the hearty, by foot.  I don't know if we're necessarily hearty, but we are frugal, so we took the Nietzche path all the way to the top, and I believe it took us around an hour.  

ventimiglia, italy

ventimiglia, italy

When I was deciding which towns to visit along the French coast on the day that we planned to make a loop from Nice to Menton and back (and stopping in lots of places along the way), it didn't even cross my mind to go to Italy.  I guess if I had really thought about it, I knew that Italy was nearby, and we could theoretically go, but I don't think I realized we were really that close, so when I read some blogs suggesting that visitors go just to say they'd been (if they never had before) or to stop by just for the pasta, my interest was slightly piqued, if only just for the second reason (carbs - they always get me).  

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 :)

valencia, spain

valencia, spain

For the last leg of our train trip (see our first stop in Zaragoza here and the middle - and longest bit - in Barcelona here) we made a day and a half long stop in Valencia, Spain's third largest city.  Now, I have to say that I wasn't all that sure what to expect for our time in Valencia.  A few (Spaniards) had given me dismal reviews of the city ("It's like the Jersey Shore of Spain - I hate it!") but foreigners we knew who had visited seemed to really like it.  Nevertheless, I tried to keep an open mind because I have a thing for places along the sea and I was also particularly stoked to visit the City of Arts & Sciences.  So, without further ado...another riveting blow by blow of how we spent our time in yet another pretty European city!

barcelona, spain

barcelona, spain

After not having visited Barcelona (while living in Spain) long enough for it to get embarrassing, we finally made it there!  It was getting to the point where at least two people said something to me along the lines of, "You know, Barcelona is somewhere you really should visit...it's kind of a big deal to Spain...and the world...it would be a shame to miss out seeing how close you are in Madrid...etc etc," and other people just raised their eyebrows and thought it when we told them how long we'd been here AND hadn't made it to B-Town.  So, like I mentioned in our Zaragoza post (see it here!), we snagged some fancy Black Friday train deals and made our way to Madrid's more-visited, more-laidback stepsister, Barcelona.  

zaragoza, spain

zaragoza, spain

At the beginning of December we took advantage of a four day weekend (Thursday - Sunday) as well as a holiday on the proceeding Tuesday of that week that we also had off.  We got brave and asked our schools if we could have the Wednesday off in between to make for six consecutive days off, and they said yes!  It was especially nice since we were only two weeks out from our two week Christmas break.

edinburgh, scotland

edinburgh, scotland

Our weekend in Edinburgh was really fun - there's so much to see and do in the historic, coastal capital of Scotland.  But before we get to all the good stuff, let me start with how we got to Edinburgh.  

venice, italy

venice, italy

It feels like it was almost another lifetime ago, but a month ago we were in Venice.  In my mind, I tried to set very low expectations for the city, as I feel like it's a place that's fairly hyped up and iconic.  I feel like I'm almost always disappointed when I have high expectations, so I kept them low, and despite the freezing cold temperatures, Venice was amazing.