We hopped on a quick, 45 minute flight to Berlin just a few days after our Isle of Skye adventure in Scotland. Despite living in Lux just 15 minutes from the border of Germany, we had yet to visit Berlin. To us, Berlin seemed like a city with a great weight to it, where the dark history might be palpable. Berlin is a city of duality. East and West. Royal palaces and seedy underground. Both gritty and grand. How do you explore a place without truly celebrating it? We flew north to find out.
We started what would become an 8 hour drive from Edinburgh to the Iske of Skye just after sunrise on a chilly, wet morning. The Isle of Skye is connected to Scotland by bridge about four hours from Edinburgh. It's known for its rugged landscapes, fishing villages and medieval castles. It's said that the Scottish Highlands have a mystical quality to them. We had to see for ourselves.
We traded in the lovely sun on the coast of Portugal from our last adventure for the raging winds in Scotland. After a long work day and happy hour drinks with Erin's colleagues, we hopped in the car and drove an hour and a half to Frankfurt Hahn airport in Germany - a warehouse in the German countryside. We landed at 11:30 pm UK time, so we quickly picked up our rental car and drove into town, planning to explore the city at first light.
Our love of Portugal has been a surprise to us. Ou previous visits to scooter the ins and outs of Lisbon and explore the romance of Porto blew us away. Before moving to Europe, Portugal had never been high on our list, but after spending weekends in Porto and Lisbon last year, we were hooked on the big sunny skies, shockingly good food and wine, rugged coastline and colorful, intricate architecture. We booked a 6 day open jaw trip, flying in to Lisbon and out of Porto, to fully explore the northern half of the country, with plans to explore the southern beaches in the summer.
After spending consecutive weekends exploring the markets and rooftops of Madrid and discovering Gaudi's timeless works Barcelona, we decided to keep it closer to home for a short weekend trip to Strasbourg, France. We headed out early on a frosty Saturday morning and drove south, cutting through Germany on our way down to the Alsace region.
One of our travel goals for 2018 is to explore major cities in Europe that have been on our to-do list for years, but we haven't had a chance to see yet. Continuing with our Spain theme from our most recent trip to Barcelona, we decided winter would be a great time to check out Madrid, where there are fewer crowds than in the summer but the weather is still sunny. On a Friday afternoon, we hopped on a direct flight from Lux and landed in Madrid by dinnertime.
After our crazy holiday travel schedule, we returned to cold and grey Luxembourg from Icelend and resumed our normal schedule. After three weeks of braving the chilly, wet weather, we decided to head to sunny Barcelona for a 5-day respite. We flew out of Luxembourg on a Wednesday afternoon, and arrived at our apartment in the Eixample district in the early evening.
After celebrating the new year in the Bahamas, we selected a diametrically opposed climate - Icelandic winter - in what would be a whirlwind trip along the southern coast of the wintry isle. In January, the sun rises just slightly over the horizon at around 10:30 am and dips back down just after 3 pm, creating a sense of perpetual sunset, We flew overnight from Tampa airport, and, due to our change of flights at the last-minute, we were stuck in different rows in the back of the plane on a very bumpy flight into Keflavik Airport. We touched down at 7am, picked up our rental car and arrived at the Blue Lagoon for opening at 8am in the pitch blackness.
After a few days back in the USA for Christmas, we decided to escape the Disney crowds in Orlando by flying to the Bahamas out-islands to celebrate the new year. It marked our first visit back in the States after moving to Lux 2 years ago. We joined up with Avery and Cindy in Orlando and then drove on Florida's road-rage highways to Miami before our flight the following morning. We planned to have a chic night in South Beach but switched to a more low key afternoon enjoying acai bowls on the beach, followed by dinner at Nobu, and a restless night in a hotel shared with Erin's mom and sister.
After spending nearly two weeks in Vietnam, we felt lost in time. We spent our days rotating between winding around the maze-like cacophony in the old town of Hanoi, and trekking the countryside. We didn't watch any tv or interact with technology much beyond our cameras, and we ate local street foods from simple roadside stalls and restaurants with no electricity or modern facilities. Juxtaposed with our Vietnam adventure which cut out many of the comforts of western culture, our journey to the ultra-modern city of Tokyo was like a trip back to the future.
Expat Adventure Blog