In the midst of an historic heat wave, we headed to London for a four-day work trip, which consisted largely of practicing even hotter hot yoga, consuming various Pret a Manger and Marks & Spencer takeaway items in our hotel bed and hanging out with friends in too loud but very chic London hotspots. Once we finished up our short work week, we woke up at 3am on a Thursday with a plan to take the train from London Blackfriars to Gatwick ariport for a 6am flight to the Algarve region of Portugal.
Since moving to Europe, we've heard whispers about Formentera. Rumor had it, it was a hippie antidote to Ibiza, where Bob Dylan lived in a windmill in the 60s, where Bob Marley performed concerts and where pirates roamed before that, where the water is as bright and clear as the Maldives - a place where day-trippers come and go (emphasis on the go). It all sounded too good to be true. We decided to explore it ourselves, along with cousin Jake on his first trip abroad. Our love for the Balearic Islands is evident - as we got married in Majorca last year - so we eagerly hopped on a plane in Cologne, Germany and jetted to Ibiza - the jumping off point for our Formentera adventure.
Throughout our travels in Europe, we have developed a special connection with Spain. We first visited in 2008, starting in the north in San Sebastian and making our way south, hitting Barcelona, Valencia, Granada and Sevilla. After moving to Luxembourg, we continued our Spanish explorations every few months, and held our wedding in Majorca last summer. To continue getting to know the country more intimately, we jetted off for a 5-day weekend in the famed Costa del Sol.
To celebrate the Luxembourgish holiday of Whit Monday (we are still not clear on what this is), we decided to hightail it out of town and fly to Ischia, a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, just off of Naples. To make the most of our 4 day trip, we booked a 7am flight out of nearby Brussels, and woke up at 3am to drive a couple hours north to the airport.
Nearly 15 years ago, we had our first real international travel experience together while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Since then, Tuscany has always held a nostalgic place for us. For our first big trip of spring, we decided to do a roadtrip in Tuscany, to check out hill towns and some of the secondary cities in the region.
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.
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