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Liberty in Lisbon (without kids!)

A trip to Lisbon in late April with my mother happened to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the peaceful end of Portugal’s military dictatorship, commemorated on the 25th of April. We noticed vibrant red flowers, specifically carnations, everywhere: in bouquets, attached to a lapel, tucked into a pocket, woven into a hairstyle. People’s faces […]

A Taste of Tenerife for Spring Break

It felt like Fallas in Valencia had barely passed before spring break (nearly a week and half holiday for Easter/Pascua) came upon us. Since we use school breaks to travel as much as possible, we were off again to explore a new destination, Tenerife, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, which was just a three-hour flight […]

Basque Country: Bilbao, San Sebastián, and More

Our “escape from Fallas” (Valencia’s epic but exhausting spring festival) brought us to explore northern Spain’s Basque Country, or País Vasco, for several days. We started in Bilbao, which boasts one of four Guggenheim museums in the world, a Frank Gehry-designed masterpiece with not a straight line to be found and which has transformed the […]

Catching Off-Season Vibes in the Costa Blanca

The Costa Blanca spans the middle of the eastern coast of Spain, from the beach towns of Dénia, Calpe, and Altea, past Alicante to the border of the Murcia province, beyond which begins the Costa Cálida in the southeast. Due to the seasonable weather for most of the year, the region is very popular for […]

Making the Most of a Weekend in Madrid

Monday was a new public holiday in Valencia for Saint Vicente Mártir so with school closed, we decided to spend the long weekend in Madrid. I really can’t imagine an easier way to travel. The train between Valencia and Madrid runs frequently and is just shy of two hours. Quiet, comfortable, reasonably priced, no delays […]

A Road Trip in Spain: Córdoba and Almodóvar del Río

On the road (and train line) between Madrid and Sevilla, Córdoba is an intriguing, small city with a notable history, with Roman, Moorish, Jewish, and Christian influences. If you’re going to visit Córdoba, it makes sense to couple it with other cities in the southern province of Spain, Andalusia, such as Sevilla and Granada. Otherwise […]

Relaxation, Sun, & Savasana in Sitges

Although Sitges is well-known as a beach town in Spain, it’s also an excellent option for a weekend getaway or an easy day-trip from Barcelona (a 30-minute ride from the main train station). As Sitges is a micro-climate, the weather is pleasant, sunny, and comfortable nearly year-round, except in the summer (similar to most areas […]

Taking It Easy in Turku, Finland

Our last stop in this summer’s extended travels was Turku, Finland’s oldest city and original capital, a two-hour drive west of Helsinki, and the gateway to the Finnish Archipelago with over 40,000 islands and islets dotted throughout this edge of the Baltic Sea. At this point in the trip we accurately predicted we’d be feeling […]

A Taste of the Nordic Life in Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki had been on our list to visit since our summer 2017 travels to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Although the city may not make the top list of visually compelling Nordic capitals (and unlike pretty much everywhere else we’ve been, it doesn’t have a traditional “Old Town” zone), we found many appealing qualities. It’s quite […]