Barcelona

In the heart of Catalunya

May I suggest one of my favorite books: “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This is an enchanting book I read years ago, taking place in none other than Barcelona. It takes place in 1945; the protagonist is a young man named Daniel who takes you on a thrilling adventure throughout the city on his quest to solve a mystery. The author’s descriptions of the city were so intoxicating that I couldn’t wait to visit someday. [Read More]

Southern Spain

Please sir, may I have some Moor?

Ryan and I left lovely Porto and headed for southern Spain. Luckily for this portion of our trip my brother, Grant, and his girlfriend, Lili, came to visit! We met in Malaga, rented a car, and drove to Granada. Granada Granada is a small city located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range (not to be confused with the Sierra Nevada in California) which has been heavily influenced by the Moors, and is home to the famous Alhambra. [Read More]

Porto

Drinking port in Porto, Portugal, near the port

Porto was a mere three hour train ride north of Lisbon, but the much colder weather we encountered felt more Baltic than Mediterranean. It was smaller and gave us a cozier vibe. Just like Lisbon, we had no problem communicating in English here and quickly established a favorite coffee shop that wasn’t far from our Airbnb. On the first day of good weather, we utilized our time by exploring Porto’s namesake port tasting- more specifically, at Vasques De Carvalho. [Read More]

Lisbon and Sintra

Black and White and Colorful All Over

Rather than risking another unpleasant night train all the way from France to Portugal, we opted to take a cheap RyanAir flight from Marseilles to Lisbon. After grabbing a bite to eat and settling in at our Airbnb, we busted out the Rick Steves Europe app, and began the audio tour for Lisbon. It began at the enormous Praça do Comércio... ...and continued along a scenic pedestrian path through the middle of the city. [Read More]

Trading One Riviera for Another

A Nice Time in Nice

After spending over a month in Italy, it was finally time to go. We boarded the train from Genoa and started making our way along the coast into France- specifically the French Riviera. Nice We arrived in Nice in the late afternoon and checked into our new Airbnb a block away from the train station. Unfortunately it was raining as we arrived, and continued to do so for the remainder of the day. [Read More]

The Colors of Liguria

Primarily green- it's all about the pesto

Leaving Amalfi The day prior to us leaving the Amalfi Coast was the final day the ferry to Salerno would be operating earlier than 10:00 AM. This was very unfortunate for us because it meant we’d have to take a bus to Salerno in order to catch our 10:00 AM train. Up to this point, we had managed to avoid taking the bus during our time in Amalfi, save one reasonably unpleasant experience. [Read More]

The Amalfi Coast

Sunshine and Lemon Groves

We took our second (and mercifully last) night train from Siracusa to Salerno- ending up with not much more sleep than our first time, but thankfully there was running water and electricity this time around. Once in Salerno, we boarded the ferry to Amalfi. We spent the better part of the day exploring the town of Amalfi, with a brief visit to Atrani- a much smaller and more relaxed version of Amalfi. [Read More]

Sicilia

Land of Granita and Mandarinetto

We left Arezzo by train at 8:30 AM to Rome, dropped off our bags, explored Rome all day (by walking over 18 miles), then hopped on the night train bound for Sicily at 11:00 PM. Yes, you read that right: you can take a train to the ISLAND of Sicily. There are no bridges from the mainland. The train gets taken apart, car by car, and loaded onto a ferry for a short 50 minute boat ride, to then be reassembled onto the other side. [Read More]