Barcelona

In the heart of Catalunya

May I suggest one of my favorite books: “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n. 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]

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]

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]

Toscana for Twenty Sunrises

Taking in the beauty, history, and gelato

(This article was cowritten, so paragraphs beginning with “M” were written by Mollie and ones beginning with “R” were written by Ryan) M - After our sprint through Scotland, France, and Switzerland, we knew we needed to land somewhere for a good long while. This fit into our plan of setting up a home base in Tuscany, as we had fallen in love with Italy when we visited two years prior. [Read More]

A Quick Dash Through Switzerland

See what you can before you empty your bank account

Initially we wanted to spend a week or more in Switzerland, we’d heard amazing things. However, our plans quickly changed as we began looking into accommodations and the corresponding nightly rates. We started stripping down our trip, trying to maximize what we thought would be highlights, and trying to stay in places that wouldn’t damage our wallet too badly. Ultimately, after a few days in Paris, we headed into Switzerland via Basel (the northwest corner of the country) and went directly to… [Read More]

Paris, je t'aime

Wandering the City of Light

So I have to admit, I was terrified of going to France. I had been there before- one week in high school, on an organized tour, and I LOVED it. However, all you hear is how the French, especially Parisians, despise Americans and will pretend not to understand English. Since Ryan’s language skills only helps us in Spanish-speaking countries, I knew it was all on my high school French getting us by in France. [Read More]

The Scottish Highlands

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North...

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love. Robert Burns (Map from [Lonely Planet](https://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/europe/scotland/)) The Highlands are the part of Scotland generally referring to the area North of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Our trip took us from Edinburg, to Glasgow, to Lull, to Oban, to Skye, to Inverness, and then to Stirling to finish it up. [Read More]

Glasgow

A modern Scotland

I seem to have a problem- everywhere we go, I decide I could live there. This rule held up in Glasgow! It is such a vibrant city, full of activity; and has such nice people. It was seriously quite amazing how open and friendly people were. We were taking a selfie outside of a restaurant and a security guard offered to take the picture for us. He then took multiple pictures, asked where we were visiting from, then gave us a bunch of information about the area and recommended going around the corner to Ashton Lane, where the picture above was taken. [Read More]