Ciao de Portugal!
Our trip has been incredible so far, which you’ve probably picked up on if you follow me on social media. We’ve hit the following places:
… there’s been a lot of walking, bike riding, discovering, eating, and drinking!
Here are some observations I’ve had during our time thus far:
Europe is beautiful
There are so many gorgeous sights regardless if you’re in large cities or small towns. We’ve been so tempted to take endless pictures and videos…we’re going to have quite an album at the end of our long trip! Though we’ve both traveled Europe previously, it seems that we appreciate the beauty now more than ever.
There’s a lot of bread
And a lot of it is really high quality…ah the croissants and baguettes in Paris!) in the countries we’ve hit so far and unfortunately not a ton of salads and veggies! I know that’ll change as we travel to some other places, but there’s bread with nearly every meal. And, a salad is hard to find but the ones we’ve had have been really good.
The food is wonderful
Despite the lack of salad and veggie availability (by my American standards), the food has been absolutely delish. Great meats, cheeses, seafood, sauces, fruits, and a few salads. Sometimes we’re not sure what we’ve ordered or what exactly we’re having, but rarely are we disappointed. I loooove this part of traveling and we’re doing our best to try the local dishes.
Trains put us right to sleep
It’s crazy how early in the train ride, regardless of time of day (or how much sleep we’ve gotten the night before), we are drowsy and then out. I rarely nap at home, but there’s something about trains that lulls us to sleep unlike buses, cars, or planes.
Gyms are a rare sight
We’ve seen only a handful of gyms and just one was open, a Pilates studio. So workouts have consisted of walking long distances with our heavy packs, a few runs, lots of bike riding, resistance bands, and hooking the TRX suspension system to trees or lampposts. I’ve just accepted the fact that things will be much different than being home in the states, and that’s ok! We’re making it work when we can.
Using a bikeshare is the way to go. We have done it in almost every city and it’s such an awesome way to get around, be outside, and get some exercise too! City-sponsored bikeshare programs are typically cheaper than private rentals, and you can return them at various docking stations, regardless of where you picked them up. We even found some electric bikes that helped us climb a steep path that would have been impossible to ride up on regular bicycles. Not all cities are bike friendly and some are just too busy, but it really is a pleasant way to explore if it’s the right situation. Makes me feel like a kid again!
Flexibility is key
We encountered cancelled trains, inclement weather, full hotels and hostels, unexpected and counterintuitive train routes…but the key is to just roll with the punches and find another solution. It all works out in the end!
Soak it up
Europeans are notorious for taking their time to enjoy, not rushing, spending time with each other, and doing things they love. We have seen so much of this and it’s an important lesson. I struggle with this at times but Chase is good about reminding me!
That’s it for now…what are some things you’ve experienced during your travels, either near or far?
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Laissez les bons temps roulez et bonne santé,
Photo credit: my handsome husband Chase O’Mahoney
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