I've been working very hard these past few months. In fact, there have been weeks that I did not see the sunshine. I'm not kidding. Producing my Healthy Whole Grains class has been extremely time-consuming (on top of running the blog network and everything else).
My husband, Seth, has been working hard, too. And having a 5-year-old leaves you very little downtime.
Off to Portugal and Spain
It's time for a vacation! We are taking Kate to New York to stay with her grandparents for a few weeks and we are headed to Europe for a romantic two-week trip to Portugal and Spain. We love our daughter, but there are times that you need to recharge and have time to yourselves.
Last year we left Kate with Bubbe and Papa and went to Amsterdam for two weeks. Seth and I have both been to Amsterdam (he typically goes twice a year for work) and we love it. This year, I decided I wanted to go somewhere I hadn't been before.
I've heard so many great things about Portugal. I've been to Barcelona in Spain before (highly recommended) but I've never been to Seville. My well-traveled sister told me once that Seville is her favorite city in Spain, so I've always wanted to go. Seth has never been to Spain or Portugal, so he's excited about both places.
And, of course, I'm crazy about the food. (Look for my recipe for Portuguese shellfish stew, mariscada, coming later this week.)
Lisbon, Portugal – We'll stay in Lisbon for 3 nights. Seth and I are meeting in Lisbon this week (I'm flying from New York, after dropping off Kate, and Seth is flying from Amsterdam, where he is currently working). I booked a room on my Starwood points at the Sheraton so we have someplace cushy to land and recover from jet lag.
Lisbon is supposed to be the San Francisco of Europe. Considering how much I adore San Francisco, I know I'm going to love it. We plan to do a walking tour, check out a fado performance, ride the cable cars, and make a day trip to Sintra, which is supposed to be beautiful.
The Algarve, Portugal – On day 4, we will grab some coffee and breakfast, and then rent a car and drive down to the coast. Not sure where we're going to stay yet. Most likely, we will drive down and cruise around until we find a town we like. We'll probably stay in a “quarto” — there are many people in the Algarve who rent out private apartments near the beach. We'll stay 3 nights in the Algarve.
Seville, Spain – On day 7 of our trip, we will drive a few hours to Seville. Again, not sure where we're staying yet. I'm still researching. If you have any good suggestions, please post below. We'll stay in Seville for 4 nights.
I'm not sure what all we will see or do in Seville, but I know I want to go to see the cathedrals.
Évora, Portugal – On day 11, we drive to Évora in Portugal. We're staying for 3 nights at a relaxed bed and breakfast. We'll see some of the ruins, but we also plan to do a whole lot of nothing in Évora. If you pack too much sightseeing and too many busybee activities on your vacation, you never get a chance to do what you set out to do in the first place — relax!
Lisbon, Portugal – On day 14, we drive back to Lisbon, return the car, and stay one more night at the Sheraton. We'll have a leisurely dinner and get up the next morning to fly back to NYC.
What I’m Looking Forward To in Portugal and Spain
Seafood – Seafood in Portugal is supposed to be phenomenal. I'll take lots of pictures and try to get my hands on recipes so I can share them with you all.
Sunshine – I've spent the past few years working my a ton of hours in front of the computer. This white girl really needs a tan. Not to mention a vitamin D boost. I'm looking forward to sun, sand, and fresh air.
Silencio – I plan to do a lot of sleeping, lounging, lying around in the sun, reading, and just doing nothing.
Spirits – Spain and Portugal are known for a wide selection of wine, port, and sherry. And it's a lot cheaper there than say, France.
Do you guys have any other suggestions of what we should do while in the cities we are visiting in Portugal and Spain? Please share your travel tips below. I'd especially love to hear your restaurant recommendations.
Photo credits: Thanks to Flickr for so many great images. Please click on the individual photos for photo credits.