Friday, December 19, 2014

Countdown: #5 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Playa Malvarossa Beach, Valencia, Spain

#5. Playa Malvarossa Beach, Valencia

(Our original blog: http://www.chuckandlori.com/2014/07/playa-malvarrosa-beach-valencia-spain.html)

We spent the entire month of July in Valencia, and at least a couple of times a week we hopped on the tram and headed out to Playa Malvarossa, the ultra-wide, miles-long beach that stretches north from Valencia's port. We'd rent two chairs and an umbrella for €12 and we'd spend the whole day sunning, people-watching, cooling off in the Mediterranean, sipping cerveza, reading, watching the cruise ships come and go, doing a little work or writing, and generally enjoying the sea, sun, and sand. After a day at the beach, we'd stop in for tapas and sangria at one of the many bars or restaurants along the beach. It was that time on Valencia's beach that made us wonder why we've spent so much of our lives apart, chasing careers, and it was on that beach that we decided we weren't going to do that anymore.

Our Playa Malvarossa Time Lapse on YouTube

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Countdown: #6 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Bodrum Blue Cruise

#6. Bodrum Blue Cruise

(Our original blogs: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Cast of Characters)

We'll probably always think of our Turkish Aegean cruise as our "vacation" in 2014. That we consider this week on a sailing gullet in the Eastern Mediterranean as "time off" isn't ironic, but a reflection that we're not retired: we actually work while we travel. We call it a "location independent" lifestyle.

But the week we were on our Turkish cruise, we didn't work. Not much, anyway (for Chuck, writing just doesn't feel like work). There was the practicality that we'd be out on the Gulf of Gokova, and wouldn't have cellular service (we assumed: in reality, and very surprisingly, we had service much of the time). It was simply a great barefoot cruise experience: beautiful water and coastline, great company and new friends, fantastic Turkish cuisine. We're already considering returning next year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Countdown: #7 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Quinta dos Tres Rios, Winery with B&B

#7. Quinta dos Tres Rios

(Our original blog: http://www.chuckandlori.com/2014/06/the-quinta-experience-of-portugal.html)

Sometimes you try something and you just get really, really lucky. Perhaps that was the case with our first quinta experience in Portugal, but we never look gift horses in the mouth (because gift horses bite). Our time at Quinta dos Tres Rios in Portugal's northern Dao region wine country was the absolute perfect way to kick off our 6-month European adventure and to convince us that this full-time travel lifestyle was for us. Hugh and Jane run the kind of B&B that makes you wonder why it is you're leaving. And Hugh makes such a fine wine that you'll regret not being able to buy it from your local wine store when you get home. We can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Countdown: #8 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - The Royal Palace, Madrid, Spain

#8. Royal Palace, Madrid

(Original Blog: http://www.chuckandlori.com/2014/07/madrids-royal-palace-better-than.html)

One of the truly great things about travel is making surprising discoveries. Nobody ever told us, "Go to the Royal Palace in Madrid: you'll be more impressed with it than Versailles." That's a pretty bold statement, but it's how we felt. We loved the Spanish Royal Palace, and it was such a delightful surprise we wonder why it isn't more touted. But then again, part of what made it so great was that it wasn't overrun with tourists like Versailles can be. But don't think for a second we only liked Spain's Royal Palace because it's less-trafficked. We liked Spain's Royal Palace because it was so genuinely opulent and actually still used by the Spanish monarchy. And don't make the mistake we almost made and consider it an optional sight to see: put Spain's Royal Palace at the top of your list when visiting Madrid.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Countdown: #9 2014 European Experience

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Flamenco in Valencia, Spain

#9. Flamenco in Valencia, Spain

(Original Blog: http://www.chuckandlori.com/2014/07/flamenco-in-valencia.html)

It's sultry and mysterious, it's emotional and intense, and it's exotic and beautiful. I remember thinking (and commenting) that our dinner and flamenco show in Valencia was the first time this trip that I thought we had truly experienced Spain, and that was after almost a month spent in the country. We went one evening to La Buleria. After a delicious dinner of paella and red wine, we were treated to the flamenco tableau, from the moorish-influenced music to the Romani-style dance. It will forever be one of our most memorable experiences, and we think a visit to Spain--particularly southern Spain--is incomplete without a Flamenco performance.

Our Flamenco Video on YouTube