In 2016 we did a little bit of traveling and each time we take a trip it just propels our desire to see more of the world! We’ve got the travel bug! Back in August of 2015 we bought tickets to go to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, but after learning about the Zika virus and really thinking about its potential affect on our health, we decided to choose another destination for our summer trip. It was a very difficult decision and we were pretty sad at first, but we felt it was what was best for us so we did not waffle. We researched 6 different countries, finally deciding on Portugal and Morocco. We booked plane tickets to Madrid, Spain on June 29th!
There were so many things we wanted to do in both countries we figured the only way we could see and do all that we wanted to do in the limited time frame we had was to schedule ourselves out the wazoo… and boy we were booked solid for those 16 days!
Our tentative itinerary for the trip looked like this:
August 13 – Arrive in Porto, Portugal around 2:00pm
Spend day/evening in Porto
August 14 – Spend half day in Porto
Take train to Lisbon 2pm-7pm
Sleep in Lisbon
August 15 – Spend day in Lisbon/sleep in Lisbon Air bnb
August 16 – Take train to Sintra: 1 1/2 hour ride
Spend day in Sintra/Take train to Lagos
Sleep in Lagos, Portugal
August 17 – Spend day & night in Lagos
August 18 – Spend 1/2 day in Lagos/Take Train back to Lisbon
Fly from Lisbon to Tangier, Morocco (Arrive at 11:30pm)
Taxi to Tangier; Sleep in Tangier
August 19 – Take bus to Chefchaouen (2.5 hour bus ride)
Spend day in Chefchaouen
Take bus to Bridge of the Gods (need 6 hours there)
Sleep in Chefchaouen
August 20 – Take bus to Fes/Sleep in Fes
August 21 – Spend day in Fes? Bus/Taxi to Volubilis (Roman ruins)
August 22 – Desert tour? 2 days
August 23 – Desert tour – Sleep in Sahara Desert
August 24-25 – Marrakech/Sleep in Marrakech
August 26 – Fly to Madrid/Sleep in Madrid
August 27 – Madrid LDS Temple – Appt. @ 10:00am
Spend day in Madrid
August 28 – Sleep @ Madrid Airport – Fly out @ 3:15am
We flew out of Salt Lake City, UT on August 13; arriving at our boarding gate around 5:40am. We were suppose to fly Salt Lake to San Francisco – San Francisco to Dallas Fort Worth, TX – Dallas to Madrid, Spain – Madrid to Porto, Portugal…
In Dallas we boarded the plane and sat on the runway for 2 hours while we waited for a lightening storm to pass. Rob and I literally watched a full movie while we waited. I said a silent prayer, and hoped we would take off soon. Minutes after I finished my prayer the pilot announced that we had been cleared for take-off! Wahoo!
Rob surprised me and flew us business class on all three of our flights — my very first time flying first/business class and holy smokes did they spoil us! We’re talking hot towels, warm nuts, fruit, orange juice, cheesy omelettes w/red potato wedges and sausage, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, hot fudge sundaes, and a whole bunch of other tasty treats… pampering to the MAX! I probably gained 5 pounds during the course of our flights, but boy everything was delicious! Every bite was worth it!
When we landed in Madrid, since our flight leaving Dallas was delayed 2 hours, we ended up missing our flight to Porto, Portugal. That was a big bummer because there were no other flights to Porto that we could afford that night and if we didn’t fly to Porto until the next day (Sunday) we would have only had a few hours there. We had already booked a place to stay in Lisbon for Sunday night, so we decided to stay in Madrid for the night and fly to Lisbon the next day. We booked a flight from Madrid to Lisbon on Iberia for Sunday morning.
We sat in the airport for over two hours waiting for hosts to respond to our Air bnb requests and finally booked an instant book… or so we thought. We took a bus to Lavapies, where we would be staying for the night and then ended up waiting for another hour and a half at a nearby, not so pretty, park with a few trees and benches, because the instant book person took that long to respond to our request. We were both hot and exhausted. I fell asleep on the park bench while we waited. Rob was less than thrilled.
A nice Peruvian man let us into our room to drop off our bags and then walked us down the street and bought us drinks and asked us to wait another hour while he cleaned the room. I got a water and Rob got a Coke. Lots of sitting and waiting today. And we learned that in Spain they really do take siestas (naps) daily from about 2-5 and so everything is closed during that time. They even post signs on restaurants saying they are on vacation.
The room was very hot. No air conditioning and it was mid-August so we were pretty much sweating everywhere we went. That night we went out in search of a place to eat and walked past a bunch of people covered in colored chalk. We walked the direction they were coming from and found a huge concert going on in another nearby park. The music was very entertaining and it was fun to watch the people having such a great time throwing chalk! I loved it!
We found a small restaurant not far from our Air bnb and ordered a few different “tapas” for dinner. We ordered water to drink, and forgot to ask for it “on tap” so we ended up paying for a glass bottle of water, which wasn’t enough for the two of us in our fatigued state. Water is not complementary in Europe, unless you ask for it “on tap”.
We left the restaurant hungry, but it was so late and we were so exhausted we didn’t care to look for anything else. It was extremely hot when we returned to our little un-air conditioned room. We crawled the ladder up into our loft bed and fell asleep within seconds. The time change is going to kill us, but we made it to Europe! Rob’s first time in Europe!