2018 Destinations

Austria & Germany, December 2018: Skiing In The Alps

We fell in love with skiing when we learned in January and March 2018 and had been looking forward to getting back on the mountain for winter 2018/19. Having only spent 4 total days on the slopes last winter, we were able to dedicate 9 total days to skiing across two trips: one to Mittenwald, Germany during Christmas (3 days of skiing out of a 5-day trip) and another back to Alpbach, Austria in January (6 days of skiing out of an 8-day trip).

Austria & Germany, December 2018: Skiing In The Alps

France & Monaco, September 2018: The French Riviera (Nice)

The Nice post from our first visit covers a lot, so we will only note things in this post that we didn’t do last time. Our home this time around was this stylish Airbnb on Rue du Marché.

We came to Nice primarily for beach time, so we set up camp at beach club Opéra Plage for most of our only full day. Between dips in the sea and naps in the sun, we ate lunch (caprese salad) and made friends with a very sociable Corgi (we named him Benoît). Sadly, our last swim of the day was also our last swim of the summer.

France & Monaco, September 2018: The French Riviera (Nice)

France & Monaco, September 2018: The French Riviera (Monaco)

With summer coming to a close, we wanted to have one last long weekend of sun and sea. Having visited Nice in 2015, it seemed a fitting place to host us, as we could focus on relaxing over sightseeing. That said, one regret from our visit a few years ago was not taking a day trip to Monaco. So with our Nice Airbnb check-in not until the late afternoon on our first day, we transferred directly from the airport to Monaco (using the 110 Express bus) to spend a few hours in the city-state.

France & Monaco, September 2018: The French Riviera (Monaco)

Sweden, August 2018: Stockholm & The Archipelago Video Moments

As we have been recapping, in early August we decided to head to Sweden for the first time for a four day weekend. While basing ourselves in Nacka in the Stockholm Archipelago, we explored the surrounding islands scattered along the coast as well as making time to venture into the city. The trip was relaxing, low key, and quietly shuffled its way into one of our favorite places we have ever been. Sweden now holds a very special place in our hearts and we hope to make it back there many times throughout our lives!

Sweden, August 2018: Stockholm & The Archipelago Video Moments

Sweden, August 2018: The Stockholm Archipelago

Stockholm’s rocky, forested archipelago (which reminded us a lot of coastal Maine) is an enchanting escape from the city. We stayed in a cottage on the water in Nacka, only a 20-minute drive to the city but with the whole archipelago at our fingertips. Ferries abound in this part of the country, but you can cover a lot of area with a car thanks to an interconnected system of bridges.

Sweden, August 2018: The Stockholm Archipelago

Sweden, August 2018: Stockholm

Britt’s ancestry is quite mixed, but she’s always identified most with her Swedish and Irish roots. After visiting Ireland for the first time last year, we thought we’d round it out by visiting Sweden this time around. Stockholm’s rocky and forested archipelago was our main target, but we bookended our visit with days in Sweden’s pristine capital.

Sweden, August 2018: Stockholm

Italy, June 2018: Lake Como & Lake Garda Video Moments

For the second part of our nine day trip in Northern Italy, we made our way to Lake Como. After stopping in Limone Sul Garda along the way to get our first taste of the Italian lake life, we arrived in our home base of Varenna on Lake Como. Hiking up into the lake-side mountains and hopping around the coastal towns via the ferry, made for a peaceful and connected trip. And, we can't speak highly enough of Varenna. The small town offered us a serene setting and a quiet escape to come back to each day. Lake Como was everything we thought it would be and more!

Italy, June 2018: Lake Como & Lake Garda Video Moments

Italy, June 2018: The Dolomites Video Moments

Our time in the Dolomites kicked off our nine day trip to Northern Italy. Escaping to the mountains has become more important to us with each year we continue to live in a city. It is always a welcomed and needed—to slow down, unwind, and reflect. We enjoyed exploring a few of the towns—Kastelruth and Brixen—in between hiking up around the Seiser Alm. The rolling hills and wild flowers of the high alpine meadow added to the beauty of the landscape with the rock formations and mountains that makes this area famous. All together, it felt like the perfect June adventure. You can't seem to go wrong with Italy!

Italy, June 2018: The Dolomites Video Moments

Italy, June 2018: A Day Trip To Crema

With an afternoon to kill before our flight out of Milan and having recently watched and appreciated the setting of Call Me By Your Name, we decided to visit the city of Crema. We hadn’t heard of the city before the film, and after visiting we were surprised to find such limited tourism-related information about the place (it doesn’t even have a WikiVoyage page!).

Italy, June 2018: A Day Trip To Crema

Italy, June 2018: Lake Como (& Lake Garda)

To get ourselves in the lake life groove on our way from the Dolomites to Lake Como, we stopped at Limone Sul Garda on Lake Garda. The town is quite popular, but most visitors stick to the lakefront. After strolling the lakeside promenade and watching the boats bob in the waves in the busy old port, we escaped the crowds by walking into the hills. We took a breath (and enjoyed the views) with visits to Chiesa di San Rocco and La Limonaia del Castel (where we learned about the town’s namesake). Lunch at quiet Al Veccio Fontec (ravioli with sage and butter, tiramisu) was relaxing and included what may have been the best tiramisu we’ve ever tasted!

Italy, June 2018: Lake Como (& Lake Garda)

Italy, June 2018: The Dolomites

Over the last few summers, we have really appreciated time in the Alps to reconnect with nature, breathe fresh air, and hike. This time around we shipped off to the Austrian-flavored province of South Tyrol in Italy; South Tyrol was previously part of Austria but annexed by Italy in the aftermath of WWI. (Note that the area is bi—and in some areas, tri—lingual. Most place names have German and Italian versions. We will mostly refer to the German names.) The Dolomites are a relatively unknown and inexpensive corner of the Alps, popular mostly with Italians, Austrians, and Germans and served as our home base for the first four nights of our trip.

Italy, June 2018: The Dolomites

Louisiana, June 2018: A Glimpse of New Orleans

When a good friend’s wedding brought us to New Orleans, we knew we had to extend the trip and visit one of America’s most unique cities. Britt was in the wedding, so we had only bits of time here and there to do our own thing, but over the course of 5 days we got a good glimpse of the Big Easy. 

Louisiana, June 2018: A Glimpse of New Orleans

Estonia, May 2018: Tallinn & Tartu Video Moments

Tallinn was full of picturesque streets to wonder and enjoy. Our long weekend there was nothing short of incredible and one we look back on fondly. (And, who would have thought there would have been such a vegetarian scene!) From taking in the views from the many platforms to being fascinated by the Creative City, Tallinn showed us its many personalities and kept us interested. And, as we continue to believe, taking trips to smaller cities or towns outside of a capital in a country is so important. It helps widen the view of a place and gives a whole other perspective of what the culture, people, and the environment are like. Tartu gave us just that for this city weekend escape in Estonia! With its quirky neighborhood filled with streets named after soup ingredients and its leaning art museum, it was a great place to spend a day. Estonia is quiet, wonderful, and a place we won't forget!

Estonia, May 2018: Tallinn & Tartu Video Moments

Estonia, May 2018: A Day Trip From Tallinn To Tartu

In the spirit of seeing more of a country than just its capital city, we picked up a car in Tallinn and made the two-hour drive to Tartu for a day trip. Estonia’s second city, significantly smaller than Tallinn, is a university town in the southeast of the country just 30 miles (48 km) from Russia’s border.

Estonia, May 2018: A Day Trip From Tallinn To Tartu

Estonia, May 2018: Tallinn

Estonia’s capital Tallinn is both on and off the tourist map. Many people haven’t heard of it, or if they have, they know little about it. But its old town is beautiful—one of the best-preserved in Europe—boasting pastel houses, attractive architecture, and cobblestone lanes. For these reasons, it’s a very popular stop on the Nordic/Baltic cruise trail, which means large crowds of people from mid-morning to late afternoon. The city reminded us of Berlin, Prague, Budapest, and Bratislava at different times and in some way has the best of each, though on a smaller scale. We were lucky enough to see the city amid unseasonably warm and sunny late May weather, and the city truly shined on this stage.

Estonia, May 2018: Tallinn

Portugal, May 2018: Porto & Aveiro Video Moments

A four day weekend in the sunny riverside city of Porto was the perfect way to kick off some summer styled travel. Our love for Lisbon put Porto instantly on our list. It did not disappoint. The quirky (and hilly) city is full of character, hidden gems, views, tiles, and more. We enjoyed wandering around and stumbling upon its beauty. And, while there with some extra time to spare on our final day, it was an opportunity to finally see the famous neighborhood of Costa Nova in Aveiro. As we said in our post about the town, place like this can be miss-leading. You see a photo of a couple of striped houses and it makes you believe the whole town is full of them. Well, we can actually vouch for that! It was as playful, striped, and weird as one would hope. A great surprise ending to our long weekend away!

Portugal, May 2018: Porto & Aveiro Video Moments

Portugal, May 2018: A Day Trip From Porto to Aveiro

There are some places that seem to pop up over and over again on social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. If you spend any time on travel-related accounts on these platforms, chances are you’ve seen the famous striped beachfront houses of Aveiro (specifically the Costa Nova neighborhood). Only an hour from Porto and with lots of time to kill on our last day before our late flight, we decided to rent a car and make the trip!

Portugal, May 2018: A Day Trip From Porto to Aveiro

Portugal, May 2018: Porto

After falling in love with Lisbon on our visit in 2016, we knew Portugal’s second city beckoned. So with a four-day weekend to spare in May and our skin craving some early summer sun, Porto was an obvious choice!

We stayed at Casa dos Lóios, a centrally-located boutique hotel with breakfast included. And getting there wasn’t a problem as Porto’s metro has a line extending from the city center to the airport. Visitors to Porto will quick realize how hilly the city is—bring comfortable shoes! Luckily there are stunning views seemingly around every corner awaiting those willing to wander.

Portugal, May 2018: Porto

England, April 2018: The Cotswolds

Rico’s parents visited England’s Cotswolds, only a couple of hours’ drive from London, when they visited in the fall, and their positive reviews inspired us to escape the city this spring. We stayed in a cute hut on a farm and hung out with the resident dogs, cats, chickens and horses.

England, April 2018: The Cotswolds

Morocco, April 2018: Fez Video Moments

The final part of our Morocco trip brought us to Fez. After a long day of driving (roughly 8 hours) from the Sahara Desert, we finally made it and were greeted by the friendly Dar Seffarine. The last few days exploring Morocco were full of narrow lanes, getting lost, wandering the souks, and enjoying the beauty of Fez's medina. It was a wonderful ending to our time and made it all the more difficult to say goodbye to Morocco. Until next time!

Morocco, April 2018: Fez Video Moments

Morocco, April 2018: Fez

We closed our ten-day trip to Morocco with three nights in Fez, one of the country’s other imperial cities. The medinas of Marrakech and Fez are quite different: Marrakech is shades of red and pink, flat, commercial, primed for tourism, and energetic but orderly, while Fez is shades of gray and beige, hilly, lived-in, less bothered with tourism, and chaotic in a very disorderly way. This isn’t to say Fez is off the tourist map—if anything, we felt like there were more large tour groups than in Marrakech, and Marrakech seemed to attract more independent travelers and also dealt better with dispersing the crowds.

Morocco, April 2018: Fez

Morocco, April 2018: Our Road Trip From Marrakech To The Sahara

The second stage of our Morocco trip was a road trip into the desert to spend a night in the Sahara. Driving from Marrakech to Merzouga—a village on the edge of the desert—straight through would take at least 10 hours, which wasn’t very appealing, especially since there are some noteworthy stops along the way. So we did the drive over three days, stopping for two nights before getting to our desert camp outside of Merzouga. On the 4th day, we drove 8 hours straight from Merzouga to Fez with only a few restroom and stretch breaks.

Morocco, April 2018: Our Road Trip From Marrakech To The Sahara

Morocco, April 2018: Marrakech

In our three years of travelling from London, we’ve more or less stuck to what we know: Europe. But more recently we’ve been itching for something different, especially as we started to feel complacent in our comfort zone. Our travels were missing some of the adventurous mystique they had in the beginning, when we didn’t really know what to expect or what we were doing. Britt had been thinking about Morocco for the past couple of years, and it seemed a reasonable first jump outside Europe and out of our comfort zone, so our first big trip of 2018 brought us to Morocco for 10 days—3 in Marrakech, 4 on the road to and from the Sahara, and 3 in Fez!

Morocco, April 2018: Marrakech

Austria, Winter 2018: Skiing In Alpbach

Despite growing up mere hours from mountains in a part of the country that is blanketed in snow for much of the winter, neither of us picked up skiing or snowboarding. Britt went a handful of times when she was younger and Rico had literally never stepped foot into a binding. Over the last few years we’ve seen friends take ski trips to the Alps and something about that idea really appealed to us. We joked for a while that we should go to the mountains for a winter long weekend and learn how to ski, and at some point, that joke turned into a serious idea! We committed to giving it a try, asking our family for ski jackets, snow pants, gloves, and other gear for Christmas and booking a 4-day weekend in January.

Austria, Winter 2018: Skiing In Alpbach