Sintra is so close that it's almost a suburb of the Greater Lisbon area but it feels like a world away.
We had heard good things about Portugal's second city Porto a few hundred kilometres north of Lisbon so decided it was worth a trip there. We weren't disappointed.
After many years living in the states, we had forgotten what a busy holiday Easter is in Europe. It's a time when everyone gets out of dodge and heads somewhere else for the long weekend. Apparently lots of people from Lisbon leave town to visit elsewhere, but I have to believe that twice as many people visit from somewhere else to take their place.
Even though we are not ready to put down roots yet, we are potentially looking for a home base from which to explore more in 2018, so we are weighing up all of our options.
Traveling by train is always fun, the client's business area was interesting and the chance to connect with an old friend was irresistable. So Iain and I used out best Spanish to get the tickets for the right train and headed along the Mediterranean coast to Nice - our base for a couple of days.
We knew we were in for a treat when we did our research ahead of time, but we never anticipated such a stimulating, noisy, fun, crazy, crowded, amazing experience that stimulated all of our senses.
As full-time travelers, we often get asked "Did you win the lottery". We didn't! This means that our travel style has to be kept within the budget constraints we have set ourselves to make our lifestyle possible.
Our plans for 2017 began to take shape last year, with the idea of a family vacation in Europe. It seemed so odd to be thinking 9 months in advance, but now we are just a few days away. And we are ready!
I know we are stereotypical Californians to complain about rain but "like seriously a Bombo-f*&kin-genesis!"
This year instead of retreating to the desert in January we decided to spend some time on the coast. I am happy to say since Jan 2nd we have never camped more than 200 yards away from the Pacific Ocean.
Fast forward a few years and we have now parked in over 150 different camping spots, we think we have got it sussed and miraculously we are still married.
One common question people ask us "What is the favorite place you have visited?" Our answer is always the same -San Diego.
Spending extended periods of time in another country is a fantastic way to truly get a feeling for a place. Without the breathless itinerary of a week-long trip you can really appreciate what it would be like to live somewhere, not just see the sights. So no surprise 2017 will have a lot more of that!!