Portugal II – Sintra

When Carol and I see a historical building, be it a castle, a palace, a town hall, a beautiful house, or a bridge, a monument, a statue, actually anything worthy of being photographed, we turn to each other and say “ooh look, there’s a ‘thing'” Sintra is so full of ‘things’ that in my opinion the entire town qualifies as a ‘thing’. We had a couple of recommendations to visit Sintra which is easily accessible from Lisbon for a little day trip so we thought why not!

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Portugal I – Lisbon

Or Lisboa as it is known to the locals. The first thing to say is this place is that it is hilly. Very hilly! Pick a sight to see, get Google maps to show you the way, and before long you work out that you are never far away from a turning that will lead you up a street to rival Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Yes, THAT steep! Walking in Lisbon is bloody hard work, just as well then that there alternatives such as trams, buses, an underground train network, and our personal favourites, Uber and scooters 😊

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A Day Trip to Gibraltar, August 2021

We wanted to visit Gibraltar because we want to visit every country in Europe. OK so technically it’s not a country, it’s a British Overseas Territory, ah well, we’ll just consider it a bonus then 😊. Planning a visit to Gibraltar was a little complicated as details online are not necessarily correct at the moment due to different covid restrictions. It did seem however the easiest way to get there was by bus and so after a trip to the bus station we managed to get a day return Avanza ticket between Malaga to La Linea de la Concepcion, the border of Gibraltar. It was going to be a long day as the bus trip was 3 hrs each way and about 5 hours in Gibraltar itself but off we set armed with our cameras for the day ahead.

Both of us were interested to see exactly just how British it was, being a British Territory encompassed by Spain; would it be like a little Britain, or would it be like being in Spain with everyone speaking Spanish but using the pound? We were soon to find out!

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A Few days in Cómpeta, Spain

Unless you are extraordinarily lucky, having fun doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it. In Iceland that sometimes meant enduring cold and wet weather, getting up early with a full day’s schedule ahead of you, driving long distances, doing chores such as cooking and washing up, and every day packing up, putting up the tent and converting our van into our sleeping quarters. Every day. We had such an amazing time but it was time for some sun again and some downtime.

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What to know before you go! Driving a Campervan around Iceland

We learnt a lot of different things during our two week tour which we thought would be helpful to share. Camping and driving experiences can vary from country to country and Iceland is no different; we had a great time but there were a few things that would have been helpful to know before we went. We have therefore summarised some of our learning below.

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Iceland III – Two Weeks in a Campervan, July 2021

We love Iceland and up until this years adventures it had been our favourite country, having visited twice before. What we hadn’t done however was travel the entire ring road around the island. July is, in theory anyway, one of the warmest months to go and so we decided to rent a campervan and venture all the way round. It was only fair that we gave Iceland a chance to regain its number 1 spot in our hearts, having recently been overtaken by both Costa Rica and The Galápagos Islands.

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Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado

Tucson, Arizona

We had very kindly been invited to stay with some friends of Carol’s in Silver City, New Mexico. To get there we had a 10 hour long bus ride with Flixbus from Las Vegas, which was a bargain $21.99 each.

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Las Vegas – July 2021

Once upon a time Carol and I talked about coming to Vegas to get married, yeah, we are that classy 😉 Well that didn’t happen, instead choosing Gretna Green to tie the knot in 2017. We also planned to come to Vegas for our friend Jane’s big birthday but that didn’t happen either.

The question was, would we ever make it to Vegas?

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The Grand Canyon – July 2021

Trying to organise a trip to the Grand Canyon from Vegas is quite frankly hard work; confusing and a bit of a minefield. There are so many options in terms of which area to visit; South, West or North rims, which mode of transport to use; car, bus, plane or helicopter and what company to book through; the prices vary from the reasonable to the outlandishly ridiculous. It took us days to decide which trip to book and quite a lot of internet research but we finally decided to visit the West Rim via an organised coach trip.

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Downtown LA – 2021

We had checked out Hollywood, the beaches, some celebrity haunts and taken some trips out of LA but one place we hadn’t visited was downtown; although we had driven through the high rises on the freeway a few times. It was time to see what it had to offer.

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