Seville is everything a city should be. It is walkable, bikable, food is incredible, and awesome architecture is everywhere. We spent most of our first day there just exploring the city by bike. We looked up the hop-on/hop-off bus tour, and just followed the route ourselves. We were able to see all the major sites and stop for pictures at our own convenience. As you might have guessed, I did this often.
Ethan is always less than thrilled about posing. Other people passing by were also taking his picture.
There is a real flair for detail in Seville. The Spanish make great use of vivid color and tile is prevalent in their design.
This facility is an old tile manufacturing facility turned Contemporary Art Center. There is an open air museum and a college on the site. The tile pictured here was considered a showroom at one time. Customers would come and pick the tile from the wall and then their desired quantity would be manufactured for them.
We ate lunch at the Mercado de Feria and they keep your tab on the tile by the kitchen. As is frequently the case when I give my name in a Spanish speaking country, they assume I am royalty (my name is pronounced "Queen").
This little jar contains a deconstructed carrot cake.
Awesome buildings throughout the city.
As Kristen is trying to figure out how to put this hat on she is telling me how she wishes she could go to a British wedding so she would have a chance to wear one of these hats. Too bad it took two of us about 5 minutes to figure out how it was supposed to fit. We are so sophisticated.
Dinner. Cole, it was like a birdsnest.
I wish I could timestamp this picture. There was a family carnival happening at almost midnight. In Spain most people are just finishing dinner about this time.
Our last morning in Seville we saw the Alcazar. It is just as impressive and detailed as the Alhambra, and will blow your mind. The tile work and detail are incredible and the hundreds year old tapestries showed what explorers thought the world looked like at the time. Underground baths provided an awesome reflection pool. Also, they have peacocks.
Seville was the end of our time in Spain. From here we departed for Lagos, Portugal. This would be the start of our beach and coastal portion of the trip. Things slowed down a bit and we spent a lot of time relaxing on the water, and hiking along the coast. We did some ocean kayaking and one day we saw a newborn goat stumbling around the pasture. The weather was a consistent 90 degrees during the day, and cool at night. The vegetation reminded me of Arizona, but the coastline was more similar to Thailand. If only we could have found the food of the southwest or southeast Asia. Luckily, we were able to score a lot of fresh seafood, and a foodtruck festival. This ended up being a really good stop on the trip.
As we have probably mentioned before, we like to borrow our trip itinerary from tour companies that specialize in outdoor activities. The next stop on our trip, Zambujera Do Mar, is often described as one of the most beautiful hiking areas in all of Portugal. Tour companies also like to describe it as undiscovered, and uncharted by tourists. There are very few places on the planet that are undiscovered, but I think it is safe to say this area is uncommonly devoid of travelers. It might be partly because there is no major roadway or airport providing easy access, and partly because there is so much beautiful coastline, that tourists don't all congregate in one spot. The cliffs in the area were often hiding fisherman, storks and nude sunbathers on private beaches. Don't worry, I didn't include pictures of the latter.
Every night we enjoyed a sunset on the beach with a bottle of wine. There were so few people around that often times it felt like our own private beach we were sharing with a few select friends.
Every little town in the area had its own charm. The white and blue are certainly reminiscent of Greece, but these scarecrows are something I have never seen anywhere else.
Our last Portugal stop was Sintra. We picked this one off the map for no other reason than a circular staircase that Kristen had seen on some "must see" travel list. Our first day we went to the Palacio Nacional de Pena, which is an amazing and colorful castle high on a hill on the edge of town to see the staircase. As it turns out, we were not at the correct castle. There are at approximately 4 castles in Sintra, and we only ended up seeing 2 of them. Luckily, the second castle had the necessary staircase, and we were able to cross it off our bucket list.
Palacio Nacional de Pena is the most whimsical castle I have ever seen, and the furniture collection was like no other we have ever seen. There were complete rooms dedicated to furniture acquired from all over the world. The telephone pictured was obviously not installed when the castle was built, but it was in fact the first telephone in Portugal, and is still original.
Also on the grounds was this chalet for the kings wife with railings made of cork. The grounds were also amazing, but I have added too many pictures already.
We made it to see the second castle on day two. Not only did it have the awesome staircase, but there were secret underground passageways that connected many of the spots in the pictures below.
And some pics from the road.
Sintra was originally our last stop planned for this trip, but we decided the drive home was excessively long, so we scheduled some additional time for a stop in Bordeaux, France. This name may sound familiar, as it is the largest wine growing region in France and one of the largest exporter of wines overseas. You likely have seen it at your local grocery store. I would attempt to describe these wines, but I would not do them justice. Just try them out for yourselves. We stayed in the city of the same name and my hipster wife and I explored it on bikes.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Bordeaux was the public art. It seemed like everywhere we turned was another mural, sculpture or fountain. The most amazing thing was the reflecting pool across from the Place de la Bourse. We were here both during the day and at night, and everyone loves it. There is about an inch of water in an area the size of a football field, and you wouldn't believe the joy it brings people to take off their shoes and scamper through an amount of water that might normally be considered a puddle. There was also a badass skatepark for people of all ages, a draw bridge that lifted vertically on 4 columns and fashionable people everywhere. How do we get to live here?
We even took some time to lay in the park and just enjoy our down time. And if you are wondering about the kid on the razor scooter in the picture above? He nailed the landing.
Maybe the French are just funny people. After all, they still love to rollerblade.
On the penultimate day of the trip, we enjoyed one of the primo cycling days of our entire trip. The weather was perfect, the terrain was only moderately hilly, and the cycling map led only to wineries. As it turns out, I can fit 8 bottles of wine in my pannier. Too bad I only had one with me.
Finally, to the reason for the title of the blog. As we traveled, we accumulated olives, vinegar, wine, olive oil, and various other goodies. Though this was certainly the intention when starting this trip, we didn't take into account all the different places we would be staying. In order to protect our investment we decided it was necessary to truck our goods in and out of every apartment we stayed at and had to repack them into the car every few days. Needless to say we were tired of this exercise by the end of the trip. We also didn't make any friends our last morning in Bordeaux when we wanted to get on the road by 6 am, so we started hauling our stuff down the stairs at a little past 5. Speaking of our apartment, we often highlight the amazing places we stay, and while we were in a great location, I wanted to share this picture of the struggle I was having to fit in the shower. I had to squat a few inches just to keep my head straight.