Tag Archives: cliffs

Hola, Canary Islands!

9 Jun

OK y’all, summer is officially HERE! And we’ve had the most glorious week of sun and sand and surf to prove it! I can’t say enough good things about our time on Tenerife, the largest and most populated of the Canary Islands. I’m not going to get into the history and the story here (please stay tuned over at Treats, Travels And Truths over the next week as I get everything posted- I just couldn’t wait to share our pictures with all of you guys first!), but the Canary Islands are a part of Spain, although they’re WAY south, right off the coast of Africa. And trust me when I say that we could certainly tell just how far south- on the equator!- we were by that blazing sun! Casper to lobster in less than an hour and I’m not even exaggerating! Ha!

Canary Island Map

But on a serious note, this trip was a bit extra special in that it had been planned for nearly two years- one of the first ones we booked after we moved here. My grandmother had wanted it to be our family vacation since we’ve missed our annual trip to Myrtle Beach, so to get the best accommodations, etc., she booked it early and we all got to planning. It was to be an awesome beach week for us, her and my parents. But then some health stuff came up and the trip had to be changed. My grandmother and parents tried their hardest, but in the end, they couldn’t come. My first inclination was to cancel altogether- it just wouldn’t, *couldn’t* be the same without them. And besides, for what would we need a three bedroom suite for just us? But Grandma insisted that we go- it was important to her. So we invited our best friend, (Uncle) Andy, and we went. And we are SO thankful we did. No, it wasn’t the same as it would’ve been with my family, but it was wonderful. And fun. And relaxing. And the perfect refilling of our tanks. So thank you, Grandma, for the loveliest vacation. It’s one we will never forget. ❤

Tenerife Map

We stayed in the south, in Los Christianos, but spent time at lots of the different beaches, including along the north shore at Puerto de la Cruz. A highlight of our trip was our day in the middle of the island, though, exploring the volcano and its national park.

Alright, without further adieu, here is a pictorial account of our fabulous week on Tenerife, including lots of beaches, pools, a water park, a volcano, some giant cliffs, a little putt-putt and alot of just plain ‘ol FUN.

Processed with MOLDIV




Los Gigantes- these cliffs are thousands of feet above the water…



View from our balcony



Voted World’s Best Waterpark on TripAdvisor…Definitely the nicest we’ve ever been to!



One of my happy places 🙂



One of the best steaks we’ve ever had. Oh. My. Gawd.



This lazy river is easily several miles long…


Same ‘ol breakfast even on vacation…but with an awesome view.



From our balcony…



Poolside snack…


The most visited national park in Europe, 8th in the world. El Teide is the highest point in Spain and the 3rd largest volcano in the world.



Poolside dinner and a show on our first night…



In case you were curious, it costs 1 euro to make a call these days…



Northern shore of the island…



For mom…Lovely trees ❤



Topless beach for the day 😉 


Playa de Troya, Black Sand Beach…



They say Tenerife is the most similar landscape to Mars on Earth…So much so that they test Mars Rovers here. Totally believe it.


Like riding a bike! She was a fish within 10 minutes of getting back in the water! Woohoo!



Laying in the sun on a perfect beach, listening to the blue waves crash, the smell of suntan lotion in the air…YES. YES. YES.


With a pencil behind her ear ‘like Daddy.’




Standard lunch for every single day of the week. Not even kidding.








Coming down from the volcano, we came to a grove of pine trees with a picnic table beneath…Lunch was served. Not a soul around for miles and miles…



My new favorite shot of my people ❤



And that’s it! What a terrific week and one that we’re already missing like crazy. Hoping to start getting things posted over on TTT starting on Monday, so be sure to check that out. The only saving grace is that my Dad got here this morning and will be here for the next two weeks! Our hearts are full. Hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start!

Portugal, the Relaxation Phase…

2 Jun

…and oh how I wish we were still there in that phase! Instead, we’re back here in Stuttgart and I’m listening to the rain fall outside my window. *Sigh* And to make matters worse, apparently I picked up a snot bug somewhere along the way and now I’m wrapped up like a burrito on my couch, feeling like death, and taking solace in oodles of pretty pictures- and sharing all of the last week’s amazingness with all of you guys 😉


So we had the BEST time in Portugal. Seriously, one of the best adventures we’ve been on in a very long time. It’s as though all the stars just lined up- a new country that looks so different than most of Europe, a new culture that is so friendly and inviting, a new cuisine (who knew that the Portuguese eat more fish than anyone else in the world?!), the most perfect weather…But what really was the most special part was that it was just the three of us, exploring and basking in all of the above, and truly enjoying one another. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how important it is to water one’s own garden…and that’s exactly what we did. We came home with gardens full of bright blooms- and very full hearts ❤

OK, enough with the feels and onto the good stuff! Y’all, I have 277 pictures from our five days in Portugal, it was THAT pretty! So in an effort to lighten the load, I’ve done everybody a favor and split the post in half- the Relaxation Phase (beaches, pools, countrysides) and the Adventure Phase (Lisbon and Porto). Now to narrow down the best shots to share! Ha!


Our absolute favorite thing about this trip was where we stayed- outside the small coastal village of Obidos about an hour north of Lisbon. We had done tons of research ahead of time trying to decide the best location- we almost always end up in the heart of the big cities, mainly because they’re the most convenient and give the most authentic feel of immersion. But this time, our goal itself was different. Our goal was just to be together- to relax, to recharge and to breathe. When we found this resort- at least 15 minutes away from civilization, down remote country roads- we knew it was perfect.


Headed out to paradise…


Who would’ve guessed the oasis that awaited us at the end of this road?! Perched high on the cliffs overlooking the blue water and white sand beaches, Praia del Rey. It’s one of the most beautiful areas we’ve ever been to.


Stepping out of our front door, heading down to the beach…





Before we continue, just a bit about Portugal because…well, you know me! Portugal is the westernmost country in Europe, sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Spain. The land within the borders of current Portugal has been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. In other words, it’s super old and in fact, some of the first evidence of Homo Sapiens have been found there. The Iberians, Celts, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and the Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigothic and the Germanic peoples, who were themselves later invaded by the Moors. These Muslim peoples were eventually expelled during the Christian Reconquista. Portuguese nationality can be traced back to the creation of the First County of Portugal, in 868. In 1139, Afonso Henriques was proclaimed King of Portugal, thus firmly establishing Portuguese independence.


Just a little visual of our travel…


Every restaurant has these ‘door greeters.’ We never had the heart to tell her their real purpose 😦



Bathing caps are required at indoor pools in Portugal. She thought they were awesome!

And just a few neat Portugal factoids…It’s the leading producer of cork in the world, although the industry is struggling as the wine industry continues to shift away from cork bottle toppers. Eucalyptus forests cover 7% of the country (!) as they were planted in the 1970s to help with erosion- they’ve since taken over and grown rapidly. (The smell is HEAVENLY!) Apparently Portugal is known for its wind- it’s often consistently with gusts of 25 mph! Another interesting industry is pine resin, used in turpentine. We actually had to look this one up ourselves (and examine up close and personal!) after seeing lots of little buckets hanging from the pine trees headed out to the resort. Best part? Tapping the trees doesn’t harm them in any way. Very neat, right?

And last but not least, a few government tidbits…Portugal’s economy is in the rebuilding phase as it was part of the major EU bailout back in 2011. (This translates into it being an excellent time to visit!) It’s the first- and only- country in the world to decriminalize all drugs. Yep, possession of all substances- up to 10 days worth of individual use- is allowed, although trafficking and distribution is not. The government will offer- and pay for- drug and alcohol rehab. The maximum prison sentence for any crime is 25 years- they do not have the death penalty.

OK, on with the picture party! 🙂 Right down the road from Obidos is the little fishing village of Peniche. Two awesome things about this town- it’s had lots of fossils from the Jurassic period and it’s one of the top surfing destinations in the world, second only to Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline. Who knew?!





Dinner one night overlooking the lagoon…



A wonderful unexpected highlight of our trip…See those people, and sweet pup, obstructing our lovely view of the lagoon? Well, their soon-to-be 4-year-old, Florence, was playing just out of the shot to the left and about 15 minutes after this picture was taken, Neve finished her dinner and wanted to play, too. Long story short, we all ended up out on the patio until long after the sun had set and a new friendship was born. ❤ J and D are from England and have a vacation home just a few hundred yards from our resort. We spent the next day enjoying our vacation all together at their villa, then took the party into town for some walking and ice cream eating. Neve is still talking about her new best friend, Florence!





Neve and Florence








The best street performer guy I’ve ever seen!

The most fun day, right?! Such a lovely day for all of us and I truly think that we will see these sweet friends again. We have so much in common, including a mutual travel addiction!, so who knows, maybe we can plan a trip somewhere exotic one of these days! 😉 Needless to say, here’s how much fun Neve had and how John and I unwound ourselves:

There really couldn’t have been a better vacation for the three of us if it were written in a storybook. I know I say similar things about many of our adventures- and it’s true that we truly love all of the new experiences and fun that our traveling lifestyle affords- but sometimes you just get extra lucky with an extra special one that refills every single one of your tanks.We really are lucky. And blessed.


Sunset from our balcony…

Join me tomorrow- same time, same place- for the other half of our Portuguese getaway- exploring the hills and narrow cobblestone streets of Lisbon and Porto! I promise the pictures are (nearly) just as pretty 😉


Wanna go for a drive?

27 Apr

How about one of the most beautiful drives in the world? Yeah, me, too! 🙂

Just like I said yesterday- that if you ever find yourself in Rome, you definitely need to find a way to make it just south to Pompeii- this is no different. If you ever find yourself in Pompeii, you absolutely must take just one extra day and continue your trek southward to one of the most scenic drives on the planet, the Amalfi Coast.


So, Rome is just off the top of the map. We took the train directly to Naples, then on to Pompeii just down the A3, and finally over to Sorrento on the opposite side of Naples Bay. Sorrento is the cutest little seaside town known for its seafood, its lemon and orange trees (you can pluck your own from just about any tree all over the city!) and its production of limoncello (YUM!), a digestif made from lemon rinds, water, sugar and alcohol.  It’s also the starting place for the Amalfi Drive.




So much of Italy summed up in one picture. A beautiful 5-star resort built on top of an ancient abandoned mill that is being swallowed by time.



Neve being serenaded at dinner…’When the moon hits your eye…That’s amore!’


The morning we set out on our drive (we rented a car just for the day), Mother Nature was not cooperating in the least. For starters, there was torrential rain. Like blowing horizontally, can’t-see-through-the-squalls kind of rain. And to make matters worse, the GPS took us on every might-as-well-be-a-sidewalk road out of town and traffic conspired against us at every turn.





Yeah, kinda defeats the purpose of a gorgeous drive when you can hardly see a few feet in front of your face! But all you can do is roll with it when it’s the only day you’ve got to do it! Onward and upward! 🙂

The Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site in itself, is a stretch of coastline that runs the 25 miles between Sorrento and Amalfi high up on the jagged cliffs. Picturesque, quaint little towns are peppered along the windy, narrow road. (Yes, windy and narrow roads mean that a 25 mile drive can easily take 3 hours each way!) Of the picturesque towns, Positano is our favorite- it’s bright and cheery with colorful buildings built right into the cliffsides and friendly people.






For lunch, we stopped in the little fishing village of Praiano, but before we sat down for some of the best gnocchi of my life, the cutest yellow church with a great mosaic-tiled plaza caught our eyes. And as if the outside wasn’t postcard worthy enough, the inside…Oh. My. Word. It’s the absolute happiest church I’ve ever seen!





Look at that floor!! I’ve never seen anything like it, especially not in a church! Doesn’t it just give you all the feels?! From there, we grabbed a bite and then…BLUE SKIES! Yes, the second half of our trek was just beautiful, the way God intended the Amalfi Coast to be! 😉


We even passed a VW van parade…Thought of you, Aunt Julia ❤ (I claim the mint green one!)





And with that, we made our way all the way to the end of the drive and back again. It turned out to be such a lovely day with the greatest eye candy. Turquoise waters, picturesque towns, cliffs jutting up into the clouds…Ahhh…We could get used to that! Our final morning, we started the long travel journey home- planes, trains and automobiles. Literally! We took a bus from Sorrento to the Naples airport, a plane back to Stuttgart, and a train to our house. Yes, it was a lively as it sounds. Ha! But it was SO very good. Just like I said in the first Rome post- we got home with absolutely nothing left to give. It was the best kind of tired and most definitely one of our most fun adventures in a long time.


View of Sorrento as we head out of town on the bus…

Bethany, Mark and Norah left us yesterday to head back to the States and yes, we miss them already. I know I always say how quiet the house feels right after any guests leave, but it’s especially true this time- because they took their toddler with them! Ha! I jest, I jest…But seriously, all three of us loved having all three of them here; it was just so easy. (Any of you who have had house guests for any length of time feel me on this one- easy = awesome!) And Neve is already missing Norah something fierce!

But for now, we’re back to a trio, plus pups :), and life is good. It’s been snowing this week (don’t even get me started on that one) and we’ve been hunkering down and reconnecting. I’ll leave you with a simple picture John managed to get in Italy that I absolutely love. It’s us, with me in my happy place…just enjoying it all. Enjoying life. Enjoying him.


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