What’s Coming: Ireland, Spain, & Portugal

I’m writing to you tonight on the eve of my departure for my next trip: 3 weeks in Europe. Tomorrow afternoon I fly from Dulles, Virginia to Dublin, Ireland and I am too excited to handle it! Needless to say, my work day tomorrow will see me in a flutter of insanity trying to tie up loose ends and assuring Laine that I will keep her posted if I meet Prince Harry (if he were your boyfriend), any current member of One Direction (how’s normal 22 going Zayn?), or that person she likes in the illustrious picture of 16 abs.
So I thought now would be the time to fill you in on where I’m heading and what I have planned for this trip!

I’m traveling with my friend Danielle. We’ve been friends since my sophomore year of high school, which is an alarming 13 years ago (time, what the hell?) We’ve navigated a lot together and so far we’ve traveled together to Italy, England, Belgium, Ireland, and The Netherlands.
July 2: Fly from IAD-DUB

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Last year when we visited Ireland we almost ditched the rest of our trip and stayed there. Our favorite stop was Galway, and when our January trip to Galway fell through, we knew we’d tack it on to our summer in Europe. The added bonus is Dublin is cheap(er) to fly into compared to a lot of other European cities, so it’s a good starting point.
When we land we’ll be taking the CityLink bus straight to Galway, a 3 hour drive that drops us at the local coach station.
We’re staying in the same hotel we did last year, so we already know we’ll like it there.We don’t have pre-set plans booked in Galway, as we want to start our trip off relaxed. We’ll be visiting some of our favorite pubs, and probably hiking some local trails.
On the 6th we’re taking a quick Ryanair flight to Porto, Portugal. In Porto we’ll have our first experience with AirBNB, explore the town, and relax on the beach! Then, it’s another quick flight to Lisbon.We’ll start out in Lisbon with a Sandemans walking tour. I’ve gone on these tours in quite a few cities all except one were great. I like starting out with walking tours and getting a grasp for the general layout and vibe of the city.One of the days in Lisbon we’ll be going to Sintra. I don’t know a lot about Sintra, but it’s mentioned on basically every must see list associated with Lisbon, and the Castle of the Moors looks like it alone will be worth the trek.
After a few days in Lisbon, it’s off to Madrid. Oh Madrid how I’ve missed thee. I spent part of 2011 teaching English in Madrid, and I am immeasurably ecstatic to be going back. I’m planning on showing Danielle my favorite points of the city:

The Rastro


Plaza Mayor

Rowing boats in Parque Del Retiro

Chocolate & churros at San Gines

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Toledo  (home of my favorite cathedral)

Guadarrama Mountains

El Escorial



Botanical Gardens

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Going back to Madrid will be like visiting an old friend. My only concern is – will I be able to leave?IMG_6146
After Madrid we’re jetting back to Ireland, and will be staying in Dublin – our last stop on our trip. We’ve booked a day tour through the Wicklow mountains and an evening mountain pub tour through 9 local pubs. We’ll have a few unplanned days in Dublin, and will definitely be re-visiting the Jameson distillery so Danielle can buy special Jameson only sold there. She needs to replace a special bottle of her dad’s, which she may have potentially stolen in her younger years.


On this trip I’ll be returning to two of my favorite countries, and exploring a new one. My overall goals of this trip: detach from work, meet people, eat all of the food, whiskey, buy a ring from the same Galway shop as Danielle, find a way for time to stand still so I can vacation endlessly.

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  1. Pingback: Packing Up & Moving On - Changing Travel Plans - The Avid Wanderer

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