Let me first explain the title of this post. As you will shortly see, I wasn’t able to post many pictures of this “would’ve been” spectacular vacation, because my purse was stolen on Miami beach at the tail end of my trip, and OF COURSE my camera was in the purse. My wallet, license, car keys, house keys, and a few other unmentionables were also in the purse, but that’s a whirlwind of a story for another day…
So, let’s start at the beginning… Six months ago I decided I wanted to do something completely out of the ordinary for New Years. For a few years now, I had trekked up to Stowe, VT for an overindulgent ski weekend with my friends. Don’t get me wrong, it was a total blast, but I had a hankering for something new and exciting. So, I signed up for my 2nd G Adventures trip that would take me through southern Chile, Patagonia, and finally, Argentina. With my limited knowledge of South America, I was under the impression it was going to be beautifully warm and a wonderful escape from the New England winter. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I met my fellow travelers in Santiago, Chile, which was…. ok. If you’re thinking about going to Santiago, I would skip it. There are far more beautiful places to go in Chile. If anything, I would just head to the wineries – Chile is famous for it’s wine, don’t you know? From there, we travelled to Puerto Varas, in the stunning Chilean Lake District. The town was super cute, with great restaurants and shopping. While I thoroughly enjoyed the town and neighboring sites (e.g. the Osorno Volcano), it was FREEZING! Not having the right gear and clothing (I swear “really warm clothing” was not listed on the packing list), I came down with a horrific cold, which lasted throughout the majority of the trip. Boo.
This summer, I hit a very, VERY big milestone… I turned 40 (insert high-pitched scream here). I know, I know, hard to imagine, considering I still feel (and think) like someone in their late 20’s. Unlike most people, I didn’t want to hide in my closet and cry, I wanted to celebrate and do something I would remember for the rest of my life. So what did I do? I took myself to Spain and Portugal – and it was AMAZING.
Following the advice of my favorite travel blog Nomadic Matt, I hopped on travel tour site G (or Gap) Adventures and found what I was looking for – broad gauge “Best of” tour of Spain & Portugal. While I normally don’t like taking these types of trips because you don’t get to see the non-touristy sites and you’re being rushed from place to place, I had a limited time to see everything I wanted. I was also nervous because I was afraid I’d hate everyone on my trip, or worse, everyone would hate me (gasp!)
However, my fears subsided the minute I met the rest of the group in Lisbon. Not knowing a lick of Spanish (I think I even threw out a “grazie” at the airport), it was by the grace of God I found the hotel in the first place. However, during the orientation meeting, I realized I was in pretty great company and it was going to be a fantastic trip.
What a fantastic summer it’s been! In just a few short months, I’ve managed to cover a significant amount of territory, seeing parts of New England I hadn’t had the opportunity to see until now. Hard to believe considering the fact I grew up in these parts! To cap off an already adventurous, fun-filled summer, I decided to take an extended road trip through Maine and the Adirondacks. Why? Well, at the end of July, I decided to leave my job and take a few weeks off to travel and then figure out my next career move. So, with my new found freedom, I hopped in the car with my friend (who coincidentally was also taking some time off) and headed North.
Our first stop was Camden, Maine. Just 3.5 hours North of Boston, this adorable coastal town has become a favorite vacation spot for many New Englanders. We stayed at Whitehall Inn, which was an quaint little B&B located right outside of town. Apparently two major movies were filmed there, but it’s luckily been able to hold onto its rustic charm. We walked around town and then grabbed a bite to eat at a cute restaurant with a patio overlooking the harbor. I can’t say it was the best food I’d ever had, which is probably why I can’t remember the name of the restaurant – oops! On our way back, we got to listen in on a local orchestra performing in a beautiful, little park.