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.
Over the span of two weeks, we saw such sights as the stunning beaches of Lagos, the Cathedral of Seville, the awe-inspiring Alhambra in Grenada, the Del Prado in Madrid, and none other than the Segrada Familia in Barcelona, among many, many other amazing sites. However, what stood out the most for me was the food. The markets, oh the markets – I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the fresh food markets are in Spain. My favorite was La Boqueria off of La Rambla in Barcelona – the insane array of meats, cheeses, and fresh fruit is enough to make you drool. I actually felt sorry for vegetarians who couldn’t taste the lip-licking proscuitto, sopressata and many other extravagantly cured meats. This place really did bring new – and wonderful – meaning to “meat on a stick.”
All in all, it was one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever taken. And if Spain and Portugal are on your bucket list, I highly recommend G Adventures take the wheel and be your guide. They’re not only affordable, but they offer the best options for all-inclusive tours and also attract some of the most worldly, and well-travelled rubberneckers.
While I can’t post every single picture here (as my goal is to not make you fall asleep), these are some of my favorites: