Lagos and the Algarve Coast

We were adamant that part of our Portugal and Spain trip include some time at the beach. A tip from a friend led us to the coast of the Algarve in Portugal. We stayed in Lagos, which is on the far western end of the southern coast. We took an easy 4-hour bus ride from Lisbon and settled in for some sun and relaxation.

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48 Hours in Lisbon

Hi there! So, we’re a little behind on our blogging, but we’ve been pretty busy the last few months. Since the start of May, we’ve had 14 visitors (thanks to everyone who came to see us!) and squeezed in seven trips. Now, with less than a week until our next (and last!) trip (three days on a beach outside of Barcelona with friends), and less than two weeks until we head back to the U.S., I’m working on going through some photos and reliving all of the excitement.

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Fighting FOMO With Croissants

In the last week, it dawned on us that we have LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS left in Paris. With return tickets purchased and a lease freshly signed for an apartment in Minneapolis, the end of this adventure is feeling alarmingly close. We’ve started to go into panic mode about the things (food) we haven’t tried yet — or the things we just haven’t tried ENOUGH of.

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Morocco Part 2: The Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert

That feeling that comes with being in the presence of dramatic natural beauty is one that I’ve come to crave. It’s a combination of feeling both incredibly small and completely inspired. It’s renewing and restorative and humbling and makes me feel more connected to this beautiful planet we inhabit. I felt this a million times over on our trip to Norway, and I felt it again in Morocco.

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Morocco Part 1: Getting Lost In Marrakech

Before heading to Morocco, we read countless blog posts and travel forums about what to wear, how to act, and what to look out for. “Never look at a map in public!” “Don’t take photos of the stores or you’ll get yelled at!” “Smiling at someone will make you a target!” “Never accept the first price you are given!” “Everyone will try to scam you!” The list goes on.

While there is definitely some truth to some of these warnings, having now experienced Marrakech firsthand, I think the key to an enjoyable visit is to be adaptable. Realize that you might get lost, and don’t panic when it happens — or when someone offers to guide you back and then demands cash (Yes, this happened to us.). Know that you will probably end up paying “too much” for something, and be OK with it (unless it really is way too much, in which case, just say no. You know your limits.). And try to be comfortable with the fact that you are an outsider, you probably look like an outsider, and there’s not much you can do about that except to be respectful of the culture you are visiting.

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Norway Part 2: Meeting My Family

As I mentioned in my last post, Norway is an important place for me. Although I am not 100 percent Norwegian (or even close to it), it is the part of my heritage I identify with most — likely because my last name is Norwegian and I grew up in Minnesota, where some 850,000 people are reported to have Norwegian heritage and you can buy lutefisk at the grocery store. While we didn’t have many Norwegian traditions, remnants of the old country did surface occasionally: My grandfather, Owen, and his cousin, Norin, would routinely recite the Lord’s Prayer in Norwegian before meals, and everyone on my dad’s side of the family loses their minds if you forget the lefse at Christmas (myself included).

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