Good morning Torun…. Soon to be Good morning Vancouver.
In one week we will be once again on a ‘moving day’ only this one sets the stage for moving back to Vancouver from the land of travelling.
How did it all work out for us? We started with plans and ideas and some came to fruition. The best plans included some of the most memorable people and places:
- The planned journey to Paris to get our much needed Visa lead to the best ever EatWith experience – a local dinner party hosted by Thomas. This journey lead us to the first of many ‘political’ discussions during our travels. A prediction on the French election we watched NOT happen and the understanding of politics in everyone’s lives even if they don’t think it does (or chose to vote).
- Experiencing Madrid with a “local” and our dear friend, Federico. Sleeping in his brother’s childhood bed, meeting his family and OMG the BEST langoustines we ate the entire trip.
- 10 days in Florence in the fall sunshine in November with food markets, an amazing Airbnb experience and “all things” Renaissance
- Meeting the King of Campania, Gaetano and going with him on his Wine Bus Tour – who by the way did get engaged not because of us but we certainly left a lasting impression regarding marriage and perhaps a wedding invitation in the future to go back to a city, Napoli that also left a lasting impression on us.
- Malta and Gozo – two islands that provided warm winter sunshine in November, amazing hiking and an idea that we wish more farms could do with a restaurant that is supplied by a family farm – eating local and seasonally with Diar il-Bniet on Malta
- Vienna – by the time we landed here the churches and castles we were done with and thankfully Christmas markets filled our days. Warm woollen hats and gloves with winter sunshine, no snow and cold beer.
- 6-Grants together for Christmas in Poland followed by a trip to Greece and experiencing Crete during the coldest weather in the last 50 years. Learning to alter plans and be happy when they change and making the best roasted Lamb with my wonderful Polish daughter.
- No Cambodia and Thailand. By altering these plans it turned out to be the beginning of more altered plans and being ‘right where we needed to be’
- Unexpected Madeira – only because it fulfilled one plane, one train, one bus travel. We found hiking, Madeira wine is actually good for more than cooking, and a surprise weekend with Thing Two to enjoy some February sunshine in 20 degree weather
- A direct flight to Porto and then port wine, the ONLY Michelin star restaurant we ate in, another fabulous airbnb experience and confirming we really really LIKE all things Portugal.
- Rota Vicentina – you stole our hearts, challenged our bodies and created a long lasting friendship with Nadja. We learned to appreciate ‘a journey’ and how for each of us, it looks so different and we can honestly admit that a 200 km walk ‘altered’ us in ways that only the future will unveil, layer by layer.
- Sagres with a bit of manipulation and planning – finally gave us 48 hours with friends who we always managed to be near but never close enough to share an experience. A relaxing time with good wine, lazy days and Shelly and Brent from home.
- Driving through Portugal gave us Evora with beautiful walks and history of an amazing aqua duct with glorious food once again. Coimbra and the most beautiful ‘Harry Potter-ish’ library. Back roads, fun locals met along the way, kisses from Portuguese men who were ‘strangers’ two hours before the kiss.
All these adventures and the one thing they shared in common was ‘people’. Our connection to others and our need to be connected to others. We are pure social creatures and have picked up and added new friends along the way.
“Travel, unlike anything else in life, has the beautiful ability to give you benefits you didn’t expect. It doesn’t just teach you what you don’t know, it also teaches you what you don’t know you don’t know.”
Gone is some things that we were both happy to say goodbye to. It will be interesting if there are notable changes that are visible – apart from the sun-kissed faces from Portugal we are taking home in May.
There is also this so called thing of ‘Grandparenting’ which has come with huge joys and happy moments for us both. I cannot begin to share the love and joy of having my grandson sleep on me for over an hour and a half on the plane from Lisbon to Warsaw. Dave’s joy when it’s ‘tubbie’ time and the splashing that makes his clothes wet during the process. We have seen the first steps, and first teeth. Sometimes the simply moments with him – seeing him smile when we are there to pick him up from daycare, putting him to sleep when we are giving the parents a much needed ‘night out’. Sharing a holiday home with them and having him sleep with us in his crib so the parents get uninterrupted sleep. Cheerios on the bed in the morning. He’s a joy and our gratitude of this trip has been 9 full months of connecting and creating a relationship.
It’s truly been a ‘grant-adventure’!