Every August we take off for a few weeks of vacation, generally overseas.
We have visited many new places over the years––meeting great people, exploring old cultures and trying inspiring food.
One thing we have come to enjoy is working with local tour guides who take you to the historic sites and add their own personal flavor.
On this recent trip to Madrid with the help of Spanish Guides, we:
- Visited the famous Prado museum in Madrid, with all the great painters and artists from over the ages.
- Took a side trip to medieval Toledo, which was the original capital of Spain.
- Bar hopped, tasted great tapas and local sherries.
The Road Less Traveled
Now we are in northern Portugal, driving through the Douro valley region.
You need a serious stomach and a steady hand driving the windy roads and steep mountains along the Douro river.
We made a mistake with our hotel reservations and discovered we had no place to stay the first night.
The excitement of the unknown (city and hotel) reminded me of my time backpacking through Europe when I was 22. Though in those days I would have slept on the beach for the night.
We looked online and found an opening at a Quinta, a 50 hectare vineyard estate (see photos below).
The last hour of roads were exceptionally windy. The final 3 miles was on a single lane cliff-road that gave us vertigo when we looked down.
We arrived to a wonderful surprise: A 4 room hotel, with glorious pool, kitchen garden, an “honesty bar”, and spectacular views.
They brought in a chef to cook us a 4-course meal which they paired with their own wines and ports.
It was a personal lesson for me: This spontaneous excursion was even more fun than our well planned tours.
Your Challenge – A Reflection Of The Road Less Traveled
Do you have everything planned out in your life, or do you leave yourself room for spontaneity in your free time and even at work?
When was the last time you took that unexpected road and found yourself out of your comfort zone?
Some Photos From Our Spontaneous Excursion