Elisa's Daily Scoop
Eastern Europe & Portugal
Happy TRAVELIN' TUESDAY!!! My favorite day of the week since we share future travel plans in-depth with you.
As I promised yesterday, two trips are on my list to chat with you about -- one that is planned, nearly finalized and only two months away (Eastern Europe); and another which is merely written in the calendar for the Summer of 2016 (Portugal).
Tanya and Elisa's Milestone Birthday Eastern European Rail Trip
This year, both Tanya and I celebrated milestone birthdays, and to commemorate these events, we decided to plan an amazing rail adventure through five cities in Eastern Europe.
This trip is set for late June through early July 2015. Each Travelin' Tuesday over the past month or so, I have featured the basic itinerary of activities and sights for each day of our stay in each of the five cities.
These cities include:
> PRAGUE (Czech Republic)
> KRAKOW (Poland)
> BUDAPEST (Hungary)
> BRATISLAVA (Slovakia)
> VIENNA (Austria)
When Tanya returns home from her latest Road Trip throughout the Southwest, we will finalize the last of our plans in each of the cities - fine tuning the schedule for touring, purchasing show, event and tour tickets, as well as our Rail tickets.
Incidentally, Stephen, my beloved travel agents, worked for hours at a time via telephone with multiple rail company agents to assemble an incredible grouping of rail transportation beginning in Prague, all the way around our "travel circle" and ending back in Prague sixteen days later.
There are two legs of the rail trips that we will be riding overnight in sleeper cars - Prague to Krakow and then again from Krakow to Budapest.
These rides are very long - 240 miles from Prague to Krakow or 11 hours; and 403 miles or 13 hours from Krakow to Budapest. Neither Tanya, nor I want to waste precious daytime traveling. So, we opted for overnight trains. It's going to be a new experience for me!
This trip has so many nuances to it, with each city being a "trip within a trip." I strongly recommend you take a look at our TRIP PAGE and itinerary to get a bird's eye view of the trip in its entirety.
There will definitely be more on this trip to come. Going to start talking about all the sights PER city starting next week!!
Let's talk about a New Trip - at the beginning of planning stages...PORTUGAL in June/July 2016!!!
My bestie, Denise's husband hails from a small town in the northern most part of Portugal, called Sapelos.
In all the years they have been together (and it's over 20 folks!), she has never visited Marcelo's homeland. You can imagine my surprise; no, more like horror, that with an opportunity to live like a local and stay in family homes, that she never ventured over the Atlantic to Portugal!
Sapelos is in the province of Boticas in the very northern part of Portugal. It's roughly 4 hours from Lisbon - not terribly far, by any means.
I have my work cut out for me with this trip, (and Denise is going to kill me!) as Denise does not even have her passport yet! So, I need to light a fire under her (and help her) get passports for her and her daughters.
My thought about this trip is that we create a trip that combines both relaxation in Sapelos with Marcelo's family and road trips all around key tourist attractions and cities.
From the map above, you can see just how close Sapelos is to Spain. I'm so conflicted about what to do - do we travel south and visit all of Portugal, considering we do have Marcelo who speaks the language and knows his country.
Or should we travel north into Spain, which would be a real adventure as well. I need to do a little more research and have some discussions with Denise and Marcelo to establish a definitive plan of action.
Of course, we could do both north and south!!!
The distance between Sapelos and Madrid is also only about 4 hours! Once in Madrid, we are within the following distances from these great Spanish cities:
Valencia: 3.5 Hours
Seville: 5 Hours
Barcelona: 6 Hours
Now the question is - can the kids withstand these distances? Of course, we could do train rides, which might be fun.
As you can see, I have a lot to think about and plan out and then I can sit with Denise and Marcelo and run a variety of scenarios past them.
In any case, it is very exciting!!
On with my day -- more errands to do before my girls' night out with Marta to see Bethany Frankel at her book signing later this evening!!
Here's a to a great day!
Tanya's Daily Scoop
Adventures in Mountain Biking
Howdy Folks! Happy Cinco de Mayo and Welcome to another edition of TRAVELIN' TUESDAY!
The only thing better than writing or planning our trips is to actually be on one of them!
So I'm out here Travelin' on Travelin' Tuesday!
Still hanging in Moab - Adventure Capital USA!
And yesterday I finally got to go see and explore a much anticipated Dead Horse Point State Park (which was missed on last years trip - read about that trip to Moab here: PART 1 & PART 2).
With providing a breathtaking 360 degree panorama it's no wonder that Dead Horse Point State Park happens to be one of Utah's most spectacular state parks!
It's 1/2 as wide and 1/2 as deep as the Grand Canyon, and is a land of rock & water.
A land of looking up and looking down.
A place of discovery and adventure.
The BIG question being asked is how it got its name...
Well, according to legend, before the turn of the 19th century the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs that once roamed the mesa.
The point provided a natural corral into which the horses were driven into and rounded by cowboys. The only escape was through a narrow, 30-yard neck of land controlled by fencing made of branches and brush. Mustangs were then roped and broken, with the better ones being kept for personal use or sold. The rest were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below.
Pretty darn awful if you ask me!
While I'm at it, let me tell you how MY day out there went...
We drove out to Dead Horse Point State Park on the Scenic Byway 313 and it was obvious that there was plenty of cloud cover; I was okay with that - as I prefer not to exert myself while baking in the sun. Driving a wee bit more and then a localized cloud had broke and we were being rained on.
Well a little water never hurt anyone, plus I love the rain, my hair was already curly (no flat ironing on a trip like this) and it only makes for a more adventurous (and muddy) bike ride! FUN!
As I watched the rather large droplets hit the windshield I thought about how ridiculous I was/as...
Funny thing was that while I was dressing in the morning I had glanced at my rain jacket and consciously decided AGAINST bringing it...
As if tossing the small packable jacket would've been such a big deal or waste of space!
So at this point I realized that I might just end up a sopping wet towel once we get back from our bike ride! Oh well...
With live stock on the open range road, we continued to drive the 22 miles from highway 191 and towards the trailhead and visitors center, passing several viewpoints along the way, making note to stop at them on the return trip back.
After touring the visitors center, watching the educational introductory film and doing a bit of shopping, it was time to take a stroll on the Nature Trail and then hit the Intrepid Bike Trails!
The ride/trailhead had started just at the end of the parking lot and we pedaled our way around a loop that included trail names such as: Raven Roll, Intrepid, Great Pyramid, and Big Chief.
The ride was totally waaay awesome cool! Which means that YES I liked it...I had so much fun! And the rain had missed us (or we missed it), so I wasn't a muddy mess!
Initially on the uphill I was a bit hesitant - it's been a while since I've been mountain biking (but the downhills are never an issue - I'm the downhill skier chick remember?!)
Anyhoo I got into the groove and the weather was just perfect!
Through the sandy sand, and slicky slick rock. Over the hilly hills and past the piney pines, thorny thorns, and spiney cacti. We saw bunnies on steroids (aka Jack Rabbits).
And there was even a short detour by Dave - being that he refused to trust in my trail following (common sense) skills!
Luckily it wasn't hot, because it was like pedaling through a beach and if the sun was baking down on me I would've been a very disgruntled mountain biker!
But it wasn't long before Dave commented that he's no survivalist and that he doesn't want to end up on one of "those shows that my mom watches"! Well I'm no survivalist either but I will damn well always survive...
At that point we went "my way" or better known as the right way! And finally made our way back to the parking lot and then drove out to the Dead Horse Point viewpoint, which is one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world and where they filmed Thelma & Louise (bet you thought that was the Grand Canyon...I did), and the crazy cliff scene in Mission Impossible 2!
We followed that up with a lovely dinner at Bangkok House.
Then back to our Safari Glamping to sit back, relax, and listen to the rain that had started up again.
Livin' it & Luvin' it!
Today we're going into Arches National Park and heading straight for Devils Garden Trail, which leads to eight awe-inspiring arches, then we'll be off to Poison Spider Mesa to go hunt down some dinosaur tracks. (Great names huh?!)
And finally we are hoping to toss in one more bike ride (if the rain lets up) before sundown!
Wish us luck...
I'll yet ya know how it all goes down tomorrow!
Elisa and Tanya
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