Although it seems less complicated than last year, in 2014 I’ll be busier & will put a lot more kilometers on some lucky pair of Adidas this year. Good thing I love my job(s)!
Part 1: Guidebook Research
By some odd twist of airline merchandising, flying into Barcelona from Buenos Aires is now cheaper than flying to Madrid. But I only have time for a layover in Spain because the first part of my schedule is all about Portugal. Yea! It’s been awhile since the Portugal book was updated, so off I go. Almost 3 weeks of research & updates. No car like last year, but honestly I think I get more done when I don’t have to drive. I can do tons of typing while riding the bus.
Beginning in Lisbon, I have a few days to cover the whole city. Then a day in Sintra, followed by a quick trip south with a day off in Évora. Darn, I hate that ;-) The Algarve is next then north again to the cutesy town of Óbidos & a short stay in Nazaré. There’s a whole bunch of sites nearby to update (too close together to put on the map above), like Batalha, Alcobaça & Fátima.
Then comes the university city of Coimbra, a trip to the Douro Valley (& as much port wine as I can find the time to drink) & ending the research trip in Porto. One of the benefits of knowing these places so well & already having worked on four previous editions of this book is that I can plan my day very well. There’s a lot of ground to cover—literally—so the fact that I won’t get lost is a plus. Shhhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but last year in the small towns of the French Basque country I probably spent 30 minutes driving in circles because of roadwork. Everything was closed because it was Sunday, torrents of rain pounded the windshield & there was no one to ask directions in broken French. Frustrating, to say the least, because I knew how much I still had to do that day.
Part 2: Spain Tours
Without much of a break, Part II begins. Three My Way: Spain tours pretty much back to back, Barcelona to Sevilla. My first real time off comes in mid-June when I have 10 whole days to kick back & relax. So where do I go? Lisbon, of course. The only plan is seafood every day & substantial amounts of vinho verde. Then between the second & third tours I have a couple days off, & I decided to check out Valencia. Haven’t been since 2000… Darío was there in January & loved it, so I’m excited to see the improvements to the city.
I’ll be back home in July, probably catching up like crazy on my own business projects, but I’m truly excited about returning to Spain & Portugal—as always. Even if some of it passes by in a blur.