Sunday, August 14, 2011

Europe/Africa Trip in Pictures

In late June my wife and I put all our belongings in storage and set off to visit family in Europe and North Africa. Like last year's trip to NYC, I'll just give the highlights:

The Transatlantic Flight

My new rule in flying is never assume anything. Since our first honeymoon flight together my wife and I have created a bad habit of running in airports. Apparently in Boston Logan, no gate number doesn't mean to wait, it means it's an international flight (which is on the other side of the airport).

Madrid-Barajas Airport
My favorite airport of the trip was easily Madrid. It was one of our longest layovers, which shouldn't be underestimated. One of the things I noticed on the flight over is that I had a very hard time telling who was an American and who was not. It seems the entire West looks American to me.

Granada, Spain

We came to this medium sized city in Southern Spain to visit Traci's brother, his wife, and their adorable son.

Better than any picture I took
 We saw the Granada Cathedral (above) and the once-Muslim-later-Catholic palace The Alhambra (below).

It's interesting to be in a city that was once devout Catholic, then taken over by the Moors (Muslims), then taken back over back Catholics, only to be ruled by the fascist dictator Francisco Franco during WWII. It's created a nation of people who seem to be done with religion and done with work. Though not entirely.

This was one of the most fascinating people we met. He's the owner of a small but successful olive oil shop. He reminded me how important personality is for entrepreneurship.

Every American city needs one of these!

Spain was a wealthy Western European nation that seemed in most ways similar to the US. The main difference seemed to be the difference between rural and city culture more than American and European culture. Unlike our next destination.

Tangier, Morocco

We came to this large Muslim city in North Africa to visit another of Traci's brother, his wife, and their two equally adorable children.

View from their porch
With a larger language, cultural, and fashion barrier than Spain, we spent more time indoors.

Playing cards.

Reading The Boxcar Children (did you know they get out of the Boxcar?).

And playing musical chairs.

I'm not afraid to win
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The last leg of our trip was spent to visit my sister and her new husband.

As you can see the weather in Amsterdam is quite colder, even in July. Every imaginable mode of transportation exists here. Cars, mopeds, trams, and...

Boats! And...


Cologne, Germany and Bree, Belgium

While in the Netherlands we took a day trip to Cologne and Bree. Here's my favorite thing we saw all trip.

The Cologne Cathedral

Like something out of a fairy tale.

We walked all the way to the top!

Madrid, Spain

Twice on our 3 1/2 week trip we had an overnight connection in Madrid. What started as a costly annoyance turned out to be one of my favorite cities. Not only was Madrid clean and safe, it was extremely easy to get around. For 1 Euro you can get anywhere in the city on the subway.

Despite a 7 1/2 layover in Tangier and getting called an asshole by a old Dutch woman, the trip went off without a hitch. The whole experience helped me better understand European and Arab culture. How similar (cultural religion isn't just a thing of the American South) and how different (like how old women and children are on the streets in Spain at 2am) people can be. Thanks again to all the family and friends who showed us around!


  1. Well done! 3 1/2 weeks is a great length! My wife and I did 10 days for our honeymoon in Paris and Budapest, and I wish we had had more time to do more. Glad you got to do this length of trip pre-retirement.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.