Cut Your Travel Expenses in Romantic Europe

I confess I am a travel addict as is my husband Michael. We’ve seen much of the world and we want to see more.

One highlight I will never forget is our four-month long trip to Europe.

Long after the azure twinkle of the Mediterranean disappeared beneath the clouds, and our plane soared toward the Americas, the views still sprang fresh to mind: the canyon that cleaves the Spanish town of Rhonda in two, washed by the setting sun…the rolling hills of Tuscany…the white villages of Andalucia, stacked like brilliant sugar cubes.

Vejer de la Frontera is one of them…the ideal place to find a shady balcony, a cold drink, and perfect paella while enjoying the crimson, lilac, pink and orange bougainvillea highlighting the gallons of whitewash. We loved it.

In search of a respite from the Spanish heat we visited the little-known principality of Andorra, tucked away in the Pyrenees Mountains. Months away from ski season, we wandered through green meadows on the lower slopes.

With the hum of bees and distant cowbells in our ears, we found primulas, gentian, alpine poppies, tiny orchids, and even edelweiss in the knee-high grass or clinging tenaciously to the low stonewalls.

We ate hearty servings of lamb, chicken, and dandelion salad, washed down with flagons of beer.

In Tuscany, we had an amazing view of rolling hills and valleys from our hill-top villa. (Where we stayed for free thanks to this “secret backdoor” to luxurious travel.)

We visited the five towns of Cinque Terre clinging to the rocky shoreline and offering jaw-dropping views at every turn.

The most welcome sight was the final brick steps of the town of Corniglia. Was the view worth the 33 flights of stairs? Absolutely! As was the glass of lemonade picked, squeezed, and mixed by Mario—a local man with a lemonade stand—straight from his garden.

We also spent time exploring Portugal’s Algarve, where arches and bastions of towering limestone have been sculpted by the wind and waves into massive sentinels and are riddled with sea caves and overhangs.

The varied vistas of Europe linger on in our memories…long after the tastes and the tan have faded. That’s the beauty of travel.

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