Six Month Retrospective: Adventures in Europe and Beyond


This week marks six months since we left Canada and moved to Madrid. In some ways, it feels like we’ve only just arrived, and in others it’s like we’ve been here forever.

This week, I’m taking a quick break from the regularly scheduled travel programming to take a look back at the last six months – the adventures we’ve been on, the places we’ve seen, the foods we’ve eaten, and to look ahead at what the next six months has to offer.

Here is a sample of some of the adventures we’ve been on:

Tallinn, Estonia

Our trip to Tallinn, Estonia was an add-on to our visit to Helsinki, Finland in the beginning of 2016. Given the distance between the two cities, we thought it would be a missed opportunity not to jump on the ferry and at least explore the small capital. What was originally an add-on quickly became the highlight (at least for me) of the trip.

The small, medieval Old Town was fascinating. We spent one insanely cold day wandering the street, exploring the alleys and sipping on delicious (but dangerous) Vana Tallinn.

Read more about our time in Tallinn:

Hamburg, Germany

Our visit to Hamburg satisfied my longtime desire to experience a Christmas Market. We arrived on the first weekend they were open and we basically spent half our trip sampling the different foods and beverages available. It was amazing!

Although it was early-December, we were both surprised by just how cold the city was—we should have known better, it is a northern port after all! But, we didn’t let the cold stop us; he explored as much of Hamburg as possible by land, sea and train, and really I don’t think we could have had a better time!

Read more about our weekend in Hamburg:

Cascais, Portugal

A quick day-trip from Lisbon, Portugal, Cascais is a former fishing village turned posh resort town. It was paradise. We spent a day hiking near the ocean, marvelling at the colours of the ocean and sipping cold beverages whilst enjoying the scorching afternoon sun. Although we only visited for a day, I daydream about returning all too often.

Check out a full Travel Diary of our visit to Cascais:

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon was our first stop on this European adventure and we really couldn’t have asked for a better place to kick off the year! Relaxing but vibrant, laid back but interesting, we spent just under a week exploring the capital, and of course, indulging in the most delicious foods.

Read the full Lisbon travel diary here: 

Helsinki, Finland

One of the reasons we decided on Madrid for our year abroad was the weather; we were tired of the long, seemingly never-ending Canadian winters and Madrid offered just that. BUT, when we saw that the World Junior Hockey Championships were being held in Helsinki (and that the tickets were insanely inexpensive) we threw our winter plans away and spent New Years Eve watching hockey, exploring the capital and experiencing what the Finns refer to as the Darkness.

For more on our experience in Helsinki, check out:

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona was the destination of our first city break, and really, it’s the city that can be blamed for our extreme and insatiable wanderlust these last few months. We visited in early-November and were pleasantly surprised that the weather was amazing! From the top of Montjuic to Barceloneta, we crisscrossed the city for three days sampling sangria and eating octopus along the way.

For a full recap of our time in Barcelona, check out:

Bratislava, Slovakia


I’ll admit, I never thought I would visit Bratislava. NEVER. Not because I had any preconceived notions thanks to movies like EuroTrip or Hostel, but really because it’s not a city I EVER thought of. That is until we were planning our March trip through Central Europe, from Prague to Budapest, with a stop in Vienna in between. Upon noticing how close it was to Vienna we knew it had to be fit in.

Yes, our trip was short, but it was also insanely fun and showed me that Bratislava definitely has more to offer than cheap beer (although that was quite wonderful).

A full recap hasn’t been written (yet) about our time in Bratislava, but I share a few details here:

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Who doesn’t want to spend Christmas in 20˚C weather surrounded by palm trees? No one, that’s who. For a week over Christmas we jetted to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with Dave’s parents and lounged in the sun, indulged on seafood, and explored the island from north to south.

Read more about our time in Las Palmas:

Marrakech, Morocco

One of our most recent adventures took us out of Europe to Marrakech, Morocco. As a whole, Marrakech is overwhelming to the senses. The crowded streets and squares, the intense heat and the mélange of smells can take a bit of time to adjust to, but when you do, you’re overwhelmed with the beauty, the vibrant colours, and everything that makes Marrakech such a beautiful and unique destination.

For more on Marrakech, visit:

Madrid, Spain

And, last but certainly not least, Madrid. In so many ways, Madrid has been our wildest adventure: from learning a new language to navigating life in a new city with a distinct culture and a whole new set of rules. Some days, expat life can be frustrating, but on a whole I don’t think we could have picked a better location: the people are friendly, the food is amazing, and the weather can’t be beat. Here’s to six pretty awesome months in Madrid, and to another six to come!

For more on Madrid, expat life, and everything in between, check out:



Please Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.

2 thoughts on “Six Month Retrospective: Adventures in Europe and Beyond

  1. Lillian says:

    Glad I found you via #mondayescapes. Hello fellow Canadian! Isn’t it great living in Europe with so many cultures and places to see just a short plane ride away. Where in Canada are you from?


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