Upcoming Travel: Spain and Portugal

Upcoming Adventures: Spain and Portugal  |  The Fresh Exchange

To kick off the week we wanted to share a dream we have had for some time. When Mike and I were dreaming about the idea of working together and what that might look like, our most clarifying moments were always in transitional situations. It was either on a long road trip, on a train ride in Italy, or walking through the streets of Paris. We make our biggest and best decisions when we are in the middle of an adventure and when we are truly creating out of joy. We have been quite busy working for our clients but have not given ourselves the proper attention we need to. We know there are some big decisions coming up this next year, we are looking to hire, rent a studio space, and are looking at focusing on the blog even more. We would love to help more people and brands by leading more workshops and speaking at more conferences, but all of these decisions cannot be made from a point of desperation or fear. These decisions have to be made from a place of adventure and hope. That is where Wild Measure was born and it is where we need to be when thinking about the future.

Thus we are taking a wild measure ourselves, and at the end of next month we are going to be heading to Spain and Portugal for a little future planning, break time, and adventure time. We have made a hard deadline for all of our current projects to be completed before we go and are not taking projects until we return so we can truly use this time to focus on the future. This means we will once again be blogging all our adventures each day with you and doing our best to make you feel as if you jumped in our suitcase for the trip.

After returning from Europe nearly a year and a half ago, we have wanted to get back and see more. The two countries at the top of that list have been Spain and Portugal. Both for the food and the adventurous spirit that has for centuries existed in that land. So, with collected air miles and a “why not” kind of attitude we booked our flights. We will begin and end in Madrid, because of it’s central location to the rest of the area. We will be meeting up with old friends there and making new ones along the way. But, we want to know what y’all want to hear about, where should we go, what should we avoid, and everything in between. We are excited for this 20+ day adventure and we are even more excited to have y’all once again experience one of our travels with us.

As we do not have a client project on this trip we are going to concoct some creative challenges to keep ourselves inspired. We have thought about bringing along our new/old film camera, creating with a more mobile mindset, and proving to ourselves we can literally live out of a backpack. Though we know we cannot live this way all the time, we look forward to this adventure to allow ourselves to push our limits and open the doors to learning new things .

Happy Monday! We cannot wait to hear all you hope to see during our travels this time!

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  1. I’m sure this is already on your list, but you’ll definitely have to check out Gaudi’s work via Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, etc. in Barcelona! There’s just nothing like it!

  2. I went to Barcelona and a small beach town about an hour or so south, Villa Nova y el Geltru, after graduation. Barcelona is by far the most beautiful city I have ever been to. Amazing architecture, tons of museums, quaint outdoor tapas restaurants, situated on the coast…you honestly feel like you are in a James Bond movie (the south of France is just a few miles away, after all). You will really miss out if you do not go to Barcelona. I recommend the Picasso museum, all of the Gaudi architecture, Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, the beach…and of course eat seafood and get authentic Spanish tapas!

  3. Oh, gosh. How exciting! Spain is unbelievable, but Portugal most recently stole my heart. The spirit and the sheer beauty of the country is just… unbelievable. I’m thrilled to follow along soon.

  4. Let me just welcome you to Portugal! As I am a Portuguese girl, it may be suspicious, but I really love this country! The people, the food (so different across the country), the sun, the sea… We all say that Lisbon as some kind of special and magical light that embraces us! I would suggest you to visit Serra do Gerês, Viana do Castelo, Porto, do a cruise on Rio Douro, Coimbra, Serra da Estrela, Fátima, Lisbon, Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park and the beaches in the Algarve! Have fun!

  5. SO excited for you both and can’t wait to see the beautiful photos. I’ve definitely got the travel itch myself but have to wait until after our wedding in August. Berlin / Amsterdam is at the top of my list. 🙂 xx.

    1. Thanks!!! Berlin and Amsterdam we basically my favorite airports so they have to be awesome cities too. Our friends live right outside Berlin and love it. I cannot wait to see what you have planned 🙂

  6. Hey Megan! I am SO excited for you and Mike. I’ve just returned from Europe and I’m having withdrawals. I never made it to Portugal (one day) so I don’t have any major advice on that front, but I did visit Spain for a bit! Out of all the places I went, San Sebastian was so, so wonderful. One of my favorite places in the entire world. Its small, right on the coast, very easy to navigate & everyone is so friendly and helpful. Its full of beautiful history and architecture, and old town is packed with endless cute shops and delicious places to eat. It also has one of the best views I’ve ever seen! I’m planning on going back one day and staying there for as long as I possibly can. Its that great. 🙂

    I also fully encourage living out of a backpack while you’re there. Thats what I did as well, surprisingly enough, and it was rather easy. We humans just don’t need as much as we think we do. I wrote a post about my packing strategies here: http://www.laurenbrumfield.com/2013/10/how-to-pack-for-ten-days-in-backpack.html

    Have a wonderful journey! And enjoy planning.. that’s half the fun. 😉

    1. Hey Lauren! Thanks so much!! we are planning to live/work out of 1-2 bags each. We always bring our camera and computers so it ends up taking up a little room but I love your post!!! Thank you for sharing I am search San Sebastian now!!!

  7. So exciting Megan and Mike!! I can not wait for all the posts — you’re so right about feeling like we jumped in your suitcases with you. You both do an amazing job sharing all that you experience. Bon voyage mes amis! Sorry, I don’t know a lick of Spanish or Portuguese 😉

  8. Amazing. Spain is one of my favourite countries in Europe – you will have such a fab time. Madrid has some amazing street performers, and my one tip there would be to visit the bar that serves cocktails in mini volcanoes (lol) – can’t remember the name but I’m sure google will help you out. I second San Sebastian – it’s gorgeous, and no other city can compare to Barcelona. Looking forward to your posts and pics.
    Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

  9. Hello there! Portugal is a small country with so many beautiful things to see and experience. If you enjoy to eat and drink, you will love all the different plates we have along the country. I truly recommend you eat our fresh fish and sea food as well as our wonderful wine, specially the red wine which is so good 🙂
    In addition to what Rita recommended in a previous comment I would like to add other villas as Sintra and Cascais near to Lisbon, which are a must see, Óbidos, Nazaré and Peniche as well.
    Have lots of fun and if you need any other recommendation just post it 😉

  10. You’ll love it there! Although I’m a self-proclaimed Spanophile (having lived in 4 cities during 4 years in Spain), I highly recommend Portugal, they receive less tourists, speak better English (overall), and you can find incredible deals on lodging and food that would otherwise be inaccessible in much of Europe (to-go/see Porto, Lisbon, the Algarve). That said, Spain should not be overlooked – coming from Portugal a pit stop in northern Spain, i.e. in Galicia should be had, making your way east past small dairy towns and cider cellars of Asturias, pintxos in San Sebastian and Basque country, then of course to the Catalan capital Barcelona and the Costa Brava coast (stunning water up north towards France), I’d swing down to Valencia – a gem of a city and then East to Madrid (if you’re flying out from there). While Andalusia is magnificent, it may be hard to pack the WHOLE country into one trip, but if warmer temps are your thing – you’ll want to see Cordoba, and Sevilla. Granada (mountainous) is worthy too – the Alambra won’t disappoint. Geez – that’s a novel. Buen viaje!

  11. That’s so exciting! I love adventure and you made a beautiful point here: We make our biggest and best decisions when we are in the middle of an adventure and when we are truly creating out of joy.

    I wish you guys the absolute best and I can’t wait to hear about backpacking through these places!

  12. The trip sounds so exciting! Just a chance to dream and scheme! Please do keep us posted like last time! I felt like I fell in love with Paris along with you through your posts even though I’ve never been anywhere in Europe. The way your captured your last European trip has really inspired my husband and I (we’re both designers too) 🙂 to do the same through photography and video on our upcoming trip to London, Paris and Italy for three weeks this coming fall. I think sharing it will make it all the better too!

  13. San sebastian is great, especially when there is a celebration with big fireworks that everyone is out for to see. But I don’t know if these things happen all year round. It happens in more cities there.

  14. Hi Megan.

    I grew up in Portugal so I super look forward to seeing some familiar pictures on here 🙂

    I grew up in Cascais, a little “fisherman village” outside of Lisbon (easily accessible by train), so I would obviously suggest going there 🙂 The downtown area is super cute and it’s less of a “city feeling”. There’s also another larger beach near Cascais which is called Guincho which is usually not crowded at all cause its super windy and it’s where all the surfers go. It’s gorgeous.
    All of this is super close to Lisbon and you have to go to Lisbon. There is so much to do there I won’t even bother listing it all.
    In that same area please try to go to Belem. There’s a super popular bakery there that sells pasteis de nata, little egg-custard-like-things and they are so good. You can get them anywhere but Belem has the best ones no doubt! Belem is also easily accessible by train plus it’s a bit of a cultural centre with museums, parks, the monastery and much more.
    Also within the suburbs of Lisbon is Sintra which is beautiful too and full of amazing greenery and castles, highly recommended too.

    I’m not sure where else you plan on going but Porto is also a beautiful city. The south of Portugal is also nice, mostly beaches, it gets very touristy in the summer but I don’t think you need to worry about that till the hotter months.

    Feel free to send me an e-mail or something if you have any questions or need any tips 🙂

    Have so much fun, very jealous 🙂

  15. This is such an awesome and exciting idea! I’m sure you guys will have an amazing time — looking forward to seeing what photographs and projects you both dream up!

  16. If you’re up for an adventure, check out hiking/biking some of the Camino de Santiago – it’s a different way to see the country and an opportunity to get out of the city and explore the countryside and tiny towns!

  17. San Sebastian is just gorgeous, and most delicious, of course. Don’t miss the tortilla español at Bar Nestor – only two are made a day, 1pm and 8pm. There are some incredible metal sculptures to explore along the rocks, a little walk down the western side of the bay. And I can’t express strongly enough how incredible the 3 to 4 hour hike we did is. It goes from the north-eastern side of the eastern most bay in SS over to the next port, the towns are Pasai on one side, and Pasai Donibane on the other. It’s a little rugged but not technical at all, and breath taking views of the water the entire time. You can then grab a much deserved glass of cidre and hop on a quick bus ride back to SS. Also, Getaria is a nearby town that is really lovely to explore for a day trip. We visited a winery, stopped in a few shops and had an excellent lunch at Asador Astillero.

  18. Barcelona is great, but Seville and San Sebastian should make it onto your list too. Seville is perfect for chilling with a glass of sangria and visiting the moroccan spa (super cheap if you go during the week). Plus it’s beautifully photogenic. And San Sebastian just about has the best tapas and food scene anywhere in Spain.

    Enjoy your holidays! Can’t wait to read about your aventures!

  19. I’m from San Sebastian and everything being said here is true! 🙂 It’s a really beautiful town, small but not too small, there’s coast (we have 3 awesome beaches!) and there’s also mountain, the view is amazing from almost anywhere. The North of Spain is known for its amazing food too so you should definitely pay a visit 😉

  20. You will love Portugal! Follow the suggested cities in the previous posts, try the fresh fish, the beaches in the coast of Alentejo (Arrifana is the most beautiful place), get lost in Lisbon (not just downtown), be amazed in Sintra and don’t forget to try all the pastry available in the cafés – it’s the thing that I miss most when I leave my country.

  21. Oh Megan, I’m so excited for you! Portugal and Northwest Spain are some of my favorite places on earth, mind you I’m a little biased because my fiancé’s family is from there, but still absolutely gorgeous country. Having been all over Portugal, I’d definitely recommend going to the north – Minho and Douro regions and then take a quick trip up across the Minho River into Spain to see Santiago de Compostela. I’ve recapped a few of my favorite places in both northern Portugal (http://www.julipmade.com/2012/09/the-europe-diaries-bem-vindo-portugal.html) and Spain (http://www.julipmade.com/2012/09/the-europe-diaries-el-final-del-camino.html). Galicia is also home to some of my favorite wines: Ribeira Sacra and Albarino. The bodegas also have some of the most stunning views and beautifully landscaped terraced vines that hug the curves of the mountains. Seriously a must see! Let me know if you have any questions or would like additional recommendations.

  22. I actually lived in Spain (a.k.a. the land of 10 p.m. dinners) for a short stint. And trust me, there’s beauty and energy surging in this country unlike any other I’ve visited. If you travel to the Castilla y León region, make sure to visit these favorites: Museo del Prado in Madrid, the beautiful Roman aqueduct and Alcázar in Segovia and Casa de las Conchas in the historic city of Salamanca.

  23. While in Portugal, be sure to take day trips (or stay a night or two) to Sintra and Setubal. You get a better feel of the true Porgtuguese life in small cities. A must visit side trip from Madrid is Granada. The architecture of the Alhambra is unbeatable. Have fun, can’t wait for the photos.

  24. Oh my gosh, my family and I spent 10 days in Spain and Portugal a few years ago, and it was one of the most special trips of my life. We drove from Torremolinos to Madrid, then took a sleeper train to Lisbon (quite the experience, but none of us really slept). If you’re planning to be in the South at all, I can’t recommend the town of Ronda enough. It’s just dripping with history. Ernest Hemingway stayed there! And the cliffs…completely gorgeous. Breathtaking, really. It’s a safe place that has a really authentic feeling despite being tourist-friendly. A brief drive away are these amazing caves, called Cueva de la Pileta, where you can hike down underground and see cave paintings that are 20,000+ years old. This was one of the coolest experiences of my entire life. Madrid was also great — you should see La Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum — and I wish we’d budgeted more time for Portugal, but overall, the trip was completely fabulous. You’re going to have a great time! I can’t wait to read about your adventures! Xx Hannah

  25. Megan – I’m so excited for you both! What an amazing adventure! I lived in Spain for 2 years after college, in a small town just east of Madrid called Alcala de Henares. It’s where MIguel Cervantes is from (the author of Don Quijote), and it is also famous for hosting a meeting between Chistopher Columbus and the king and queen of Spain, before financing his trip to America. So much history! Alcala is such a cute university town, with amazing little plazas, restaurants, and shops. It might be a nice overnight trip for you two if you’re looking to get away to a small town at some point in your trip. It is an easy 40 minute train ride east from Madrid. My roommate while I was there is from Cadiz – a little beach town on the southern coast of Spain. It’s near the border with Portugal, so it might be worthwhile for you to stay there, as well. Again – tons of history in this town! It is one of the oldest cities in Spain, and Europe. The pescadito frito (or fried fish) is amazing there!!! Nothing like it. Anyway, just wanted to send you a couple of lesser-known towns for you to go visit – I love to see small towns when I travel to other places – it gives me a sense of how people *really* live in the country (being from a small town myself here in the States, I also find it easier to identify with!). 🙂 Safe travels to you both!! I’m really looking forward to seeing your adventures here…

  26. The Algarve in Portugal (skip Lagos) might be one of my favorite places….ever. The side of the road food is the cheapest and fresh off the farm…you can’t beat it! And they have great campgrounds 🙂 We lived in Spain for a while and my (and my husbands) top 3 must sees are Granada, Sevilla and Barcelona. All biggish towns, but we lived in a tiny pueblo outside of Sevilla which I fell in love with. The tiny places were my favs. Have an amazing trip!

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