October 30, 2020
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Great Pyramid, Giza, Egypt, camels

2019 Travel Year in Review

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2019 travel was a relatively slow year for travel. We bought a house and that tied up funds for a while, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t do some traveling.

Click on the links to learn more details about each destination.

Portugal

We usually try to squeeze in a trip in early January before school starts. We were hearing a lot about Lisbon being the new place to go so we decided to travel to Portugal.

Porto, Portugal

Instead of just flying straight into Lisbon, we flew into Porto.

Obidos, Portugal

We travelled south through the country stopping in Coimbra, Tomar and Obidos.

Town Square in Tomar, Portugal

We had planned to spend a day in Fatima but there was a travel strike that day so we spent a second night in Tomar. Gotta be flexible!

Obidos, Portugal

We finished in Lisbon. To be honest, Lisbon was our least favorite destination on the trip.

Lisbon, Portugal

Our favorite things in Lisbon were actually two day trip OUT of Lisbon – our day trip to Belem, and our day trip to Sintra.

Sintra was our favorite destination in Portugal.

Quinta de Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal

If you are interested in knowing how much this trip cost, just check out our post detailing our expenses for our trip to Portugal.

Greece

Greece
The Acropolis in Athens

I did a brother trip in March. We stopped for a couple nights in Athens, mainly to see the Acropolis and other ancient sites before heading to our main destination…

Egypt

We were concerned about whether it was safe to travel to Egypt. But after some research, we realized as long as you understand a few things before your trip to Egypt, it will put your mind at ease.

View from the rooftop terrace of Panorama Pyramids hotel

We spent two nights in Giza.

The Sphynx and Great Pyramid

Then we spent another two nights in Luxor, exploring the Luxor Temple, Karnak and Valley of the Kings.

Istanbul

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

On the way back from Egypt, we had an overnight layover in Istanbul. By the time we got there, it was kind of late, but we still got to see some of the major sights – Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome – from the outside.

London

We also had an overnight layover in London. We arrived during daylight hours and did get to see some sights. However, the big one – Big Ben – was under construction

Big Ben – under construction during our visit

Colorado

Garden of the Gods

Early in the summer, we bought a house in Colorado Springs. So that major expense curtailed most of our traveling the rest of the year. We spent our summer enjoying our new city, including some hiking in Garden of the Gods and more hiking in Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Disney World

It’s been a tradition of ours to visit Walt Disney World the week before Christmas, and we didn’t want tight finances this year to cause us to skip this tradition.

Fortunately both Darlene and I had recently gotten the AMEX Hilton Aspire credit card. Between the two of us, we got five free nights at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs. It’s a great location because you can walk across the street to Disney Springs. With the resort credit and Diamond status with the Aspire card, we ate for free at the Hilton the entire time.

It’s very crowed at that time of year, so we usually spend most of our time experiencing the Christmas spirit, instead of going into one of the theme parks, like one of the most overlooked (and free) Christmas experiences at the Fort Wilderness Campground.

Campers go all out for Christmas at Disney’s Fort Wilderness

A campground? Eye roll. If that’s what you are thinking, that is what Darlene thought when I first mentioned it to her. Now, it’s one of the highlights of her trip every year.

2018 Year in Review

In case you missed it, check out our 2018 Travel Year in Review.

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