Surprise! You're turning 30 in *?*. Part 1.

We're cruising down I-95 on our way to Logan airport. I still don't know where we're going when the wheels go up. A few weeks ago, I found out that I'll need my passport for this journey. So I know we're leaving the country. The feeling is surreal. My imagination is running above the speed limit. Iceland? Ireland? Mexico? Portugal? Canada? Spain? My passion for travel is sending my stomach into knots in anticipation. The time has finally come...

Me: "Kailah, are you going to tell me now? It's driving me crazy"

Kailah: "Sure, reach in the back seat and grab that paper bag - you'll be able to figure it out"

*I reach into the back seat and pull out a bottle of white wine. The label reads Vinho Verde"

Kailah: "Where is it from?"

Me: "Portugal..." *Huge smile* "We're going to Portugal".

We're going to Portugal for my birthday. I'm going to turn 30 in Europe. Amazing. You have to remember that this is different for me. Not just because we're going somewhere that I haven't been, but because I haven't done any research. I don't know what to expect. I don't know the highest rated restaurants, or the "can't miss" attractions. What do people do in the Azores? We usually partner on planning, but Kailah did everything this time. It's actually kind of liberating...and also VERY exciting. In 5 hours time, I'm going to get off our plane and experience Azores Portuguese culture. 

The Azores is a group of Portuguese islands off the coast of Europe. There are 9 islands all together, with Sao Miguel being the largest (our destination). We're staying in the capital "city" of Ponta Delgada. I use air quotes because it is hardly an American city (for the better in my opinion). The entire island is comprised of only 140,000 residents and is known for it's beautiful scenery, in and around it's dormant volcanoes and thermal springs. The climate is mild year round. No temps above 75 in the summer and nothing below 50 in the winter. In November (when we are going), we will see 60-65 degrees consistently. The interesting part is that the temp doesn't fluctuate when the sun goes down, so the evenings are still pleasant. Weather and beauty aside, accessibility makes the Azores even more appealing. I mentioned earlier that they are only 5 hours direct from Boston and flight cost is extremely reasonable (I've seen anything between $300 and $600). The "icings" on the cake are both the cost to stay and the cost to eat (more on these in future posts). 

I think it's pretty obvious now why Kailah chose this location for our 4 day getaway. I couldn't be more excited...