Listen to our full episode on Our 2022 Favorite Travel Moments and MORE (Part 2!) below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.
Key Takeaways for Our 2022 Favorite Travel Moments and MORE (Part 2!)
1. Top 5 Moments of our 2022 Travels
👩🏻🦰 CAROLINE’S TOP 5…
👩🏻🦰 #5 [May 20] Being “digital nomads” in a small Greek beach town.
On May 20th we were in Greece, specifically in Agia Pelagia, which is a tiny beach town on the island of Crete.
We had just finished our monthly coaching session, which is our most intense work period of the month, and we found this incredible restaurant that had an oceanfront view. It had not yet opened for the season, so nobody was there and we were the first patrons of the season.
The restaurant was just incredibly modern and had a Southern California vibe but also a distinctly Greek sensibility to it. We had tacos, cocktails, and a view of the bluest water you’ve ever seen! We also brought our laptops with us and were able to get ahead on travel planning for the rest of the year. It was the digital nomad dream.
👩🏻🦰 #4 [Jun 25] Glen Turret Distillery, whiskey tasting day.
We were staying in Crieff, Scotland, and nearby they have the Glen Turret whiskey distillery, Scotland’s oldest running distillery. Caroline is not a big whiskey drinker at all, but she just thought to herself, “When in Scotland…” We went on their website and we wanted to eat at their sit-down restaurant but they didn’t have any reservations available. They did have a whiskey tour but we didn’t want to go on the full tour.
They had this other experience, a “whiskey flight,” where you could just pay to sit at the bar while they brought you a flight of different whiskeys that you could taste. There was a “heritage flight” where you try old whiskeys which is what Jason ordered and they also had a cocktail flight which is what Caroline ordered.
We were sitting at the bar enjoying our “whiskey flight,” and had a great time chatting with the guys at the bar. It was so fun because we told them, of course, that we were doing this year of travel and as they were all from different parts of Europe they were telling us their favorite places we should go.
We ended up being able to order food from the bar menu, which ended up being suuuper tasty! The whole irony of this experience is we couldn’t get reservations for the restaurant, but because we did the whiskey flight, we ended up having a more unique and interesting experience!
Caroline remembers getting home from that night and feeling like she was walking on clouds (probably the whiskey!) It was such a fun day!
👩🏻🦰 #3 [Aug 15] Eating at Chakkal, hearing a guy sing Stand By Me (badly), and a beautiful sunset.
Caroline’s number three top moment was on August 15, just one day before her birthday. We had just toured the place that would become our home (not the exact one) and it was this day when we’d basically come to the conclusion that we were really going to move to Portugal!
We heard several times about this little beach bar called Chakkal that was just five minutes away. When we arrived it was beautiful, with loads of families enjoying food and drinks, and it had this quintessential end-of-summer feeling. There was a live musician who had been playing the whole time and at one point, a woman went up and sang, “I will survive,” and the guy, the musician, kind of competed with her for attention. We were dying laughing. It was such a feel-good moment.
At the end of our meal, we got up and went to this little boardwalk that’s to the right of the restaurant to watch the sunset. We could hear the live musician starting to sing “Stand by me” and it was quite the rendition! It wasn’t bad, but I (Jason) would say, it was so bad that it was good. Caroline thoroughly enjoyed the take on the song and it ended up creating such a fun memory for us on this day! Such a great way to end our time visiting Portugal.
👩🏻🦰 #2 [Mar 9] First day in Ballybunion with a wonderful sunset on the beach.
We had literally zero expectations for this stop on our travels. This was March, so we were still getting acclimated to the full-time travel life and we had just driven from Kinsale, Ireland all the way to Ballybunion. Driving, especially on the opposite side of the road, was still very anxiety-inducing for Caroline.
There were only 8 photos of the Airbnb we’d booked in Ballybunion and it was hard to tell exactly where it was and what the vibe would be. Boy, oh boy, were we pleasantly surprised!
Our host, Siobhan, met us in the small parking lot and we immediately realized this place was going to wildly exceed our expectations. She gave us a tour of her home, which is one of four homes on the beach, and it was right up our alley from a design and layout perspective. Plus, the views of Ballybunion Beach simply couldn’t be beaten!
After seeing the house, Siobhan had champagne waiting for us and the sun started setting. We popped the cork, poured some bubbles, and took in the beginning of the sunset. After a few sips, we decided we had to throw our warm clothes back on and actually go for a walk on the beach and take in the sunset. It was truly a wonderful memory and one of the best sunsets of the entire year.
👩🏻🦰 #1 [May 10] Private dinner at Cretamos at Royal Senses Hotel in Crete, Greece.
Caroline’s top memory of the year is on May 10. This is her “turning point” moment.
For context, before ending up at the Royal Senses Hotel in Crete, we had just spent a week in France where Caroline had this amazing trip with her two best childhood girlfriends, but the stress of that trip and the previous few months of traveling caught up to her and she had a shingles flare up (for the 4th time in 3 years).
Thankfully, we were able to get anti-viral medication for shingles in France, and she had just finished getting through the meds when we were slated to fly to Greece. We arrived late and night, had an hour car ride to the hotel, and we didn’t really get to see or take anything in upon arrival to the hotel.
The next morning was our first full day at the resort and Caroline woke up to an expansive ocean view, which really took her by surprise. During the day, we went down for breakfast where the buffet was off-the-charts amazing. We took advantage of the great fitness center at hotel, and then spent time relaxing in our room’s private saltwater pool — so great!
At night, we got ready for dinner and we’d heard it was the first night they were opening the “Cretamos Restaurant” for the whole season. We thought it was going to be busy and packed since it was opening night, so we went early… We walked 5 minutes from our room to the restaurant only to find ONE person dining at Cretamos who had almost finished his meal. It was 7pm, and as the night went on we realized we were the ONLY other people who would be finding at Cretamos for the night! Without knowing it or planning it, we ended up with a private dining experience at one of the nicest hotel restaurants overlooking the Agean Sea.
Our server Angelos was absolutely delightful and made our evening even more fun and special. As the sun finished setting, we realized our booth didn’t have much light and we couldn’t see the food we were eating. We asked Angelos if we could move to another table and he laughed because no one else was there (or coming). We were able to finish our meal, see each course, laugh with Angelos, and personally thank the chef and his staff for a wonderful and unforgettable meal.
For Caroline, it was another one of those perfect days, and it made her so happy that we embarked on this year of travel. Some days were absolutely harder than others, but she realized if the payoff was days like this, all the tough moments of 2022 would be worth it!
👨🏻🦲 JASON’S TOP 5…
👨🏻🦲 #5 [Apr 12] Wine Tour with Belmin in Hvar, Croatia.
This was such a hilarious, wonderful day in so many different ways. We went down to the front desk of our hotel and asked about the excurisons they had available (i.e. a private picnic in an olive grove, a sunset dinner, etc). There were probably 12-15 excurisons listed on the website, but it turned out NONE of the excursions were available at that time except one.
The receptionist made a few phone calls and told us a wine tasting would be available and someone could pick us up in a few hours for a half-day tour. “Okay!” we said, let’s go for it.
When the time came, we walked from the hotel to the downtown area of Hvar to meet our contact (Belmin). After a bit of wandering around, we finally found him and hopped in his “Jeep” (it was a very old Toyota Landcruiser type SUV). Belmin let us know he was a teacher and a part-time firefighter, and “I care more about my daughter than you, so don’t be scared.” We died laughing. Belmin pointed out all kinds of historical and fun facts about Hvar as we drove to the first winery.
The first stop of two was at a more upscale winery (as Belmin described it). There was a family of 6 who was also doing a half-day wine tour, but we didn’t mingle with them too much. We enjoyed our tasting in a lovely old Croatian wine tasting room, and even though the owner of the winery wasn’t too friendly, she warmed up to us by the end of the tasting. From there, we hopped back in Belmin’s “Jeep” and he asked us if he could show us a church. We said, “sure” (obviously), and before we knew it we were driving down some of the smallest roads, barely fitting between buildings. After our church-going detour, Belmin drove us to the other winery, which was more rustic and run by a group of brothers.
When we arrived at the second winery, the other family was already there and already tasting their first glass of wine. We quickly sat down and the winery owner and host, Mario, poured us our first glass and kept talking about the wine. Where the first winery was upscale and we had a table full of wine glasses and snacks, the second winery was at a picnic bench, with one wine glass, and a paper plate with cheese on it (LOL).
Eventually, we finished the tasting, including some amazing Grand Cru wine, and Belmin talked Mario into showing us the wine operation behind the scenes. We’d come to find out Belmin actually helped Mario and his brothers pick grapes each season and work in the winery a bit. The behind the scenes tour was super fun, especially seeing such a small wine producer’s operation.
That wasn’t actually the end of the day! Belmin drove us to the highest point in Hvar, his favorite place, and then stopped on the highway and told us to cross the road to forage for some wild vegetables. We tasted wild asparagus, onion, and various other things, all while laughing at the (amazing) absurdity of the day. It was truly a moment and adventure we’ll cherish forever!
👨🏻🦲 #4 [May 13] Royal Senses: Water park, sunset, and Cretamos (basically Jason’s 40th birthday).
It was two days before my (Jason’s) 40th birthday and this day felt the most like my celebration day.
The Royal Senses Hotel had an adult water park and you better believe we went down the giant slides and played in the pool for a bit! Funny enough, much like our first dinner a Cretamos, no one showed up to the water park while we were there so we essentially had a private water park! We enjoyed cocktails and laughing about how silly it was we were the only people there.
Speaking of Cretamos, we went back for dinner again and got to enjoy another meal hosted by Angelos and the wildly gorgeous Greek sunsets. The food and drink were excellent, but the funniest moment was when a table next to us had a 10-year-old kid that got served a glass of wine. The parents were very much trying to say no thank you, and Angelos kept saying, “it’s fine, it’s fine.” The parents looked around for approval from other patrons and we all just kind of laughed and then they said, “I guess, go for it??” It was a hilarious moment, only to be topped by another couple who had a marriage proposal happen at their table. All of this happening while the sun was setting and we were just enjoying our time at this wonderful hotel.
Looking back, if that was the day that I thought of as my birthday, what a great way to turn 40; you get to do the big kid stuff at the water park, you get to have a great meal, I got to be with Caroline, and the sunset topped it all off.
👨🏻🦲 #3 [Jun 28] Meeting the hairy Scottish Highland Cattle.
After being in Scotland for a week, it dawned on me we were in the land of Scottish Highland Cattle, a fairly iconic animal with it’s long hair and big horns. I did some quick Googling and found a farm that was 2 hours from where we were staying that offered tours where you could interact and learn about one of the oldest breeds of cattle.
We booked the tour, drove two hours in the pouring rain, had a gnarly detour for 30 minutes that was pretty stressful driving on a 1-lane road, but eventually made it to Queenie and John’s cattle farm.
Queenie and John couldn’t be nicer people and it’s clear for the 20 years they’ve been running this farm, they love every minute of it and sharing it with strangers. We hopped in their covered ATV and started learning about Scottish Highland Cattle as well as their 2,000 acre farm! After a few minutes of navigating windy gravel trails, we arrived at our first group of cattle where we met the 6-month Magnus who was very curious about us. Queenie encouraged us to pet him and before we knew it he was licking our jackets and making us laugh. Then, we got to meet Magnus’ Mom, the start of the show: Maggie.
Maggie is a 1,600+ pound cow and she’s as docile and friendly as you can imagine. We were a bit nervous to approach her due to her immense size, but she was very calm and even made a purring-like sound when Queenie and John had us brush her. It was one of those moments where it’s pouring rain, it’s cold, but we couldn’t be happier!
After spending lots of time chatting with Maggie, we hipped back in the ATV and visited multiple other groups of Scottish Highland Cattle. We got to see some 2-week old calves up close, learned a bunch about lambs and sheep, and had a spot of tea and a snack in the middle of a quick downpour.
About 4 hours went by in the blink of an eye and we ended the tour getting to hand-feed some lambs. Queenie and John were amazing hosts, it was an incredible day, and we had so much fun reminiscing about it all on the 2-hour drive back to our Airbnb.
👨🏻🦲 #2 [Feb 24] Four season in a day in Kinsale, Ireland.
We were just one month into our year of travel and staying at our third Airbnb, which ended up being this amazingly cool and modern house (“The Dockshouse”) right on the Wild Atlantic Way (a famous road) in Kinsale, Ireland.
On the third morning of our 2-week stay, I woke up and realized snow was falling! We’re Florida babies and seeing snow was not normal for us. Normally, I’d never wake Caroline from her morning slumber, but I knew this was too magical to let her sleep through. I gently woke her up and let her know it was snowing and I’ll never forget her saying, “really??” with her eyes still closed. She got out of bed and we both giggled like kids as we looked at the floor to ceiling windows of The Dockhouse watching the snow come down.
Now, what makes this day even more magical is that within an hour, the snow had stopped falling, it had all melted, and the sun starting shining! We decided to walk to a nearby sight to see: James Fort. The walk was BRISK, but the sun was high in the sky and it was hard to believe it had been snowing just a bit earlier in the morning.
When we arrived at James Fort, we realized the fort sat atop a hill and we had amazing views of Kinsale and all the surrounding areas. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was even starting to warm up enough that we could remove our heavy coats and enjoy eating lunch on the grass in front of James Fort.
After making our way back to The Dockhouse, we got ready for dinner at a restaurant that earned a Michelin Star. The restaurant, Bastion, was just a few steps from our modern Airbnb and we were excited to embark on a fun culinary experience at a very well-rated spot. The food and experience at Bastion did not disappoint, and every course was a feast for the senses and the eyes. We felt very fortunate to be able to dine at one of the FOUR tables in the restaurant!
The meal lasted many hours, with many laughs, and tons of incredible bites of food. It was a glorious ending to a wonderful day in Ireland.
👨🏻🦲 #1 [Aug 11] Perfect Portugal day (house tour, beach, Santa Cruz).
My #1 memory of 2022 is very close to Caroline’s #3 memory from our time Portugal in August. This was a few days before her day when we toured a home that would eventually lead us to finding the home we currently live in!
We still weren’t ready to commit to moving to Portugal at this time, but seeing this dream home we could rent that was within our budget (and had an amazing feeling to it) was definitely pushing us toward making a decision. After taking a tour of the home we drove just a few minutes to the nearby beach and soaked it all in. The weather was absolutely perfect and we both commented how much Portugal was stealing our hearts.
After the beach, we hopped in the car and drove 20 minutes down the road to a town called Santa Cruz. There was a restaurant/beach bar that I’d found on Google Maps and it looked right up our alley. When we arrived, the restaurant was essentially like a shipping container plopped on the beach. It had just the right beachy vibe, while also having a menu full of delicious sounding food. We ordered some sangria to share and had a lovely meal, continuing to soak up all the joy of our time in Portugal.
It was this day that really showed me Portugal could be our future home. We didn’t decide on this day, but it was such a great day and truly showed us what our lives could look like. And, as you probably already know, we moved to Portugal and we live in one of the homes we toured during this week in August 2022!
1. Top 5 Restaurants of our 2022 Travels
👩🏻🦰 CAROLINE’S TOP 5…
👩🏻🦰 Honorable mention: Grouse and Claret
Grouse and Claret is a little inn between Edinburgh and Rhynd, Scotland. We ended up grabbing a table in the garden and the weather was just absolutely wonderful. The owner of the place took our order and we had fun chatting with her about other restaurants to seek out while we were in Scotland (she gave us an adorable hand-written list!)
We ordered the “world famous cheese soufflé” and it was fannnntastic. A great little spot and one we’re glad we stopped at on our way to our next destination.
👩🏻🦰 #5: Grottino 1313 (Lucerne, Switzerland)
Caroline almost put this in her top five memories because this was when her Mom (Patty) came and visited us in Switzerland.
Her whole life she heard that Patty’s favorite place in the world was Lucerne, Switzerland. She got to travel and went to Lucerne back when she was 16, which was 50 years ago! It was a dream of Caroline’s to be able to take her mom back to Switzerland and spend a week there together.
What made Grottino 1313 so fun was it had a family-style tasting menu, which we’d never experienced before. There’s no menu, so they’ll just bring a course to you, like soup and a salad, and you have to decide what order you want to eat those in because you only get one bowl for each course. So it’s either you want soup followed by a kind of soggy salad or salad bits in your soup. It was hilarious and a unique eating adventure.
The food was tasty, but the best part was the ambience and getting to spend quality time together with Patty!
👩🏻🦰 #4: Hagakure Noh Samba (Bari, Italy)
Yes, we were in Italy, and yes, we had plenty of pasta during our time there, but we were ready to mix it up and found a really cool looking restaurant called Noh Samba. It was a fusion of Peruvian, Brazilian, Japanese, Italian, and probably even more things on the menu.
The restaurant’s decor was super funky and unique, just what we love. We ordered almost everything off the menu and enjoyed a few handcrafted cocktails. It was SUCH a great meal and a restaurant we’d happily eat at every week for the rest of our lives if we could.
👩🏻🦰 #3: Ard Bia at Nimmos (Galway, Ireland)
Ard Bia at Nimmos is this hundreds of years old building perched right on the water. The interior is all shiplap, rustic furniture, but has a super-cozy and warm feeling to it. There weren’t many tables at the restaurant and we felt lucky to grab one with Jason’s Mom and her husband who were visiting us.
The food felt very farm-to-table and the ambience of the restaurant did us right on a rainy Irish day in Galway. You know this restaurant is good because I (Caroline) ordered a beet risotto and thoroughly enjoyed it (and I don’t like beets!)
👩🏻🦰 #2: The Newport (Newport, Scotland)
This was another top moment and day of 2022. We had just come from seeing Dunnottar Castle and this small river town (Newport) was on the way back to our Airbnb.
The restaurant was on the Tay River and had a modern aesthetic, while still keeping some Scottish charm intact. We opted for the 3-course lunch, even though there was a 5-course option (see, we can make grown-up choices sometimes!) Each course was incredibly thoughtful and delicious. One of our favorite bites was a “caesar salad” that was a small bite that did NOT look like a salad at all. It was very fun!
Small sidenote: The Newport had Jason’s TOP sourdough bread of the year! 🍞
👩🏻🦰 #1: L’Arpège (Colmar, France)
While we didn’t love the city of Colmar (it was a bit too touristy), we would go back in a heartbeat to eat at L’Arpège! This restaurant earns our 🏆🏆 TOP RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR 🏆🏆 for both of us!
We found out about L’Arpège while I was getting my hair done. My stylist told me it was a must-visit spot and we definitely needed to call and make reservations. We were able to get a table outside in the garden, and boy oh boy was it magical.
The menu was brought to us on a chalkboard and each option was carefully explained to us in English (which we were so grateful for, especially in France!) There were only a handful of dishes to choose from and we both ended up going with fish for our entrées and WOW is it the best fish entrée we’ve both ever had. The dessert was also out of this world good, I had this chocolate and lime dish that was incredble.
L’Arpège was so good, that we actually came back THE NEXT DAY! We had all our luggage with us as we had to catch a train to Paris, but L’Arpège was too amazing to not dine at again while we were still in Colmar. We have zero regrets!
👨🏻🦲 JASON’S TOP 5…
👨🏻🦲 Honorable mention: Bread41 (Dublin, Ireland)
Bread41 is a bakery with a restaurant that’s only open three days a week and gets booked many months in advance. Bread41 is known as one of the best bakeries in all of Europe and we have to agree with that! The menu at Bread41 is the most gluten-FULL menu you can possibly get, but the croissant eggs benedict that I had was just absolutely out of this world. I ordered so many pastries from the bakery and Caroline even got up with me at 7:00 a.m. to go to this restaurant.
👨🏻🦲 #5 Grottino 1313 (Lucerne, Switzerland)
You already read about Grottino 1313 in Caroline’s restaurant section. It wins the Ambience of the Year award for me. So fun, so unique from any place we’ve ever been to before.
👨🏻🦲 #4 Finns’ Farmcut (Kinsale, Ireland)
Kinsale, Ireland is a culinary hotspot. That’s not just my take, it’s well known to have so many amazing restaurants in such a small Irish town.
Finns’ Farmcut is a tiny restaurant, nestled in the heart of Kinsale, and it’s charming and cheeky all at the same time. It’s a 4th generation restaurant with a menu where you want to order EVERY item. The food is the perfect blend of comforting and elevated, with locally sourced ingredients and flavors abounding. We really enjoyed it and would happily return.
👨🏻🦲 #3 Pollen (Avignon, France)
This restaurant is the only Michelin Star restaurant on my Top 5 list (if you can believe it!). If you walked into a restaurant that could be the home that we would want to live in, that would be Pollen. It’s unassuming, but it’s very clean, aesthetically very pleasing, and minimal and Scandinavian.
I actually ate at Pollen by myself as Caroline was hanging out with her childhood girlfriend’s at this time. They were the ones who found Pollen and after seeing the restaurant, I had to book my own table. It was a bit weir to eat at such a high-end restaurant by myself, but I soaked in every moment and had a great time. It helped that the staff of the restaurant was super friendly and always chatting me up about the food or our travels. There was this moment when I was three courses in and I kind of felt like a food critic. I showed up by myself, I’m taking my notes about the courses on my phone, I’m sipping some wine, and I’m just taking it all in.
Eating at restaurants together is one of the highlights of our lives. Even though we didn’t eat at Pollen together, we got to share our experiences after the fact and still chat about it.
👨🏻🦲 #2 Cavalariça (Lisbon, Portugal)
If Cavalariça were later in our trip, it may not have made this list, but I really wanted to give it the credit it deserves. We were just a few weeks into our year of travel, not quite feeling that comfortable, and so there was a bit of nervousness and anxiety. We decided to walk to Cavalariça (about 15 mins from our Airbnb) and it was after our monthly coaching session. We were both tired, but we pressed on and wanted to try this place.
Cavalariça was completely empty when we arrived at 7pm 😂. We were wondering if the Google reviews were wrong, but nope, that’s just the nature of Europeans eating dinner so much later than we’re used to. The staff was very friendly, spoke English, and we immediately started to feel like we’d made a great choice.
The menu was small, but every item we had was delicious. Caroline had a tortellini that transported her back to her childhood and tasted like chicken and dumplings. I enjoyed a duck breast that was exceptionally well cooked and flavorful. Each cocktail we tried blew us away. Everything at Cavalariça was well thought of and well crafted.
👨🏻🦲 #1 L’Arpège (Colmar, France)
I don’t have to repeat what we already wrote in Caroline’s section. L’Arpège earned the #1 spot on both our lists for a reason, it was just out of this world great!!!
👨🏻🦲 Bonus: Top Cinnamon Roll of the Year (Split, Croatia)
I can tell you right off the top of my head: Split, Croatia had the best cinnamon roll of 2022. This tiny bakery that our food tour guide told me to go to that I could barely find on the map had the most delicious, moist, flavorful, and memorable cinnamon roll of the entire year (and I had a bunch!)
3. Top Airbnbs/Hotels of 2022
👩🏻🦰 CAROLINE’S TOP 3…
👩🏻🦰 Best Feel: Kokomo Villas (Agia Pelagia, Greece)
Kokomo Villas gets an honorable mention with the best overall feel for Caroline.
👩🏻🦰 #3: Windmill (Kent, England)
This Airbnb will always hold such a special place in my (Caroline’s) heart because I was coming off a pretty rough spell with my eye condition (binocular vision dysfunction).
This old renovated windmill from the 1800s had three stories, a TON of character and charm, and overlooked a beautifully-manicured garden. The host, Claire, was absolutely wonderful and the entire week we spent here felt magical.
👩🏻🦰 #2: Royal Senses Hotel (Crete, Greece)
We had no idea what to expect with the Royal Senses Hotel as it was only two years old and we couldn’t find many reviews on it. However, the overall design and style of the hotel really spoke to us. We came just two weeks before the summer season kicked off and it proved to be the PERFECT time to stay at this hotel.
The restaurants weren’t crowded at all. We had a private pool in our (thank you credit card points, for the upgrade!). The staff were super friendly and chatty. It was just exactly what we’d hoped for as a vacation week during our year of travel.
👩🏻🦰 #1: The Beach House (Ballybunion, Ireland)
If you’ve read this entire recap, then you know why we loved Ballybunion and all the reasons why this Airbnb was incredible. It felt like home. It felt like a house that we would choose to live in. It was just so light and bright and airy with gorgeous ocean views. It’s one of the most spectacular soits you can have in an Airbnb, period.
Of the 31 Airbnbs that we stayed at in 2022, we will return to the Ballybunion Beach House as often as we Siobhan allows us!
👨🏻🦲 JASON’S TOP 3…
👨🏻🦲 Best Value: Laganini Loft (Split, Croatia) and Treehouse in Leicestershire (England)
I am cheating with two honorable mentions here. The Laganini Loft was a gamble for us as it had ZERO reviews on Airbnb and we took a chance on it. It proved to be such a fun and interesting Airbnb, we’re so glad we risked it (to get the biscuit). The Treehouse in Leicestershire was a 2-week stop-over just to get caught up on some work. However, we ended up really loving the Airbnb and the host was super accommodating and awesome.
👨🏻🦲 #3 Emmetten Airbnb (Switzerland)
Part of this might be recency bias because it was one of our last Airbnbs in September and it was our FINAL Airbnb of the year for us. It was also one of the most expensive ones so I can’t say too much about the value for the money, but we were in Switzerland, so we knew we’d be paying higher prices than other places.
The Emmetten Airbnb was one of those places that was like the Ballybunion Beach house where the photos were so-so. But then you show up and you’re wowed! The living room, the kitchen, and the view of Lake Lucerne exceeded our expectations. The host (Kaltrina) and her Mom were also so wonderful and made our stay even better with Caroline’s Mom Patty.
👨🏻🦲 #2 The Dockhouse (Kinsale, Ireland)
The Dockhouse is just such a unique stay. It also almost didn’t happen for us as it was WILDLY out of our price range (I’m talking, $9,000 for two weeks!) But, I contacted the host and said we had a much smaller budget, but we were coming at an off time (February). Thankfully, the host agreed and we were able to enjoy The Dockhouse for two weeks!
The location, the bold/modern design, the views of the harbor, all of it just made The Dockhouse one of my favorite stays of the entire year.
👨🏻🦲 #1 The Beach House (Ballybunion, Ireland)
Yep, same as Caroline! We agreed on our top restaurant AND our top Airbnb/Hotel for 2022?? How about that!?
Those are our Top 5 Memories, Top 5 Restaurants, and Top Airbnbs/Hotels of our year of full-time travel in 2022. We hope you enjoyed getting to relive them, and it goes without saying, we just want to again acknowledge how grateful we are and how we do not take any of this travel for granted.
We really hope that, by sharing this, five or ten years from now, YOU can make your travel or big life dreams come true. For five-years-ago us, this was all a dream. This was all just us talking about it and hoping it could happen and looking at a couple of pictures of Switzerland online and watching videos of people traveling and being so envious of that opportunity. Full-time travel life isn’t for everyone, and it’s not even for us! One year was amazing and we’re so happy we did it, but now, we’re even happier to be in our new home in Portugal.
Show Notes for Episode 152: Our 2022 Favorite Travel Moments and MORE (Part 2!)
If you listened to last week’s ep (#151) then you know all the advice, lessons learned, etc from our year of full-time travel in Europe in 2022. This episode though, we wanted to share our FAVORITE stuff with you. We didn’t want to spoil the Top 5 lists in this description, but we will share links (out of order 😉) in case you want to look into things we mentioned.
Restaurants: Pollen, Grottino 1313, Finns’ Farmcut, Cavalariça, L’Arpège, Hagakure Noh Samba, Ard Bia at Nimmos, The Newport
Airbnbs/Hotels: Emmetten Airbnb, The Dockhouse, The Beach House, Kokomo Villa, Windmill, Royal Senses
We really hope you enjoyed our travel recap episodes! We appreciate you tuning in while we shared our adventures all year long.
Full Transcript of Episode 152: Our 2022 Favorite Travel Moments and MORE (Part 2!)
⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript
Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All for? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We’re your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.
Jason: And I’m here, too.
Caroline: Welcome to our last podcast episode of…
Jason: “To” and “two” rhyme. They’re spelled differently, but they sound exactly the same. That’s for you to know and for me to say hello and welcome. How’s it going?
Caroline: In case you missed it.
Caroline: This is part two of a two-part episode, epic ending of the year. Last episode, in part one, we just did, like, a full, intense recap of our magnificent year of travel. We traveled full time for 300 days this year, and it was magnificent and wonderful and difficult and all the things and so we dove into, like if you’re wondering, what did we find surprisingly hard, what did we find surprisingly easy? How did we manage our businesses while we did that?
Jason: What would we do to change to prepare for a year of travel?
Caroline: What advice would we give if somebody wanted to do something similar?
Jason: How is that charging station?
Caroline: That’s right. All of that is in part one. And if you want to start with that, you are more than welcome. It is long, I’ll give you that.
Jason: Yeah, we’ve done longer.
Caroline: In part two, which is this episode that you’re listening to right now, we thought it would be fun to again, recap the experience by doing more anecdotes.
Jason: We’re using the Bring Five format that we brought to the podcast on our Thanksgiving episode, five things we were grateful for. We’re going to use that format here to do our top five moments of 2022.
Caroline: Just like moments, experiences, memories…
Jason: Memories/ moments.
Caroline: Days. Yeah.
Jason: Then we’re going to do our top three… Sorry, our top five restaurants. So we’re bringing five restaurants. We’re bringing five moments. And then we’re going to do our top three Airbnb’s of the year with some kind of other things.
Caroline: I accidentally did five. So I’m going to have to make some game time decisions on that. And also…
Jason: Hey. I… Yeah.
Caroline: You could do five?
Jason: I could do five, I guess.
Caroline: Okay. It’s Bring Five. We’ll do… it’s Bring Five. We’ll do five, five, five.
Jason: Now, I just wanted to mention, if you folks are liking the Bring Five format, there’s another way that we can do this, which is a draft format. For those of you who are not, like, you don’t know anything about sports.
Caroline: I am raising my hand.
Jason: Exactly. There’s a fun way to do this where we would both bring a list of things and you basically start and you pick your top one. So it’s like picking your team in Dodgeball.
Caroline: Right. And so the crucial fun element there is someone could easily steal your own favorite moment right out from under you.
Jason: And so you’d be like, oh, okay, now what’s my next one? So that would be a fun way. We’re not going to do that for this episode because it would take a lot more preparation.
Caroline: This one we’re going to go from five down to one.
Jason: I was just saying, to get some feedback from our listeners, if that sounds fun, let us know, and we’ll maybe start bringing that in. I could see it being a fun thing we bring in, like, every couple of episodes.
Caroline: I feel like you’ve already decided that you want to do… Just say you want to do it.
Jason: Just need to hear it from you, Rollers.
Caroline: You don’t need to hear it from the LOLers. Also, crucial…
Jason: Plot point.
Caroline: Plot point before we get started here is that we have not shared these with each other.
Jason: Oh, yeah.
Caroline: That’s the most crucial part of “Bring Five” is you bring it to the podcast.
Jason: It’s going to be a surprise.
Caroline: It’s going to be a surprise. And so what’s going to happen is we lived the same year together, and so if somebody steals your answer, you got to think on the fly.
Jason: Okay, are we going to…? Well, no, it’s not stealing the answer. Again, this is not…
Caroline: I know, but I’m saying like…
Jason: It’s more like you don’t get to… It’s like, oh, yeah, I had that one, too. So you don’t get to then talk about it.
Caroline: No, I have alternates.
Jason: Oh, no, you have to say the same one. So you have your top five. These are the rules. We’re going over them right now. You have your top five. If I say number five and that’s your number two, you have to say, that was my number two. And then when it comes to your number two, you go, it was that one. You don’t just replace it because these are your top five.
Caroline: Guess what? I’m just not going to tell you. I’m going to put one of my alternates in, and you’re going to be none the wiser, and it’s because I don’t like your rules, and I live by my own rules, and you can’t put me in a box.
Jason: When you lie to me on this podcast, Patty will get a note in the mail.
Caroline: First of all, you don’t… Patty’s my mom, and Jason knows I have an irrational fear that Patty knows everything bad that I do.
Jason: Exactly. All right, ma’am. Also, one more note of housekeeping. This is our last episode of the year.
Jason: And then we will be on a break until January 26.
Caroline: That’s right. We go on a little hiatus. We will enjoy the holidays. We will also be traveling again. Pfft. That’s what we do now.
Jason: That’s what we do, yeah. But then when we come back, we will be stationary for a couple of months, and we’ll travel again.
Jason: Because now we’re European, and we have to go to European things.
Caroline: European… on…?
Jason: Oh, jeez. It hurts. It hurts.
Caroline: I didn’t finish it.
Jason: Where would you like to start? You get to choose. Do you want to do top five restaurants?
Caroline: Memories. Memories.
Jason: Top five Airbnbs.
Jason: Top five memories. All right, ladies first. We will count down our memories from five to one. Five being an awesome memory, one being the best of the year that stands out to you.
Caroline: Oh, my gosh. Jason.
Jason: Okay. I mean, you have your list. You should just start saying your fifth one.
Caroline: Now, as I just got ready to say it, you start with your least…
Jason: Oh, we’re also going to do the date of the…
Caroline: I know, but just, like right as you say it… Okay. I’ll just stick with my gut.
Jason: All right, number five, what do you have?
Caroline: A memory that stands out to me as just sort of like a wash of gratitude and like, wow, this is a quintessential moment from this trip.
Caroline: Number five, though, not number one, was May 20th.
Jason: I don’t have it.
Caroline: Do you have one on May 20th? Okay. May 20th. We were in Greece. We were in Aegia Pelagia.
Jason: The Kokomo Villa.
Caroline: Which is just a tiny beach town on the island of Crete.
Jason: Was this our digital nomad day?
Caroline: This is our digital nomad day. Okay. We had done our coaching session, I think possibly the day before. Not quite sure, but we had just finished that, which is, like, our most intense kind of work period of the month, and we had found this incredible restaurant in this little beach town fishing village. I’m talking tiny, tiny, tiny. And it had this incredible oceanfront restaurant where it hadn’t even really opened for the season, so nobody was even really there.
Jason: We were the first people there.
Caroline: Yeah. And you could’ve found this restaurant in Southern California. It was just incredibly modern and sort of it had a Southern California vibe to it, but also a Greek sensibility to it, distinctly. And we went and we sat there, and we had delicious food, we had tacos, we had cocktails. And you’re looking out over the bluest, bluest, bluest water.
Caroline: And we brought our laptops down there, and we were trying to get ahead on travel planning for the rest of the year. And when I tell you that I was living my best life having this cocktail, eating this delicious food.
Jason: It was the digital nomad dream.
Caroline: Connecting to the restaurant’s WiFi in this tiny fishing village on an island of Crete, planning out our adventures. I just was like, I can’t believe how grateful I feel. And it was the quintessential kind of like digital nomad, take a photo, put it on Instagram, your laptop open with the ocean behind it kind of thing. And I just laughed to myself because I didn’t do that, but it felt very much like that.
Jason: Yeah. We also didn’t even take that photo, so we didn’t even have a good photo when I was doing a recap of a laptop and a thing. That’s a good one.
Caroline: Thank you.
Jason: All right, my number five, my top five moments of 2022, April 12. Do you have April 12?
Caroline: I do not have April 12.
Jason: Do you have April 13, or anything right around there?
Jason: Okay, great. This is the wine tour with Belman…
Caroline: I almost put that as my number five, so I’m glad I didn’t.
Jason: On the island of Hvar in Croatia.
Caroline: What a day.
Jason: This was just a hilarious day in so many different ways and such a wonderful day.
Caroline: My favorite… Okay I’m going to let you finish.
Jason: Of my memory?
Caroline: My favorite part about this day that I just want to interject is I almost canceled.
Caroline: Do you remember? We went down to breakfast and I felt fine, but as I’m sitting there, we had just had breakfast. My stomach started getting upset, and I was like, I don’t know if I ate something or what’s happening. I did not feel well. We went back up to the room, and I almost canceled, where I was just like, I don’t want to be driving in someone else’s car around the island. I was nervous already, and I just said, Caroline, you’re only on the island of Hvar in Croatia probably one time in your life. Probably.
Caroline: So if you’re not having just absolute explosive diarrhea, get it together and do this wine tour. And I was one notch below, and I was like, it’s a risk. And I felt fine by the time.
Jason: What’s really fun about this, again, many things. The first of it is April 12. We go down to the front desk. This is like, a couple of days before they have, like, 19 things that the hotel offers you can do.
Caroline: Excursions. It’s on their website. It’s like, we do this, a private picnic in an olive grove. It’s like a million things.
Jason: A sunset dinner.
Caroline: And so we thought.
Jason: There’s so many to choose from.
Caroline: So many to choose from.
Jason: So we walk down. And we’re like, hey, we want to inquire about these excursions. How about this one? She was like, no. Okay, how about this one? She was like, no. And we’re like, Are any of them available? And she was like, Only one, and let me make a phone call to see if I can actually make it happen. And so she makes a phone call right there and then gets back to us, and she’s like, yes, we can do the wine tasting. It’ll be two locations, two wineries, and someone will pick you up. And then you’ll just do, like, a half day tour.
Jason: And we’re like, okay, we will do that.
Caroline: And then a key thing that we forgot to ask as a follow up was, where will he pick us up?
Jason: Right. Well, we knew the general vicinity because the island of Hvar is not that big, especially we were at the hotel. So we go downstairs in the morning of, we have our breakfast. You don’t have diarrhea, which is fantastic. We get it together. We’re walking through the old town. We go to this big parking lot, and we’re just supposed to look for a black, quote unquote, Jeep. That’s what we were told. And so we don’t even have the name of the person. All we just know is black Jeep. So we’re like, okay, we’re putting some trust in the people of this hotel. So we’re looking around, we’re looking around, we’re looking around. We stayed around for like, ten minutes. We finally start to go back to the hotel, and then I think we just started to hear someone yelling or something like that.
Caroline: I think Belman flagged you down. And we’re like, oh, are you…?
Jason: So we get flagged down by this lovely Croatian man named Belman is his name, and he does have a black Land Cruiser was his car.
Caroline: Sure. Sure.
Jason: Not really a Jeep, but similar. And we get in the car with him, and it’s just him. It’s Belmont. It’s this Land Cruiser from 1988.
Caroline: A crucial piece that makes the Land Cruiser really just, like, adds that special sauce is that the entire dash of the Land Cruiser looks like it’s been in a volcanic eruption. It is melted.
Jason: It’s sat in the sun for 40 years.
Caroline: And I’m thinking to myself, okay, then we find out that Belman is not only a wine tour guide, he is also a fireman, and he is also a history teacher. And so I’m thinking to myself, is this a fire truck?
Jason: Yeah. So Belman just starts driving us somewhere. We don’t even know where we’re going. We don’t know the name of the wineries or anything. So we end up going to this first winery, which is more of like a more established winery, family owned.
Caroline: We’re in, like, a little cellar room. Remember, it was in the little tiny Venice?
Jason: It was the…
Caroline: Venice of Hvar.
Jason: Which was laughably, just like this tiny stream through a town.
Caroline: When I tell you it might as well have been like a retention pond.
Jason: By the way, if you hear us talk about these memories…
Caroline: I do not say that, by the way, to be disrespectful.
Jason: No, no, no.
Caroline: I mean, it was very charming, but it was also like if you’re thinking this, don’t.
Jason: If you go to our YouTube channel, youtube.com/wanderingaimfully, and you hear us talk about a country, most likely we have told these stories in those videos. So you can see some visuals.
Jason: So anyway, we go to that winery. It’s fun. There was another group of people that were there. We didn’t really interact with them at all. It was very like… the woman who was running it, you could just tell she was just a little bit on autopilot and it was fine.
Caroline: It was fine, but it was a very cute little cellar room. So we were living it up, and the wine was very good.
Jason: So then we leave. There Belman’s, like, walking us through this town. He’s like, oh, my ex-girlfriend lives right there. We’re like, okay. He takes us… he’s like, oh, I want to take you to the church. Oh, sure. We didn’t know that. He drives us over to this church. It’s very fun.
Caroline: Beautiful, old…
Jason: Tiniest road you’ve ever driven on where he had to pull his mirrors in and they still scratched on the walls because that’s how tiny the one lane road was. We get to the second winery. It’s owned by the Planchic brothers.
Jason: Which is Mario Planchic, who is Super Mario.
Caroline: Super Mario.
Jason: And everyone in the region comes to him, and they have a problem with their grapes.
Caroline: Because he has a special nose for wine, and he can smell like I’m talking down to the pesticides or lack thereof, or it has an extreme gift for this. And at first you meet Mario and you’re like, what an eccentric character. I don’t know. And then you realize, oh, he is like…
Jason: He’s just a savant.
Jason: And the hilarious difference between the two wine tastings, which was, again, made it just so much more memorable. The first one’s, like, sit down. You have, like, a cheese board. You have nine wine glasses that are clean and ready. You have a paper plate at Mario’s place. He has carved some cheese out of the cheese in his kitchen. Like, we all have just the block in our kitchen. You have one wine glass, and he’s just pouring them all into your wine glasses.
Jason: And by the end of it, like, Mario, he felt so cold when we first sat down. By the end of it, there was another group that was the same one that went to the other winery. They left. They were a bigger group. It’s just the two of us, Belman and he are talking. And Belman’s like, do you want to come back and see the operation? We’re like, Yeah.
Caroline: Yeah. So before we know it, we are, like, in Mario’s warehouse with the big wine… Not just the barrels, but the big…
Jason: Yeah, just all of it.
Caroline: What do you call it, flasks?
Jason: Sure, yeah.
Caroline: Like a huge thing. I don’t know. Industrial-size.
Jason: All the wine making stuff.
Caroline: And then he just gets excited. Then he’s telling us everything in his best English.
Jason: It was just like an hour-long part of this journey we didn’t know we would get. You’d think it was over.
Caroline: You would think.
Jason: It was not. Belman then proceeded to take us. We were driving down the highway. He just, like, pulls off, and he was like, don’t cross the street until I tell you. We’re like, what is going on? But now we’ve been through two wine tastings, so we’ll do whatever Belman wants.
Caroline: We’ll do anything. I was going to do whatever he told me to do.
Jason: He crossed this highway, which is just like a two lane, like, coastal highway. He starts grabbing shrubs, and he’s like, smell this, smell this.
Caroline: He’s like, this is wild onion. This is like wild this.
Jason: Then he takes us to this viewpoint where we just have this gorgeous view of things, which is the first viewpoint. Then we’re about to get back in the car, and he’s like, can I take you to my favorite spot in Hvar?
Jason: And we’re like, absolutely. Then we drive up this windy road. Anyway, we get to the top of Hvar.
Caroline: Which, thank God, I had had so much wine by that point because when I tell you the road that we’re in this Land Cruiser, whatever, hugging the side of the mountain, going out like a 45 degree incline…
Jason: Oh, and at 45 miles an hour. Belman has driven those roads so many times.
Caroline: I just blacked out. Not actually, but I would not have done that sober.
Jason: Oh, you were just smiling the whole time, too. I was so nervous for you. And you were just like, keep telling me stories.
Caroline: Yeah, exactly.
Jason: My favorite photo from our year of travel, besides the one of you with Maggie, the Scottish Highland cow, is us on top of Hvar.
Caroline: Me, too.
Jason: It’s beautiful. It’s an amazing photo.
Caroline: Not just like the beautiful town, but when I tell you the color of the water in Croatia…
Jason: Just different.
Caroline: Just blue ocean color water Croatia.
Jason: Yeah, just the sea. Technically, it’s the sea. We went over this and we talked about it before.
Caroline: It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, the depth of it. It’s this color of blue turquoise that I can’t describe because it’s different than a tropical place. It’s this deep, Mediterranean, gorgeous color, and I’ll never forget that.
Jason: All right, that was my number four. Let’s keep going. We have to get through, like, 15 other memories here.
Caroline: We’re just gonna relive our times. Come on. Okay, my number four is…
Jason: This is your 8th place.
Caroline: June 25.
Jason: Oh, I don’t have it.
Caroline: You don’t have it? June 25?
Caroline: This is cute. And it is another memory where I just remember feeling like I was walking on clouds afterwards and…
Jason: Oh, is this the Newport Day?
Caroline: No. This is the Glen Turret Distillery tasting day.
Jason: Oh, that’s what it was.
Caroline: Okay, so we were staying in… was this Crieff?
Jason: This is Crieff. Yeah.
Caroline: We were staying in Crieff.
Caroline: Scotland. And nearby they have this Glen Turret whiskey distillery. And it’s basically like the only thing to do around there.
Jason: It’s also Scotland’s oldest running distillery.
Caroline: The oldest running distillery. And I’m not a big whiskey drinker at all, but I just thought to myself, when in Scotland. And we went on their website and we wanted to eat at their sit-down restaurant, but they didn’t have any reservations. I mean, it’s a very small restaurant.
Jason: Yes. Literally like six tables.
Caroline: They didn’t have anything. They did have a whisky tour, but we didn’t want to go on the tour of the full thing. And so they just had this other experience, which was a whiskey flight, I think is what it was marketed as, where you could just pay to sit at the bar. They’ll bring you a flight of different whiskeys that you can taste. And I just thought, am I even like this? Because sometimes the smell of whiskey will even make me nauseous. It’s just very, it’s a very distinct spirit. Well, we sit down and come to find out not only they have different flights that you can order. And the best part is you did what they call like a heritage flight, I think, where it’s like old whiskeys. And then they also had a cocktail flight. And so they were making…
Jason: Bespoke cocktails.
Caroline: Bespoke, unbelievable cocktails. And when I tell you bespoke cocktails, I mean, like, the ingredients are like tree sap from the… that only blooms once a year and so… but so interesting and just like a craft. I think you and I both love food so much because of the craft of it. We do…
Jason: The artistry.
Caroline: The artistry, the creativity. And so this was my first time really seeing cocktails and mixology in that way. But the best part of the whole thing is sitting at the bar. I mean, it was like a three-hour experience. Not only was the flight tasting experience wonderful, but it was the people. It was the bar-backs. It was…
Jason: Jason from Malta?
Caroline: Jason from Malta. We had this crew of like four or five different people that were from all over Europe. None of them were Scottish.
Caroline: Not a single one of them was Scottish. Because I guess just the hospitality industry is like that, right? And they had all come to this restaurant because I think they… the restaurant changed ownership over COVID, so they were trying a new concept and changed the menu and everything.
Jason: Well, they did a great job because the restaurant, after one year, became a Michelin star-awarded restaurant.
Caroline: Exactly. And so being… And we just sat there chatting with these guys at the bar and it was so fun because they were like, oh, we told them, of course, that we were doing this year of travel and they were all telling us the places that we should go and their favorite places. And we became so chummy and friendly with them.
Jason: We didn’t know that there was going to be food or not.
Jason: So we ate before in, like, a little cafe that they have.
Caroline: Yes. They have a cafe.
Jason: We had, like, chicken Popeyes, basically. Beef Popeye’s and a little salad. And it was fine. It was totally worthwhile, but it wasn’t like Michelin food. So we’re doing the whiskey flight, and then all of a sudden we’re like two in and they’re like, do you want to order some food? What do you mean, order some food?
Caroline: Turns out you can basically order a limited…
Caroline: Menu from the main restaurant because you’re literally in the main restaurant, you’re just at the bar. And so the whole irony of the whole thing is we couldn’t get into the restaurant, but because we did the whiskey flight, we got to eat at this restaurant that we wanted to eat at.
Jason: And what do we have there?
Caroline: So many good things.
Jason: No, what’s the one thing?
Caroline: The chips?
Jason: The malted fries.
Caroline: Yeah, I said chips, but the fries.
Jason: They’re like this big, chunky…
Caroline: The salted vinegar. Malt vinegar. So good.
Jason: Oh, my gosh. Those were fantastic.
Caroline: So, anyway, I just remember getting home from that and feeling like I was walking on clouds. It was like such a fun day.
Jason: That was a good one. All right, my next memory, number 4.
Caroline: I mean, it might have been the whiskey, too.
Jason: Number 4. May 13.
Caroline: I do not have May 13.
Jason: Okay, this is the Royal Senses Hotel in Crete. So two days before my birthday. But I kind of considered this my birthday day because we actually had to move locations on my birthday. This was… We’re at this hotel.
Caroline: Is this the proposal day? The sunset day?
Jason: Where you proposed to me? Yes.
Caroline: Because I have May 10.
Jason: Oh, really?
Caroline: Yeah, but keep going.
Jason: This is the day we did the water park.
Caroline: The water park.
Jason: So I got to be a big kid at the Royal Senses. And again, if you watch our YouTube videos, you can see some footage of this. We were the only people there. It was, like, a private water park for us.
Jason: Because, again, the hotel had, like the season had just started.
Caroline: The week right when we left, the next week was basically like…
Jason: The hotels would be full.
Caroline: So many people were coming.
Jason: So we did the water park day. We had the epic sunset this night, where there was a proposal.
Caroline: One of the most amazing sunsets I’ve seen in my entire life. I kid you not. And we’ve seen some pretty good ones in California. One of the best of my entire life. A proposal.
Jason: Yeah. And then this was eating at the restaurant Cretamos. And this was, I think, the second of three times that we ate at this restaurant in the week that we were there. And just such a good experience. Angelos, who was our host there, was unbelievably nice. The food was absolutely fantastic. And one of the funniest memories… Do you remember the funny part of this?
Caroline: The little kid who ordered wine.
Jason: Yeah. Angelos basically tried to give this… ten-year-old…?
Caroline: Probably ten.
Jason: A glass of wine.
Caroline: Accidentally. Yes.
Jason: And the parents were just laughing because they were like they were like, no. But then he just put it down, and so, like, I guess, go ahead. And they’re just looking around because they clearly didn’t want their ten-year-old… He was probably older than that. But it was such a funny moment. We were all dying. We were like, Go for it. Like, it’s hilarious. Hopefully that child doesn’t grow up and do weird things, but it was quite a memory. But that whole day to me was like, I just, looking back, I’m like, if that was the day that I thought of as my birthday, what a great birthday because for me, it’s like, you get to do the big kid stuff at the water park. You get to have a great meal. I get to be with you. The sunset was gorgeous. So that was a good one.
Caroline: Great day.
Jason: Thank you.
Caroline: Great day. Am I at number three?
Caroline: Okay, well, funny enough, speaking of birthdays, do you have August 15 on yours?
Jason: Oh, I do not.
Caroline: Okay. So this is August 15. My birthday is the 16th, but I would consider this my birthday as well.
Jason: There we go.
Caroline: This was the day when it was during our trip here.
Jason: Yup. In Portugal.
Caroline: Here in Portugal.
Jason: We were staying in Portugal.
Caroline: I’m sorry. The sunset behind you is absolutely…
Jason: Thank you.
Caroline: Let me take a quick photo.
Jason: Yeah, take a little photo. This is our real life now in Portugal where it’s just so lovely that we have to stop recording a podcast to take a photo of our beautiful sunset.
Caroline: After I just talked about the sunset, but it’s so pretty.
Jason: But we have really been loving living here. Just for anybody who’s curious.
Jason: But anyway.
Caroline: Okay, so August 15.
Jason: I love that we literally had to take a pause.
Caroline: It is so pretty.
Jason: That’s the most enneagram 4 thing that has ever happened.
Caroline: I’m sorry. It’s so cotton candy pastel that I couldn’t stop it.
Caroline: But August 15, we had already toured the place that would become our home. Not the exact one, long story short there, but we had basically come to this conclusion that, oh, my gosh, I think we’re really going to do this. We’re going to move here. And we had been to our little neighborhood three times by this point. We had come back, and this was the day that… and we had heard several times, like, people were like, oh, there’s this little beach bar called Chical down by this beach. It’s about five minutes away. You should go down there. And we were like, and you should try it out. So we go there, and it’s just all this beautiful beach. There’s families everywhere. Like, it’s just that quintessential end of summer feeling. The sunset is beautiful. Sunsets are definitely a theme. And there’s a guy there who is clearly, like a live musician, and he’s been playing the whole time. We eat a meal there. It’s delicious. He’s been playing the whole time. At one point, like, a woman goes up and sings, “I will survive,” and he kind of competes with her for attention a little bit. And we are dying laughing. And it’s just such a feel good moment. But at the end of our meal, we get up and we go to this little boardwalk that’s basically to the right of the restaurant to watch the sunset, because by that point, it’s like, really showing off and beautiful. We can still hear the musician, and he starts playing, “Stand by me.” Like, “Stand by me.” And it is, when I tell you… It’s not bad. It’s not bad.
Jason: No. What it is, what it is is it’s so bad that it’s good. That’s what it is to me.
Caroline: But I think it’s almost good that it’s bad. Anyway.
Jason: No matter what. We left. We both said the same thing. We just said he was so entertaining.
Caroline: So entertaining. And this is not to… what I mean was it enhanced the moment.
Caroline: Because in that moment, I didn’t want some perfect version. It just made it so special and so fun and…
Caroline: And memorable. But the overall vibe of that song was very much like it’s such a feel good summer song of just, like, being together and watching the sunset and deciding that we’re moving to Portugal. And it gave me all the feels.
Jason: There you go. Wow, that’s great.
Caroline: That was August 15. That was my number three.
Jason: All right, I have, next up, June 28, I think.
Caroline: Really. Because I probably knew you were going to do June 28.
Jason: June 28, we were in Scotland and we went and met Maggie.
Caroline: That’s right.
Jason: And we met Magnus.
Caroline: That’s right.
Jason: And they were Scottish highland cattle.
Jason: And this was a day where like a week before this, we’re in Scotland. And I had this moment where we didn’t really have any time to do anything. And so I was just like, I want to do something, because we were just doing work, we were getting caught up. Like, we just needed this time to recuperate. And I was like, wait a second, we’re in Scotland. Scottish highland cattle are here. We used to have a print of a Scottish Highland cow in our home. I was like, could we see them and just like, meet them? It would be fun to have a conversation with them and see what they like. And I start googling, and I start googling and I find this farm that does tours, and it’s like 45 minutes from where we were staying. And so I send a message through and they write back and they say, sure, we’d love to have you. Come at this time. I’m like, we get to do this. So the morning of, we get up, it’s pouring rain.
Caroline: The worst thing you can ask for, weather-wise.
Jason: Pouring rain. So Caroline has driving anxiety for those of you who have been paying attention and know this. So we’re driving. It’s not an easy drive. It then gets a detour via Google Map. This is the only time that this year Google Maps let us down.
Caroline: It was very bad.
Jason: It detoured us on a single track road.
Caroline: For 5 kilometers.
Jason: For 5 kilometers, two and a half miles, about, and you could only go like 15 miles per hour on this road because it was so wet and rainy. It was just ridiculous. And so we’re doing that. We haven’t gotten there yet. And I’m like, oh my gosh, this experience is going to be ruined for Caroline. She’s going to be sick the whole time we’re there because it’s miserable. I’m white-knuckled driving because what if an oncoming car is coming? Like, I wouldn’t have known what we would have done. Anyway, we make it there. We meet…
Both: Queenie and John.
Jason: And they’re the loveliest, kindest people.
Caroline: They have their land. How many acres?
Jason: 2,000 acres.
Caroline: They have 2,000 acres and all of these Scottish highland cattle that live on this land. They know all of their names.
Jason: Oh, yeah.
Caroline: They know all of everything about them.
Jason: Their tendencies, what they love. They had a couple when we first arrived, they were dry because it was pouring rain. And we got to see how fluffy they were.
Caroline: Oh my God.
Jason: Which is just amazing. So we get in this ATV with them. They drive us to this first spot. That’s where we meet Magnus, who is a six-month old calf. And he was a little bit skittish, but then he started to like, warm up to us. We have some great footage of him licking our hands, which is fun.
Caroline: My coat. He liked the texture of my coat.
Jason: And then we met Maggie, who’s basically like… She’s like the queen of the castle.
Jason: She is…
Caroline: The most, like, well-natured mom.
Jason: Docile, lovely. She was essentially purring. I think Queenie was just saying this to be nice, but I’m going to take it when we were brushing her. And it was pouring rain, like, it did not stop raining. And we were just both enjoying.
Caroline: But we had grins from absolutely ear to ear. And we proceeded to have this adventure of, like, ours being on their land. It’s not like we’re in a tour group. It’s just us, John and Queenie. John and Queenie are our friends at that point. And they showed us all the different areas, which is my favorite thing. At one point, they, like, drove us up to this cool lookout point, which told us a little bit of history. You can’t even see the island that they’re pointing to.
Jason: They’re like, There’s a really beautiful island over there.
Caroline: They’re like, Trust us. It’s gorgeous. We’re like, okay. And then at one point we go out to this bigger pasture where we could see some of the baby babies… We couldn’t get too close, obviously, because the moms at that point are very protective.
Jason: But literally born two weeks before.
Caroline: Two-week old babies. And then they pull us under this little tree area and they pull out these little biscuits.
Jason: Yeah, they’re like the classic Scottish oat biscuit. I forget what they are called.
Caroline: And tea out of a thermos while it’s just raining and we’re just chatting about life and, like, how did they start this farm and how did they meet and oh, man.
Jason: It was just such a good memory.
Caroline: What a beautiful day.
Caroline: It was worth the drive. Honestly.
Jason: All right. That was my number three. And also the Google Maps thing. It was funny. So we were going back and I was like, we’re going to go to where it says the detour is because I don’t think it’s actually there.
Caroline: Well, I didn’t think it did either. And it was correct.
Jason: And then it wasn’t there.
Caroline: There was nothing there. I know.
Jason: So we just could have avoided the whole but it added to the story.
Caroline: It did.
Caroline: I would have definitely added that. That’s probably my top one or two days.
Jason: But you knew it was going to be on my list?
Caroline: But I knew it was going to be in yours…
Jason: All right, so number… Where you at? Number two?
Caroline: Number two.
Jason: Girl is on fire.
Caroline: March 9.
Jason: Don’t have it.
Caroline: I know you don’t have this.
Jason: Oh, wow.
Caroline: Because it’s more of a simple one.
Caroline: It was the day we arrived in Ballybunion Beach.
Jason: Oh, nice.
Caroline: And what I love…
Jason: Ballybunion, Ireland.
Caroline: Ballybunion Beach, Ireland. What I love about this day was just that I had low expectations. And this is March, right. So it’s still like when I was just getting acclimated to things. We had to drive all the way from Kinsale all the way to Ballybunion, and driving still at that point was very anxiety-inducing for me.
Jason: And we’re on the other side of the road.
Caroline: And we’re on the other side of the road. And I just was just in a place where I was a little anxious and whatever. But we get there to this Airbnb that we’ve picked out that, by the photos, when I tell you that this… I mean, it looked beautiful in the photos.
Jason: It was whelming in the photos.
Caroline: It was whelming.
Jason: It was whelming.
Caroline: It was whelming.
Jason : It wasn’t overwhelming. It wasn’t underwhelming.
Caroline: But then you pull up in Ballybunion, and you realize that there are only four houses that are on the beach. And to one side, you have this rubble of an old castle and huge cliffs, and to the other side, you have these huge cliffs with these rock formations that are just beyond your wildest dreams and this gorgeous green Ireland grass and a beach in between with beautiful water. And there’s four houses that are on the sea.
Jason: And they’re all modern.
Caroline: And they’re all modern, and you’re staying at one of them. And we pull up into the driveway. First, we get to meet Siobhan.
Caroline: Who is…
Jason: Who has…?
Caroline: Who has…
Jason: The cardigan.
Caroline: The cardigan is my immediate soul sister, kindred spirit because she’s wearing this cardigan that is…
Jason: Which is wild.
Caroline: Wild. It is just like a full pattern and color. And I just said, Where did you get that? And I actually bought her cardigan. And she’s so lovely and so friendly. And she takes us on a tour of the whole house. This is their family home that they come and vacation.
Jason: Also, just to mention, the Airbnb listing had eight photos.
Caroline: Yeah. And so we even asked her. This is how we knew we’d be friends with Siobhan, because Jason, just like, with his directness, is like, Siobhan, this place is amazing. Why do you not have more photos? She’s like, I know, but I really like it for people to be surprised and delighted about it. We’re like, I see what you’re doing here. Well, it worked, because this house is like a house that we would build.
Caroline: And out of every Airbnb that we stayed at this year, this is a place that I know without a shadow of a doubt in my heart that we will go back to. We will make a trip to go back to Ballybunion.
Caroline: And this little town just, like, implanted a little place in our hearts. But anyway, the reason why I loved it is the feeling that I got after seeing the house, and it totally blew me away. And then Siobhan has champagne waiting for us. So the sun starts setting. We’ve had this day of driving. We pour a little slew of champagne. We toast. We sit at this picture window, and we start to see that the sun is going down. We have our champagne, and it’s sort of like that time of day where people are kicking around soccer balls on the beach and dogs are running around. Then we decide that we’re going to kind of get bundled up.
Jason: Yeah. Let’s just go out there.
Caroline: Let’s go take a beach walk.
Jason: Let’s just go out there.
Caroline: And so we get bundled up and the colors of the sun… again, sunsets, on the beach.
Jason: And it was the best sunset we had the entire two weeks we were there.
Caroline: Yep. And seeing the rock formations and just not believing that we’re lucky enough that we get to stay in one of these four houses in this little Irish town that we would never, ever know existed. And Ballybunion will always have a special place in our heart.
Jason: And we will go back. It’ll be one of the places this year that we absolutely go back to multiple times.
Jason: Because now we’re friends with Siobhan. And we stayed there twice. We went back again. We had another trip in Ireland in September? Is that when we went back?
Caroline: It’s like the only place that we stayed this year that felt like home to me.
Jason: Yeah, that was a fantastic memory. It’s a good one.
Caroline: It’s a good one.
Jason: All right, my number two memory here. We have two of these left, and then we got to get to our Airbnbs and our restaurant.
Jason: Number two for me. Let’s go back to Kinsale. February 24.
Caroline: Uh huh.
Jason: Do you know which one I’m going to do?
Jason: This is the… what I labeled as…
Caroline: Oh, I know. I know.
Jason: Basically four seasons in a day.
Caroline: Four seasons in a day.
Jason: So it’s February 24. We are staying in Kinsale at this super awesome Airbnb called the Dock House, which I emailed the guy, messaged him, and said, this is too expensive. Will you take this amount of money? I didn’t say that. I said a very friendly thing, but he ended up saying yes.
Caroline: And I actually scolded you for that. Scolded you for that. Because I was like, you’re going to insult him with hello, you… And this is a perfect example of you don’t get what you don’t ask for, because Jason low-balled the hell out of him, but he was like, It’s not booked.
Jason: Yeah. And I just said, this is what we can afford, and if it doesn’t work for you, I don’t want you to be offended. We’re two people. We’re not going to make the house that dirty. We’re very good people. And he ended up letting us stay there. But that’s not the point of what’s great about this. What’s great about this is, so I wake up, we had been staying there for a couple of days. I wake up.
Caroline: Best bed ever, by the way.
Jason: Best bed that we had.
Caroline: The entire year.
Jason: All 50 that we slept in.
Caroline: All 50.
Jason: I wake up, I’m having my morning coffee, and all of a sudden I look outside and it’s like 8:15. I’ve been up for a little while, it starts to snow. And I’m like, hold on a second. It’s snowing? And it’s flurrying, it’s flurrying. And it’s like, this is beautiful. And there are very rare times in my life when I go, I should wake Caroline up for this.
Caroline: Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe you did… You made that choice.
Jason: Literally, on one hand, I can count the amount of times I’ve woken you up in life.
Caroline: And guess what? I am so glad you did, because I’ve never had the experience in life of, like, a Christmas being woken up by your parents to see it’s snowing.
Caroline: And it induced in me this childhood sense of joy once I got over the fact that you woke me up. Like, What? Why are you doing that? But you were like, It’s snowing, and my brain didn’t register it. And then I looked outside and I was like, what?
Jason: Yeah. And so it snows. So you get up. I have this wonderful little video clip of you sitting on your iPad in this chair with the water behind you, and it’s just this, like, really great moment. But the day even gets better because then about an hour later, the sun comes out, it melts all of the snow, it warms up, and we go, let’s go walk over to the fort. So we walk over to James Fort, which is this little fort in Kinsale. There are two forts, and this is the smaller one. We walk over to it. It’s just gorgeous now. It’s perfect blue skies. Couldn’t ask for a better day or weather.
Caroline: Greenest green grass.
Jason: It warmed up. So we had a great little lovely walk over there. It was just beautiful. Got some fun footage. We just like, meandered around. We had a little picnic where we argued, but that was fine. We just ignored that.
Caroline: That’s par for the course.
Jason: That’s part of life. All couples know that. It’s like, oh, yeah, that was a perfect day, wasn’t it? Remember when we fought about blueberries over by the bramble bush? But then to cap off the day, we ate a Bastion.
Jason: This was all in the same day. Did you believe that?
Caroline: I did not believe that.
Jason: This, to me, I was looking at what do I think the best overall day of the year was?
Caroline: Just like a perfect day.
Jason: I think it’s probably this one, because snow, childlike moment. You get to go see James Fort and a great weather turnaround. I think we even went to the beach after that. Remember?
Caroline: We did. We went to the beach?
Jason: Oh, I forgot to tell you.
Caroline: And the dogs.
Jason: You say the dogs. On our Kinsale video, someone left a comment. I think her name is actually Caroline, who said, Those are my dogs.
Jason: In the video.
Caroline: I love that.
Jason: Yeah. If you go see our Kinsale video, you can see that in the comments. I didn’t make it up. Anyway, we go to Bastion, which is a Michelin star restaurant. This was our… second of the year, I think?
Caroline: Maybe first.
Jason: Prado was the first in Lisbon.
Caroline: Oh, you’re right. You’re right.
Jason: Which is a spot. One of our things this year that I really wanted to do as a dream come true, was to eat at a Michelin star restaurant in every country, if possible. Again, a very bougie, very amazing thing to have happened, but I was just like, we’re only going to do this trip once in our lives. It would be really cool if we could have these amazing meals.
Caroline: Stayed tuned for…
Jason: For our restaurant experiences. Actually, it’s funny to look at how many of these are…
Caroline: I know because not all of mine are.
Jason: I don’t think… Oh, only one of mine is. Anyway, so we have dinner at Bastion. It’s like a 37-course meal as these places are. It’s the most expensive dinner we’ve ever had, literally, in our lives.
Caroline: But it was very…
Jason: But it was…
Jason: Unbelievable. And it literally put like a pin in this day of just like, what a magical, amazing day. And it was one of those where with all the difficulties that we had already been feeling of this travel journey and how hard it is, it’s what makes it all worth it. It’s having a day like this.
Caroline: Totally. That was a great day, babe.
Jason: All right.
Caroline: The only reason that’s not on mine… It would be two reasons. Number one, part of the reason we fought is because you remember my legs were numb?
Jason: Oh, because you were so cold.
Caroline: Because I wasn’t wearing, like, warm enough pants. So I would wear these thin leggings, and I thought something was wrong with my legs, and it turns out I just wasn’t wearing the correct clothing for Ireland’s winter. And then the second thing is that we went to Bastion, but you had a slight allergic reaction.
Jason: Yeah, I think of edible flowers that were on there.
Caroline: Yeah, and then I didn’t have any Benadryl, so anyway.
Jason: I was fine.
Caroline: I know, but that’s the classic thing of, like, to me…
Jason: There’s some things that stand out for it not being a good day. And that’s just like that’s life, right?
Caroline: Oh, totally. Yeah. Okay.
Jason: Your number one memory of the year.
Caroline: My number one memory of the year. And this was my moment.
Jason: What’s your date?
Caroline: May 10.
Jason: Wow. Okay.
Caroline: This is my moment of going, I think this is a turning point for me. This is a turning point and also my moment.
Jason: You had just survived France.
Caroline: Exactly. So this is key. You have to know the context. So we had just spent a week in France. I had this amazing trip with my two best childhood girlfriends in Paris and Avignon. But I think we moved around too much, and probably all the stress of just the start of the trip finally caught up to me, and I got shingles, and I got it on, like, the last day when I was with them. And so then you and I were in this town in the south of France, staying in what we called the Tateau, which is an interview that was very pretty and…
Jason: Beautiful in photos.
Caroline: In photos, but not comfortable to stay in. And it was a low point. Like, the medication I had to go on was also, I think, just put me in a very depressed state for the… I think it was mood altering for me. And this was like, a month after I got in COVID, and I just was like, can I actually do this? I don’t know if I can do this. If you listen to part one, I never actually considered stopping the trip, but it was definitely a low point. And then I think to myself, oh, my God, like, shingles. Then I have to get on a plane and fly to Greece. Like, it was the last thing I wanted to do was fly to Greece. But we had booked this trip, and specifically, we had booked this resort on points for Jason’s 40th birthday and this Royal Senses resort, which is this beautiful Grecian resort. We fly in, we finally get there, but we arrive at night, and they sort of put us in, like, a little golf cart. We get up to our room, and you can’t really see the view or anything like that. So May 10 is our first full day at the resort.
Caroline: Okay. And we wake up. I wake up, and I am just greeted to, like, the most expensive…
Jason: You’re greeted.
Caroline: To the most expansive ocean view. I’m like, Holy cow. Did not…
Jason: Because you wouldn’t know.
Caroline: I wouldn’t know. And the view just really kind of took me by surprise. We’re in this beautiful suite because we use points, and we just got upgraded for your birthday. And this beautiful suite. We have a little pool. So during the day, we go down for breakfast. First of all, the breakfast buffet is, like, off the charts amazing. Then during the day, we go to the fitness center. They have this great fitness center. So I was, like, feeling good.
Jason: You definitely know that you have turned a point in life with fitness when, like, on your perfect day, the best day of the entire year.
Caroline: I loved it. It was this great fitness center. That’s how I know my 2021 project of not hating exercise worked. Then we have our own little pool. So I’m… A little infinity pool. So I’m reading my book by the pool, which is just, like, so luxurious to me. And one of my great true pleasures in life is reading a physical book in a pool.
Caroline: I do that. Then we get ready for dinner and we hear that they’re opening for the first time the whole season. Actually, the new restaurant… Wasn’t that brand new?
Caroline: The whole resort was brand new, I guess.
Caroline: But the restaurant… They have many, many restaurants on this resort. It’s huge, okay?
Jason: Well, they have three… for dinner. For dinner.
Caroline: For dinner, for dinner. Okay. But I just meant like…
Jason: There’s, like…
Caroline: If you had lunch in the beach bar and whatever.
Jason: There’s the buffet place for dinner that you can do, which is where we had breakfast, which I’m sure would have been great. There’s Matato, which is the other one. And then there is…?
Caroline: Okay. And Cretamos is the, like, sit-down. They have a tasting menu.
Jason: This is the one that I mentioned earlier.
Caroline: This is the one that you mentioned on…
Jason: I think I said Crete-a-mos. Cretamos.
Caroline: The best sunset day is the one that you mentioned, but this is a couple of days earlier. And so they’re opening it for the season. It’s the first night. And so we think to ourselves, it’s going to be busy, it is going to be packed. So we go, let’s go early. And so we make a reservation at, like, I think 7:30 or something.
Jason: We tried to be late.
Caroline: We walk out and we see there’s one gentleman there who is already, like, halfway through his meal. But the coolest part about Cretamos is they have these cool little cement booths. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s like…
Jason: Again, if you watch our video from…
Caroline: Right. think like Grecian plaster kind of these tables that are jutted out and you have to walk over like a little pool, like a little waiting pool.
Jason: It’s a great experience.
Caroline: It’s a great experience. Anyway, it’s a great experience. There’s one guy, he looks almost done with his meal. And so we’re like, well, we’re… 7:30 to eat dinner is a little early for European times. So we’re like, okay. So we get there, and then the guy leaves, and then it’s us, and then it’s us and Angelos, who was our wonderful server. And then throughout the entirety of the night, not another person comes to the restaurant.
Jason: We literally had a private restaurant.
Caroline: We had a private tasting menu dinner overlooking the Aegean Sea? What’s that? Oh, no, the Cretan Sea. I think it’s actually the Cretan Sea. Overlooking the Cretan Sea, at one point though I will say, the only… And these are kinks you get when it’s opening night. We can’t really see the food once the sun sets because you’re kind of out in the middle of nowhere.
Jason: There’s no lights for the food.
Caroline: And there’s no overhead lights because you’re literally, like, jutted out.
Jason: Under the stars.
Caroline: Under the stars. And so this beautiful food, everything we taste, is just like, out of this world, out of the… unbelievable food. I eat… I would never eat this in normal life. But there was a smoked eel, like a little amuse-bouche thing, and I enjoyed it.
Caroline: And I would never have said that. So then we go. I felt bad, but we sort of go, we really want to see the food. Would it be okay if we moved tables?
Jason: Could one of the tables…?
Caroline: And so halfway through our meal, like a costume change, or like… They escort us to a brand new table.
Jason: They? Angelos.
Caroline: Angelos. And we get to proceed for the second half of our private dinner meal at a completely new table, new experience. And it was the food. We got to go thank the chef personally.
Jason: Oh, yeah.
Caroline: We ended up talking more later on because we came back to the restaurant several times, as evidenced by Jason’s perfect day. And it was just to me, it was like another one of those perfect days, and it made me so happy that we had made this trip, and it made me go, I can do this. Some times are harder than others. But if the payoff is that I get five of these days in the whole year, it’ll be worth it. And it was just the perfect…
Jason: I can’t believe we didn’t have an overlapping memory. That’s really funny.
Caroline: Well, we did. I mean, we would have had the cattle.
Jason: Yeah, kind of.
Caroline: But yeah, just in general, we didn’t, which is really fun.
Jason: All right, my number one memory, very close to one of yours, August 11.
Caroline: When we decided.
Jason: This was what I labeled in my own little personal blog that I kept, was the Perfect Portugal Day.
Caroline: The Perfect Portugal day.
Jason: This was the day when we got the tour of the first villa in the area where we now live. We walked through the place, and our jaws just dropped. Then they told us how much the rent would be, and our jaws dropped again because it was just so affordable, and we were like, we could afford this. It would be amazing.
Caroline: Couldn’t believe that we could live there.
Jason: Then we were like, okay. We were sitting in the car after the tour, and we’re like, okay, this is kind of amazing. This could be where we live. Wow. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s go have lunch and talk about this. So we found this little beach bar in Santa Cruz, which I don’t remember what the name of the place was, but it was literally just like plopped on the beach. And we just had a lovely meal overlooking the ocean. You can see the common thread here.
Caroline: Oceans and sunsets. That’s all we want.
Jason: We’re so basic in our memories, but I just remember being so happy in that day, and that was the day to me that was like, this whole trip was worth it. And this was the moment of, like, this could be the next couple of years of our lives together, and this is what our life could be like. And I really, really, really was happy and just thought it was amazing. And I was glad I got to share with you and just the fact that in August, we were getting pretty tired of the rigamarole of travel, and we were starting to feel like, are we going to actually finish out the whole year? But I think this really gave us the boost of, like, we’ll keep doing what we have been doing, but I think we’re going to live here. And then, as you said on your next four days later, we had almost decided even at that point, that we were going to make the move.
Jason: So those are our top five memories each.
Caroline: It is really funny to think of. I know we were joking about it, but the through line of, like, ocean and sunsets, because we’ve talked about this before of how much we value the place that we live because we spend all of our time there. And the way that we have prioritized having a home with a view or being near the ocean and being in a place where we can see the ocean and experience sunsets on a regular basis. I know it sounds silly, but it’s like this is perfect proof of the fact of, like, I do think it matters. Knowing what you love in life, knowing what brings you joy, knowing what fills up your buckets, and finding a way to try to bring more of that in your life. Like, it’s that simple. It’s like, what do you love? How can you bring more of that into your daily life? And I just think it’s funny when we look back over the feelings of happiness that we can remember. And those were so many of the through lines.
Jason: And also you can hear that you can find the sunsets anywhere. You can find them in Greece, you can find them in Portugal. You can find them in Ireland. You can find them everywhere. All right, do you want to move on to restaurants or Airbnbs?
Caroline: Let’s do restaurants.
Jason: Restaurants. Okay. So we’re going to do our Bring Five on the restaurant.
Caroline: I think some of these are going to surprise you.
Jason: I think some of them are going to surprise you as well.
Jason: All right, I will start. I have an honorable mention that doesn’t make my top five.
Jason: I don’t think you’ll agree on this, but I just wanted to share it for myself.
Jason: This is Bread 41.
Caroline: I knew you… I can’t put it on my list, but this is, I think, for sure, in terms of food quality, very up there for me.
Jason: Bread 41 in Dublin, Ireland, is only open for, like, three days a week. It is one of the best bakeries in all of Europe. And just the food is fantastic. All of it’s bread. It is the most glutenful menu you can possibly get, but the croissant eggs benedict that I had was just absolutely out of this world. I ordered so many pastries from the counter downstairs, went back there. I know you love me because you got up with me at 7:00 a.m.
Caroline: I got up at 7:00 a.m. to go to a glutenful restaurant where I couldn’t eat 95% of the things on the menu.
Jason: But you got up so that we could go back to it, because that was the second time I went back to it. So that’s why it gets an honorable mention. Okay.
Jason: My number five, though.
Jason: Is in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Caroline: Me, too.
Jason: This is your number five?
Caroline: Yeah. Oh,
Jason: That’s fun. It is…
Jason: 131 or 1313?
Jason: Yeah, I thought that was a typo…
Jason: This little restaurant is…
Caroline: This gets, like, maybe Ambience of the Year.
Jason: This gets Ambience of the Year. 100%, 100%. This restaurant, we’ll have a video coming out for Switzerland, and we’ll be able to show some of it. But even the footage that I got does not do it justice.
Caroline: Absolutely not.
Jason: The best thing you can do is just go to Google Maps and search…
Caroline: I thought you were going to say, The best thing you can do…
Jason: Go to Switzerland. Go.
Caroline: Go to Switzerland.
Jason: Just go to Google Maps and look up Grottino 1331. And look, you’ll find the photo that I found, and it’s as magical as the photo makes it feel.
Caroline: It reminds me of, I don’t know how to describe it, but it kind of reminds me of, like I think of like a tavern in Beauty and the Beast.
Jason: 100%. No, literally, what I was just going to say, picture a Disney tavern restaurant.
Caroline: A Disney tavern, but not like the fake Disney kind where they’ve tried to make it look like that, but the authentic kind where you’re just sort of, like, transported in time. And they’re, like, carrying meats, and there’s a huge open fireplace that you’re like, oh, actually, I thought it was illegal to have this type of fire hazard. People can die just walking right into that.
Jason: So this was the restaurant that we took your mom to.
Caroline: Yes. Okay, so this is what we can just do as a group…
Jason: Yeah, absolutely.
Caroline: Back and forth on this. But this is also what makes it so special to me. And I almost put it in my top five memories because this was when my mom came and visited us in Switzerland. My whole life I’ve heard about her favorite place in the world was when she got to travel and went to Lucerne, Switzerland when she was 16.
Jason: 50 years prior.
Caroline: 50 years prior.
Caroline: It was a dream of mine to be able to basically take her back to Switzerland and spend a week there together. And this was the day after we had just done our big Lucerne day, where we had, like, explored a bit and we did all the big stuff, but this was the day after. And so what made it so fun is we got to sit at this restaurant. She loves Italian food, too, and it’s this kind of old world Italian menu. It’s a tasting menu, but it’s a family-style tasting menu..
Jason: Never experienced this before.
Caroline: Which I’ve never experienced before.
Jason: There’s no menu, by the way.
Caroline: There’s no menu. No, it’s just like, here are the dishes. And so they’ll bring a soup and a salad, and you have to decide, what order do you want to eat those in, because you only get one bowl for each one. Do you want soup followed by a kind of soggy salad or do you want salad bits in your soup?
Jason: So good.
Caroline: But the food was really good, good flavors. And my favorite thing was, like, we got to talk with my mom about everything we had seen the day before, and she had been with us for a couple of days then, and so we had kind of gotten our…
Jason: Little inside jokes down.
Caroline: Our little inside jokes down of the three of us, the Three Musketeers. And we just laughed our butts off and had such a good meal.
Jason: I mean, all of us, for the two and a half hours or 3 hours we were at that meal, we just kept looking around, going, is this real? This place does not feel real.
Caroline: It felt so surreal. Yeah.
Jason: It is incredible.
Caroline: I agree. That’s my number five as well, so you can move on to number four.
Jason: All right, number four. We are in Kinsale, Ireland.
Caroline: I don’t have it.
Jason: Oh, it almost didn’t make the list, but then I had to think back and I was like, this is one of the few that we actually really loved.
Caroline: And I think Kinsale, it gets an unfair…
Jason: ‘Cause it was so early?
Caroline: Because it was so early.
Jason: Yeah. So this is Finns’ Farmcut.
Caroline: Very good.
Jason: So Finns’ Farmcut in Kinsale, Ireland. Tiny little restaurant, Kinsale, by the way, the culinary capital of Ireland. Just unbelievable the amount of restaurants in this small town. We will definitely go back to Kinsale at some point. And I would love to go back to this restaurant and I would love to sit at the little table. So we booked a reservation. We show up, it’s like 6:30 because it was early in the year, we had to eat at our normal eating time. And the kind woman… We were the first people at the restaurant.
Caroline: Of course.
Jason: And she was like, I’m going to give you the best table.
Caroline: But she’s like, I have regulars.
Jason: But I have regulars who come at, like, nine because that’s what normal people eat dinner here. And you just have to leave by then. We’re like two and a half hours. We can make it happen.
Caroline: And it was the best place. And it’s this little family-run restaurant, I think, which has been in the family for like, three generations, like a dad, a son and then a daughter. And the food was just the perfect blend of comfort food that was unpretentious, but with extremely elevated ingredients and done really well.
Jason: Also, I know many of you listeners can relate. Have you ever been to a restaurant and you look at the menu and you’re like, yes?
Caroline: It’s a yes for me on all that.
Jason: I will have all of it. That is this restaurant.
Caroline: Yeah, we could eat everything.
Jason: It’s not a Michelin star restaurant. It’s not anything ridiculously fancy, it’s just upscale, like comfort food, but done really well with, you can tell, very good ingredients. Like, even some of the roasted vegetables were just so tasty and flavorful.
Caroline: And we had that dessert. Remember the lemon ice cream?
Jason: I do. It was fantastic. I also remember the plastic lobster that was sitting above you, but I did not care because it was just so charming.
Caroline: There was all these little tchotchkes and we were like, yes. I’ve never loved Fake Ivy, like, so much.
Jason: And this place, it was so memorable and lovely and our server was just so cheeky.
Caroline: Oh, she was so cheeky.
Jason: And that just made it fun for us, too. And by the time we left, the restaurant was full and it was hilarious that we were the first people there.
Caroline: Yeah, that’s a really good one.
Jason: All right, number four, where are you?
Caroline: I don’t think you’ll have this on your list.
Caroline: Number four. I’m in Bari.
Jason: Don’t have it.
Jason: Yup. Don’t have it.
Caroline: And it is a restaurant called Noh Samba, and it is an Asian fusion restaurant. Do you remember I found this on Google Maps? And I was like, this looks funky and weird and interesting. And we hadn’t eaten Asian cuisine for a while, or, like, sushi.
Jason: For quite a while. Yeah.
Caroline: Or anything like that. People are going to be like, really? You’re in Italy and you ate…? But it’s like, think about it. We were in Italy, and we ate so much pasta.
Jason: Oh, yeah. But, like, the third day, you’re like, okay, I get it. It’s delicious.
Caroline: Believe me, I love pasta. But what stood out to us was this, that it was different. And so we go into this restaurant, and it is, like, the funkiest interior. And my favorite thing about it was, first of all, the flavors were unbelievable, but it was so unique. Like, everything that we ate, it was very much like you order from this menu of little bites. So we ordered, like, ten bites or something.
Jason: There’s basically no entrees on the menu. It’s just a lot of tapas is really what it is.
Caroline: Right, but, like, Asian tapas and, like, rolls.
Jason: Also, we say Asian. And the reason that we say that is because they had sushi. They had Thai dishes.
Jason: They had some Indonesian stuff. It really was just a mix.
Caroline: And a blend of literally, it’s, like, Mediterranean, Japanese, Brazilian, Peruvian. I don’t mean all Asian. It was just a fusion restaurant, I should say. And probably what stands out to me is, like, the sushi, which is why I say that. But every flavor was so unique and something that I hadn’t had before. Remember, all the cocktails? We were like…
Jason: Oh, yeah.
Caroline: A peanut this and that. And I’m like, Wait, what?
Jason: Yeah, it’s like a peanut cinnamon twist. And you’re like, those things shouldn’t go together, but you drink it. That’s pretty good.
Caroline: And we just like, to me, it was the quintessential kind of, like, date night restaurant.
Jason: This is totally a date night restaurant.
Caroline: It’s a date night restaurant. It’s interesting. It was unexpected. Everything was a delightful surprise, and the food was really tasty as well.
Jason: That’s a good one. All right, my number three. I am in Avignon, France.
Caroline: I knew you were going to have this on your list.
Jason: So this restaurant is the only Michelin star restaurant on my list that we went to this year that is on my top five. Some of them were fantastic, but this is Pollen, and Pollen, basically, if you walked into a restaurant that could be the home that we would live in, that is pollen. It’s unassuming, but it’s very clean. It’s aesthetically, very pleasing. It’s minimal.
Jason: There’s a lot of, like, the vibe of our place now. And they did a great job with the furnishing because we didn’t pick any of this stuff.
Caroline: It’s very, like, natural wood.
Jason: Yeah. So I ate here by myself, which is why I said “I” because I was toting along with your girls trip and all the places that you went, but I was staying by myself, and you all had found this restaurant. And I was jealous because I wanted to also go to this restaurant, but I clearly wasn’t going to go the same time you did. So I booked my own reservation and I went and ate by myself. And I will say that… We talked about this afterwards. Eating together, I think, is one of the highlights of our lives.
Caroline: It is.
Caroline: It’s one of our favorite activities.
Jason: We both love talking about the food. We love the experience, the artistry, the creativity. We love the flavors. We love just, like, all of it soaking it all together.
Caroline: I think going back to what you said, one of the reasons that we both fell in love with each other and one of the things that we share together is creativity as a value. And so it’s an experience that we can both engage in, that we both view it through the lens of creativity. And so it’s just so fun to be able to sit there and have this visceral experience of tasting food. But to talk about creativity, it always makes us feel inspired.
Jason: I was taking notes the entire time. I was trying not to be on my phone at all because I was in this wonderful restaurant with this I think it was like, nine-course menu, and I’m there by myself, so I had to keep myself kind of occupied. So I was like, oh, I’ll take notes because I’m writing this family blog anyway, so I want to recap it. And there was this moment where I’m, like, three courses in. I’m like, I kind of feel like a food critic. I showed up by myself, I’m taking my notes, I’m sipping some wine, and then I had, like, 2 seconds there. I’m like, no, I’m just like this weird, random American tourist this year by himself. But it was absolutely delicious. It was a wonderful meal. I wish we could have been there together. We talked about that. It would have been a lot more fun together. But very memorable.
Caroline: I don’t think you mentioned this, but I did get to eat there with my girlfriends, so I also know how delicious it was. And it was definitely top tier.
Jason: Yeah, it was fantastic.
Caroline: Absolutely delicious.
Jason: All right, your number three or number two?
Caroline: My number three, which I think… I don’t think it will be on your list.
Jason: Where are we?
Caroline: I’m in Galway Island.
Jason: Not on my list.
Caroline: Yes, it is Ard Bia at Nimmos.
Caroline: I know.
Jason: Just this little tiny restaurant.
Caroline: I’m not even sure what those words are that I just said, but this was when your mom and her husband, Bill, were visiting us, and we all decided to take a day trip to Galway and by all accounts, it was not a great day trip from a weather perspective. It was kind of rainy, kind of gray. We liked walking down the streets and whatever, but Galway didn’t, like, blow us away or anything. But we had picked out this restaurant that had amazing reviews, and it is, like, besides this, I don’t even know how to describe the vessel.
Jason: The best way I can describe it is, imagine a ship is docked at a porch, and they covered the ship in bricks, and it now lives there full time as a restaurant.
Jason: So the interior is all, like, shiplap. It’s all older, rusted tables.
Caroline: It is very much like you’re… but see, it was like…
Jason: There’s, like, porthole windows.
Caroline: It was feeling like that, mixed with, like, an old schoolhouse or something.
Caroline: But very… I can’t describe the ambience of this place.
Jason: We’ll have links to all the restaurants in the description.
Caroline: And maybe there’s a different area that we didn’t see, but in the main little part where you walk in, it’s this, like, creaky wood thing, and there’s only, like, five or six tables. We sit down. Okay. We wait for a little bit. We sit down. I look over. There’s a man writing what looks like a novel manuscript by candlelight. Okay.
Caroline: I’m picturing him with, like, a quilt. I don’t think he really had it.
Jason: No, he didn’t have but it basically was, like, a pen and an ink, like a long feather. And then he had an ascot and, like, a mustache. No, he was on a laptop, but same thing. My memory of him. And the parchment is, like, very old and long, scrolling down.
Caroline: Yeah, it turns out it’s a MacBook but picture perfect. And then to me, though, so ambiance is, like, ticking a lot of boxes, because I have not been in a restaurant like this anywhere ever in my life. Family. It’s warm. Like, there just was a warmth to it. Okay. But then the food. The food comes, and I have this, like, beet risotto with maybe there’s goat cheese.
Jason: Your girl doesn’t even like beets.
Caroline: Your girl does not even like beets.
Caroline: And it was off the charts delicious and so satisfying, and it was just this, like, hearty, lovely… And maybe it’s on the list because it was also unexpected. It was so unexpected.
Jason: Very much. What number was that for you? That was number three?
Caroline: That was number three.
Jason: All right, I’m going to take you, number two, to Lisbon, Portugal.
Jason: You got it?
Caroline: I think I know what it is.
Caroline: I knew it.
Jason: Is this on your list?
Caroline: No, but it’s a really good one.
Jason: Are you telling the truth?
Caroline: It’s not on my list.
Jason: Okay. Cavalariça. So the reason this stands out to me, I think if Cavalariça was later in our trip, it may not make the list, but I really wanted to give it the credit that it was due of being in the first couple of weeks of us being in this full time travel trip. We’re uncomfortable. I think I had just gotten over COVID, and we’re, like, just trying to get our bearings with everything, and we find this place, we walk over to it.
Caroline: Do you remember how I found it? It was an accident. It was because…
Jason: It was by your hair salon or something?
Caroline: No, it was because our Airbnb didn’t have fast enough WiFi to do our coaching session, so we had to go to a co-working place, and we knew we were going to be so starving afterwards for dinner. And so I looked at restaurants that were walking distance from our co-working space, and this one was like it had, I think, good reviews are not amazing. Not off the charts.
Jason: Yeah. And it’s not a Michelin star restaurant or anything, but we show up and just have a super cool atmosphere. There was like a unicorn head in the middle of the restaurant, which was just very weird with the velvet seating that was going on.
Caroline: We’re the only people in the restaurant.
Jason: Only people in the restaurant. It’s 7:00 p.m. This was at least like a regular time. We sit down and we look at the menu. We’re like, Okay, some of these things look like we would order them. It’s not Finns’ Farmcut where you want everything on the menu. You’re like. Okay. Sure. We start to get some things, and just every bite is so delicious.
Caroline: So delicious.
Jason: And not at all what you expected.
Caroline: So elevated.
Jason: One of them was like a tortellini, but you said it tasted like a chicken dumpling.
Caroline: Yes, it tasted like chicken and dumplings, which I didn’t even remember.
Jason: Which I’ve never even had.
Caroline: They served at my preschool. It brought me back to, like, a core memory. It was so bizarre.
Jason: Yeah. And so we had a couple cocktails that were delicious. And I just remember sitting in that restaurant. Do you remember the kitchen? It was like downstairs, and you could see it from where we were sitting. It was a really cool space. It was one of those that you would see this space in a rom-com, and you’d be like, oh, that’s a cool restaurant. I wish I could go eat there. That’s the vibe that it gives. So Cavalariç, in Lisbon, my number two.
Caroline: Great one.
Caroline: No, I thought you would have that on your list because just based on how much you truly enjoyed it, which I did as well. But you really enjoyed it.
Jason: You’re number two.
Caroline: Okay, my number two. We are in Newport, Scotland.
Jason: We’re going to have the same number one.
Caroline: Wait. Yeah, you know what our number is. Okay. We are in Newport, Scotland.
Caroline: This is a restaurant called The Newport in Newport, Scotland. And this is, like, one of my perfect lunches of my whole life and the things that I loved about it. First of all, I don’t think it’s Michelin star.
Jason: No, it’s not.
Caroline: It’s not. But it’s Michelin star quality food. We did a tasting menu, but the thing that I loved about it is it’s a very casual atmosphere. The food is so elevated, which does not match the warmth and welcoming of the place. And you’re on the river, right?
Caroline: That’s the body of water?
Jason: Yeah, The Newport.
Caroline: You’re on the river and they have these big floor to ceiling windows.
Jason: Or the Tay River. That’s what it is.
Caroline: The Tay. That’s right. And so we sat next to the window. Well, we sat, we sat far away, and then people moved, and then our server was like, do you want to move to the window? And I was like, we can do that?
Caroline: And so they moved us.
Jason: Can you tell everybody to leave? Because we like a private restaurant experience.
Caroline: So we got, like, the best table. There was this cute group of three older couples, so six people that I think were celebrating some type of anniversary.
Jason: And they were, like, late 70’s-ish.
Caroline: And the vibe it was giving me was like, we’re all best friends and we live around the corner, and this is our local hangout, and this is our special place. And so then that added a warmth to it, and the food was just…
Jason: Oh, some of these bites were just… This was actually…
Caroline: So memorable.
Jason: I think this was…
Caroline: This was the Caesar Salad bite. Do you remember that, babe?
Jason: Yeah, but this was also like the season of canapes for us.
Caroline: Oh, yeah.
Jason: We just ended up at restaurants with many canapes. And we’re not people who choose canapes. By the way, I didn’t even really know what they were. They’re just like small bites is all they are.
Caroline: Small bites. I also think maybe it’s a regional thing, because I do think in Scotland we had quite a bit of, like, a canape course. And I’m wondering if that’s just like a regional culinary trend.
Jason: This shows you how much of a food critic I am and I have no idea.
Caroline: I don’t know.
Jason: But yeah, every bite was delicious. I think there was a three-course and a five-course tasting menu for lunch. Those are your options. And I think you could order entrees. We went with the three. It was plenty. And it was just…
Caroline: The bread?
Jason: The sourdough bread was…
Caroline: The bread?
Jason: I think the best sourdough I had all year. And I probably had…
Caroline: Do you remember that curry…?
Jason: Butter? Curry butter, yeah. The bread. I wanted a whole loaf to take home. It was so good.
Caroline: So good, and it was just like light and airy and sunshine, and I just love it.
Jason: Yes, it was great. It was a really good experience. And that was after we did the Dunnottar Castle trip, right? We did that. And then we drove down to Newport and had lunch. Wasn’t that same day?
Caroline: Was it?
Jason: Yeah, I think the same day. That was the day you went bonk. Hit your head on the castle.
Caroline: Brought me back.
Jason: All right. Our number one restaurant was in…
Both: Colmar, France.
Caroline: And honestly, it’s our only reason for going there.
Jason: We would not go back on this trip unless we were going to this restaurant.
Caroline: It was the best restaurant. I only found out about this restaurant because I got my hair cut in Colmar, France.
Jason: Did you get your hair done three times this year?
Caroline: Three times.
Jason: Yeah. You got it done in Lisbon.
Caroline: Lisbon, Colmar, France, and…
Jason: Somewhere else?
Caroline: Definitely somewhere else.
Jason: Like Ireland or Scotland?
Jason: Leicester. That’s what it was. Got it.
Caroline: At my hair salon, I asked my stylist where he would recommend going to lunch, and he said, l’Arpège. l’Arpège? We don’t know.
Jason: I think it’s l’Arpège. For everyone who is, like, a big time foodie and maybe you’ve heard names. L’Arpège is also the name of another very famous restaurant that I think is a two or three Michelin star restaurant. This restaurant has the same name because I think it translates to, like, garden or something like that. I think we looked up, but it’s like a specific word. Anyway, this is not the super famous one.
Jason: This is the smaller one from Colmar.
Caroline: This is Colmar, France. We decided, we said, okay, and so we went and got—
Jason: But what did he say?
Jason: He was like, you got to call because the tables fill up fast.
Caroline: He said the tables fill out fast. And it’s a small restaurant, so definitely, like, call ahead. So I make reservations. We show up there and they escort us. There’s a couple of tables inside, but the most tables are in this outside courtyard patio that I can only describe as a secret garden.
Jason: Secret garden vibes.
Caroline: It is a secret garden. There are, like, moments, as Jason would call them, everywhere. There’s like a butterfly wall, and there’s like, weird mirrors, and it sounds kitschy, but it’s just actually magical.
Jason: And you’re in the middle of the town that Beauty and the Beast is… Beauty and Beast is getting a lot of love in this episode. Beauty and the Beast is famed to be designed after this little town, but it’s also so touristy and busy, and so you kind of get to escape in this restaurant courtyard.
Caroline: It’s very refuge, kind of secret garden-y feeling. We sit down at this little garden restaurant and the wonderful French waiter comes and brings, as most a lot of restaurants that we found do in France, the menu is just on a chalkboard. And especially if it’s a seasonal restaurant, they’re just writing the menu on there and he brings the chalkboard to our table.
Jason: Is this the first chalkboard menu we experienced in the year?
Jason: I think so.
Caroline: But he talks through the entire menu in his limited English for our benefit because he knows it’s written in French, and so he’s explaining everything in English just for our benefit, which was adorable and wonderful.
Jason: Also, the Google Translate app really has a hard time with hand-lettered chalkboard menus.
Caroline: Yeah, we were just shit out of luck on that. And so we have been recommended a couple of things, a couple of wines. Do you remember we had that delicious sparkling wine?
Caroline: Oh, my God. It was so good.
Jason: I remember I ordered the fish. It was a white fish. I don’t remember what type it was. But you as a person who doesn’t love fish and doesn’t love beets, as heard earlier, the best fish you’ve ever had?
Caroline: The best fish I’ve ever had.
Jason: I think it’s the best fish I’ve ever had, too.
Caroline: Also, what stands out to me from that is the best fish I’ve ever had. Everything we had was so delicious. I’ll never forget, though, the dessert, which was the black lime is like, what it translated to, and it was this full plate, like, charcoal black plate, everything on the plate was charcoal. It was very monochromatic… The presentation is flawless at this restaurant. And it was this dessert of, like, lime sorbet with all the right textures. I can’t even describe it. It was just like… chocolate, just beyond what I even described.
Jason: He even said, when we were asking, which one would you choose? He’s like, You have to get the chocolate. And he was correct. And I think, actually, thinking back now, I think he is the coner of the restaurant.
Caroline: You said the word “coner,” but I think what you’re meaning is the co-owner.
Jason: No, he’s the coner. Yeah, it’s the type of person in the restaurant who’s, like, he’s there a lot.
Caroline: Definitely came out conor.
Jason: Yeah. This restaurant, I mean, clearly for us was the best. We, hilariously enough, made a reservation two days later to go back with our luggage because we were leaving.
Caroline: We were about to catch a train back to Paris, and we were like, Where should we eat? And I was like, Why would we not eat there?
Jason: Why would we not eat at the place that so far up until that point, which would have been May?
Caroline: Late April.
Jason: Late April, would have been the best so far and ended up staying the best for the entire year of the food that we ate.
Caroline: Best restaurant.
Jason: So if you’re ever in Colmar, France, you have got to go to this restaurant. I don’t know if we’re ever going to go back to Colmar, France again, but if we’re just in France, I want to try and take the train to this place, eat there, and then we can move on and go somewhere else.
Caroline: So delicious.
Jason: All right, now we have I think because we’ve taken so much time, we have to just do our top three Airbnbs.
Caroline: Okay. And we’ll do it… We won’t be so chatty. I did have an honorable mention for the restaurants that I think you would remember. Grouse and Claret?
Jason: Oh, yeah. Grouse and Claret. In Scotland, right?
Caroline: In Scotland… right?
Jason: Yeah, in Scotland.
Caroline: Yeah, in Scotland.
Jason: It was when we were driving up from…
Caroline: ‘Cause it was when we were driving up. And it was just this little inn.
Jason: In-between Edinburgh and Rind is where you’ll find it..
Caroline: And this garden, though, and the woman who helped us there, and we just got to sit outside overlooking this beautiful garden, and we had the world famous cheese soufflé from Grouse and Claret.
Jason: Caroline tried to order the cheese soufflé and it said on the menu, “world famous.” And I said, “Excuse you, you need to order that as a ‘world famous'” and the woman got a good chuckle out of that because she was a little bit cold to us, because I think…
Caroline: But after that, joke. She was our friend, and that cheese soufflé was out of this world.
Jason: It was fantastic. Okay, Airbnbs. So there are a couple just to get out of the way. So I just had three here on the list.
Caroline: You said I could do Airbnbs and/ or hotels.
Jason: Oh, yeah, sure.
Caroline: Oh, okay.
Jason: Yeah, I actually don’t have any hotels, so I’m just going to give you, first of all, least favorite of the entire year. And again, we’re just going to go to our top three of favorites, but least favorite of our entire year. On the count of three. One, two, three, Tateau.
Caroline: Colmar, France.
Jason: Oh, no. The Tateau was unlivable and smelled like dead people. There’s no way.
Caroline: It did, but at least it was…
Jason: You had shingles in it.
Caroline: I know. It was very bad.
Jason: I would go back to Colmar before I go back to the Tateau. I will die in the Tateau. I fell down the stairs.
Caroline: You did fall down the stairs.
Jason: Definitely tried to kill me.
Caroline: Yeah, it really wasn’t great. But the problem with the Tateau for me is that the place itself was very unlivable. But the village actually, it was very confusing for me because the patio and the outdoor space and the village…
Jason: And the first…
Caroline: I almost put one of my top memories was bouldering behind the Tateau.
Jason: Yeah, I get it. The first impression of the Tateau is magical. The photos are magical. Staying there for more than a night, not magical.
Caroline: It’s like if you got trapped in an antique shop…
Jason: And I actually love the primary bedroom set up, like, how big and expansive it is with a huge bed. It’s so uncomfortable. Felt like the bed was going to fall on you. Didn’t sleep well. So that was my least favorite. Your least favorite was Colmar. The best initial, very first experience of a place. What would you say is like, just like, wowed you when you walked in?
Caroline: Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t write down that.
Jason: Well, I was just curious if something jumped to your mind.
Caroline: Oh, okay, say it again?
Jason: The one that just like, you walk through the place and you’re like, this is just wow.
Jason: Yeah. I can give you mine.
Caroline: Okay. What’s yours?
Jason: Villa Pauletta.
Caroline: Oh, yeah, sure.
Jason: Because it’s so charming. It’s so adorable. The little indoor pool is magical. The cheese board that she had said…
Caroline: It definitely is one of the most charming.
Jason: Yeah. Okay. So that was my best initial.
Caroline: Well, you told me most surprising or, like, exceeded expectations. Is that the one that you wanted for that?
Jason: No, this last one is, like, best value for, like, just, like, overall, it really exceeded my expectations. Like, the price was on, just perfect, and just like, we had a great stay there.
Jason: That was this one for me, which is…?
Caroline: Laganini Loft.
Jason: Oh, I had Leicester.
Caroline: Oh, I did love Leicester. But…
Caroline: But see, I didn’t like the city of Leicester that much.
Jason: I understand, but I was just going Airbnbs.
Jason: I was just going the homes.
Caroline: I understand.
Jason: I wasn’t going the cities.
Caroline: Okay. I was thinking full experience.
Jason: So Laganini Loft was also in Croatia. So that’s where we stayed before.
Caroline: Because you told me the criteria for this little random category you wanted to make up was most surprising/ exceeded expectations, and I wrote down three that fit that bill for me. And they were, interestingly, very similar. They were the Bothy in Crieff, which I think I had very low expectations. And it’s like one of my… in terms of where we could live, long term.
Caroline: I just mean, like, I would’ve stayed there for a month and I would have been happy to live there. I know you were allergic.
Jason: That was the Scandinavian… Also, if you watch our Scotland video, you can see the Bothy.
Caroline: Then Laganini Loft.
Jason: Which is in Croatia.
Caroline: Which was taking a risk because it had zero reviews and it was totally not what you would expect from Croatia. It was this very modern in a very old building, but like, very modern loft style. And then the Dutch barn. And so I was like that to me is a full confirmation that I do love Scandinavian design and streamlined modern lines because I loved those three places.
Jason: Yeah. And Leicester for me, in England, was the one that was just like it was one of the most affordable Airbnbs that we stayed at the whole trip.
Caroline: And the host was incredible.
Jason: And the host was incredible. And the place was so comfortable. It was very much the same as Ballybunion.
Caroline: Could’ve lived there.
Jason: You just could have lived there.
Caroline: Okay, so top three.
Jason: Top three. You got to go top three. You want me to start so you can think about it?
Caroline: Uh huh. No, I have it.
Jason: Okay, go ahead.
Caroline: Oh, I’ll start.
Caroline: Top three for me.
Jason: Where are you?
Caroline: I’m in Kent, England.
Caroline: And my top three is The Windmill.
Jason: Windmill is not even on my list.
Caroline: The Windmill, I know because it wasn’t very livable for you. But this will always hold such a special place in my heart because again, I was sort of coming off of a hard time. It was like when my eyes really were messing up and I’d had a couple of hard weeks. And when we got to the Windmill, we only stayed there a couple of days. And it just rekindled something in me of loving travel again, because it was this cool, old windmill and it had like these three stories. It had so much character and history to it. And then on top of that, it had this beautiful garden that you got to overlook that was maintained by the host, Claire, and just had magic to it.
Jason: Yeah, it was a great little spot.
Caroline: For me, for a person my size. It was quite comfortable.
Jason: For me, uncomfortable. I’m a large person, but it’s a very magical place. I would say, if we were picking our most Magical Airbnb of the Year, The Windmill would be it.
Caroline: Okay, so what’s your number three?
Jason: My number three. We are in Emmetten, Switzerland.
Jason: This is hosted by Caltrina and her most adorable mother.
Caroline: The best, who made a bruschetta upon arrival.
Jason: Part of this might just be recency bias because it was like one of our last ones in September and it was basically like our last Airbnb of the year for travel.
Caroline: For travel.
Jason: It was one of the most expensive, so I can’t say too much about the value for the money, but you’re in Switzerland, so you’re going to pay. And it was one of those that was kind of like the Ballybunion Beach house where the photos were like so-so. But then you show up and you’re like, wow, this living room, this kitchen, this view.
Caroline: Exceeds expectations, the view was off the charts.
Jason: It was just fantastic. You get to see Lake Lucerne, you just have this expansive open view.
Caroline: And it had a hot tub.
Jason: It had a hot tub that we took advantage of.
Caroline: And it was all one storey, which was actually hard to find. And it was for my mom who had just had her hip replaced.
Jason: Yes. It was just very, very functional but for me, it was like a small place I could live in.
Jason: If we were going to live in a place that was like less than 1,000 square feet, that would be it and it would be great.
Caroline: Yeah, I loved that place as well. My number two is a hotel.
Caroline: And it’s the Royal Senses Resort.
Jason: Ohh. I guess I could have made an argument for that, too.
Caroline: Because we try to kind of get low expectations going into it, too, because we didn’t want to be disappointed. Disappointed because we had booked this whole thing on points and we knew that when you think of Greece, you probably think of Mykonos and you think of the beautiful…
Jason: The white buildings.
Caroline: White buildings, blue roofs, and like, this wasn’t that. This is Crete. And the vibe of the island of Crete is very wild and very natural and very earthy and very like earth tones. And so I had seen a couple of videos and I was like, okay, Caroline, do not in your head think…
Caroline: Greece is like Greek isles, Greece. Just go into it with a blank slate. And I’m so glad I did that because this was utter just like relaxation and earthy luxury to me. And it was your birthday and we had those days with the restaurant and the water park and it wasn’t crowded and it was also going back to part one of this two-part podcast series. We talked a lot in part one about the decision fatigue of travel. And it was the first time where we had taken a vacation from our vacation. We just had a really nice room and I just really liked it and there was so much to do.
Jason: Now, would you say that the four American Express credit cards that I signed us up for and that we had to do the whole melee a year before were worth it for this because we would not have been able to afford the room that we stayed in.
Caroline: I had a couple of meltdowns when trying to manage all of these different credit cards that you were trying to do the points games.
Jason: Yeah, and the points games…
Caroline: Jason, is this going to be worth it? And I have to tell you, it was worth it. So I eat my words.
Jason: We literally ended up spending, like, not even $2,000 for this trip. And it was just absolutely magnificent. It was fantastic. Okay, so that was your number two.
Caroline: That was my number two.
Jason: So my number two, we are going to Kinsale.
Caroline: Cute. Yeah.
Jason: The Dock House. So the Dock House for me is just such a unique stay. It is so cool. You can easily find it. Again, we’ll put links in the description. You can also watch our Ireland video and you can check it out or our Kinsale video, specifically. I took the risk, as we mentioned earlier. I reached out to the host, it would have cost $9,000 to stay at this place for two and a half weeks.
Caroline: That’s so many dollars. That’s so many dollars.
Jason: And I was just like, yes, we can’t afford that.
Caroline: Yeah, no. That’s a no from us.
Jason: And so I sent him a number that was less than a third of that.
Jason: And they approved it and it ended up being basically within our budget that what we would have spent normally and it was a little bit more than that, but it was such a cool place. I just loved the best part of the dock house, besides the fact that the house was so cool, it felt so interesting to be there. The view was amazing.
Caroline: It was very our style.
Jason: Leonard and Leonora the Seals.
Caroline: Leonard and Lenora the Seals.
Jason: But the best part is I basically book it through WhatsApp with this guy. I have not paid him. I haven’t gotten instructions on how to pay him. We’re driving there that morning. I have not heard from him instructions on how to get in the place. And this is where our friends who had been to Ireland a bunch before were like, yeah, this is the Irish.
Caroline: It’s the Irish way.
Jason: You just trust them, and they’ll just…
Caroline: You trust and you just still figure out.
Jason: We show up. So I sent him a message on WhatsApp and he’s like, oh, yeah, like, here’s the code to get in. I’m like, oh, okay. Like, now we have the code. And I get inside. I’m like, how do I pay you? I haven’t paid you yet. And so it was just magical, waking up there, seeing everything. It was just a really good experience.
Caroline: Yes. Love the Dock House.
Jason: So that was my number two.
Caroline: That was going to be my number four but you told me that we only have three.
Jason: So now I think we have the same number one.
Caroline: I think we have the same number one. Where are we? We are in…?
Caroline: You’ve heard us talking about the beach house in Ballybunion and all the reasons why it’s incredible. It felt like home. It felt like a house that we would choose to live in long term. It was just so light and bright and airy and gorgeous ocean views.
Jason: I mean, it’s one of the most spectacular views you can have in an Airbnb, period. Like, you’re looking at, as Caroline said, cliffs, ocean.
Jason: Half of… like an 8th of a castle that’s left, and it’s basically unobstructed. Like, you just see everything. You also get to watch the Ballybunion dippers get out there and jump in the water at 10:00 a.m. every day.
Caroline: These are the middle-aged ladies who go in the freezing cold water.
Jason: Frigidly cold.
Caroline: Every morning, and when they come out, they put on their robes and the gab.
Jason: And it all says, “Ballybunion Dippers” on the back.
Caroline: It’s the Ballybunion Dippers.
Jason: Just a very, very special place. And I think of, again, the 31 Airbnbs that we stayed in this year, we will return to the Ballybunion beach house in our lives multiple times.
Jason: I don’t know that we’ll stay at any of these other ones again. I could see us maybe going back to the Royal Senses as a potential for like, oh, we want to take a vacation, and we know it, and it would be fun, but this is one that, guaranteed, we will be back. So, yeah, that’s our top five restaurants, our top five Airbnbs, our top five memories of a year, almost, of full time travel. We hope you enjoyed getting to relive them.
Caroline: And of course, it goes without saying, we just want to again acknowledge how grateful we are, how we do not take any of this for granted. And we planned for years, and we worked so hard on their businesses for years to try to be in a place where we could make this trip happen. And I feel so incredibly grateful and lucky for every person who listens to this podcast, for every person who’s inside WAIM, for every person who has supported us in our careers, in our personal lives.
Jason: And we really hope by sharing this, that five years from now or ten years from now, you can make your travel dream come true or your big life dream come true. Because five years ago us, this was all a dream. This was all just us talking about it and hoping it could happen, and looking at a couple of pictures of Switzerland online and watching videos of people traveling and being so envious of that opportunity and then getting to finally do it, as we mentioned in the last episode, it’s amazing, but it’s also difficult. And it’s one of those things where we have created at least ten memories we will keep forever.
Caroline: The best.
Jason: But we will keep a ton of memories from this place. And we’re so excited we got to share it with you. We’re so excited that it led to now living in Portugal and starting a new life here. And, yeah, it was just a wonderful trip. So I’m glad we got to share it. And hopefully it was a fun way to listen to us gab about these memories to kind of end the year and listening to us travel this entire year.
Caroline: And on that note, we will be taking a little hiatus and we will return January 26 with new episodes with new 2023 energy. And thank you, all of you. Whether you just started listening to this episode.
Jason: If this is your first episode, it’s a weird one to start with.
Caroline: It’s a weird one to start with, or whether you’ve been listening for a long time and you’re a Cinnamon LOLer, I thank you for your loyalty and…
Jason: Oh, that just reminded me.
Jason: Top Cinnamon Roll of the Year. I can tell you right off the top of my head, no big deal, Split, Croatia.
Jason: At the tiny bakery that our food tour guide told me to go to that I could barely find on the map.
Caroline: I can’t believe we didn’t even say food tour days. We said the wine tour. But the food tour day in Croatia was a great day.
Jason: But don’t steal my thunder. That was the Best Cinnamon Roll of the Year.
Jason: Split, Croatia, that little bakery, I can’t remember the name of it, but it was…
Caroline: (indistinct)… was the name of the bakery.
Jason: That was not the name of the bakery with the best cinnamon roll. That was the bakery that I went to multiple times that was across from a little breakfast restaurant we went into when I went on my cinnamon roll adventure by myself.
Caroline: Oh. Got it. Got it.
Jason: Nice try, though.
Caroline: Thank you. Also, I did take a shot of homemade moonshine from an old Croatian man’s kiosk at a farmer’s market.
Jason: These are the memories.
Caroline: I regret nothing.
Jason: Yeah, exactly. All right, thanks so much for listening. We will be back in 2023 in your earballs. We appreciate you. Bye.
Caroline: Love ya. Bye.