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Strange Things We Wouldn’t Travel Without

Shannon with Backpack

Living out of two carry-on sized bags requires making some tough choices about what to bring. We can’t possibly carry everything. In fact, we can’t carry most things. But hard experience has taught us to make room for these often overlooked items.

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Grinning Like Idiots in Segovia

Segovia Cathedral, Spain

Segovia’s Gothic Cathedral towers over much of the town

Some people might tell you that Spanish and Greek are two totally different languages. But to us they’re nearly identical in one important respect: we understand very little of either.

On a bus, somewhere in Segovia, Spain, we managed to decipher enough Spanish to know that the driver wasn’t letting us off where we wanted. We wouldn’t figure out why until a bit later. And although we couldn’t make heads or tails of his precise directions, we did understand the universal sign for “that way.”

So with a shrug we hefted our bags and set off in the direction of the bus driver’s outstretched finger. A light rain fell as we made our way in this new and unfamiliar city. It wasn’t long until we saw the crowds. And then the barricades blocking our way.

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Magical Madrid, a Surprising Budget Destination

Madrid Skyline

One of the most shocking things about Madrid is how affordable it is, especially for a major Western European city. Compared with places like Paris, London, and even some of the surrounding cities in Spain, Madrid struck us as an absolute bargain.

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The Fountain of the Fallen Angel

Fuente del Ángel Caído, Madrid Spain, Fountain of the Fallen Angel

Sculptor Ricardo Bellver’s 1877 statue was inspired by a passage in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”

We’re big fans of the unusual and the unique. If it happens to be taboo, too, then all the better. As one of the only public tributes to Satan anywhere in the world, Fuente del Ángel Caído (Fountain of the Fallen Angel) in Madrid’s Buen Retiro Park scores on both counts.

Rising an appropriate 666 meters above sea level, the statute of an angel bound by a snake, hair seemingly ablaze, falling backwards from the heavens is a striking sight. Even more so when the clouds cooperate the way they did on our visit.

But when our camera unexpectedly failed while shooting Lucifer, we decided we had lingered long enough.

What is it with Waterfalls?

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Waterfalls never lose their allure. We’ve seen dozens of them across the U.S., from mighty Niagara in New York to McWay Falls in California’s Big Sur, one of the few in the world to pour directly into an ocean. And yet we never tire of them. In fact, we still seek them out.

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