400 Days of Travel

400 Days of Travel

100 days ago we were in Cuenca, the last place we rented an apartment in South America and knew exactly when we’d be flying back to Europe, and now we’ve been back in our native continent for the last 90 days.


working back in London at Zab’s house

After leaving Cuenca, we went further south in Ecuador to Vilcabamba and Loja before flying back to Quito and making a quick visit to Otavalo before catching our flight to Madrid via Bogotá. In our two days in Madrid, we mostly ate and tried to get used to being back in Europe again. From there, we flew to London and spent just under two weeks together with Zab’s family before I went off to Austria to teach English and catch up with a good friend for just over a week.

I then returned to London and celebrated Christmas with Zab’s family before we hired a car and drove to visit my mother and her husband in their new house in the Cotswolds, my aunt, uncle and cousins in south Wales and a good friend of both of us in Bristol, where we brought in the new year. Then, after visiting a school friend of mine in Worcestershire, we returned to London and stayed again with Zab’s family for a week before we flew to Budapest for ten days together. We mostly worked, relaxed, ate and enjoyed our tiny studio apartment. From there, I took a train to Austria to start teaching again and Zab flew back to London and now we’ve been apart for four weeks.

Top Experiences

  • Being invited to do our first ever food tour in Madrid was absolutely a highlight, and made us realise they are exactly the kind of tours for us.
  • Doing our second food tour in London was the perfect follow up.
left: Grainne, our guide in Madrid; Nicole, our guide in London

left: Grainne, our guide in Madrid; Nicole, our guide in London

Favourite Towns

  • It might seem an odd choice, considering that we used to live there, and we still have many connections, but London really surprised us on this first visit since we started this journey together.
  • Our visit to Budapest (Zab’s second, my third) absolutely reinforced the feeling that we could live here, at least for a month or so.
  • I was working in Graz during the week of my birthday while Zab was in London and it was a shame not to have him with me, because I know he would’ve enjoyed Austria’s second largest city with its cool cafés, great vegetarian restaurants and beautiful old town.
top: London; bottom left: Budapest; bottom right: Graz

top: London; bottom left: Budapest; bottom right: Graz

Food Highlights

If you’ve been following this blog for more than five minutes, you’ll know that food is a central part of our travels and apart from the food tours mentioned above, we had some great foodie experiences these last 100 days.

  • Remembering how fresh the fruits, vegetables and chocolate from Ecuador’s valley of longevity at the Juice Factory in Vilcabamba were reminds me just how amazing the produce was in South America.
  • We dined at Europe’s first 100% raw vegan restaurant, Crucina in Madrid, which was a very memorable experience.
  • Unexpectedly, we found a new favourite vegan restaurant in central London, Wild Food Café, right in the heart of Covent Garden, an area we were both intimately familiar with.
top left: the Juice Factory; bottom left: Crucina; right: Wild Food Cafe

top left: the Juice Factory; bottom left: Crucina; right: Wild Food Cafe

Awesome People

Most of the people who made these last 100 days special were old friends and family, though there were a few new faces too.

  • We met old school friends of mine, Natalie and Luke (among others) just before Christmas for a party at Natalie’s house.
  • Our wonderful friend Jill hosted us at her new house in Bristol over new year and we had a great time catching up and setting goals for 2014 together.
  • Since being back in Austria, I’ve been able to hang out with my good friend Uli in her apartment which has become my second home!
  • I also got to meet up with Laura & Radek again (who we met twice before, in Samaipata, Bolivia and Lima, Peru) in Vienna, Austria.
  • And of course, all of our family for their hospitality!
old friends, Sarah, Luke and Natalie

old friends, Sarah, Luke and Natalie