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We ended our 18-day journey across Europe in Portugal where we enjoyed port wine and olive oil.

Updated: Oct 16, 2022


The Croft Winery in Portugal's beautiful Douro Valley.

By SARA VANDEN BERGE


By the time we landed in Portugal, we were tired.


It had been 17 days since we began our trek through Europe – the longest vacation we had ever taken – and exhaustion was beginning to take over.

So I was less enthusiastic on the final day of our trip when we landed in Porto, Portugal.


The country is known for producing some of the best port wines in the world and we had planned a full day of tasting them.


It wasn’t long after we climbed into the vehicle to begin our ascent to the top of Douro Valley that I forgot all about the fact that I was bone-tired.

Portugal offers some of the most beautiful countryside you will ever see and the Douro Valley is breathtaking, with green rolling hills and vineyards dotting the Rio Douro, which we toured by boat.


Then it was off to Croft Winery where we learned about the process of making port wine (they still stomp the grapes by foot) and enjoyed wine and olive oil tastings.


We landed in Lisbon the next morning, but rather than taking a tour of the city, we headed to the airport to begin our 15-hour trip home.

I’m now sitting at the Philadelphia airport waiting for our connecting flight to Dallas.


We began planning this trip two years ago and it’s hard to believe that it’s over.


We explored cities in seven different countries – Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Ireland, Spain and Portugal – and took in as many sites as possible.


Along the way we tried new food, made new friends and learned about the habits and cultures of people living in other places.

I’m still bone-tired, but some of that exhaustion has been replaced with gratitude and excitement about seeing my family. (And Hemi. I really miss my cat.)


I’m also ready to get back to work and looking forward to sleeping in my own bed when I finally make it home tonight.


Because wherever life takes us, there’s no place like home.






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