Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're Leavin' on a Jet Plane - We Know That We'll Be Back Again!!!!

Ah, feelings of Bittersweet-ness as we prepare to head out of town!
But not before a delicious breakfast To-Go!

We guess it's time we return to the "real world" and we are ending this trip in style...and by style, we mean that on this July 4th, Independence Day, we have an incredibly long day of traveling ahead of us.  Here's the run down: Portugal --> Paris --> Frankfurt --> London --> New York City! What a day, but the plan is to be flying into NYC just in time to catch a few fireworks as we land in Newark - fingers crossed!

Miss you Meg!!! Comin' Home!

We travel lite!
Yes, that's three backpacks and a suitcase (suitcase was a product of good negotiating at a Chinese Market)

And...that's two backpacks for me - which brings our grand total to 5 backpacks and 1 suitcase! FYI - we started with every bag you see except the suitcase!

We're Comin' Home!

Hmm, Why do I always get stuck next to the strangest people on flights?

This was already flight number 2 that day....2 more to go!

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge!
How does the other half live?

We got an upgrade to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge on the final leg of our trip home. Let me just say - it was amazing - the food was delicious, the drinks were even better and they had a complimentary spa and hair salon inside the lounge.....which Andreas sought out for a little trim to the locks (tears)!
A little drink to cool the nerves - before the hair cut!

Bumble and Bumble Hair Salon at the lounge 
Complimentary Haircut for Mr. Heid!
The haircut was OK, but the stylist dried it in a way that created a laugh in me that was uncontrollable - Andreas looked like a little Dutch Girl!  Sadly, he threatened to kill me if I snapped any photos of it - but I'll say my new nick-name for him is "The Blonde Bieber!"

Final thoughts:

It's hard for me to try and sum up this experience with just a few sentences. Throughout this adventure, I feel we were really blessed to have had so many opportunities to really experience different, unique cultures, people, places & things. We have taken the roads less traveled, tasted food that was, at best, questionable, and most importantly, no matter where we were or what we were doing - we never forgot to have a good time and make each other laugh ;-)...even when times got tough. Oh, and they got though all right - in Australia we bunked with a roach or two; in China I used a bathroom that was so disgusting, I was beyond certain I would die before escaping; and in Jordan, well, its always a good feeling when your taxi cab is tested for bombs before being allowed to enter and check-in to your hotel. ;-) It's important for us to remember that the good and the bad are what made every single day of this trip special - and Uniquely Ours! I wouldn't trade our journey for anything! I have gotten to know Andreas in ways I never did before, and I love him more and more each day of my life. Thanks to all of you out there that took the time to read our blog, and kept in touch with us while we were away. Now, onto new journeys in our lives - my only hope and prayer is that we are able to make what lies ahead Uniquely Ours - and continue to discover the humor in our everyday lives and experiences.
- Shannon

If there is one message I'd like to convey to you, our devoted followers: DO IT! Make it a priority in your lives to embark on extended journeys, not just the usual 1-week trip to the-beach-of-your-choosing since we don't get enough vacation days in this country....NO! Try to get some real time off and actually get away. You will not regret it.
This trip has absolutely been a dream-come-true. If you followed our blog, you know why. Of course Shan and I thought that our thirst for traveling would be quenched for quite some time now. Au contraire! On our flight back we already talked about how we could possibly organize our next trip. Yes, it is addictive...
You know, Shannon and I have decided that we want to see more of this beautiful world, and if that means to cut back on other things in life, then so be it. College education for kids in this day and age is totally overrated anyway. Besides, isn't it perfectly normal to have our future generation pay for our enjoyment? I thought so.
All the best to you fellow travelers out there, enjoy!
- Andreas

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CLUBE DE FADO in Lisbon!

We were told that it's not a trip to Lisbon if we don't check out the Fado! So, on our final evening in Lisbon, Portugal - and the final evening of our Around the World vacation - we were lucky enough to experience the beautiful Fado!

Fado Experience #1

Fado Experience #2

Staff was friendly - Dinner was delicious - the Performance was memorable!

  If you are ever in Portugal - this is a place to check out -

Trying to squeeze a few more hours of fun into our last night of vacation!
Walking on Jesus Street!

What a fun night - I know this was a short post, but we really wanted to quickly share our Fado experience with all of you.
We are not looking forward to the end of this amazing vacation - but we do miss our friends and family and are looking forward to getting back to NYC! The final post will be our goodbyes - a few photos of our trip home - and Andreas' hair cut from the Virgin Atlantic Lounge in London (sad face)! ;-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Your child is a really talented....... POLE DANCER???

Part 2 - The Algarve - Southern Portugal
The Final Destination on Our Trip Around the World!

We are very sad to say that our trip is coming to a close. As we head south, to The Algarve, there are many mixed emotions....and Andreas just refuses to talk about the trip home...I think he's in denial! My only hope is that he acts on this denial, and decides to extend the trip another 3 months! ;-)
Ok, that's not gonna happen (wishful thinking)...but on the bright side, we felt blessed to be able to spend the last few days of our vacation in one of the most visually stunning places on earth!
Welcome to The Algarve!

I know that one thing I will miss about this vacation is watching my husband at work! I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch his commitment towards obtaining the "perfect shot" throughout destinations all over the world. He really has a unique talent and eye for photography. My hope and prayer for him, in the future, is to be able to find the time in his busy life schedule to continue to grow and mature as a photographer.
The world is a more beautiful place when captured through his eyes!

Some of these shots took patience...and required that I stand perfectly still so that the ground didn't move when the photo was taken...this was harder than it sounds, but I love the way these photos came to life!

Ok, this one was easy for me...I think Andreas had to wake me up from a car-nap in order to see this shot! ;-)

Driving to the Algarve!
Along the coast, we pulled off onto a dirt road to take in the view...I was certain we would get stuck!

I was overjoyed that we didn't get stuck!

This is a good photo to show off why I never made a good cheerleader...Standleaders for Life!

Look at that hair...can we say...AFRO!

Beach Dayz Part 1 - 
Let the Master Tan Begin!

Andreas and I obtained better tans after a few days of sunbathing in the Algarve, than we did in any other country on our trip!

Entrance Fee to a beautiful beach - $20......Swim Suites - $100......Finding out that you are on a nudist beach after 2 hrs of sunbathing - Priceless (and awkward!)

He's so handsome! I am in such denial knowing that in less than a week that hair will have to be cut and tamed! ;-(

There was another couple over by these rocks, and we noticed that the guy was taking suggestive pictures of his...umm, lady-friend....Andreas wanted in on the action. We call this his "Suggestive Pose"
Then it was my turn...I can't take anything seriously....and couldn't stop laughing long enough to get a good shot.

Bam, a Winner!...I couldn't pull off the "Suggestive Pose" quite like my Hubby...So I went for the "Cute and Natural" look. ;-)

This beach was beautiful...I want to go back...NOW!

It was the dead of summer and the beaches were not crowded...We loved it!

More Photos of the Algarve
That is a little beach down in the lower right corner...These beaches are all over the place...Private and Intimate is the best way to describe our beach experiences!

On our final night in the Algarve, we went to dinner in a different village away from our hotel...quiet streets and a church service going on in the background of our after-dinner walk...memorable!

Two little children sitting on the street curb, playing nicely with each parents in sight.

Beach Dayz Part 2 - 
The Tan Continues....
This cave lead to a tiny could only access the beach during low tide. We didn't stay there for long, bc we didn't want to get stuck out there during high tide, but it's little secret spots like this that make me love this country!

Look...Look....For those of you that know me know that I don't really LOVE swimming in the ocean. BUT, I got in and swam while in Portugal...I think I even surprised Andreas a little...

I mean...does a beach get anymore beautiful than this?

Just showing off my tan...I haven't been this dark since I was a full time resident of Houston, Texas!

He hasn't been this dark since....EVER! ;-)


These birds are incredibly beautiful... and they must be a protected bird in the Algarve, because we saw them everywhere!

We stopped in one town and saw maybe 15 Storks nesting in the same area together. We were able to capture 5 or 6 in this photo...but there were probably 15 next on this ledge! So cool...I wanted to wait in hopes of spotting a baby stork...OR, even better, a stork carrying a baby (that's their day job, right?). Sadly, I waited and waited, but neither of these hopes ever came true. Andreas made me get back in the car....he was getting worried that the storks didn't like our gawking very much, and were going to attack me at any moment. (I was willing to take the chance....I mean, the story of being hit by a bicycle in Central Park is old news....wouldn't "being attacked by a baby-carrying stork" be a great new addition to my life story?) Andreas didn't think so....

Faro, Palácio de Estoi

This palace/hotel far exceeded our expectations! It was beautiful, luxurious and quiet. Loved it!
Dinner at "The Palace" was delicious...but we learned that you have to arrive at 5:30pm if you want dinner by 8pm....everything was done at an astonishingly SLOW pace. Everyone was nice, and they appeared to be very well staffed...they just eat and serve courses very  s--l--o--w--l--y! Instead of the saying "Come hungry, leave happy" we thought it would be more appropriate to say "Come Anytime, Get Hungry, Eat Eventually!"

Movie Star Spotting!

Hotel Grounds!
Story Time!
I LOVE YOU Mosquito Racket! 
During our travels, we continued to spot these Mosquito Rackets that people used to kill unwanted bugs. We had never seen one before, but it appeared that many of our friends and family living outside the USA had not only seen these rackets, but owned and used them as well. So, we were lucky enough to be gifted one by Klaus while on vacation with our families at Disney World. We threw it in our backpacks and headed out of town, never really thinking it would come in handy during the rest of our trip in Portugal. Boy, were we wrong!
We arrived at our hotel in The Algarve just before midnight, and, as you can see by the photos, it was stunningly beautiful. We were shown to our room on the ground floor, with an amazing garden terrace - and quickly got ready for bed. What we didn't know, is that we weren't alone! There were dozens of mosquito's living in the thick window curtains of the hotel room. Now this is my version of the worst way to die - as I am allergic to mosquito bites and their bites swell up like golf balls on my arms, legs and anywhere else they are lucky enough to get a bite. As I layered myself in winter clothes and prepared to hide under the sheets - Andreas got out the Mosquito Racket! The room looked like a war zone when he was finished killing all the "little suckers"! We eventually moved rooms that night - but I would have paid good money to see the look on the maids faces the next morning when they went in to clean the room. Dead mosquitoes ALL OVER THE WALLS, FLOOR & CEILING! Gross - I know - but that racket is my new best friend! Klaus - Thanks again for the gift! You saved us that night - and you saved me from a horrible death - Ok, maybe death is a little dramatic - but you saved me from having to head to the beach covered in giant golf ball sized welts!

Story Time! 
Sangria By the Pool....and in the room!
As you can see above - the pool at the hotel could be described as simple, but the Sangria Menu made an average pool - a delicious experience! ;-)
Andreas and I sat by the pool one day and tried a pitcher of ever single Sangria the hotel offered. We didn't swim much - in fact - we didn't move much. So, we were surprised to discover that we were feeling a little sick, dehydrated and possibly a little drunk around our 5th hr and 3rd sangria pitcher by the pool. However, the sad news was that we still had 2/3rds of a pitcher lefts to drink. We realize now that we probably looked like alcoholics - rather we preferred the label "Sangria sluggers" - but we made the executive decision to call it a day and head back to our room and out of the sun....with the pitcher tucked safely under Andreas arm....while I carried the glasses - sipping occasionally while heading to the room. Hey - don't judge us until you head down to the Algarve and try the Sangria - my guess is it will be just as hard for you to stop as it was for us! Cheers!

The little details all over the Pousada were incredible. Gardens, restaurants, parlor rooms, a bar with only 3 chairs and 1 incredible pool love love this place! We will be back!

These were the stairs to all of the guest rooms!

And now for a segment I like to call - 
Too Many Photos Of My Face...And His Face!

What's not to smile about....

Amazing View...again, no one in sight!

Hmm...I think this was my "Sad, I don't want our vacation to end face..." It DID come to an end shortly after this photo was taken...guess that means I need to get in front of a mirror and work on that face!

"Life's too serious to take serious." - My Papa 
(The best damn papa in the entire world!)

The wind was far to strong to be considered least for my weight class. Andreas ventured out onto a rocky cliff area and I hide behind this rock, monument thingy...for safety. He had no idea where I went...he assumed I was right behind him the entire time...After searching for me for a while...he spotted me waving at him and holding onto my hat. ;-)

Hmm...Andreas and his afternoon date....Chocolate Ice Cream!

 "If you make that face, it's going to freeze that way".....or I will snap a photo of it and post it to the blog!

Life really is Great!

Give me Fierce!

Give me "Kissy Face"

Now you're a the Tiger!

hehe...he is going to kill me when he sees these photos...
How the hell did he fit his big head into this wine glass......
This man clearly does not take himself seriously! ;-) (That's right...I resisted the urge to post the "Awkward Speedo Spotting" Photos for too long...I'm bringing it back!)

One reason for getting out of bed each morning is hitting the streets to find photos like these...

I titled this statue - "Me, after too many tequila shots!"
 "Two Loves"...Andreas & Wine! ;-)

I know its hard to see, but this Awkward Speedo Spotting also came with a free sun burn included. Just some advise to this fellow - if you're going to rock the banana hammock - rock the same one every day! That way, when you develop a hideous sunburn....fellow sunbathers eyes are immediately drawn to your "hammock line" - also known as the whitest part of your body!
Clearly, this woman bought this bikini in "rock color" to conceal herself at the beach. I hear "Rock Color" is the new Black!

Andreas titled this photo Evolution.....nuff said....

Last Night in the Algarve...

My favorite photo of Andreas from the entire trip! Plus, I took it! ;-)

Taking a walk!

Who lives here...must be someone really really tall!

Enjoying our last night...taking nothing seriously!

Ok, fine, i'll take it seriously!

 The Circus was in town that night....

Story Time 
Pole Dancing toddler
The little girl in the photo above was more entertaining to watch than the circus type show taking place behind her. She was giving quit the pole dancing performance. I'm not kidding - She would have brought shame to professional pole dancers world wide. One thing is for sure - she has a future in the I only wish I would have taken a video of it - as this photo doesn't do her skills any justice!

Yeah - not as interesting as the pole dancing child!

We are reaching the final few blog posts....and to be honest, they have taken so long to post because I really don't want them to end. This has been a lot of fun, and we are sad that it is coming to a close. Check back soon for one final Portugal post followed by some teary goodbye messages.