Our crew are taking a bunch of courses at MCC this spring, but we’ve made a plan to squeeze a trip in between the end of the Spring semester and the start of potential summer coursework.

It’s an unusual pairing this time, we will be five, but it will be Moxie, Buddie and Ginnie joined by brother Z and cousin M. Buster and Monkey will be holding down the homefront/dogfront while we’re away. They don’t have the desire to put themselves in aluminium tubes with a bunch of strangers even for a pastel de nata.

The destination is Portugal. The time: late May and early June. We’ll be traveling with Z+M for the first week, then have a week with just the three of us.

We have a pretty clear sense of how we like to travel. Ask us, if you dare. But we also have a clear sense of how we like to travel plan. I’m going to pretend you dared to ask. It’s a small act of faith, the answers will come when they need to.

Here’s how the plan swam into focus:

December: Destination: Portugal. Time: two weeks. Locations? Definitely Lisbon, where else? Not sure. Build the spreadsheet (ask us, if you dare 😀 )

January: Lurking on Scott’s Cheap Flights, performing the calculus of price/airport/airline/# of stops, until we found something we decided to pull the trigger on. In this case, leave from Toronto (2 hr drive, meh), Air Canada (oh dear, alarming!), direct flight (yes!), the price is decent. We looked at historical data to try to determine how on-time this flight was likely to be. It seemed worth the risk. We add Aviero to the list of places to stay. We’re very much mid-sized city kind of people (Rochester is a good fit).

February: Another tumbler clicks into place. It will be Seville for part of the second week. How to get there? Just an hour’s flight from Lisbon, or a seven hour train, We run it by Moxie who splits the difference. We’ll do a five hour train to Faro, with an overnight there and a mid-day bus for the final two and a half hours to Seville. We earn imaginary bonus points for using a bus (super popular and super affordable in Europe but not something we’ve ever done) and for a long but not punishing train trip.

What’s next? Not much, we know as much detail as we can expect at this phase. I’m searching for inspiration in and around Porto. We may find it in a glass of port-o. There will be bike rentals. We’re finding some CrossFits to go to here and there.

But the real joy was the thrum of excitement in Moxie’s voice thinking about the narrow streets, the joy of walking, the fun of food.