And the destination for this year's grand adventure will be . . . [drumroll] . . . Spain and Morocco!
It's quite a shift from the original plan of doing Russia (the goal had been to start in Berlin and end up in St. Petersburg), but since Amanda is going to be in Spain anyway this summer, this switch was the most sensible option (if you can call Morocco in July sensible). I'll fly into Madrid in mid-July and meet up with Amanda there. Over the following two weeks we'll wend our way through southern Spain, cross the Strait of Gibraltar, explore Morocco and then jump back up to Barcelona before flying back to the United States.
I'm super excited about this trip. By visiting Spain, I will fill in a significant gap in my Western European travels (the only remaining hole is Switzerland). By visiting Morocco, I'll add a new continent to my repertoire. Unlike last summer, there will be no risk of freezing to death beneath five layers of blankets and all the clothes I own. Plus, there will be hammams and beaches and maze-like bazaars and camels in the Sahara desert. Yes, we'll probably be hot, sweaty messes most of the time -- and Amanda may rue the day she agreed to the Saharan camel trek -- but it'll make for great stories!
Of course, aside from our arrival in Madrid and our departure two weeks later from Barcelona, none of this is planned. That's what the next two and a half months are for.