Back at home with all our stuff 📦

Kate and I moved back into our place in Hayes Valley! It’s feels great to be home.

But one feeling I can’t seem to shake as I’m looking around the place is the burden of owning so much “stuff”. We’re staring at a mountain of boxes that need to be unpacked.

For the past year we had nothing but a backpack and suitcase each. We didn’t miss any of our possessions, we never felt like we needed anything else. But best of all, there was never any work to take care of our “stuff”. It was very liberating, low stress.

I don’t think we’re hoarders at all (except maybe my collection of Apple memorabilia). Most of the stuff we have is what you need to live a normal life in America: a fully stocked kitchen, a computer and accessories, home theater, books. It adds up.

In an effort to simply our lives and own less stuff, we’re not unpacking all our boxes. We’re only unpacking to get at the things we realize we need. Everything else will stay in the box, and perhaps one day donated.

We’ll see how it goes!

Amazing dinner at Rich Table, our favorite restaurant in San Francisco. Conveniently just a block from our place.
Lots and lots to unpack!

LA, Pismo, and driving up the California coast!!

When were we there
5 days, April 9-13

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles
🏡 Stayed at my dad’s house in Redondo Beach
🚗 Drove from Redondo Beach to Pismo Beach
🏡 Stayed with my aunt and uncle in Pismo Beach
🚗 Drove from Pismo Beach to San Francisco!

We got to see a bunch of friends and family in California. While in LA we had a great time at The Broad museum. Their permanent collection is amazing. Highly recommended!

Visiting family in Philly

When were we there
3 days, April 7-9

Where did we go
🚗 Drove from New York to Philadelphia
🏨 Residence Inn

We went to Philly to visit Kate’s sister and family. Her parents also came down from Buffalo to see us! We had a fun time going to the aquarium and eating cheesesteaks!

Back home (almost) in New York City!

When were we there
9 days, March 30-April 7

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Paris to Newark
🏨 SIXTY LES Hotel
🏨 Element Hotel

Instead of heading straight back to SF, we made a stop in New York to see friends. It felt so weird to go through border control into America. I wanted to hug the TSA agent!

While in New York we went to the Met, visited the World Trade Center site, and confirmed that the 2nd Avenue Subway line is real.

Thanks to all our friends for coming out and welcoming us back home. Love you all!

Another stop in Paris. Because wine.

When were we there
5 days, March 26-30

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Barcelona to Paris
🏨 W Hotel Opera House

Our last international stop of the trip! We got a great deal on a flight from Paris to NYC so we decided to spend a few days there. We mostly took it easy and drank great wine (of course).

South Spain, Madrid, San Sebastian, and Barcelona!

When were we there
26 days, March 1-26

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Lisbon to Sevilla
🏨 Hotel Palacio de Villapanes
🚗 Drove from Sevilla to Gibraltar
🏨 The Rock Hotel
🚗 Drove from Gibraltar to Ronda
🏨 Catalonia Reina Victoria Wellness & Spa
🚗 Drove from Ronda to Granada
🏨 AC Palacio De Santa Paula, Autograph Collection
🚗 Drove from Granada to Madrid
🏨 Only YOU Hotel Atocha
🚗 Drove from Madrid to San Sebastian
🏨 Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel
✈️ Flew from San Sebastian to Barcelona
🏨 Hotel 1898

Highlights

  • Metropole Parasol in Sevilla
  • Royal Alcázar of Seville
  • Plaza de España
  • Salvador Church
  • Tour of bullfighting ring
  • Hike up Mediterranean steps in Gibraltar up to the rock
  • St Micheal cave at the top of the rock
  • Hotel in Ronda
  • Alhambra tour
  • Basilica de San Juan de Dios (skulls!)
  • Gin and Tonics at Ten Con Ten
  • Museo Reina Sophia
  • Lunch at Arzak in San Sebastian
  • Day trip to Bilbao: Guggenheim Museum and Lunch at Azurmendi
  • Hike around San Sebastian
  • Day trip to Figures: Dali Museum and Lunch at El Cellar de Con Roca
  • Park Güell
  • Casa Batllo
  • Casa Mila
  • Sagrada Familia
  • Dinner at Disfrutar – molecular gastronomy

We loved Spain! In particular it was great to see the Islamic art and history in the south part of the country. We drove through Andalusia, stopping in Seville, Gibraltar, Ronda, and Granada. We learned about how the region changed under Roman, Visigoth, and Moorish rule until it was reclaimed by Spain in 1492.

Gibraltar was a weird place, a little slice of Britain! Seeing the Rock of Gibraltar was incredible (one of the Pillars of Hercules, historically thought to be the end of the world). The city itself kinda sucked: lots of British tourists who are too scared to travel anywhere else :(.

We drove to Madrid and spent a week there, and then continued up to San Sebastian, a surf town known for incredible food.

From San Sebastian we did a day trip to Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim. It’s housed in a beautiful building designed by Frank Gehry. The interior is as crazy as the exterior! The museum has an amazing collection of modern art and sculpture. We loved it!

That day we had lunch at Azurmendi. It was one of the most unique and wonderful dining experiences of our lives, full of fun surprises from start to end! Michelin 3 star restaurants are supposed to be “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”. I would definitely recommend visiting Bilboa and San Sebastian just to go to Azurmenfi.

You start with a tour of the building: the garden, the kitchen, and the greenhouse. Along the way you meet the staff, learn about the restaurant and its sustainability efforts, and eat a bunch of little snacks.

Then you move on to the dining room. We had ~10 more courses while looking over the beautiful Basque countryside. Foie, egg, oyster, uni, mushroom, truffle, lobster, fish, pork.

Every dish incredibly creative and playful. Even though you saw the menu, you didn’t know what you were going to get. 👍🏾 bread and wine too! Totally blown away.

Our last stop on the trip was Barcelona, and of course it was spectacular. It didn’t hurt that we got a free upgrade to a $1000/night room with a private rooftop pool!

A last minute stop in Lisbon. Wine, tapas, and castles!

When were we there
6 days, February 23-March 1

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Marrakech to Lisbon
🏡 Airbnb in Lisbon

Highlights

  • Food and wine everywhere!
  • Castle of S Jorge
  • Day trip to Sintra: hike up to Moorish Castle and Pena Palace
  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém
  • Conquistadors monument
  • Museu Coleção Berardo

We added Lisbon to our trip at the last minute. We wanted to go from Marrakesh to South Spain, and there were no good direct flights. So we decided to spend a few days in Lisbon. We’re glad we did!

Absolutely loved it here! We had zero expectations going in and we were blown away. Amazing food, wine, and friendly people. The central area is touristy for sure, but didn’t feel obnoxious. Sintra is a great day trip.

Lots of stuff to see. Castles, palaces, monuments, squares… We were there for 6 nights (one of our longer stops for a single city) and we were never bored!

Food is great, similar to spanish tapas. Wine was incredible, 4 euro glasses were common. It’s common culture here that when you order wine, the waiter will bring out a few so you can try them and pick your favorite.

Our Airbnb was perfect. Brand new one bedroom in the middle of everything. It was directly above the oldest bookstore in the world! Felt like being in the East Village. If you’re visiting Lisbon (you should!) we’ll tell you where to stay!

Palaces, food, and great shopping in Morocco

When were we there
5 days, February 18-23

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Cairo to Marrakech
🏨 Riad Noir d’Ivoire

Highlights

  • Madersa Ben Youssef
  • Secret garden
  • Dinner and belly dancing at Comptoir Darna
  • Cooking Class at La Maison Arabe
  • Jardín Majorelle
  • Atlas Mountain tour
  • Badia Palace
  • Bahi Palace

Loved Marrakech! We stayed in a riad in the center of town so we could easily walk to a ton of markets and restaurants. We did a lot of shopping!

One day we did a cooking class, and one day we did a tour of Atlas Mountains (and stopped at Richard Branson’s hotel for lunch).

Beautiful city. We’d love to explore more of Morocco one day.

Kate’s great hair day at the Great Pyramids

When were we there
4 days, February 14-18

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Amman to Cairo
🏨 The Nile Ritz-Carlton Cairo

Highlights

  • Egyptian Museum
  • Pyramids and Sphinx tour

Seeing the pyramids was on the bucket list, so we had to do it. But it was a bit underwhelming. They just don’t look as impressive in real life! Plus the sites are super busy and touristy.

The Egyptian Museum had a ton of amazing pieces, but it wasn’t well taken care of. It sucks to say this, but it makes you happy that a bunch of items are being preserved at the British Museum, MET, and other museums with more money.

If you go to Cairo, I’d recommend spending a day at the pyramids walking around by foot. Your tour guide will tell you that you can’t, that the distances are greater than they seem, but I don’t think that’s true. I wish we had walked more rather than driving between view points.