Where to go? Where to go? How to decide Where to GO!

The oldest known image of Lisbon: 1500-1510. Duarte Galvão (1435-1517) - Crónica de Dom Afonso Henriques de Duarte Galvão. Image via wikipedia
The oldest known image of Lisbon: 1500-1510. Duarte Galvão – Crónica de Dom Afonso Henriques de Duarte Galvão. Image via wikipedia

I knew that after finally ending the long slog of graduate school this past May (seven years for a humanities PhD–actually fast, especially for my department), I wanted to celebrate with a trip. A return to Rome was a given, but I was excited to see other places as well. Istanbul was also a number one choice because I had desperately wanted to go there during my Fulbright year, but due to timing and plane tickets never quite being cheap enough, it didn’t happen. So Rome and Istanbul. Yes. Absolutely. But man, flying into Rome in late May/early June is a fortune! How can I get to continental Europe for the cheapest rate?? Because once you’re on the continent, getting around is relatively easy/cheap…

Hours later mostly using Google’s flight search function, which has a really great map tool, allowing you to look at a ton of different fares at once…

Lisbon it is! Dublin came in at a close second, because it was actually slightly cheaper than Lisbon, but for that time of year I wanted southern Europe.

And the return flight? Istanbul back to the States. Miraculously US –> Lisbon, then Istanbul –> US was a ton cheaper than most of the other options. I just had to figure out the middle bits.

A level of flexibility in destination helps in finding cheaper fares and if it’s vacation travel, why not investigate the options? While Portugal wasn’t near the top of my MUST VISIT list, it was one of those secondary places that I had had in my mind for ages (since my senior year of undergrad actually, when a friend went there with his dad for spring break) that seemed worthy of a visit. It was also so exciting, after the years of graduate school and being 100% Italy focused (since that’s where my research was), to think about all the possibilities! I could go anywhere! I could go everywhere!

So Lisbon it was.

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