¿Dónde está el baño?

We’re Not In Indiana Anymore

Very soon Erin and I will be leaving for our fortieth birthdays vacation. As much as we both love traveling close to home, we’ve been itching to see parts of Europe.  And this past January, we had grandiose ideas of backpacking through Europe, staying in hostels, and reconnecting with nature. You know I’m just kidding. Anyone that knows Erin knows she would never be down for backpacking and hostels.  Instead, we’ll be staying in what appear to be some pretty nice hotels in Spain and Portugal. The plan is to do a lot of walking and sightseeing but also spend some time just relaxing and enjoying a vacation.

Safe to say that Erin’s a bit of a bookworm.

Since this is likely our last post before our trip, we thought it would be fun to post about our expectations and then upon returning post about our actual experience. Erin has been doing a lot more research than I have at this point, but don’t jump to conclusions, as I have helped in preparing us for travel as well. I mean, picking where to have lunch on day 3 is a big deal! But don’t be surprised if my point of view is little more uninformed and incorrect or downright comical.


We learned a valuable lesson a couple of years ago when we vacationed in Fiji. Don’t be ashamed to pay someone to provide services that you yourself are incapable of providing. Long story short, we decided to plan our own vacation to Fiji. It turned out incredible and an experience neither of us will forget. However, it was a stressful adventure to say the least. This time around we chose to hire a travel agent to take care of the details and make sure that we didn’t forget anything. Thus far, its been the best money spent as our travel agent has taken care of the majority of places where going, travel and hotel accommodations, and is available to help fix things when Erin and I create an international incident!

Although we were promised a food court and couldn’t find one, there was this neat little tribute to Toledo’s own Eugene Kranz.

Passports are current and the kindle is loaded with reading material. Flights, hotel rooms, train tickets, and COVID Vaccine records are all booked and up to date. Because we are spoiled rotten though and have grown accustomed to TSA pre-check, Erin and I applied for Global Entry back in January. Holy cow if that process wasn’t the snapshot of our marriage! Erin applies and is conditionally approved in a week. Me, conditionally approved after six months. Post in-person interview time for full approval: Erin – three hours, Ryan – five weeks. And did I mention that this adventure involved a trip to Toledo Ohio? Beautiful part of the country this time of year and a top notch airport to boot.

I can’t say with a straight face that either of us like to be the center of attention. Let’s be honest, I’m loud, but God bless Erin for trying to help me stand out less. This meant clothes shopping. Because apparently my athleisure wear is too “American.” To be fair, she’s lucky I’m not bringing camo shorts and tank tops with the American flag on them. Regardless, clothes shopping isn’t one of my favorite activities, but after spending a couple of hours at the thrift store, I was looking less touristy. Fun new fact about Ryan Jesswein, he likes linen shirts.

Spain and Portugal Predictions

Ok, so I wasn’t really serious about an international incident. And I’ve heard that for the most part, the major cities in Europe speak a lot of English. My first prediction though, is that we’re going to go somewhere we shouldn’t go because of the language difference. That’s why friends, the first Spanish phrase I learned was ¿Dónde está el baño? It means where is the bathroom in Spanish. The second predication is that even with apps like Google Maps, we’re definitely getting lost! I mean, have you looked at a street map for Barcelona?! I have a new respect for the grid layout of mid-west streets (much easier to navigate).

We can totally find our hotel from this.

Third prediction, we’re going to drink too much wine at least eight times. Wine in Spain and Portugal is cheap and good. Next predication, Erin’s going to eat meat. It’s pretty hard to avoid it there and even if we know the Spanish words for chicken and pork, those sneaky Spaniards will find a way to trick her. Fifth and final predication, I’m going to make an ass of myself one way or another. It’s inevitable really, with what little I know about the culture, you know I’ll end up buying shots of absinth for everyone at a bar or accidentally getting us in a running of the bulls.

Most Excited To See/Experience

No vamos a pensar en el trabajo. Translation: Not going to think about work!

Erin’s most excited for the couple of days planned at the Algarve. It’s a chill area right on the beach and she’ll be in her element….on the sand, drink in hand. As for me, I’m looking forward to the sunset sailing cruise in Lisbon. Cue the Christopher Cross song and summer type cocktail and I’m good to go. So stay tuned for plenty of photos and stories from our European adventures. And be sure to keep an eye on the news for any international incidents involving the Jessweins!

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