Escape from Melbourne winter 2016

Winter was coming, so with a 3 month gap between my PhD classes I took off to meet my mom and sister in Europe, attend some conferences, and get in some quality surf.

London, England
May 10, 2016
Arrived to London via a cushy stopover in Delhi where Air India had put me up in the airport express hotel for my 6 hour layover. Found my way to the hostel at Earl's Court, then met up with a Nic for reunion beverages, tech chat, and desperately seeking out nightlife on a Tuesday night that was absolutely pouring.
London, England
May 11, 2016
Recovery English Breakfast in Camden Town, then down to University College London to meet an anthropology colleague. Celebrated the end of their exam period at a local pub. In the evening, met up with Gemma and Steve from old Japan and backpacking days (last seen 2007-09) for beers, Mexican food, and impromptu walking tour around Covent Garden.
Lisbon, Portugal
May 12, 2016
Arrived at would would be the most pleasant surprise of my trip. I didn't really have expectations for Lisbon (it was just kind of 'on the way' flight pattern wise), but it turned out to be a gorgeous city with a small town feel, full of neat winding streets and hills to explore, some amazing eats, and some of the most friendly people in Europe.
Lisbon, Portugal
May 14, 2016
Moved from relative squalor to meet Mom at our AirBNB flat in Principe Real with an epic rooftop view of Lisbon. Discovered a tiny atmospheric bistro serving a dozen things we couldn't understand on the menu, but some English speaking locals helped us order the famous salted cod. Observed the wailing of Portuguese Faro music at night.
Belem, Portugal
May 15, 2016
Went to neighboring Belem to check out the famous Jerónimos Monastery. Unfortunately, so did thousands of runners on a charity race, making stopping in for lunch or the famous Pastels do Belem absolutely out of the question with hours long lines.
Lisbon, Portugal
May 16, 2016
Awesome food tour led by a cookbook author all around Lisbon. Canned sardine bars, plenty of tasty meats and breads, finished off with Pastel do Belem treats. Found our way to the seafood of Cervejaria Ramiro - made famous by Anthony Bourdain's - amid fight songs sung by the fans of the local soccer team who just won the league championship.
Marrakesh, Morocco
May 17, 2016
The hot, chaotic dust-filled streets and cracked red walls of the Marrakesh Medina was a stark contrast to Lisbon, as was having to turn away enterprising salesmen at every turn. Our immaculate, expertly-decorated and equipped riad was truly our city oasis. Took in the crowds and cacophonic sounds of the square sipping mint tea at a rooftop bar.
Imlil, Morocco
May 18, 2016
Drove up to the High Atlas Mountains for a quick circuit hike through a few local villages. Mom practices her tough-as-nails bargaining skills with the local Berbers.
Marrakesh, Morocco
May 19, 2016
Randomly ran into Mappy at one of the Medina's bars - neither of us knowing the other was in Marrakesh - the first time I'd seen her since the Maldives in early 2015.
Marrakesh, Morocco
May 20, 2016
Lizzie arrives! Met Mappy for a catch up session while the girls had their traditional (and somewhat invasive!) hammam massage before grabbing a quiet dinner nearby.
Marrakesh, Morocco
May 21, 2016
Explored the labyrinthine souks of Marrekesh's Medina.
Skoura, Morocco
May 22, 2016
Left Marrakesh for an amazing drive through the arid hills and lush valleys of the High Atlas Mountains, stopping at some of the most well-maintained kasbahs (including the set of Yunkai from Game of Thrones!). Stayed overnight at a far flung ecolodge in a palm oasis with villas in the shape of kasbahs.
Marrakesh, Morocco
May 23, 2016
More scenic rides through the mountains and valleys, until we found that heavy rains had washed away our already narrow and rocky trail. After our guide and reluctant driver briefly assessed, we took a 'local detour': a couple hours driving down the riverbed on a makeshift trail while our driver blasted "I Will Survive". Nervewrecking, but amazing.
Barcelona, Spain
May 25, 2016
From the sea of red hues of the simple mud structures of the Medina, to for the magnificent and - well - 'gaudy' architecture of Gaudi. Probably overdosed on Iberian ham and cheese platters.
Barcelona, Spain
May 26, 2016
Food tour full of Iberian ham, lots of cheese, sausage bocadillos, paella, croquettes, and most importantly pouring wine all over ourselves from a porron complements of a butcher stall.
Barcelona, Spain
May 27, 2016
A day of Gaudi, from Casa Batllo in the early afternon to the famous Park Guell in the evening. The man was truly a visionary, and it's impossible to imagine Barcelona without his influence.
Taghazout, Morocco
May 29, 2016
The Caseys part ways. Mom and Lizzie head back to the US, while I fly back to Morocco to check out a famous surf village. I got sucked in and spent a couple weeks in a circuit of tagines, French cuisines, daily surfs, and work catch up. The locals were very hospitable, inviting me on trips out of town and to break their Ramadan fasts with them.
Las Palmas, Canary Islands
June 10, 2016
Looking for non-stop flights from Agadir to ... anywhere, I found one to Las Palmas. I found an article talking up its potential as a digital nomad base. Intrigued, I went to the Hawaii of Spain for a few days of working on the boardwalk, pigging out on ceviche and local chorizo and potato dishes, and checking out the coworking scene.
Barcelona, Spain
June 14, 2016
Back to the land of tapas and bocadillos for the pre-conference meetups of the Dynamite Circle's DCBCN conference. Walking tour of the gothic quarter and old town, lots of fun social outtings with good folks in the evenings, and interesting talks ranging from techniques for launching an online course to the benefits of renouncing US citizenship.
Belgrade, Serbia
June 18, 2016
Freaking love this place. A vibrant local start-up scene, great coworking cafe spots, a super hip bar district in an old brewery that has just opened up, some epic eats like my new love 'cevapcice', and the friendliest people in Europe who all somehow speak amazing English. Totally sucked me in, and I was reluctant to leave. I will be back.
Prague, Czech Republik
June 28, 2016
Off to another Dynamite Circle conference, this time the smaller scale DCxPrague. Stayed in a flat built in an old brewery, got to see the sites with my friend Phoebe from Hawaii, and found plenty to like about the mixture of cosmopolitan and traditional in a city with heaps of great cafes, beer halls, and co-working options.
Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
July 5, 2016
Off to Bali to hunker down and work/study while getting in some quality surf sessions. Found a steady rhythm of work-surf-eat-repeat to get me in a great place physically, mentally, and work wise before return back for the tail-end of Melbourne winter.