As I'm sure all of you out there know, the reason we are living in Barcelona in the first place is because of Josh's job. Josh has been with Vistaprint for over 10 years now, not a small feat in a world where people are constantly job hopping. So the majority of his tenure with VP was in their Waltham and then Lexington, MA offices and then a year a half ago we were off to Barcelona!
One of the things that I love about this company is how well they take care of their employees. That's not to say their employees don't work hard - there is no doubt they do and there is no room for slackers there. But again, in this day and age where most companies don't feel the need to reward their employees for all their hard work, Vistaprint has risen to the top. Aside from their great regular benefits, they offer what they call a VistaBreak for every 5 years of service.
So what is VistaBreak? After 5 years of service, an employee earns a one month sabbatical to be used on top of their regular vacation time. The one month must be taken all at once in order to ensure the employee is actually taking a break. And from what I recall, it must be used within 18 months of eligibility or you lose it.
Vistaprint started to offer this benefit to employees after Josh had been with the company for about 6 years so his last break he took right after Liam was born. He's had his 2 weeks of paternity leave (another great benefit) that I like to call "boat leave" since that's when he decided we needed to have a boat, in May and then he took the month of August off so that we could spend time as a family. It wasn't the African safari he had hoped for but at the time with a 3 month old and a 3 year old, that wasn't happening!
So fast forward another 4 years and we're now at Josh's 2nd VistaBreak and here we are in Europe. Hmmmm... decisions decisions. We looked at the safari idea again but think we need to wait for the next VistaBreak as the kids still don't look old enough from what I read on the websites AND a lot of places advertised how they were malaria free...great... I think I'll stay away from all safaris for the time being with small kids. We talked about Australia, but it's winter there right now and the kids only have this kind of time off in the summer. And then we talked about some places we want to visit still in Europe.
Originally we were going to try to hit 3 countries in 3 weeks but decided after much debate and planning that it was going to be too chaotic since the majority of home/villa rentals are Sat to Sat which meant flying and driving to our destinations each Saturday. It's too much on us and too much on the kids to do that each week. We knew we wanted it to be relaxing.
In the end we decided to do a week and a half in Ireland and a week and a half in Greece. For Ireland we are planning to stay in a little town called Fanore on the west coast. Then after our week in our rental we'll head to Killarney a bit further south in the Ring of Kerry for a few nights before one last night in Dublin before leaving for Greece. We'll start Greece out the opposite with the hotels first and then our rental. So we'll stay in Athens for a few nights where we'll explore the city (hopefully without any riots) and do a day trip or two if we can to a close island. Then on Saturday we'll fly to Corfu (in the Ionian Islands, between Greece and Italy) and then take a ferry to Paxos where we'll stay for a week.
The trips are complete opposites as far as what we are expecting which is going to be part of the fun. Fanore is expected to be in the mid to upper 60s (please let it reach 70) while Paxos is expected to be in the 90s. We've got caves and cliffs and horses to explore in Ireland and white sand beaches with bright turquoise waters in Greece. It's going to be a great time and we can't wait! So watch for blog posts coming at you often in the next few weeks!!