Philip Farina

Phil Farina

Philip Farina




Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo June 28th 2012

Toledo We are beginning our last full day today. It will be another hot one, 108F! What may save us however is the cloud cover and the very low humidity. Today we drive to Toledo, the former capitol city of all Espana. Toledo was the seat of power until 1650’s when the capitol was moved to Madrid. Toledo of old is beautiful. Close to the origin of the Tagus, the same river that flows all the way to Lisbon, Toledo was a fortified city built on a hill and surrounded by walls. The city was very defensible, with a river on one side, a mountain on the other and 25 foot walls all around. The city is still home to 70,000 people who live and work within the ancient walls. Toledo is noted to hand tooled ... read more
Toledo
Toledo
Toledo

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid June 27th 2012

Well we are nearing our journeys end and there is still one thing I had set out to do that we have not yet done, eat a suckling pig. Let me explain. Five years ago we did a similar trip to Spain with Chris, Cathy and I. We did an afternoon stop over is Segovia, about 2 hours from Madrid. Segovia is famous for two things, Roman Aqueducts and roasted suckling pig. The aqueducts were a marvel of ancient engineering. Standing over 100 feet high and built nearly 2000 years ago they looked as if they were built last year. In fact they were still in use bringing water from the mountains to the city. The second marvel was a meal consisting of roasted suckling pig. The meal is based on cooking a newly born pig ... read more
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa June 26th 2012

Fatima Today will be a long bus ride day as we depart Portugal and head back to Spain. Our journey is coming close to the end with only 3 days left before we bid adieu and return to our normal lives back home. Today we visit the Shrine of Fatima, a holy site sanctioned by the Holy Sea. You may recall that it was here is 1920 that three young children, a brother and sister and their cousin, were visited by the Virgin Mary as the children tended their goats. The Virgin appeared to the children a number of times and revealed to the visionaries several prophesies. There were a total of three major prophesies revealed to the children to be shared with the world. If anyone is interested in the prophesies and their meaning there ... read more
Fatima

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa June 26th 2012

Lisbon Tonight we were treated to taste extravaganza. We rode the bus to the port area of Lisbon to a local sea food restaurant, the same one we went to 5 years ago. Nothing changed since last we were there. Even the same waiters were there. We also were lucky enough to be seated near two large screen TV’s tuned into the Euro 2012 match between England and Italy. Nothing could be better than food and futbal! First the food. We all sat down to an unlimited supply of food and drink. There was on the table already fresh prawns. These were not ordinary prawns but a full 6 inches each, with the heads still on! MY family would not touch them with the eyes looking back pleading, so I was assigned to peel them so ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Sintra June 24th 2012

Lisbon day 2 Today we had the chance to sleep in, all the way to 7:00 AM! We were heading today to some smaller towns around Lisbon. Our first stop this morning was the fishing village of Cascais. This small village is filled with small shops, restaurants and seaside sights. It is a resort town where the locals go to relax, especially on the weekend. We saw some of the major sights and then had some free time for shopping. We were able to buy some more Port Wine and enjoyed an espresso. Then back to the bus for the short ride to Sintra. Sintra was the summer palace of the King of Portugal. Here we were to tour the summer palace; however Cathy and I had been here before so we decided to shop the ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon June 24th 2012

Lisboa (Lisbon Portugal) Today we leave Spain for the drive (5 hours) to Portugal. We are heading to Lisbon on the shores of the Targa River. Portugal, much like Spain is famous for maritime history due to the efforts of Balboa, de Gama , and Magellan. All departed from the Tagus River to discover new lands, much like Columbus. Today was another beautiful day, sunny but not so hot, temperature was only going to be around 90. Our first stop was a rest area around 10: AM however since we were traveling west it was actually only 9:00 AM local time but nobody told us! Portugal is famous for many things one of them is Port Wine from the Modena Region. Since we were in Modena the rest area store was filled with Port Wines. We ... read more
Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville June 22nd 2012

Seville The fourth largest city in Spain behind Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia is absolutely beautiful. It is also hot! Today the temperature approached 100 but fortunately it was very dry with low humidity. It felt warm in the sun but in the shade it was tolerable. Our first stop was the city center area which was essentially the historic city of old Seville. We visited the Jewish quarter, there are less than 2000 living in Seville. We also visited a park that was gifted to the people by the ruling family in the 1800’s; the family actually could not afford the upkeep so they turned it over to the city as long as the city kept it a park. Pretty smart eh? We saw memorials to Spain’s favorite son Cristobel Colon (aka Christopher Columbus). It was ... read more
Seville
Seville
Seville

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville June 21st 2012

Notes on Touring This evening we are in Seville and it is a quiet night so I thought I would add some impressions and ideas about TOURING. First and foremost touring in NOT vacationing. You are up early most days before 6:30 am. You are regimented be here at a certain time, eat at a certain time, free time is limited. You TRAVEL long distances by bus, comfortable bus as it may be, you are still sitting a long time on the bus. How do you survive this vacation? First be flexible. Choose your tour properly. Know your tour operator. We have done Trafalgar tours all over the world and can recommend them HIGHLY. You must however choose the right tour. For example we had two options for this tour. First Class or Cost Saver. We ... read more

Europe » Spain June 21st 2012

To all who are reading this blog, we ask a favor. Please send a comment and identify yourself ao we know who is following. We love to know so we can be more informative. thanks Cathy and Phil... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia June 21st 2012

Gibraltar Today was our first day of vacation, we got to sleep late! Our wake up was 7:30 Am rather than 6:30 as usual. Another buffet breakfast and we were off to the Rock of Gibraltar, a state of the British Crown. The rock is 200 million year old limestone formation separating Spain from Africa through the straits of Gibraltar. Since we are leaving Spain and entering Britain, we had to pass passport control both onto and off of the Rock. As Rick put it, this was Security Theater as they really did not look at anything. They just looked at our passports and passed us along. Although simple, it was very confusing for some of our party who were 1not travelers. They wanted to know why we needed to do this but no explanation was ... read more
Rock of Gibraltar
Rock of Gibraltar
Rock of Gibraltar




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