DebBran

Debra and Dana

DebBran

Dana and I are now retired and plan to travel over the next few years. Stay tuned.



Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Vilamoura June 14th 2022

The last leg of our travels is in the Algarve sharing a Villa with 4 other couples who have been friends for many years. It’s a beautiful Villa with all the amenities for our group including a large outdoor pool, fully equipped gym, theatre room and a large kitchen with a counter big enough to comfortably seat 10 people. It was a wonderful experience with lots of shared meals and good conversation. Being able to spend some quality time with some of our friends after being somewhat socially separated during the past 2 years of Covid has been a real enjoyable experience. Our group booked a boat tour of the Benagil Caves on the coast in Albufeira. It was an impressive view of the weather worn cliffs and caves. Nature used the wind and waves to ... read more
Villa La Quiete in Vilamoura
Side patio of Villa La Quiete
Charcoal barbecue at Villa La Quiete

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Covas do Douro June 6th 2022

The Douro (pronounced Douroo) Valley is such a magical area and the Quinta de la Rosa, where we stayed, overlooks the fork of the Douro and Pinhao rivers where quite a few river boat cruise ships stop at the nearby town of Pinhao. The Douro is known for Port wine and like other regions in the world, such as Champagne, Cognac, Bordeau etc, there are strict regulations on making Port and a DOC designation is used for approved products. For example, irrigation is prohibited on Port vines and is actually against the law. Reducing the water forces the vine roots to penetrate the shale soil by as much as 30-40ft. The basic difference between Port and regular table wine is the addition of brandy which slows the fermentation process leaving a higher sugar content, therefore a ... read more
Desert at Quinta de la Rosa
Cruising the Douro
Hike to Provesende from Pinhao

Europe » Spain » Basque Country May 30th 2022

It’s been over 3 years since we‘ve seen our friends from France, Susan and Harry. It was a real treat to meet up with them and stay at the Parador in Hondarribia (it sits on the border between Spain and France). The Parador was built as a fortress in the 9th century, updated in the 15th century by King Charles V and in more contemporary times, converted to a beautiful Inn that integrates centuries old architecture with modern amenities. It is a stunning facility although getting to the parking lot created some “sweaty palms” Parking is a challenge in many of the communities visited, so we decided to take the short bus ride from Hondarribia to San Sebastián (actually the real reason is we didn’t want to jockey the car in and out of the very ... read more
Parador Hondarribia
Statue of Anthony Gaudi outside of his museum
San Marcos Monastery Leon.

Europe » Spain » Basque Country May 24th 2022

After picking up our rental car at the Lisbon airport, we’re off to Spain. Santiago de Compostela is about a 5 hour drive from Lisbon on good highways but lots of tolls which costs EU 44.00 (appx $60.00 CDN). Gas prices in Europe are around $2.70/litre CDN so driving is expensive. Santiago de Compostela is a final destination for those taking the Camino trail pilgrimage. Many of these routes(from various locations) follow the paths Saint James took during his many journey‘s to the area in his efforts to spread Christianity. After being martyred by King Herod, James’s body was eventually transported to Santiago de Compostela and remains there to this day in the Cathedral. With the increasing control of Muslims in the Middle East, Jews and Christians were reluctant to travel to Jerusalem as their main ... read more
Gaudi’s Caprice house
Decorative house in Santilla del Mar
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa May 20th 2022

Our arrival to Lisbon was met with a 2 hour delay clearing customs and subsequently missing our re-arranged taxi to the Hotel, so a slow start! Old Lisbon is a fairly condensed area therefore our Hotel was very central to major attractions and only about 30 minutes from airport. The sunny weather and 30C temperatures more than made up for the airport experience and a relaxing tapas meal on a roof top bar was a fitting end to a long travel day. Greater Lisbon‘s population is appx 3 million, but the core city is only 550,000. The Portuguese call it Lisboa, which means “quiet harbour” and it was well suited for the country’s Imperial ambitions in the 14th/15th century. At it’s height, the Portugal empire included, Brazil, Macau( twin to Hong Kong), GOA( India), Mozambique and ... read more
Initiation Well — Quinta de Regaliera -Sintra
Time Out Market
Coach Museum in Belem

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa May 12th 2022

Hello Everyone: After over 2 years of being grounded, there is only one thing better than writing this blog… that’s actually being able to travel. We are so looking forward to our trip to Portugal and North/Western Spain from May 18th to June 18th. We start in Lisbon and area, then head to Northern Spain, back to Porto/Douro Valley and finish in the Algarve. This will be our first visit to Portugal and it promises to be an interesting and educational adventure. With a population of around 11 million, the country has a deep history and from what we can determine, there have been numerous influences that will give us a unique cultural experience. In particular, the food with it’s array of seafood, sausage, stews etc should be absolutely delightful. Of course there is also Port ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Lanarkshire » Glasgow September 5th 2019

The locals claim that May is the driest month in Scotland. Well August/September must be when the Sottish monsoons arrive as our 4 days on the West Coast and the Isle of Skye were quite wet. When in Gairloch, we managed to hike up Beinn Eighe (pronunced Ben A) which was a good work out. At an elevation of appx 750 meters, we started to show our age!! Beautiful scenery at the top and lots of fresh water streams rolling down the mountains. Gairloch, for a small town, has a very interesting museum that provided a great deal of information of past life in the community. We also had a nice dinner at Badachro Inn which looks over a remote harbour about 1/2 hour drive outside of town. Off to the Isle of Skye for a ... read more
Portree, Isle of Skye
Glenfinnian
Doesn’t seem to fit

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Moray » Grantown-on-Spey September 2nd 2019

We’re off to Grantown on Spey in Moray with our first stop at Scone Palace (actually pronounce Scoon for reasons unknown) which is the home of the Earl of Mansfield and was the original location of the “stone of destiny”, on which numerous early Scottish Kings were crowned including Robert the Bruce. The Palace and grounds are beautifully maintained and contain many pieces of antique furniture from centuries ago. After a brief stop at Pitlochry to view the Salmon ladders at the power station, we rushed off to catch a sheep dog demonstration late in the afternoon. This was an amazing performance!! The trainer had 6 dogs each with their own set of commands and under full control of their master. Hearing what appeared to be the slightest of sounds, the dogs maneuvered the sheep with ... read more
Walkers Shortbread factory outlet
Elgin Cathedral
The Biblical Garden

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Fife » Saint Andrews August 27th 2019

Sunday was such a good weather day for golf we headed to St. Andrews, the birthplace of the game. We finished the Old Course(there are 7 courses in St. Andrews and 41 in the Fife area) in about 1 1/2 hours. It would have taken longer had we actually played! The course is closed on Sunday and they allow the public to walk around the course. We walked every hole and stopped at Swilken Bridge on the 18th fairway for some photo-ops. On the 15th fairway a friendly local, who was walking his dogs, stopped for a nice chat! As a local resident, he pays 350 pound sterling/annually for his membership which is almost the price tourists pay for one round! St Andrews is a very historic town, one of the oldest in Scotland. University of ... read more
Inside Stirling Castle
Falkirk Wheel
Creative flower pots in school yard

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh August 23rd 2019

After landing at 6:30 am and before settling into our apartment in Edinburgh, we strike out on the “hop on, hop off” bus for an overview of the city. There are 3 routes available and it’s best to buy a pass that also includes entrance fees to the Royal Yacht Brittania, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Castle. Edinburgh is a city of appx 500,000 people and there has been a number of festivals in August including the “fringe festival” which is one of the largest gatherings (primarily performing arts, especially comedy) in Europe. So it is estimate another 1/2 million people converge on the city. Needless to say, parts of Edinburgh was “jammed” with people. Walking around made touring Times Square in New York seem like a walk in the country. There are over 5,000 performances spread ... read more
Caption at Peoples Museum
Fringe Festival Promotional Icon
30 year anniversary dinner




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