Emily Ponto


Emily Ponto

I love to travel and I love photography. I figured this would be an easy way to share my two passions with my friends

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Europe » Belgium » East Flanders » Gent April 18th 2016

Today we started a bit later so eileen could catch some much needed z's. At this point in the trip, her nose is running so bad she is keeping a tissue under her nose at all times. She is starting to resemble an Asian tourist with a white mask over her face. Our first stop this morning is a pharmacist. This was a great experience. The pharmacist was behind the counter and eileen was able to describe her symptoms and get some medicine right away. We decided to take advantage of Starbucks being available and grabbed a gallon sized hot tea and breakfast. After breakfast, the Ghent belfry was the next stop which promised picture perfect views of the town and did not disappoint. We shared the belfry with cute Belgium school children on field trips. ... read more
Ghent bell music drum
View from the belfry
Ghent belfry bell

Europe » Belgium » East Flanders » Gent April 17th 2016

We booked a very early train this morning, so we were out of the hotel by 8am. The train station was only 1 block away. We had enough time for a posh tea service on a silver tray in the station before boarding our train to Ghent. On the train, we discovered that dogs rule in this area of Europe. The sweetest Dalmatian boarded the train and was quite content to ride in the aisle and get pets from other passengers. I didn't want to stalk him, but took a quick snap with my phone for proof! The train took us thru Brussels where we had a quick change of trains. Upon arriving in Ghent, we immediately knew we were in a college town. We found a Starbucks in the train station and the biggest bike ... read more
Castle of the counts
Couch at the design museum
Awesome bike at the design museum

Europe » Luxembourg » Luxembourg City April 16th 2016

We decided to get up early this morning to make our way to the Saturday morning market in Luxembourg. We had a pleasant surprise when we boarded the bus that all the buses were free on Saturday. After a quick ride, we were dropped at the market. We were immediately struck by the beautiful flowers. We wandered around and made a few purchases.Then it was a quick walk to the center of town where we selected cafe Francis for our breakfast. The breakfast was idyllic, as we watched a sleepy square wake up. We wandered around the antique market in the square before setting off to for downtown Luxembourg. We made stops at st. Michaels church, the chocolate house, and then made our way back for lunch in the same square. We chose an outside table ... read more
St.michaels stained glass
View of town
Stunning town view

Europe » Luxembourg » Luxembourg City April 15th 2016

We are off on another adventure today. We will spend the next 2.5 weeks in Luxembourg, Belgium and The Netherlands. Our flight from Syracuse to Dulles was slightly delayed and so we had to run to our gate to catch our flight to Frankfort. The flight was fairly good. I watched the new movie sisters with Tina Fey, it was funny. We arrived in Frankfurt, tired but excited for the next leg of the journey. We had enough time to grab some breakfast and relax before we boarded our short 30 minute flight to Luxembourg. I was head bobbing before the flight even took off and was awakened when we landed. The Luxembourg airport was a similar size to the Syracuse airport, but very modern. We grabbed some euros and headed for the bus stop. The ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Sao Bras de Alportel November 8th 2013

Our bus loaded up at 8:30 this morning and we were off to learn about Portugal's nation product, Cork. Portugal is the largest producer of Cork in the world. Our tour today was centered in the town of Sao Bras de Alportel. We picked up our local tour guide, Sophia, in the center of town. She was a cute, bubbly tour guide who was very proud of her hometown. She took us to a famous manor house and taught us all about cork. Did you know that Cork is a eco friendly product? It is sustainable, because the Cork is actually the bark of the tree that is removed every 9 years and the tree is able to live on. Each cork oak tree lives for several hundred years, and continusly produces cork. Sophia took us ... read more
Our lovely guide sophia
Hand cutting the cork
Our view from lunch

Europe » Portugal » Alentejo » Beja November 8th 2013

Since we arrived at our country hotel last night in the dark, we were pleasantly surprised by our surroundings this morning. We took a walk thru the vineyards and olives trees surrounding the hotel this morning. We were on the look out for storks. Storks are famous here in Portugal. We have seen many stork nests throughout our travels. Their nests are up to 6 feet wide and are usually on top of electricity pilons. On the grounds of the hotel, we saw several nests...but no storks. (Picture the stork that delivers babies). We boarded the bus and headed for the town of Lagos. Lagos is a small fishing town on the southern coast of Spain. When we arrived, we beelined for the town market to check out the catch of the day. The market was ... read more
Fish market in lagos
Live crab in lagos
Cape St.Vincent

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Tavira November 7th 2013

Have you ever heard of Tavira? Today we decided to take the option to have a day on our own instead of joining the group for the boat cruise. We had a leisurely morning and ended up renting a car to explore the southern coast of the Algarve (Southern Coast of Portugal). We spent most of our time focusing on two towns. The first town was called Silvas. This is another hill top castle town. We made our way thru the tiny, winding streets of the city. I ended up going thru the city no less than 3 times before I finally figured out how to get the actual castle. This certified that I am still good at driving at small winding roads. My mom did get a chance to practice her verbal gasps to let ... read more
Silvas castle
Silvas Castle

Europe » Portugal » Alentejo » Évora November 5th 2013

Today we started our morning with a quick breakfast and then piled onto the bus for the day. Our first stop of the day was in the tiny town of Evora. Evora is a walled city. We had a wonderful local tour guide named Maria. Maria walked us thru the town and gave us an overview of the history. This town has existed in some form since the second century. This town has roman columns that are still standing. We really enjoyed how enthusiastic and proud Maria was of her hometown. Maria took us into the Santa Maria Cathedral. This was one of the most unique and interesting churches we have seen to date. This church is home to a statue of Mary while she is expecting Jesus, which we have never seen before. After the ... read more
Roman columns
Pregnant Mary

Europe » Portugal » Central » Fátima November 4th 2013

Today we are off for the holy site of Fatima,and the ancient towns of Obidos, and Sintra. Fatima is about 2 hrs north of Lisbon so we set our early for our destination. Andrew our guide is giving us good background on Portugal and we are enjoying his stories. As we pulled into Fatima, Andrew gave us quick orientation to the holy site and gave us time to explore. We started in the massive new church that seats 9000 pilgrims. This church is very modern and has a very cool architectural design. We stopped by the statue of Pope John Paul who loved Fatima, a chunk of the Berlin Wall ( one of Mary's promises was the downfall of Communism), and a picture of the three little children who received a vision of Mary. The main ... read more
Old cathedral in Fatima

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon November 1st 2013

After our trip to Spain last year, we were very excited to hear that the Syracuse Center State CEO was running a trip to Portugal. So my mom and I signed up and never looked back. Our trip started today at 3pm with a flight to Detroit. We met up with our friend Kaye in Detroit and grabbed our last American meal at the airport. We boarded our flight at about 6:30 and we on our way shortly. The flight was somewhat uneventful, except for the ladies next to us that wanted to talk all night. My dirty looks and evil stares were not getting thru to them, so I was happy when the woman ahead of us said something to them. "The Biddies" did not respond...so the woman called the flight attendant to address the ... read more

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