Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 30th 2018

Monday: Gary and Marji headed home today. Gary, with great sadness, had his last creamy custard tart at the airport. Yum! Glen, Karen, Mike, and I decided to have a farewell-Lisbon lunch downtown then wander about looking for any last minute purchases. Tonight, we would pack and eat the remaining groceries/wine as a light dinner. Cool thing: For the first time since we have been in Lisbon, there was an outdoor market in one of the downtown plazas. The food smelled incredible. Mike and I had just had lunch so no way were we going to eat again but, not gonna lie, we were tempted. After a last look around, the Uber came to take us back to the apartment. Tuesday: Up early to tidy up and finish any last minute packing. Out by 8:30am for ... read more
Lisbon Market
Grilled meat at the market

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 29th 2018

Sunday: Rain this morning, but since Marji and Gary were leaving tomorrow, we decided to head to Sintra and hope for the best. The four of us settled into a cozy Starbucks (I know, right?) at the Rossio Station and waited until the next train. The dreary Sunday in Lisbon meant everyone was escaping and the train was SRO. Luckily, we found a four-set and were able to watch, comfortably, as the sky became more and more ominous. The pouring rain began in Sintra and forced us to squish into a tiny cafe where we shared a delicate apple tart until the storm passed. The theme of the day, I think, was hurry up and wait. Finally, slightly soggy, we were able to head up the hill to the historic center and look for a Tuk-tuk, ... read more
Sintra water well
Pena Palace

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 28th 2018

Saturday: Today was a simple day of revisiting places with Marji and Gary. Now that we have been here in Lisbon for almost a month, it is fun to go back and show our friends the lay of the land. To start, Marji and I power walked down to the Saturday flea market in Alfama. We only got lost once, which is amazing, considering how narrow, steep, and convoluted the streets are in this neighborhood. The market was packed, but the vendors had lots to sell and I just love to wander. Gary and Mike ubered down later and were sitting in a cafe having coffee when we met them at 12:30p. Time for lunch! We decided that, on such a beautiful day, a view was a necessity. Portas do Sol was calling us and we ... read more
Bucket art at the market
Portas du Sol for lunch
Mike is running out of steam, I think

Europe » Portugal » Central April 27th 2018

Friday, Day 4: Mike and I awoke early this morning in our “hunting villa in the sky“ and decided to explore a bit before breakfast. Tia Wendy was busy in the kitchen. Insisting that she didn’t need help, we were given coffee and encouraged to wander. What a cool place this is! We found a circular stairway that lead us to the uppermost floor, used as their grand party room. With windows all around, we could see a bagillion little towns tucked in the crevasses of the mountains. In the center of the room, there was another stairway leading up the the rooftop. Not wanting to overstep, literally and figuratively, we decided to ask Pedro to take us up after breakfast. By 8:30am, the crew had assembled in the breakfast room. A wonderful meal had been ... read more
Panoramic of the river and valley
Our river vessel

Europe » Portugal » Northern April 26th 2018

Thursday, Day 3: The plan today was to go for a final Porto explore then check out of the hotel at noon. We were scheduled to be at the winery at 3:30p to start our newest adventure and did not want to be late. Glen and Karen left early. Marji and Gary, Mike and I started together but quickly decided split up and wander independently. Our first stop was the Bolhão Market. We made a point of going there early because the market was closed yesterday, Freedom Day, and seemed to be a great treasure hunting opportunity. The Bolhão is a large, open air market that sells anything from fresh fish to veggies to wine to Portuguese knick-knacks to whatever. A little something for everyone. I came across an older lady that had chickens, bunnies, and ... read more
Cleaning the fish
Market, top view

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto April 25th 2018

Wednesday, Day 2: Great day to be alive. Sunny, warm and not throwing up...what more could a body ask for? I know, let’s get out and try to see everything in the universe! Today, April 25, Freedom Day, is a Portugese national holiday. Also known as the Carnation Revolution, this was the day that, in 1974, the regime of Estado Novo was overthrown and lead to the eventual withdrawal of Portugal from its African colonies. Almost no shots were fired as the revolting citizens put red carnations in the muzzles of the soldiers rifles. More or less. For us, this celebration meant huge crowds, street music, speeches, concerts and late buses. Some stores were closed but not so’s you’d notice. The plan was to explore in the morning on our own, meet for lunch, then go ... read more
Sal Bento train station
Sao Bento
Praça da Liberdade

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 25th 2018

Monday: Mike, Glen, Marji, and I ended up with food poisoning. Karen and Gary were spared. Sorry, no pictures today. it wasn’t pretty.... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto April 24th 2018

Tuesday, Day 1: A bit worse for the wear, the six of us started our planned trip to Porto a couple hours later than expected. So, maybe no breakfast for some of us and maybe a Gatorade or two for the rest of us, but onward the weary travelers went. Mike and Glen went out to get the car, a Mercedes 8 person van with plenty of room for luggage. Gary, Marji, Karen and I packed and dragged the luggage down the four flights. We decided to take the westenmost route to be closer to the sea. Great idea on our parts, since our designated lunch spot was the pretty coastal town of Nazaré. Back in the day, this was a fishing village but, now it’s main industry is quaint tourism. Certainly, with the widest beaches ... read more
Nazare beach
Houses on the bluff

Europe » Portugal April 22nd 2018

Sunday: Overcast but still a nice day, the four of us headed out to the Belém neighborhood. Marji and Gary wanted to see the Tower and the Monestery while Glen, Karen, Mike and I were interested in the Coach Museum. It never ceases to amaze me that this area is so old that they have enough history of everything that everything can have their own museum, hence, the Coach Museum. This cool museum starts from the very first simple coaches built for Filipe II in the 17th century. Fancy for its era, it was still not the rich opulence of the 18th century carriages. To explain some of my pictures, I have to say that, while the entire coach was interesting, the real workmanship was in the details of the backs, and sometimes the fronts, of ... read more
Coach Museum
Back end of a coach

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 21st 2018

Saturday: Early morning rain slowed us down but it was the Speicher's first day and we didn't want to waste any more time than necessary. Raincoats and umbrellas in hand, and off we went. To get a lay of the land, Marji and Gary decided to take the Hop-on-hop-off bus for the afternoon. Glen and Karen kicked back for the day. Mike and I headed for the Tile Museum. The plan was to meet up at 4:30 at Ramiro's for dinner. The line at the Tile Museum was long. Apparently everyone else had the same rainy day idea as we did. This museum, located in a former convent, reviews the history of tile making from the 15th century until present day. It also has ceramics, porcelain, and furniture from the convent. The tile murals and panels ... read more
Alcove window
Faianca in blue on creamware by Jorge Colaco,
Beautiful flowers at while on line

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