Page 3 of thejani Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos April 10th 2018

Tuesday! Time for our trip down to the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve region. Mike and I were so excited, having been planning this little outing since we decided to go to Portugal. Unfortunately, we hadn't planned on the rain. It was pouring as we got ready to leave, it poured while we sat in traffic with our Uber, it poured and it poured. Sigh. No problem, we will be there for three days and there has to be sun some of the time. First thing, the rental car: Mike found, on line, such a deal! $11/day for a Mercedes a little something here, plus a little something there. Oh, the person at the agency spoke no English but we managed with a lot of sign language, pointing, and knowledge of a couple key ... read more
Stork Nests
Cork Trees
View from our lunch

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 9th 2018

Monday is sun day!! Taking advantage of this window of beautiful weather, the four of us headed out early. First thing, try the subway, which turned out to be a wonderful experience. Although, above ground, the stairwells are a bit seedy with heavy graffiti and litter, downstairs is immaculate. Clean, well marked platforms and quiet cars, made us want to use the metro system more. Next public transport...the trolley. Easier said than done since everyone in Lisbon had the same idea. After waiting in a line for 30ish minutes, we finally boarded the 12E tram up the hill to the Castle of St George (Castelo do Sao Jorge). Crowded and bumpy, the ancient car wound its way through the narrow streets, barely missing walls and parked cars. Yikes! The castle is amazing! Located in the Alfama ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 8th 2018

Sunday morning, it is beautiful and bright, and we are anticipating today's activities. Mike, and I figured that we would do a quick load of laundry, eat a good breakfast, and then head out. By 11am, the four of us were Ubering to an area called Rossio, Lisbon's historic center. This peaceful square, with its beautiful wave-like mosaics and flowing fountains, belied its infamous past, tho. Both the headquarters of the Inquisition and the 16th-century slave markets were located here. Every culture has its sad, dark side, no? The Portuguese people tore down the old buildings, and, in their place, built a beautiful theater. North of the plaza, starts a long, tree-lined boulevard called Avenda da Liberdade, that works its way up to the newer, more modern part of town. It is Lisbon's answer to the ... read more
Pasteis delivery service
Mama teaching her tiny ducklings to swim
Street mosaic

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 7th 2018

Friday, pouring rain, what's a household to do? Let's get an Uber and go to lunch. Our first stop was a place called Time Out Market, a huge food court in the Baixa area, filled with lots of fancy restaurants' satellite food stalls. Rows and rows of tall wooden tables with people wandering around looking for somewhere to lite. Ceramic dishes, wine glasses, and real la la! Braving the rain, Glen, Karen, Mike, and I, in another Uber, headed out for coffee at A Brasileira in Chiado. This old fashioned coffee house was loud and crowded. Fun place to sip our cappuccinos and people watch. When the rain died down, the four of us left to explore the neighborhood. Beautiful churches, a delicious pastry shop, cool stores, then a stroll thru an indoor mall kept ... read more
Squid ink Risotto with Scallops
Grilled Pork belly with Pea Puree

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 6th 2018

Another busy day for the jani! Today, we decided to do a walking tour of Lisbon, thanks to our best buddy, Rick Steves, and a set of headphones. It was cool because, not only did we see a lot, but we learned about the history of the area. I can tell you, that the 1755 earthquake-tsunami-fire that devastated the city was a reboot for Lisbon. It is as if the entire city changed their whole life philosophy. Housing, churches, and government were altered to most efficiently get back on its feet. The city center was laid out in grids, with a design including universal five story live work units. Very walkable! Thanks to the Marquis of Pombal for getting us back to our new urbanist roots. Our walk took us through various neighborhoods, each with their ... read more
Sidewalk mosaics
Sipping at the Ginjinha Bar
Chapel of St John the Baptist

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 5th 2018

What a busy day Mike and I have had! After a passing downpour, we headed out for the center of town to pick up the Hop-on bus. We love taking these buses during the first days in order to get a quick overview of the city. With maps, area reviews, and the corny tourism voice-over, we were set. Walking or riding, there is always something to see. Mosaics are prominent on the sidewalks and on the buildings. Some simple and some are incredibly intricate pictures. The one type of mosaic that is lacking...street signs. So, to that we say, "Thanx Google maps!" The Tower of Belem was our first Hop-off. Built in the 1500's, it somehow avoided destruction in the 1755 earthquake/tsunami, and sits at the mouth of the Tagus River. It is beautiful and the ... read more
Intricate tiles on building facades
April 25 Bridge w Cristo-Rei in the distance
Belem Tower

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 3rd 2018

The crew arrived at our airbnb after a long but uneventful travel day. Our home for the next 30 days is lovely. Most importantly, its in a great neighborhood. Lots of shops, markets and restaurants and not in a touristy area. Much to Cathy's delight, there are pastry shops everywhere! Here's the link for the Airbnb, if you're interested: Some initial observations: 1) English is widely spoken; 2) Products and services are very inexpensive; 3) Uber is a great way to get around; 4) Using a European SIM card in your iPhone is a great option for taking advantage of the Internet while traveling. Recognizing that we need to pace ourselves, we explored our neighborhood a bit then headed down to a big flea market in town, Fiera da Ladre. Actually, Cathy and our entourage ... read more
Lisbon street
IMG_0933 2

Packing and preparation are complete. Taking off this afternoon for a 10 hour flight to London, followed by a relatively short hop to Lisbon. We should be there by late tomorrow afternoon local time. The trip started nicely with a weekend in San Francisco, staying with Alex and Jeff. On Friday, we had lunch in the Castro, with our Windsor neighbors, Jim and Stan. Friday evening, we travelled out to Berkeley for dinner and to attend a concert at the iconic Freight and Salvage coffee house with Alex and Jeff and Steve and Jan, more Windsor friends. It was great to see our good friend from Maryland, Dudley Connell and his bluegrass band, the Seldom Scene. Nice too, to catch up with him for drinks following the concert. Good music, friends and family. Happy Easter to ... read more

North America » United States » California » Windsor March 29th 2018

Cathy and I are headed to San Francisco for a couple of days before we depart. We get to see our friend Dudley Connell and the Seldom Scene perform in Berkeley on Friday night and spend Easter with Alex and Jeff before boarding on Sunday. When we retired, one of our priorities was travel. Our experience so far told us that the aspect of travel that we appreciate is to get to really know the areas we visit, by "living" there. While we try to log some tourist attractions, what we really enjoy is to spend time in the neighborhoods, visiting coffee shops, wine bars and local restaurants. We joined up with our friends Glen and Karen and chose Portugal. It's an area we haven't seen, that is a little less traveled and frankly, a little ... read more

North America » United States » California » Santa Rosa March 28th 2018

The jani will be headed off for an extended trip to Portugal soon. We're going to try a travel blog for this adventure. Email or message me if you want to be on the distribution, although I'm sure we'll also be doing some FB posting... read more

Tot: 0.378s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 11; qc: 91; dbt: 0.0391s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb