Blogs from Portugal, Europe


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 » Portugal » Central » Tomar May 5th 2022

I left Tomar this morning on the river route. Once out of the town, it is a delightful path along the Rio Nablão on a mix of gravel and dirt track. Where the River route joins the alternative winter route, I met two other pilgrims, one from Canada and the other from Brazil. It was a start of a day the pilgrim encounters. All good things must end however and it wasn't long before I was back on asphalt road. There wasn't much relief from that for most of the rest of the day. Then what release it was was to walk back on forest track was a little sad because it was through plantation eucalypts. I hadn't realized how sad it would make me to see eucalypts in formal rows as plantation trees. It seemed ... read more
Weir on the Rio Nabão
85 km post

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 14th 2022

“Mama, can I have a salted cod fritter with oozy cheese for breakfast?” Instinctually I grimaced, with a reflexive, “no”. Then I remembered that while on vacation, one should be more lenient. And so 5 Euro later, Asha was munching her way through a crispy, very pungent pastel de bacalhau. She smiled. And so it begins… It has been over three years since our last international vacation and travel has significantly changed for our family. In addition to contending with pandemic restrictions (testing is stressful!), the biggest difference is that there are now four strong opinions to consider, leading to some strife and much compromise. Previously the girls were content (well really, they had no choice) with our choice of location, activity and food. Now? Every decision is a debate with the girls weighing in. ... read more
Up up up the Eiffel Tower Stairs!
Grilled octopus
La Truffiere

Europe » Portugal » Sintra March 31st 2022

My first tour with Francisco. A enjoyable walk through the gardens to reach the beautiful Palace of Monserrate - The villa a whimsical Arabian design, surrounded by classical English gardens, and set in the jagged hills of the Serra de Sintra. The tri-towered Palacio de Monserrate was inspired by Islamic architecture and the ideal of symmetry. Inside there is exquisitely fines lattice carvings, geometric patterns and the sense of being in some luxurious Middle Eastern setting. The villa was commissioned by the English Sir Francis Cook, and he wanted a classically English garden surrounding his villa. There is a formal lawn leading up to the villa, a beautiful rose garden as well as botanical gardens. The botanical gardens pre-date the construction of the villa in 1860 and include a Mexican garden, a Japanese Garden, a fern ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon March 28th 2022

Lisbon, Portugal Monday, March 28, 2022 LAND. This is the longest we’ve ever gone without disembarking the ship. We were hesitant as far as our walking capabilities, but we prevailed. Just one foot in front of the other, without tripping. Well….we had a few trips! We took our time exiting the ship because the line was QUITE LONG for those flying home. LONG. Only about 300 stayed on board for Barcelona – where we shall arrive next week (I think). I can’t even remember what day or time it is. I know we lose another hour tonight. This may be the last one, but don’t quote me. Like I said – I’m out of it. First things first. We have to find a FedEx so we can send out “wet signatures” to our broker. High Finance, ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon March 18th 2022

Maggie had a wonderful time in Portugal! She adored all the brightly colored buildings, got to see a bright yellow castle, and had fun climbing thousands of stairs on the Paiva Walkways. She definitely wants to go back to Portugal someday. Life on the ship has also been more positive, thankfully. Now that the weather is warming, she and her friends are able to spend more time on deck soaking in the sun. As a thank you to her friends for all the great care they took of her in Spain, we treated them all to pedicures at the ship's spa, after which they splurged on "fancy dinner" in the ship's fancy dining restaurant. It was a fun, memorable night - and exactly the kind of experience Maggie's been craving for over two years. It's incredibly ... read more
Maggie at Lisbon yellow castle
Maggie at Paiva walkways
Paiva Walkways 1

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Armação de Pêra March 7th 2022

To navigate this blog it is easier to read the text 1st, then click on the picture and it gives you larger pictures 1 at a time. Use this link for access to all the Nothing too exciting in this post...planning some trips including a 6 km cliff hike, a castle visit in Silves for next post. See the sunset, arch and Armacao de Pera cave visit #2 as the sand was washed away showing a larger archway and the caves have a bit more room to walk. Grocery stores have some interesting sea creatures... sting ray, Squid, Octopus, evil looking fish, Dried-Salted Cod no country eats more cod per capita. Mostly imported Norwegian cod, salted and dried to preserve. It is said that the Portuguese have more than 300 recipes for cod. Albufeira Marina ... read more
Same sunset

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Armação de Pêra February 27th 2022

Part 2 very brief See map of waterfront area. There are 3 pastelarias within 20 to 50 meters = pastry bakeries that are worthy of many pictures but another time -- Pasteis de nata, the incredible breakfast cream pies and much more! Nothing more on Armacao until season and all the folks are here and partying.... read more
Breakfast view

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto February 27th 2022

Over a year since we have been overseas and it was going to be our last opportunity before the little one arrives. We also had to be careful as to not catch Covid and prevent us from getting to Porto, in the end we made it. We booked an airbnb close to the river front and most importantly opposite our daily Pasties de Nata shop! We arrived the Friday to warm sunny weather which stayed with us until we left on Monday. It definitely made the trip more enjoyable especially given it was mid winter! Our first day we enjoyed exploring along the riverfront on both sides. Starting along the Cais de Ribeira where you can sit in the sun, as it's south facing, and order a drink or some food whilst enjoying the river front ... read more
Sao Bento Train Station
View from Camara Municipal do Porto

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon February 21st 2022

March 2012. My first ever holiday and my first time experiencing flying. Also the first time I travelled alone. I was really nervous as I had never travelled so far away from home, at that point, I had only been as far as Cornwall and Norfolk. I was terrified! I have OCD and I have always been a nervous traveller - making sure that I had everything with me ( money, tickets, passport, etc.) I got to Heathrow by using the Piccadilly Line which is great for me as I can ride it from Cockfosters in North London all the way to Heathrow. Which for someone with a big suitcase is amazing as there are very few people on the train and so you get first dibs on the suitcase storage area. Because of my OCD ... read more
Campo Pequeno
St Jeronimos Monastery

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