Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Postcards from Northern Portugal

One thing I need to be better about is photo editing.  I’ve been so behind that I’ve only just edited these photos from my trip to Porto and the Douro Valley in September! I love northern Portugal.  It’s beautiful, it’s warm year-round, it’s much cheaper than Spain or Italy or France, and because it’s not [...]

Into the Douro Valley of Portugal

Portugal is a country that I don’t think gets enough press for being a destination of both incredible beauty and excellent value.  And my recent trip to the Douro Valley proved that in spades! The Douro Valley is the primary wine-growing region of northern Portugal.  Having read a bit about it and been intrigued, I [...]

Porto Revisited: This City Rocks!

When I heard that TBU was taking place in Porto, Portugal, this year, I was intrigued — but mildly disappointed.  I had been to Porto earlier in the year and though I enjoyed photographing the riverfront, I hadn’t really connected with the city itself.  Frankly, it had seemed a bit boring to me. Well, TBU [...]

The Travel Olympics: Who Gets the Gold?

Happy Olympics Opening Day!  I’m super-excited for the London 2012 Games, wondering what the iconic moments will be this time around.  I’ll never forget what it was like back in 2008, screaming my head off as Michael Phelps and his teammates beat the French in that one swim relay they weren’t expected to win. So [...]

Adventurous Kate Goes Birding in Portugal

After landing in Paradise in Portugal, I knew my time at this lovely, low-key resort would include far more than just relaxing — I would be making my first-ever attempt of bird-watching. Birdwatching — or birding — is the main attraction of the Quinta do Barranco da Estrada.  Frank, the owner, is a birdwatching expert, [...]

Finding Paradise in Portugal — the Quinta do Barranco da Estrada

Having arrived at the Quinta do Barranco da Estrada — better known as “Paradise in Portugal” — I stood and gaped at the image in front of me. A perfect blue lake — actually a reservoir — surrounded by green-gold trees, a perfect blue sky filled with chubby clouds overhead.  The most amazingly fresh air. [...]

Paying it Forward in Portugal

I was at the train station in Santa Clara e Velha, Portugal, waiting for the thrice-daily train to take me to the city of Faro, where I would catch a bus to Spain.  I had just spent three glorious days at the Quinta do Barranco da Estrada – better known as “Paradise in Portugal.” How was [...]

Sometimes, I get scared.

It’s 4:00 AM in Évora and I haven’t slept a wink, despite the heaviness of my eyelids. I am too scared to fall asleep.  I’m not afraid of anything specific; I just feel a deep, looming sense of dread.  Something is not right, and I can’t allow myself to become defenseless. Is it irrational?  Some [...]

My Sweet Lisbon Apartment — Courtesy of Roomorama

If you’ve been following travel trends for the past few years, you’ve probably seen the explosion of vacation rental websites.  People can easily rent out their homes or rooms in their home to paying travelers.  And one of these sites is Roomorama. Roomorama approached me a few months ago and asked if I’d be interested in [...]

Creeped Out at Évora’s Bone Chapel

“Here, our bones lie, awaiting yours.”  This is the macabre welcome to Évora’s most famous attraction — the capela dos ossos, or bone chapel. The bone chapel was my primary reason for visiting Évora, and it’s well worth a visit. The chapel was built by a Franciscan monk in the 16th century during the Counter-Reformation.  Its purpose [...]