Friday, November 21, 2014

Portugal: Oporto

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One of our last stops in Portugal, Oporto, or Porto as it is usually called, is right on the Douro River. If you're a wine lover, you may have guessed that this is where port comes from! Its history goes all the way back to Roman times, and its city center is, you guessed it. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. We sure visited a lot of those on this trip...

Porto has a lot of churches per square mile. A lot. In fact, a tourist information center claimed that it was second only to one other place! Unfortunately, I can't recall its name...

I've forgotten to mention, but did you notice the abundance of tiles in Portuguese décor? Portugal is renowned for its love of tile and its use of tile in its interiors and exteriors. There are many different styles and they all have their own unique  purpose and beauty.

This is a but a sample of the pictures taken on our trip. If you want to see more, please visit my Flickr album.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Portugal: Évora


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After a day in Sintra, we set off in the opposite direction toward Évora. Driving there was impressive, as you have to go across the Vasco da Gama bridge (gulp) and drive through wine country (okay, now that I'm up for).

Compared to the hustle and bustle of Lisbon, some people would say that Évora is a sleepy, small place. Not at all. Évora is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a history going back to Celtic times. But, more importantly, everyone was friendly, welcoming, and warm.

Évora also has Megathilic monuments dotting its countryside, along with Roman monuments, and beautiful palaces and churches. A big draw for me was the Capela dos Ossos. Why? 'Cause I'm creepy, I guess? But it is a chapel that is entirely covered in bones. Upon entering, you will see a sign that says, Nos ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos. This roughly translates to "Lying here, we bones await for yours". It is a reminder that death is the great equalizer, and that we all will meet the same fate someday.

Now, if you are ever in or near Évora, you simply must go to Restaurante Típico Guião. It will actually be the first restaurant you see if you go into the Évora town center via the Rua da República. It is a small, cozy place that has some of the most delicious (dare I say the most delicious?) food we had in Portugal. If you are lucky, you will get the same waiter we did, Joseph. And you will be in for a delightful treat.

This is a but a sample of the pictures taken on our trip. If you want to see more, please visit my Flickr album.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Portugal: Sintra

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Fortunately for us, our hotel was closer to Sintra than it was to Lisbon's city center! We rented a car and were there in less than 20 minutes. What can I say about Sintra? It is truly, truly amazing.

Like Bruges, Sintra is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Even though it is mostly known for its 19th century buildings, it has been settled for a very long time. In fact, Paleolithic era settlement indications have been found!

Our visit happened on a...temperamental day in regards to the weather (heavy rain one moment, searing sun the next). We saw the town's "center" (although it is not the center exactly...Sintra is actually made up by two cities), and visited the Palácio Nacional da Pena and Quinta da Regaleira. Both are pretty awe-inspiring and impressive, although Quinta da Regaleira takes the cake with it's creative use of underground passages and constructions. I mean, it has inverted towers!

Sadly, we were only able to spend a day there, so we did not get to see everything. We will definitely return some day to see all it has to offer.

This is a but a sample of the pictures taken on our trip. If you want to see more, please visit my Flickr album.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Honeymoon: Lisbon, Portugal

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Ah, Lisbon. Our first meeting was a bit...rough. We had a delayed flight and then finding our way out of the airport was a bit hectic. When we finally found a taxi, we realized that the hotel was much further away from the city center than we thought. Oh well. That just adds to the adventure!

Lisbon is a beautiful city. It certainly has its charms. While there, you simply cannot miss de Casteló San Jorge, the Monastery, the Sé, and the Torre de Belém, among many other places. And you would seriously be depriving your taste buds if you missed the pastéis de Belém from Pastéis de Belém! (You need to go there...we tried other places, but Pastéis de Belém wins by a mile. Be there by 9AM and you will avoid local and tourist rush hours.) You should also cast any dietary apprehensions aside and order the seafood. All of it. It is delicious and magnificent.

Just be careful when ordering coffee...Puerto Rican coffee is strong, but Portuguese coffee? Wow, it really packs a punch!

This is a but a sample of the pictures taken on our trip. If you want to see more, please visit my Flickr album.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Honeymoon: B is for Belgium (and Bruges)


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Our first stop: Bruges! Damián had been wanting to go ever since watching the film In Bruges. When I suggested visiting, it was a no-brainer.  Plane and train tickets were booked, Bruges, here we come!

Bruges is a charming, beautiful, and wonderfully preserved town. "The Venice of the North's" center is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site. A weekend was the perfect amount of time to spend in Bruges, as we were able to visit the majority of the sites (and more importantly, see the Bruges dog!) and have some down time after the hectic days before and after the wedding.

This is a but a sample of the pictures taken on our trip. If you want to see more, please visit my Flickr album.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!









Some detail shots of this year's Halloween décor/party aftermath. Believe it or not, this is actually a bit more subdued than last year's.

We tend to take Halloween seriously in these here parts. Well, by we I mean me. Damián is a good sport, but I am the one that is personally invested in the festivities. He does help with the party, though.

Wishing all who celebrate a happy and safe Halloween!