Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sneak Peek: The Wedding

Having assumed new responsibilities at my job means I have no free time. My apologies. I'll return to this blog soon, but in the mean time, please enjoy a preview of the wedding that was 9 years in the making.




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Honeymoon: Spain

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You're probably tired of all these picture posts by now...sorry! This is the last part of our trip.

A good deal of my husband's family lives in Spain. Since they were unable to make it to our wedding, we decided that it was only right to visit them during our honeymoon! We stayed mostly in Terrassa and Valencia, with side trips to Tarragona and Barcelona.

We managed to fight the rich foods a little by playing with Damián's little cousins. But we are still dreaming about all the delicious dishes we had well after the trip!


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 24, 2014

Honeymoon: Northern Portugal

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Our last day in Portugal was spent taking a tour of the Minho area. We visited the Palácio de Brejoeira, Valença, and Viana do Castelo. Our original plans were to drive all the way to Santiago de Compostela, but driving the rental car across country lines was too expensive...so we settled for taking a tour of the area. Next time, Santiago de Compostela! Next time!

This area is also well known for its vinho verde. Meaning "green wine", it is called like that because of its age. It is a young wine meant for consumption after about a year of its bottling. It also comes in a great deal of varieties: white, rosé, even red. The Palácio de Brejoeira has its own green wine, and, if you are ever in the area, do consider dropping by! It is delicious! They also have their own aguardiente, which I must confess, we didn't try.

That said, I am a fan of Portuguese wine. You can get fantastic bottles for 4 Euro or less! Man, I'm going to miss those...

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, 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.