Monday, November 25, 2019

#Portugal Seascapes

I knew the Atlantic Ocean formed the western border of Portugal, but I didn't realize the beaches would be so dramatic and beautiful. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

View of the beach and fish market from our AirBnB in Nazaré.

Rocks and sheer cliffs at Farol da Nazaré. (That's the Nazaré lighthouse on the top of the cliffs. It's at the tip of the bluff in the photo above.) We were fascinated by the colors of the rocks lining the shore. 

View of Nazaré from Praia do Norte, reputed to have the biggest waves in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. (Wikipedia link)

Amazing views everywhere we explored at Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano de Costa Vicentina

Scary (but beautiful) sheer cliffs near Sagres. My knees get quivery just looking at this photo.

Bright red rocks formed the shore at Praia do Amodo, Odemira, Portugal.

We only saw a portion of the gorgeous Portuguese shoreline. If you have the opportunity to visit Portugal, be sure to venture beyond Lisbon and Porto and head for the coast. You won't be disappointed.

PS: If you crave a few moments of relaxation and contemplation, you'll enjoy "The Breathing Pool," a lovely video of the Oregon (USA) coastline by Randy Johnson.

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Food and Restaurants - #Portugal

Part of the fun of traveling (to me) is the food just waiting to be discovered. While in Portugal recently, I had the most wonderful tiny cafes, in large restaurants, alongside narrow passageways, and overlooking beautiful vistas. Here are pictures of some of the delicious meals I enjoyed. (Click on photos for a closer look.)

While in Lisbon, we walked to the nearby Pastelaria Guadalupe de Alfama for breakfast most mornings. The place was almost always packed. The ratio of bakeries to residents is extremely high in Portugal.

We sampled the Pastéis de Belém (more than once!) at the Lisbon bakery that originated the treat. The pastry has a flaky crust and egg custard filling and tastes best when it's hot from the oven, sprinkled with cinnamon. The line for the shop usually stretched out the door, and crowds filled the sidewalk in front of the blue awnings.

I took this photo in the evening before the pastry shop closed.

I love soups and stews, and Portugal's restaurants served me a delicious selection.

This traditional Portuguese dish is called a cataplana (fish stew) and is named after the copper cooking device in which it's cooked. Cataplanas are unique to the Algarve region of Lisbon. 

Kale soup.

This tapas restaurant offered indoor dining or tables alongside the narrow road, overlooking the Douro River and Ponte de Dona Maria Pia bridge in Porto.

The challenge of eating at this little cafe was to stay on your chair and avoid tumbling down the slanted walkway.

This was one of the prettiest and most delicious dishes I had. The thinly sliced salmon reminded me of lox, served on bread that contains arugula (that gives it the green color), with a dollop of creme fraiche. It's served with ripe olives in the center and a splash of olive oil with herbs on the plate. 

Almost all supermarkets sold slabs of salted cod. They didn't look appetizing to me!

We visited a store (conserveira) that sold nothing but fish preserved in tins--sardines, mussels, mackerel, etc., canned in various sauces and spices--as well as pâtés. One evening we opened a couple of tins and had the fish on slices of crusty bread with a bottle of wine. A feast!

A visit to Time Out Market in Lisbon offers a sampling of Portuguese cuisine. Booths line the building's perimeter, and the whole place smells divine. I had a cod croquette, beef empanada, and glass of lemonade with mint. Delicious!

With all the walking we did--up and down hills--I didn't gain any weight during this vacation. Given all the delicious food I ate, that's a miracle!

If you're a Netflix subscriber, watch the "Somebody Feed Phil" episode where he visits Lisbon. 

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Miradouros in Lisbon, #Portugal

Recently I had an opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in Portugal. I'll be posting photos of that beautiful country in the coming weeks, starting with the miradouros (viewpoints) I visited in hilly Lisbon. (Click on photos to expand.)

One of the most popular overlooks is Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Not only is there a magnificent view of the old Alfama district and Tagus River, the terrace where I stood features bright pink bougainvilla on the pergolas and beautiful blue and white tile murals on nearby walls.

The same view at night with a cruise ship docked. The drop-off from the pergola on the left is definitely steep!

This view is from the highest hill in Lisbon, with the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge in the distance. The white monolith to the left of the bridge is the Christo Rei (Christ the King) statue, inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

From Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, the Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of Saint George) is visible on the opposite hill. 

This lovely park provided a great place to recuperate from the steep climb to the overlook.

We didn't visit all of Lisbon's miradouros, but the ones we saw were worth the trek to the viewpoints. Pasted below is a Google map showing the location of all these wonderful scenes atop Lisbon's hills.

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Afternoon Tea at the Empress, Victoria, BC

One of the highlights of a recent trip to Victoria, British Columbia, was afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel. Here are a few photos of that elegant experience.
(Click on photos to enlarge for a closer look.)

Opened in 1908, the Empress overlooks Victoria's Inner Harbor.

Just a few of the items included
in the tea service
My granddaughter was delighted with the selection of goodies
on the children's menu. Hourglasses let us know when our
tea had steeped to perfection.

Beautiful presentation and delicious, too.

Afternoon tea at the Empress was a delightful experience, especially fun since I shared it with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law.
For more information about tea at the Empress (history, menus, etc.) look HERE.
For a look at a similar feast much closer to my home, check out tea service at the Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop in Sumner, WA, HERE.

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC, Canada

Recently I enjoyed three days and two nights with my daughter-in-law and granddaughter in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Such a lovely place! One of our days was spent at Butchart Gardens.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

As the sign says, "Over 100 Years in Bloom." According to the garden's official website:
With a former limestone quarry for her backyard, Jennie Butchart envisioned landscaping a sunken garden in its place, transforming the property for her family--and visitors--for generations to come.

This is the classic view of the sunken garden. I'll wager that 99% of the garden's visitors take a photo from this overlook. 

Throughout the gardens, we did not see one drooping blossom or spent flower. The grounds are meticulously maintained.

The dahlia border dazzled. The website says: More than 200 varieties in 11 different forms, in all colours of the rainbow.  

Fountains, too!

And totem poles.

I can only imagine what this magnificent garden looks like in springtime when rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom. Autumn must be lovely, too, with the trees changing color. I've heard that the Christmas decorations are a treat to see. 

More information about the garden's history and plants, a map, and more: Butchart Gardens

I'm linked with:
Jo's Monday Walk -  Johanna at Restless Jo - Link HERE
Our World Tuesday - Link HERE
Saturday Snapshot - Melinda at A Web of Stories - Link HERE