Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trekcapri's 2014 Portugal Travel Adventures

After exploring South America (specifically, Argentina & Peru) for the past two years (which I loved), I'm heading back to Europe and I can't wait. I hope you like my traditional 2014 Portugal Travel Adventures trip announcement video. :)

Originally before setting my sights on South America, I had thought about going to somewhere new in Europe. I once read a fellow Slow Traveler (Deborah) describe her experiences in Lisbon, Portugal and I never forgot that sense of "gosh I want to go there too".  I knew then, that I wanted to see and experience Portugal too!

I've decided to stay in one base city (Lisbon) and then take day trips (maybe one possible overnight day trip to nearby towns). I've rented a nice 1 bedroom apartment (through located in the Chiado Neighborhood. My apartment is on the 3rd Floor. It has an elevator, washer/dryer, WiFi, air-conditioning, TV/DVD and a well equipped kitchen.  It is a corner apartment and on one side it faces a quiet side street. The location looks convenient with nearby cafes, restaurants and public transit.

Lisbon is the second oldest capitol city in Europe (next to Athens) and it is nestled along the Tagus River with the Atlantic Ocean only 3km away. The Cidade das Sete Colinas (City of the seven hills) exudes old world charm. There are lots to see here and to help whisk us around this compact city there are these clamoring trams much like the cable cars in San Francisco. But these tram rides are more than just a way of transportation, it is a unique Lisbon experience that should not be missed. I read that one particular line (Tram 28) is an ideal way to get an overall view of the city.

Lisbon has a wonderful cafe culture, with a maze of narrow and winding streets filled with hanging laundry, colorful homes and inviting locals. There are famous landmarks like the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, St. George Castle and the Torre de Belem, a UNESCO world heritage site.  There are old but charming neighborhoods like the Alfama District (the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon) and Barrio Alto where the food and music scene (like Fado) will keep me entertained as well as provide me with great photo opportunities.

Other notable off the beaten path attractions:
- National Coach Museum
- Tile Museum
- Lisbon Cathedral (Camino de Santiago Portugese Route Start)
- Santa Justa Lift 

There are a number of towns to visit from Lisbon for quick day trips:
- Sintra
- Cascias
- Estoril
- Cabo da Boca
- Obidos
- Evora
- Porto (Requires an Overnight Stay)

I may have to reduce the number of day trips if I run out of time but I think for now this seems to be quite manageable.  I can do Cascias and Cabo da Boca (maybe Estoril) together on one trip, but Sintra, Obidos, Evora and Porto will require a dedicated day and maybe an overnight stay (Evora and/or Porto). I have created a Google Map for my trip to keep track of my itinerary thoughts and ideas.

I like the idea of staying in one place for 3 weeks and Lisbon is the perfect place to do it. Last year I spent 12 days based in a small town (Ollantaytambo) in Peru and Lisbon will be a complete change from that experience. While I enjoyed my time in Peru, travel for me is all about the adventure.  And the more varied, unpredictable and new these adventures are, the more excited I get.

I just started my research a couple of weeks ago so I feel a bit rushed even though I don't leave until November. I have downloaded a couple of e-books and will research any good apps to help me prepare.  A nice Portuguese Language book/app will be a must purchase. :) I've also posted on my favorite Travel Forum, Slow Europe. I feel pretty good about my choices so far, but it would be nice to hear what other Slow Travelers think.

I've created a Pinterest Board for my trip where I have started to pin interesting articles, blog posts, websites and youtube videos. I got the idea from a fellow Slow Traveler who created a board for her London trip.  I've had Pinterest for a while now, but this is the first time I'm using it for planning a trip. While browsing the Internet if I find something interesting that I might want to see and/or do on my trip I can Pin it directly to my trip planning board. You just simply hover over the item you want to Pin and click on the red Pin It icon, select the board you want to pin it to and voila.

It's very cool, easy and so helpful.  If you have not discovered Pinterest Boards for trip planning yet, I would highly recommend it. Here's a screen shot of my Portugal Trip Planning Board.

The apartment I have rented does have Wi-Fi, so I hope to blog & tweet about my experiences as much as possible.  I'm looking forward to my return to Europe and to this new and soon to be explored country.

Thanks so much for reading. And the Dream lives on .  .  .

Blogger Tricks

Friday, September 12, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Jug

Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd have a photo this week, but thankfully I found one in my photo library that I could use.   

While briefly visiting Munich, Germany in 2006 I found these friendly and very colorful lions dressed up around the city which were really cute.  And who would've thought that one of them would be holding up a "jug" that would be perfect for this week's PH theme. Whew! :)

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Landscape

One of my favorite things to photograph are landscapes and here are a few of my favorites.  

Cuzco, Peru

Along the Road to the Isles in Scotland (this is just past Glenfinnan heading toward Arisaig).

And I think glaciers make wonderful landscapes too. Here's a photo of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. 

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Joy

From Machu Picchu - Peru

Whether I get there by plane, train, automobile, boat or foot. 
When I travel to a place in this world, I have always dreamed of seeing.
It's difficult to find the words to describe what I'm feeling in that moment. 
Sometimes I feel like there are just no words. 
But if I had to find the words, it would only be one.


From the Eiffel Tower-Paris, France  

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Umbrellas

Let your soul be satisfied 
with the odd beauty of this landscape
that although the world walk in truth
you'll never find, like this, nothing.

Good and bad dynamic and changing
find here, from 1st name, 
keep in your heart of man humble
a true and consistent message.

Meditate and feel the deep emotion
contemplating the vibrant climax 
eternal mist that is circled.

And do not try to describe it in your voice
only he leans his forehead against the abyss
is the mirror of the word God
~ Alfonso Ricciutto

Once upon a time . . . . I woke up in a place called Iguazu, Argentina.  I said to myself, today, I have a plan to see Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat). To get there I will take the train from the Cataratas del Iguazu train station. Then I will walk 1km on these metal walkways.  

At the start, there was some light rain but that didn't dampen my excitement.  About 20 more yards and I can already hear and feel the power of Garganta del Diablo.

Everyone wore these plastic hooded rain ponchos, a few carried umbrellas. Most of them were solid colors and rather ordinary. Happily I spotted a Minnie Mouse contribution to brighten things up.  I wish I had found one with Hello Kitty for fellow Photohunter, YTSL (Webs of Significance), but no such luck. It was a Disney fan tour group. 

Umbrellas come in different sizes too. Here the group photographer pulls out the big guns to protect his camera and gear. I can relate, it was hard keeping my lens dry. 

Here it is.  Devil's Throat! 

Suddenly, the sky opens up and there's a heavy downpour with thunder.  By this time the big tour group left and it was just a handful of us watching Garganta del Diablo thundering away.   

After taking a lot of photos and video, I put my camera away and just like these two visitors, I just stood there for about an hour in awe!  With no umbrella I got drenched. But it was okay, because I realize that I may never get to experience this again and I was soaking it all in (literally and figuratively).  As it turns out I did return the next day when the sun was out. It was nice to be able to see the falls more clearly without the mist and rain.

But honestly, there was just something uniquely special about this day's experience.   This little adventure taught me that sometimes in life you just have to say screw it. I don't care if I get wet (or whatever).  I'm just going to let the rain come down on me so I can enjoy this very fleeting magical moment. And yes, I did say Whoo Hoo and Whoa out loud several times. 

The End. At least for now. :)

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: People At Work

People at work in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Venice, Italy .  .  . what a great place to work in. 

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Music

While visiting Prague in 2006 I was hanging out in the main square when I spotted a group of musicians playing. 

Suddenly the drummer whips out a couple of empty plastic bottles and without skipping a beat just slayed it on the drums.  I loved it!

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunt: Hobby

Here is a photo collection of a couple of people who share the same hobby as I do.

I love photography as a hobby, but it can also be a rewarding profession for some folks too. Here is a photographer I found going the extra mile to capture images of the very popular salt ponds in Peru.  Mad respect, because the walking path was very narrow and carrying all that equipment couldn't have been very easy.

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Modern Architecture

The Walt Disney Concert Hall  is an amazing piece of modern architecture and is therefore my contribution to this week's PhotoHunt theme. 

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Saturday's PhotoHunting: Nails

Oh my, those are some pretty long nails you have there!

I know it's a bit of a stretch, but not only did I have computer issues this week, but once it was corrected, I then had a bad case of PhotoHunter's "block". This take just sort of came to me in the last hour.  Whew!  :)

To see more PhotoHunters, you can visit Gattina's Keyhole Pictures website HERE!