Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pousada de Palmela & Super Bock Super Rock

C is a huge fan of Pearl Jam. HUGE.

Right after we booked the trip I was scouring the internet for fun things for us to do. I've been to Portugal many times, so I was looking for something different and memorable for this trip. I realized that Eddie Veder was headlining the Super Bock Super Rock concert while we were there - and I knew C's mind would be blown.

The night we were going to the concert we had booked a room at a nearby castle. Pousada de Palmela sits above the town of Palmela, about a half hour from Lisbon. The views of Setúbal and the Atlantic Ocean from the top of the castle are incredible.

 A little pre-concert happy hour in the Pousada courtyard with our favorite, Portuguese wine!
The concert was held in Alfarim, which ended up being a much farther cab ride than we had originally anticipated. Eddie Veder wasn't schedule to go on until 1:30 am... which ended up being more like 2:30 am after a bit of a rain delay. 

We walked around to the different tents and saw a few of the other acts. SBSR is actually a three day long festival. People camped and stayed out in the woods all weekend - it was pretty wild. The rain shower that past through didn't phase us, since we were under a tent watching some female rappers. It was also one of only two rain storms during our trip, which we really can't complain about.

Other than the fact that the rain delayed Eddie Veder another hour, everything about the concert was pretty cool. The venue was basically in the middle of the woods. The rage fest basically went on for three days, and the party really didn't even stop at 4:30 am when Eddie ended.

We had a blast, and ended up not making it back to the castle until 4:30 am. Exhausting, considering we never stay up that late at home. A really fun and different experience/memory we won't soon forget.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Long before we left for Portugal, C decided that this was going to be his year to run the marathon. It was one of those, "if I don't do it now, I'll never do it," and "it will give me something to focus on, like a hobby."

Having never run longer than a 5k for fun, I secretly decided that if C could train for the full marathon, I could take on the half. He would be my motivation. I signed up and ended up telling him weeks later, once I mustered up the courage to say the words out loud, "I am going to run a half marathon." 13.1 miles is no jog in the park my friends.

I have to admit that I actually despise running. Nothing about it is fun. For me the worst part is that I am a chronic over thinker, so leaving me alone with my thoughts for extended periods of time is torturous. Instead of taking the time to clear my head, enjoy the sunshine, and take in the views... I find myself mulling things over and over in my head. Things I've left undone at work or at home, errands I have to take care of, birthday cards I have yet to send, or bills I've forgotten to pay. The worst though is when I'm so in my head I can't even enjoy the run. I find myself counting down minutes, distances, and songs until the run is over.

The good news, however, is that I finally think I'm finding my stride. Shocker that we're two weekends from the run and I actually feel like I'm starting to enjoy it. C and I went on a 5.5 mile jog together the other night. I felt myself letting go of the stress of the day, and the things I knew were waiting for me at work the next day. The city by night is so pretty lit up, especially from the Schuylkill River Trail, and I really enjoyed us having something to do together that didn't involve sitting in front of the television.

I'm looking forward to November 23. Yes I want it to be over. Hopefully the winter isn't too harsh and I can keep this running stint up... granted I won't be running more than 10 miles if I am not training. Mostly, I'm looking forward to cheering C on as he finishes the marathon. What a long few weeks of training it has been!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


On the way down to Lagos we stopped to see the most beautiful beach that sits along the southwest coast of Portugal, Odeceixe. The actual beach isn't large at all. It's nestled down in these beautiful, massive rock structures, where the river and the ocean meet. The beach is packed, and the water is sprinkled in surfers. From high above on the cliffs, it's the most breathtaking view. 

Friday, October 17, 2014


Located on the southwestern coast of Portugal, Lagos is one of the more beautiful cities in the Algarve, in my opinion. There are miles of family friendly beaches, dozens of beach bars and restaurants, and endless water sports to partake in.
The coast of Lagos is sprinkled with these massive, beautiful cavernous grottos and cliffs. Dependent on the time you visit and what the tide is doing, you can take boats, stand up paddle boards, and kayaks in and out of them. It's amazing. In fact, the locals have named many of the structures, based on what they resembled, everything from an elephant to a shoe. The water is the brightest, most beautiful blue green color you've ever seen. The picture above is overlooking Ponta da Piedade, which Huffington Post says, "could very well be the most beautiful beach on earth."

The steps are steep, but worth the walk. Although the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. We arrived just as the sun was beginning to set. The picture directly below is the sun setting over Praia da Luz. You might remember Maddie McCann, the little girl who disappeared in there back in 2007. The case is still being investigated (by Scotland Yard) creepily enough, and her body was never found. My stomach turns just thinking about that little girl and these cliffs...

C insisted on maneuvering his way over to the edge of the cliff. I was content just taking pictures. Nerves of steel.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm back!!!

Sometimes life gets in the way. It's not always a bad thing either. I've had a crazy, beautiful last couple of months. This summer was so busy. With weddings, weekend trips, and an amazing European vacation... I was sad to see the summer months go. Now that fall is rolling in, I'm ready to start writing again. With a little push from M, I'm back.

Being that my summer was so special, I thought I'd take a few posts to recap our trip.
C and I left Philly around 9:00 pm, which landed us in Lisbon around 9:00 am. There is one direct flight from Philly to Lisbon each day. It's perfect for travelers who don't want to waste a day traveling, since you basically fly through the night. My favorite cousins were there to greet us at the airport and we started our mini tour around Lisbon so C could get a taste of the city. Germany won the World Cup hours before we took off out of Philadelphia, so naturally our first stop was at Benfica soccer stadium. Besides, with C's love of international soccer, I'm pretty sure my dad would have disowned me if I didn't take him there.
We stopped by the Tower of Belem. A breathtaking fortress built in the 16th century for maritime defense. T told us that the Portuguese used the basement as a prison. When the tide came in, the prisoners' chambers would fill with water, sometimes for hours at a time. Completely torturous, and so interesting.

The Boca do Inferno, Portuguese for "mouth of hell," is equally as amazing. I'd been to Cascais before, but never to see the Boca. The turquoise water is something straight out of a travel magazine. When the sea is calm it looks like a beautiful set of cliffs and caverns. But when the sea is wild, water whips into the "mouth" and shoots back out with fury.
R loves all of the Rocky movies, so we brought him a Rocky shirt. Which he immediately put on and did not take off for at least the first two days of our trip!
We had a late lunch at our cousin's restaurant, Papa Mais, which has expanded into a new space since my last visit. It was so nice to see everyone. Our little cousin was just learning English in school the last time my dad and I were there. She's gotten better since our last visit, and it was cute listening to her little accent.
At night we headed back to M's house in Santarem for our own little "welcome dinner." Complete with rose wine, a traditional Portuguese meal, and good friends. If there was an award for "world's best hostess," it would without a doubt go to my dad's cousin, M. She is the most kind-hearted, welcoming person in the world!
That's our first day in a nutshell. Exhausting and exhilarating, since we flew out the day after my best friend's wedding. Just looking over these pictures again is giving me vacation-depression, which I have single handedly decided is a real thing. I'll spare you the 900-something pictures we took and only share my favorites, over my next couple of posts. But I hope this makes you enjoy our trip as much as we did!