Saturday, October 25, 2014

Odeceixe

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

Lagos

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!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

wedded bliss

This seems to be the summer year of weddings. The month of May alone we had three back-to-back. We've got five more to go for this year, and a few friends booked weddings for next year already! Crazy!
 
I must admit, it's nice not having to make plans on the weekends, and it certainly gives us something fun to look forward to! But holy exhaustion. Full-on wedding mode over here folks.
 
With our trip to Portugal less than 40 days away, I still have lots of planning to do [and some pre-packing]. We've got our four cities locked in: Lisbon, Lagos, Arcozelo & Porto, tickets to the Super Bock Super Rock concert confirmed [hello Eddie Veder!], and a one night stay in a castle [for two!].
 
I think I was so excited for the summer to finally arrive that I'm in disbelief that it is here. Cheers to all the rest of our weddings this year, and a crazy-busy, vacation packed summer!
Steve & Colleen's wedding - Union League
 
 

burgers & beers at Pomme
 
Stephanie & Joe's wedding - Pomme
 
Brian & Sarah's wedding - Williamsport, PA

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

59 days

 I can hardly focus on anything else... I'm daydreaming about our trip constantly.

Twelve full days spent in one of my favorite countries on the planet.

I can't wait to show C some of my favorite cities: Lisbon, Arcozelo, the Algarve, and Porto. Spend the night in Obidos, see Eddie Veder in Sesimbra, walk the tiny streets [literally hardly big enough for a car] of Arcozelo, café hop in Lisbon, and see my favorite Portuguese cousins [!!!].

However, this trip will be the first of it's kind [without my Avô].
I'll think of him fondly and always look at this picture I took on my phone from my last visit there. I teased him that I was a better cook than Avó [duh, that's a bold faced lie], that I could grow bigger kale than him [I can't even keep a house plant alive], and that all of the rice pudding was for me.
 
Eu te amo, Avô.
 
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via Etsy