Top 10 Castles in and around Lisbon

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Lisbon is prime territory for people like us, devoted castle hunters who long for turrets and palatial grandeur. The moment we arrived in the city, the impressive stone walls of the Moorish Castle San Jorge looming over the city announced we had come to the right place. The capital of Portugal and the surrounding region boast so many extraordinary fortresses, palaces and royal villas that you can literally spend weeks bouncing from one to another. Actually, psycho architecture junkies that we are, we did just that.

What surprised us most was the diversity of what we found. You can literally go to every castle because they are Continue…

Loving Lisbon

Rua Augusta Arch

Life on the road is awesome, but – to be honest – it can be exhausting. Recent months have seen us bouncing from Berlin to Mallorca to Rome to Munich to Ulm to Prague to Salzburg to Milan… ugh, I was having fun, but I was totally kaput.

“I need to just sit somewhere… anywhere… for a few weeks,” I told Thomas, “I need to rest.” So, he booked an apartment in Lisbon for six weeks. Yay!!!

That turned out to be a great decision. Situated at the furthest extremes of the Iberian peninsula, beautiful Lisbon feels slightly forgotten by the rest of Europe. It’s not that the city doesn’t have tourists, it does. It just feels like Lisbon is Continue…

Lisbon Oceanarium

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One of Lisbon’s number one Tripadvisor attractions is the Oceanário de Lisboa, an architectural statement in the futuristic Parque das Nações on the Tagus River. The highly conceptual building houses the city’s cutting-edge aquarium designed by architect Peter Chermayeff. Its centerpiece, a massive cylindrical tank holding 100 species, serves as the heart of this aquarium experience.

As visitors circle the 5-million-liter saltwater tank on two different viewing floors, their perspectives constantly shift. They can be eye-to-eye with a school of mackerel floating at the top, or get a close-up look of a bottom-dwelling leopard shark on the sandy floor. The pre-designed path around the aquarium also passes through many smaller side exhibits representing marine habitats from the North Atlantic, the temperate Pacific, the tropical Indian, and the Antarctic Continue…

Lisbon Food Tours

Enjoying Lisbon's Food Tours

Portuguese food is a topic Tony and I knew very little about. Although we had encountered variations of Portuguese dishes in former colonies such as Macau, Brazil and the Indian regions of Goa and Diu, not much seemed familiar as we made our way through the narrow streets of Lisbon’s old town. Local specialties were advertised at every corner: Pastel de Belém, pata negra ham, bacalhau or vinho verde. But where to start?

Our awesome experience with various food tours in Rome had taught us that it’s sometimes better (and easier) to leave it up to the experts. Why fight it, right? So just as we did in Italy, we sought out the advice of local gourmands. In order to get a good understanding of what authentic Portuguese cuisine was really like, we chose three different foodie activities in Lisbon: a food walking tour, a wine tasting, and a cooking class. As fast as you can say “salada de bacalhau com grão de bico”, we were on our way to becoming experts. Continue…

Praia do Tamariz and More

We are starting up a new collection of the world’s coolest beaches to help shake off those cloudy-day blues. So if you are pining for sun, sand and… a castle, here is our first entry:

Praia do Tamariz in Estoril, Portugal

Beach: Praia do Tamariz

Location: Estoril, Portugal (just outside Lisbon)

What’s Cool: Where else can you lie on the golden sand and gaze up at a castle sitting smack-dab on the beach. Also don’t miss the great coastal walk from Cascais all the way down to the cliffs of Praia da Azarujinha.

Not enough? We’ve chosen five very unique beach destinations to start our expanding list of the world’s most awesome beaches. >>> Take me to the List >>>

The Azulejos of Portugal

Lisbon Azulejos

The first thing we noticed as we were driving into Lisbon from the airport was the azulejos, the tiles. The Portuguese seem to have plastered every surface available with some sort of elaborate tilework. They decorate apartment buildings and business fronts. They line train stations, churches, malls and metro stops. Along with egg tarts, gorgeous cobblestones, explorers and fado music, they serve as symbols of the Portuguese culture. Tiles, tiles, tiles.

From the spectacular 16th-century grape-leaf tiles lining the bedchamber of King Sebastian in the Palacio Nacional de Sintra to the comic book-inspired tiles decorating the Oriente metro station, these not-so-small works of art seem to capture every element of Portuguese life. Two of the weirder depictions we spotted were one man getting an Continue…

Happy Birthday Tony!

Tony's birthday!

Happy 46th birthday, Tony! This year, I can give you the biggest gift of all. You’ve had the immense pleasure of spending half of your life with me. You’re welcome!