Published Monday, 29 April, 2013
eating , food , hiking , photos , Portugal , travel
Tags: 2013, nature, outdoors, photos, picos de europa, Portugal, serra da estrela, sierra de aralar, Spain, spectacular weekend, travel, trip, winter
Lest you think I’ve abandoned ship, I’m coming back to you with a photographic representation of 2013 so far on the Iberian peninsula. The crisis is deepening, but life goes on.
Winter holidays were in Portugal. We ate incredibly well, thanks in no small part to places like Cervejaria Ramiro and the generally amazing seafood and sweets the country has to offer.
Lisboa continues to enchant me.
And there are so many other parts of the country to explore. We spent time in the hills and villages of the Serra da Estrela before heading back to España.
This winter was cold and snowy, to my complete delight. There’s nothing like being in the Parador de Gredos during a good snowfall
and exploring the surrounding area without even getting in the car.
Hiking trips in Madrid were frequently foiled by bad weather (not for lack of snow!), but trips elsewhere proved successful. The Sierra de Aralar was in full splendor before the rains of March set in (and we escaped the continent!).
A nearby Navarran village provided an unexpected lesson in cheese-making at the hands of an artisan.
We were also rewarded with a spectacular weekend in the Montaña Palentina, where we could see over the whole expanse of the Picos de Europa from the top of Peña Prieta
and even got a bit of culture with an excellent guided tour at the ruins of a Roman villa in Saldaña.
Here’s to spring.
Published Monday, 24 March, 2008
Portugal , travel
Tags: lisboa, lisbon, Portugal, travel
Tile-fronted old mansions, yellow trolleys, red roofs, cobble-stone streets, wrinkled old women peering out windows, colorful laundry blowing in the breeze from the Río Tejo, pastéis de nata aside, Lisboa rocks my world because you can hardly smoke anywhere indoors.
What a breath of fresh air.
Yes, in some bars in the Bairro Alto you can smoke, but in many you can’t. Smoking was prohibited in every restaurant we ate in. It was wonderful.
In this sense, the city is light years ahead of Madrid. In other comparisons, and with the experience of last year’s Semana Santa under my belt, I’d say that Portugal also betters Spain’s simple green salad (yes, that lettuce should be green, Spaniards) and bread, which is crustier and heartier in our western neighbor. I’ve found the Portuguese to be lovely people and, in my two short trips, I’ve even grown fond of their language, which sounds soft and whispery with the slightest hint of a more sing-songy Russian. I’ll certainly be back.