Sintra on a Sunday

Friends and family have asked about Portugal, “Is it crowded?” My answer has always been, “There are people everywhere, but it’s not crowded” Until, that is, I got to Sintra.

I knew I was pushing my luck by going on a weekend, but due to travel schedules, museum closures, and nonrefundable hotels I had now booked onward, there was no other option. It was go on a Sunday or not go at all. Another of Portugal’s many Continue reading

Day Trip to Belém

Just about 4 miles outside of the Lisbon city center along the Tagus River is the parish of Belém. While still considered part of Lisbon, it requires a change from the metro to a regional train to get there. And it has a very different feel to it, much more focused on the waterfront. It’s also got to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area, and for good reason. There is so much to see within two or three city blocks that I spent an entire day here. Continue reading

A Medley of Museums

I have been known to label myself as “not a museum person,” yet I rarely miss a famous one, and always enjoy them once I get there. I’ve gone out of my way to visit them, been to all the big names, and have enjoyed countless hours wandering the halls with my favorite niece Hannah. So instead, I should probably say I have a low museum tolerance. It’s a battle between my eyes and my feet to see which one will cry “uncle” first. Continue reading

Monuments and Miradors

I’ve mentioned before that Lisbon is a city of hills. Seven of them, in fact. And that’s just the big ones. Walking through some of the neighborhoods can feel like walking on a roller coaster track, climbing up to the crest, then back down again in the trough, trudging up and down the undulating sidewalks. Continue reading

Lisbon’s Tram No. 28

One of the call-out boxes in my Lonely Planet Portugal Travel Guide proclaims Lisbon’s Tram No. 28 as an attraction not to be missed. Described as “a quaint yellow tram that screeches and rattles through the narrow streets of the city” it’s as iconic as the monuments it rattles past.

It’s not just a major tourist attraction, however. It remains a vital part of Lisbon’s public transport network, as it’s 1930’s design is the only public transportation vehicle capable Continue reading

Lots to Love in Lisbon!

So why Portugal, one might ask? Well, it’s a country I haven’t yet pinned on my wall map. That’s reason enough. But while Portugal’s extensive coastline as a place I have long wanted to explore, it wasn’t in my “Top Five.” But more and more, I have been seeing Portugal show up in the “listicles” as of late. Just Google “Why visit Portugal?” Continue reading

The Seven P’s

My time spent back in Texas was dominated by trying to replace my electronic arsenal, piece by piece. This was even more frustrating considering that when it comes to electronics, the old adage “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to” seems to ring true in every case. The new laptop has a less optimal screen and cheaper plastic. The new iphones are gigantic, weighting down my pants pocket. And the ipod, once a phenomenal music storage workhorse designed to fit in the tiniest of places now exists Continue reading

Blue Interlude

Back to Texas after four months away, and the Winnie was like I never left it. Central Texas had an unusually cold winter with single digit temps, so it’s always a relief to hear the water pump roar to life while filling the lines, then stop once it’s done its job, not to be heard from until summoned for duty once again.

Those who know me know that I am not a big fan of my native state. I always felt like I was the oddball in one of those “Which one is not like the others” games. It took leaving Continue reading

And Finally…Cuenca!

At long last, the tour through Ecuador has come to an end. Last stop, Cuenca.

For those of you who stuck with me through the Quito chaos, sailing 8 days through the Galapagos, and five stops along the Wanderbus circuit, I thank you. While the country of Ecuador is only half the size of Texas, there is much to see here, with enriching cultural experiences that are as varied as the topography. So while it has been a bit of a struggle to get the blog caught up, I wanted to get it all down before the memories began to fade. Continue reading

All Out Assault on Alausi

While the Wanderbus is a wonderful way to wander through Ecuador, it’s not perfect. The bus only rolls through town every other day, and not at all on Sundays. So when planning out an itinerary, sometimes one can get “stuck” for longer than they would like.

I arrive into Alusi the afternoon before my scheduled Devil’s Nose train at 8:00am the following morning. Given that the train ride is only 3 hours tops, it would be ideal if I Continue reading