Monday, May 26, 2008

Lagos






We got back from Lagos last night! What a beautiful place! The drive down it rained the entire time (or at least thats what I was told... I slept the whole way) so we were happy when we woke up on Saturday to blue skys! We stayed at a great hotel with friendly people and of course a good restuarant! We didn't venture out on Friday because of the weather. Saturday morning we got up and went on a long walk and ventured through town. Jill and I went to the beach and then noticed they were doing grato tours from the beach. After a few good hours of sun we opted to take one of the tours and had a very entertaining driver. They have names for all of the rocks ...what they look like. He also was able to snatch us a few beers from one of the party boats that passed by! The Grottos are absolutely beautiful! We couldn't get over the color of the water, although it doesn't come out too well in the pictures.



We had a nice lunch beach side then went back to the hotel for a siesta. We met back up with Jill's dad and had a nice dinner at a restaurant down the street overlooking town. It was very good and they were so friendly! After dinner Jill and I went to the hotel bar and chatted with our new friend Ricardo...he told us all the fun places to go so we ventured out on the town. We ended up being ussured into a bar by an australian guy in a cow poncho! It was pretty entertaining, but again we met a lot of very nice people and made it home at a reasonable hour :)



Sunday we were able to lay out for about an hour at the hotel pool, and then hopped in the car and slowly made our way back home. We stopped in Sagres and took some pics and then stopped for lunch in Vila Nova Milfantes...Loved it! Jill had found a restaurant recommendation on some website and we were very happy to get there just before they closed! So darling and the most friendly people! We all had excellent meals, Jill had some great wine, and after lunch they brought us figs and walnuts and little desert liquors. It was such a cool place I can't wait to go back! Jill's dad leaves on Wednesday morning and we are hoping for a few beach days before we head to Italy next Wednesday!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A week in Lisbon







Jill's dad and girlfriend have been in town for about a week so we have been playing tour guide/tourists! There was a lot of the Lisbon area I hadn't seen yet so it has been really fun. The weather has been pretty crappy so we are missing the beach, but it has been nice for looking around town. We went to Sintra which is a very cool town! Very beautiful drives and we went up to the main palace which had incredible veiws. Again haven't updated pictures but will soon! Then we had lunch in town and wondered around... I can't get enough of the narrow streets that are bussling with people! I wish I could bottle it all up and take it home with me. On our way home from Sintra we stopped at the most westurn tip of Europe. It was very cool and at the same time very similar to the most southern tip of Africa.
We also took a day in Libon and went up to the castle which also has incredible veiws. We road the trolly up which was fun although very crowded and a little too much like a roller coaster for me, but fun :)
I think my favorite day was when we took the ferry over to the Cristo Rea statue. We found this great place for lunch along the water. We basically just wondered along the deserted fishing area and found Ponto Finale... we sat right on the peir and had an fantastic meal! Then after that we went back into Lisbon and wandered to our favorite area (the Barro Alto) and had pizza! Yum :)
Oh we also discovered an awesome sushi place! We have been there three times in the last week! A little sick of the heavy portugese food ...even though it is fantastic!
Tomorrow we are heading to Lagos in the Algarve region. We are hoping for nice weather so we can enjoy the beaches!
We also booked our flight for Italy... we are going from June 4th - June 23rd!!!!! I can't wait!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Road Trip




What an Amazing two weeks we just had! Jill and I packed up our little rental on Monday the 28th. We drove to San Sebastian and stayed at a cute little hotel and had a great dinner! We were pretty tired so after dinner we wandered home and went to bed at a reasonable hour. We wandered around the town on Tuesday morning and popped into a few shops and enjoyed the view...of course we had to get a yummy crousant and coffee as well at one of the bakeries! The food is definitely definining my adventure :) We headed out of town around noon and drove north to Bordeaux! Another very cute town! Everyone was very friendly and we found a very small place to stay in the heart of the town square. We were starving at this point and were sad to realize that everything is closed until dinner time and we couldn't get anything! We finally stumbled upon a place were we got some cheese and enjoyed a nice bottle of wine :) Unfortunatly were too late to go on a wine tour so we had to take ourselves on one! We ended up at a really cute wine bar where the lady was extreamly knowledgeable about the area and she basically created a nice little flight for us to enjoy. Of course the one that I liked best was virtually impossible to buy! She said you couldn't visit the winery, but that is the only place you can buy it so I guess I'm out of luck! We had a nice dinner at the Grand Cafe after our "wine tasting" Jill discovered Ratetoullie (sp??) which was incredible! She originally thought it was a meat, but low and behold it is vegatable dish! I went for the steak!

We left Bordeaux in the morning and drove to Paris. Driving in was a little hecktic but once we were settled and started to explore I was in love! What a beautiful city! When we got in we just wandered and then had an amazing dinner. The next morning we realized was a holiday so we weren't sure what would be open....absolutley nothing! We did walk the entire city though and saw everything! We went to dinner and thought that maybe the eiffel tower would be opened so we wandered over and made it just in time for the last ride up! OMG INCREDIBLE!!! I didn't want to leave! Right when we got to the top Midnight hit and all the lights twinkled... the whole thing was just so beautiful. You can tell we liked it by the amount of pictures!! The next day we went back to see the inside of lourve and Grace Cathedral, we also checked out the picasso museaum and the pompedu center. All of it was very cool although I thought I was going to have a panic attack in the lourve due to the amount of people! Throughout the Paris excursion we had a lot of incredible food, gelato and great sightseeing! Everyone was very friendly as well!
video
On Sunday we left our cute little place in Paris and drove to Amsterdam. Again so darling! I had seen pictures, but didn't expect it to be so darling! The canals and everyone out on their boats, I felt like we were in a movie! The amount of bikes parked everyone made us laugh, and we were defintely more affraid of being hit by the bikers than cars! We stayed at a darling bed and breakfast right on one of the canals and felt like we were staying at a friends house! We did some exploring of some of the old mansion which are beautiful and again wandered around! I think my favorite time here was our canal side picnic :) I was very surprised by the amount of shopping here as well! Jill has a friend (jesse) living in Hoorne, The Netherlands for the summer working on a sail boat. On Wednesday we went with him up to the boat and stopped in Alkmaar on the way. Another darling town with so much charictor! We just wandered around to see it and had a little lunch. Then we continued onto the boat. We were just in time for sunset! So beautiful!! The night they took us to the local Skippers Bar. It was so sureal! Definitely a great time... everyone was completely local and although one lady told me "Americans are Dumb" Everyone was extremely friendly and it was a highlight!

Thursday we hit the road again and drove through Belgium and Luxenburg, then stayed the night in Dijon France. We left early in the morning and made our way to Arles FRance. Right on the Rhone river, very quaint, but a little difficult to navigate! We were extremely happy to get a nice big room and have a quality shower! We wandered around and found our way into the city square which was very cute and had a lot of energy. We were very surprised by the amount of American Tourists! Another great meal here and then we headed out in the morning!

Sadly we were misguided and thought that our next destination was only 6 hours but ended up being more like 9 so we didn't get to enjoy it. We stayed the night in Toledo Spain, and we will DEFINITELY be going back! What an amazing place! I just wanted to get lost in the little streets, but was so exahasted we ended up just going to bed! We had to have the car back the next day so we had a quick breakfast and headed home. All and all a fantastic trip, but defintely happy to have a nice place to come back to! It is a little overcast today but perfect for us to rest up and get ready for Jills family that is coming on Saturday, and start planning our next adventure! We are thinking of Italy and Switzerland in June....any suggestions are always welcome!

Hope everyone is doing well!