Modern Romance

A brief and illuminating side trip to Liverpool and Manchester, otherwise known as a post about what happens when you meet your son's long distance girlfriend in person before he does!

oNay onyay altaMay

We had such high hopes for Malta. Ok, I can only speak for myself. I had such high hopes — or let’s be honest and call it what it was, a fantasy. Here's why the fantasy was dashed on the shores of this Mediterranean island.

Hail Mary & Humphrey Bogart

When Joe suggested we check out Malta, my ignorance in geography — and it turns out Christian mythology — became crystal clear: “Malta? Isn’t that a Humphrey Bogart movie about a falcon?”

French Tapestry

The last time I visited my friend Julia in the south of France, my now 21-year-old daughter was a toddler. And yet during our five days with her in Martigues, I felt the years melt away.

Two Words

When I asked Joe to sum up our time in Granada, Spain in just a couple of words he couldn't do it. I struggled too, but in the end, two floated to the top for me: Mosaic and poop.

WWRD?

On the advice of our favorite globe-trotting, Washington-based travel guru, as well as two of Joe’s friends and our AirBnB host in Madrid, we boarded a train south to Andalucía, Spain where we discover a world of beautify, simplicity and tapas!

The Ugly Princess Awakens

From whence, then, comes this air of ugly classism that resulted in my reaction to a perfectly comfortable, if simple and worn, AirBnB accommodation? What does it say about who I am? In this episode I tackle some difficult realizations about myself . . .

The Hills Are Alive . . .

Nowhere are the steep climbs of Portugal more worthwhile than the paths leading through and up from the town of Sintra. Nestled in the forested foothills of the Sintra Mountains, Sintra is a magical, pastel-colored ode to 19th-century Romantics.

Perfect

A rambling Sunday walk led us to one of the best meals we've had during our travels so far. Of course, we aren't sure if it was the fresh-caught fare or the crazy beautiful view. . .but Azenhas do Mar was love at first site.

Getting Over Myself in Porto

We'd just arrived at our Porto accomodation and I was h-angry and tired. Above us, a smiling, buoyant man waved enthusiastically from an upper-story window before ducking inside to buzz us in. This, we surmised, was Sergio, our host. A few hours earlier, he had described himself in a welcome text as the “the almost perfect host!”

What the Duck Knows

Walking the hills of Porto, a wet something sets in. I breathe into it – the ache, the cold, and the little seed of sadness I feel rising from my center. Moody weather does that to me. It opens my soul like a window, allowing the melancholy to waft in. 

The Anomaly on Tram 28

Being open to -- and actually asking for -- suggestions from the people who live here rather than being tied to an agenda or itinerary has led us to some beautiful views, awesome food, fantastic street art, heartfelt music and fascinating history in Lisbon.

Fado, fado, fado

"Fado is magical," says Thomas, the German. "You've never heard anything like it. It is the heart of Portugal." As the lights dim, the mood sombers, the clinking grows quieter. Nobody talks during the Fado.

Behind These Doors

I have a thing about doors. You may have already noticed this in previous entries. They just seem to knock on my door, symbolizing different things to me at different times . . .

How can you NOT go to Dingle?!

Numerous people pointed us to Dingle. While the town itself was shut up tight with "Gone Fish'n" signs (turns out January-February is the OFF off season), we got in some good bread, incredible Dingle seaweed cheese and breathtaking views.