Minho “heart and soul” in Ponte de Lima, Portugal

medieval bridgeThe Lima valley, in Portugal’s northern Minho region, with its ancient towns and Romanesque churches, takes a traveler on a meandering route from the mountains of Peneda-Gerês to the sea at Viana do Castelo. Along the way, the easy-going town of Ponte de Lima sits comfortably beside the river. It’s a wonderful starting point for exploring the hilly north of Portugal, and was one our favorite stops on our recent tour of Portugal. Continue reading

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Basel, Switzerland’s Town Hall at 500 years!

Basel RathausThe Town Hall in Basel, Switzerland is not a modest affair. Its imposing red tower has dominated the Marktplatz since the beginning of the 20th century. But Basel’s Rathaus has been around longer than that, since 1514. Last weekend, the city held a party to celebrate the building’s 500th birthday. I have known the building is beautiful inside and out, and I now have some of the background. Continue reading

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A culinary walk with Taste Porto Food Tours

Porto fod tourTouring a new city on foot always brings the place to life, and a good food tour adds an element I especially enjoy. Tom and I began our exploration of Portugal’s northern food scene by walking the hilly terrain of splendid Porto. It was a gloriously sunny day in May, with a light breeze, just right for tramping across broad avenues and plazas, before diving into steeply pitched cobblestone streets. Continue reading

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Soggy summer days in the Swiss Alps

Swiss AlpsI love being in the mountains! The peaks, glaciers, sky and clouds are extremely beautiful. In addition to the beauty, mountains have weather. In fact, they make their own weather. This summer, the Swiss Alps have done a bang-up job of producing clouds, fog, rain and contributed generously to a rather soggy summer. On a recent mountain hike, I had plenty of opportunity to look for a silver lining in an otherwise gray landscape.  Continue reading

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The way of Port: a passion for the vine in Portugal’s Alto Douro

Douro landscape “Wine is not about grapes!” exclaimed Alvaro. Our host was oblivious to threatening rain on this steeply pitched hillside above Portugal’s Douro River. I struggled to keep up–and upright–as we charged along the narrow trenches between rows of closely planted vines. We were exploring one of the earliest Port wine estates in the Douro Valley. Our tramp through the vines turned out to be a study in passionate agronomy. Continue reading

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Baden-Baden, Germany: Museum Frieder Burda turns 10

Frieder BurdaThe Museum Frieder Burda opened in Baden-Baden in 2004, and I’ve enjoyed several exhibitions there. Now, an anniversary show,”40|10″: 40 Years of the Collection | 10 Years of the Museum Frieder Burda, celebrates both the collection and the museum. Recently, Tom and I were delighted to return to Baden-Baden, especially to take in the anniversary show. What a treat! Continue reading

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Portugal’s “thistle cheeses”

Artichoke thistlesBefore we traveled to Portugal, I had not tried Portuguese cheese. Once in the country, however, it did not take more than one trip to a breakfast buffet or a sit-down to dinner,  before cheese entered the conversation, and I’m so happy it did! Two of the most flavorful cheeses Tom and I sampled on our recent travels in Portugal–Serra da Estrela and Azeitão–were developed from the same recipe. Both are produced using the colorful artichoke thistle to develop the curd. Continue reading

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In Lisbon with Taste of Lisboa

17th century tiles in LisbonTom and I recently traveled in Portugal for almost six weeks, and what a trip it was! Our food and culture explorations began in Lisbon, and we re-visited the area some weeks later. The first time through, we explored a single neighborhood, Mouraria. When we returned a month later, the food court at Mercado da Ribeira had just opened, and we were eager to take a look. Continue reading

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The delights of Portugal

Delights of Portugal From Anita: One of our favorite parts of traveling is meeting the locals–and for us, that includes expats–who have plenty to share about their adopted homeland. Last month, Tom and I had a chance to spend a little time with Portugal’s top expat blogger, Julie Dawn Fox. Continue reading

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Sunrise in Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Galle FortGalle Fort, jutting a bit into the Indian Ocean, and at the western end of a moon-shaped bay on Sri Lanka’s southwestern tip, is beautifully situated. Its eastern bastions face the dawn and the western ones, the setting sun. A 5:30 rise-and-shine gets one up just in time for sunrise and a look at streets just beginning to stir. Early yes, but the cool air and pink skies are worth it! Continue reading

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