* An almost endless horizon * Artful expression underfoot and on our plates *
* The smell, feel and taste of the sea * Welcoming people *
* Sunlight and sunny tiles that shimmer when it rains * Soft air and gigantic waves *
* Convents, kings and egg-filled sweets *
Tom and I are big fans of Portugal, a country now on numerous lists of must-see destinations. We have already spent a fair bit of time there between our other travels. So, as we round the curve into 2016, we are making a move that will surprise no one who has been following our travels over the past couple of years.
In February, we will up stakes and head across two (big) countries and a mountain range, and pitch our tent in Portugal. The country is poised for adventure on the tippy western edge of Europe, and soon, we will be too!
After almost 18 years with Basel as our anchor in the middle of Europe, we will start the new year by shifting our base to Porto, Portugal’s second city, about three hours north of Lisbon. It’s time to trade in the Alps for the Atlantic seashore, Emmentaler for Azeitão and Serra da Estrela, and the Rhine for the Douro.
Tom looks forward to photographing Portugal’s architecture, old and new, and to Atlantic sunsets, waves and storms. He can’t wait to get up before dawn and head out to watch fish being brought in for the markets. I’m eager to seek out the nooks and crannies of Porto, haunt those same markets, and learn a few secrets of the Portuguese kitchen, from north to south. I’ll also want to hook up with other writers and book lovers, and bring out my sketchbook.
The explorers of Portugal fostered a surprising number of innovations across the globe, just by doing their job of transporting their discoveries from Point A to Point B. How else would the ukulele have reached Hawaii, or tempura landed in Japan? In a curious reversal of expectations, it happens that the Portuguese brought tea to England and spices to India. So now, it only seems appropriate that we hit Portugal’s “follow” button, and chase our own cultural adventures and the creative inspiration that are our main reasons for traveling in the first place.
We look forward to making new friends in Portugal, and discovering new-to-us art, museums and music. And of course, we can’t wait to tickle our taste buds with magnificent seafood, and wines from one of the world’s up-and-coming wine regions! From our new home in Porto, we will also no doubt have opportunities to seek out some fashionable rain-wear.
So long Switzerland
* Saturday markets in three countries * Alpine air and summer grasses *
* Alphorns and chocolate * Alpkãse, Raclette and Fondue *
* The Matterhorn, the Eiger and the Jungfrau * Church bells, Swiss trains and gondolas *
* Swiss wines, Crémant d’Alsace, Art Basel*
We will miss many things about Switzerland, and leaving is not easy. We have had too many “Oh that’s wonderful!” moments to list in one go. Beyond the obvious attractions of stunning mountain vistas, outdoor activities on mountains and in valleys, and living in a city awash in history and fine art, there are the everyday wonders–such as splendid public transportation and the street sweeper who keeps our medieval neighborhood Swiss-tidy.
Tom and I are already nostalgic for the lively get-togethers with neighbors in our courtyard in the heart of Basel, such as the Raclette evening that began Anita’s Feast. We cherish the friends we have made during our years in Switzerland, and the wonderful people across the country who have opened their doors and hearts to us since 1998.
We will be back for a visit soon
Of course, we will continue writing about and photographing the places we visit, and about Switzerland, where we have lived so long. We are already planning cross-border travel into Spain, to Catalonia, and the Basque Country. And of course, we will be adding to our trove of posts from Portugal. We hope you’ll come along with us!
It’s a long drive to Porto, one that we have made before. February may not be the ideal time for sightseeing, but we look forward to our stops in France and Spain along the way. Last time we made the trek, we loved our stopover in San Sebastián, and shared our learning experience in Burgos.
With all we have on our plates at the moment, it may be a while before we recount our move to Portugal here. In the meantime, we will share our travels with you on social media and invite you to follow us: