First impressions of Porto

TRAVEL DIARY: PORTO 1 After a brisk journey aboard the Alfa Pendular, Portugal’s flagship Pendolinoa high-speed train, we arrived in Porto just past midday, so we were starving from the trip. Near our Airbnb, we stumbled upon a nearby restaurant where, unsure of what to choose, we trusted the owner’s recommendations for our meal. Francesinha…

Around town on our last day

TRAVEL DIARY: LISBON 4 Did you know that Uber fares are incredibly cheap in Portugal? We stumbled upon this discovery during our visit to Sintra when we opted for a taxi. Glad we found out because since then, Uber has become our go-to mode of transportation. So this was our last day in Lisbon and…

Discovering the charm of Obidos

TRAVEL DIARY: OBIDOS The next stop on our day trip is Obidos. This is one place not to be missed when in Lisbon … a gorgeous medieval town perched on top of a hill. As we entered the town through Porta da Vila, the main gate, we were greeted by a stunning balcony adorned with…

Exploring Portugal’s Coastal Gem

TRAVEL DIARY: NAZARE As we were leaving Fatima, the rain started again. We resumed our journey toward Nazare approximately an hour’s drive ahead. Glad to see the blue skies as we were approaching town. Nazare is one of the most picturesque seaside towns in Portugal Proceeded to the market stalls. Legend has it that nobleman…

Fatima then and now

TRAVEL DIARY: FATIMA The story begins in the village of Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917. On that fateful day near that tiny village, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, appeared to three young peasant children: Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia; ages 10, 9 and 7… As Catholics, hubby and I were interested to visit…

Exploring the Magic of Sintra’s Most Iconic Landmark

TRAVEL DIARY: SINTRA 2 Having marveled at the grandeur of the Quinta de Regaelera in the morning, we continue on our walk and immerse ourselves with the enchanting beauty of the Pena Palace in Sintra. My daughter Pat first introduced me to this palace in 2017 through a photo from her solo European trip, urging…

A morning at Quinta da Regaleira

TAVEL DIARY: SINTRA 1 The Quinta da Regaleira is located near the historic centre of Sintra, Portugal. It is protected within the UNESCO World Heritage site and is a mix of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance architecture. It is an enchanting estate about half an hour from Lisbon. It was built by an eccentric Free…

From Belém’s pastries to Fado’s melodies

(and everything in Between) TRAVEL DIARY: LISBON 2 We started early and walked to the train station. Some interesting things to see and smell along the way. Like the protruding car, some souvenirs and chestnuts roasting … yum my fave! From the train window I saw these murals. I see that cat in a lot…

Navigating Lisbon’s Stairways and Alleys

TRAVEL DIARY: LISBON 1 Jack and I reached Lisbon from Barcelona via Vuelling airlines in approximately 2 hours. Upon arrival, we met up with Tim and Leigh, who had traveled from London. We took an Uber to our Airbnb and true to the forecast it rained the whole day. After putting our luggage down and…

Park Guell: a fairytale-like experience

TRAVEL DIARY BARCELONA 3: Another place not to be missed when visiting Barcelona is Park Güell: it’s a fairytale-like experience featuring whimsical architecture, vibrant mosaics, and lush gardens meticulously crafted by Antoni Gaudí. Took an Uber to the Carretera del Carmel entrance of Park Güell. We chose the earliest available slot, I factored in my…

Parisian Art Exploration

TRAVEL DIARY: PARIS 3 On our final day in Paris, October 11th, we aimed to explore as many Art attractions as we could before leaving. Initially, our plan was to visit Sainte Chapelle, but without a prebooking, the lengthy queue stalled our progress for 30 minutes. We opted to change course and explore another destination…

A day in Montmartre

TRAVEL DIARY: MONTMARTRE 9th of October, our day started off early with breakfast at our hotel at 8 am. It wasn’t the usual buffet breakfast but wow was it so yum and healthy-ish. Great start of the day. Went on the metro just a 1 minute walk from our hotel. Emerged from this Metro station…

Paris, here we come…

TRAVEL DIARY: PARIS 1 We took the Eurostar from London to Paris on the 8th of October. The moment we emerged from the bustling Gare du Nord station in Paris we were greeted by a spectacular view and sunshine. The hotel we reserved on Belleville turned out to be small, but it wasn’t as tiny…

Last Day in Santiago

(Road Trip Part 3) TRAVEL DIARY: SANTIAGO 3 It is our last day in Santiago, Ilocos Sur so I wanted to have a time all to myself for a change. I wandered off around the grounds of Vitalis Villas before breakfast and savoured the sun, the wind and the sky. I didn’t realise it but…

Along the Seaside

(Road Trip part 2) TRAVEL DIARY: SANTIAGO 2 On our second day in Ilocos Sur, only three of us went for our walk bright and early to catch the sunrise, while the others were still fast asleep. The ambiance of the place may be very different from my previous post but it is owned by…

The Cally

“I’m not lost, I’m exploring.” Tim, my son, used to live in Islington, a district in Greater London in 2018 … so best place to go for coffee is in Caledonian Road or The Cally (as locals call it). This is a long stretch of road running for a mile on the western side of…