Well, soon. In just under two weeks I will be traveling to Portugal for our big trip of the year. It will be a glorious week off from work and a much needed break from the banality of everyday life. Having this blog has helped me to become what I feel is a better traveler, a more observant one. During my travels, my blog is always on my mind-I know that if I don’t write interesting and observant posts or take quality pictures, people will not necessarily want to read my blog, or more importantly, mention it to others.
For my birthday this year, I got a new camera-my first ever SLR (single lens reflex). While most of its features are still foreign to me (that is those features that make it far superior to your point and shoot style camera), the quality of the photographs I’ve taken with it is astounding, especially food pictures. My former camera was extremely good and truly impressed me with photos I took on our vacation to Maui last year, but with the growth of my blog, I know that I had outgrown it. However, having a camera that is small enough to fit in one’s pocket or a tiny purse is always a plus. And unless I never plan on actually riding on any rides, it will still be my image capturer when at Disney theme parks, for instance. Although my new camera and its attachable telescopic lens are somewhat big and bulky, off it will go to Portugal with me where hopefully it will capture some incredible images.
I’ve not really achieved this in trips past (excluding living abroad experiences) but I’m hoping to really hone in on the culture when I’m in Portugal. While we had an absolutely wonderful honeymoon in Paris and Belgium, the Paris part was jampacked, perhaps a bit too much at times. And yet it was to be expected, seeing as how D had never been, so our visit included touring a lot of the iconic, requisite Parisian sights. But we ran out of time to visit Claude Monet’s house in Giverny and even something as simple as having a picnic along the Seine with ingredients for it bought at local shops in our hotel’s Rue Cler neighborhood.
So with the memory of our slightly rushed days in Paris, I want to do somewhat of the opposite in Portugal. The first half of our trip will be spent in the region of Sintra, home to a stunning coastline, palaces galore, and a pleasant climate since it’s in the mountains. While there are certainly some sights I particularly want to visit, I also want to savor the outdoors since Sintra was a region that English poet Lord Byron labeled as a “Glorious Eden.” The bed and breakfast we’re staying at is not at all fancy but it looks simply perfect and gets fabulous reviews.
In Lisbon, there are naturally more sights I want to see than in the Sintra region, but I don’t want to try to cram everything my guidebook recommends into our visit. I’ve started to draft a rough itinerary of key things to see and do each day, while still making sure to leave enough time to try out different restaurants (i.e. not go to the first restaurant we see for convenience sake), time to go into a food shop for possible picnic ingredients, time to just relax. I adore the mega cities like London and Paris but perhaps there’s something to be said for the smaller cities like Lisbon and Seville; you actually have time to savor them, to relish their individual uniqueness.
A few more weeks to go until vacation time but until then, I still have much to do in terms of trip preparations (purchasing the Lisbon card, researching fado venues, acquiring a few new tricks for my camera). So for now, adeus, which is Portuguese for goodbye.