Last day in Portugal…kayaking and 4×4’ing

Well folks, this is Kim’s last day in Portugal and the last day of her epic vacation.  She’s had an amazing time and is filling her last day with a kayaking and 4 x 4 Jeep excursion!

This time they were picked up at the hotel and taken to the marina,  where they waited for other people.  There were about 20 people along for the boat ride out to the ocean, where they kayaked.  Kim and Dawn shared a kayak and Jane was solo.   They loved this part of the tour, and their vacation.  The cliffs were amazing, and they loved the peacefulness of this trip as they paddled along the coast, through a cave to a small beach.  They spent about 20 minutes here, before they headed back to the marina in the kayaks.  This excursion wasn’t without its mishaps ;).  Two of the kayaks capsized.   Kim was a bit worried that it might happen to them…..more worried about her iPhone, lol.   But all went well, and they had a great time!

Next part of their tour…the 4 x 4.    Their driver was crazy!  Going so fast down the streets.  This time they saw a different part of southern Portugal, winding through different towns and through the countryside.  They stopped at a small bakery where they sampled the typical Portuguese pastry called Pastel de nato and a fig “bomb”.  They also tasted the almond liquor, and purchased a couple of small bottles to take back.  The next stop was at a farm where they tasted fire water…liquor made of berries local to Portugal and a fig liquor.   Not Kim’s favorite….she preferred the amaretto liquor….she also prefers wine and port!

This trip also had its mishaps….flat tire!   Well, this wasn’t the first time….their guide was pretty skilled at changing it!   He took time at the farm to make the change, while the gals visited the lady’s dog and bird….and bought some honey.

On this trip, they were rewarded with some off roading through the countryside to see acres of orange groves, cork trees, and wild herbs…thyme and curry.

Well folks, that’s the day…they ended the evening at a great local Portuguese restaurant the guide suggested to them, called O Lusitano.  Kim gives it paws up! She had the special – pork, cauliflower gratin, and tomato.  They shared Portuguese bread, olives and potatoes.  And, Kim had port and goat cheese pudding for dessert.  Sounds like a yummy end to the day.

 

Well folks, that’s the end of her epic vacation.  Kim has to take time to absorb her time travelling to come up with her top 10 list.  But, she says it might not happen….how do you narrow down all those great experiences into so small a list?  She is so grateful for the experience!  

She’s on her way home, and is looking forward to seeing in all of us!  We can’t wait.

Always be pawsitive and seek out adventures!  Isn’t the world an amazing place?

Hugs 🤗 Teddy 😘 

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Beautiful Portugal, exploring the towns and countryside

Day 2 in Portugal was another busy, big bus tour.  Destination today?   The towns of Silves and Lagos.  Kim’s friend Mary told her these were her favorite part of southern Spain, so she didn’t want to miss it.  Oh boy….this bus was full.  Kim was hoping it might be a smaller bus than the tours she took in Spain, but it wasn’t meant to be.

So, Jane, Dawn and Kim hopped aboard and headed on their way.   The drive through the countryside was amazing.  They saw almond trees, olive groves and orange groves.  There are two kinds of almond trees here….one that produces the nuts for eating and one that produces almonds for amaretto.

They arrived at the town of Silves and had free time to visit the church and/or the castle.   They chose to visit the castle and made their way up the narrow streets, stopping for a bit of shopping along the way…of course :). They found a ceramics store and picked up a few small bowls and some tile that Portugal is known for.

Then, the visit to a castle where they were rewarded with amazing views.  On the way out and back to the bus, they enjoyed a street performer playing the accordion.  They wished they had more time in this town to explore…an outdoor cafe would have been awesome…next time…

Then they headed to the top of a mountain pass to an artisan shop for tasting  2 liquors….their choice :). They choose amaretto and a honey liquor….they made a couple of small purchases.   Kim picked up samplers of fig liquor.

It was very misty that day, so they weren’t able to see the view from the top of the pass. On the way up, they did see a granite quarry and learned more about the cork trees, which many products are made of.

Next they headed to the town of Sangres, and to a peninsula overlooking the algarve coast.  This was a real treat and their first glimpse of the spectacular coastline.   Kim took time to sit on the edge,  enjoying the sound of the waves and taking lots of pictures.   Surprise!  Surprise!  Kim’s happy place 🙂

Next stop, the beautiful town of Lagos.  Another place where they wished they had more time.  They enjoyed wandering the streets, taking pictures and wandering in the shops.

That night they went back to a great Portuguese restaurant called Jardim Rustico and ordered food to share.  Octopus salad, mussels, prawns, cod fritters…my mouth is watering! Kim thinks Portuguese food is even better than Spain….and that says a lot!

Later folks!

🤗❤️❤️💗 Teddy

 

Welcome to Portugal!

Hi everyone!  Well, the countdown is on Kim has only a few days left on her trip until she boards the plane and comes home to Saskatoon….and she is making the most of it.

Yesterday, she and her friends had a long day at the airport.  They flew from Malaga, Spain to Lisbon and then to their final destination…Faro, Portugal.  A driver picked them up at the airport and took them to their condo in Albufiera in the Algarve Region.

After picking up some groceries for breakfast, Kim and Jane headed to a restaurant close by and had their first Portuguese wine, and seafood stew.  They both agreed that it was delicious and it gives Spain’s food a run for its money lol

Today, they continued on their food quest, and went on a cultural, food tour with Eating Algarve tours.  The tour arranged for everyone to be picked up at their hotel…their driver was amazing!  He gave them a lot of information about his hometown of Faro and of Portugal. It was very interesting.

Kim loved this tour, and said it was one of the best food tours she has been on. It was the perfect mix of history, culture, food and wine tastings.  She also took a lot of photographs…..great street art and diverse neighbourhoods.

Kim said the food is amazing…looks pretty awesome to me!

On the tour, they also visited some old churches, many of which are being restored.  Kim thought they were beautiful. One of the  altars was covered in gold leaf, and the restoration was just completed two weeks ago.  The other church featured tiles from the 16th century (the blue and yellow ones) and also from the 18th century (the blue ones).

A church visit isn’t complete without climbing up to the tower to see the storks up close and personal…is it?

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And, a visit to the bone cathedral is in order…or is it? Kinda creepyl

Remember when I said Kim took lots of pictures….well, she took lots of pictures.  Everywhere she turned, she saw something new.  And, really, isn’t that the point?  Take a look around…look up, look down, look straight ahead…and it all looks different.  Isn’t it great to get a new perspective?

That was a busy and fun filled day!  The big smile on their guide Johanna’s face says it all….can’t you just tell she loves what she does?

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Kim says Portugal is one of her new favorite places.  She only gets to spend a few days here, but she said she will be back, and soon.  Do you think she will take me with her?  I hear there are lots of fish there!

 

Abracos e beijos (hugs and kisses) ❤️Teddy 💕

World’s most Dangerous Walk…Caminito Del Rey, Spain

Hola Amigos!

There are now three amigas on this epic girls adventure….Kim and Dawn’s good friend Jane flew in from Saskatoon last night.   She didn’t skip a beat…..time change didn’t stop her!  They all got up early today and….you guessed it, went on another bus tour.

This one was a different kind of adventure and involved getting outdoors and walking in nature…and on what has been called the world’s most dangerous walk.

This was an exciting, surprising adventure for them….awe inspiring and Kim said a bit scary at times.

Here is  a bit of information from Wikipedia about the walk:

El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Path) is a walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales in the province of Málaga, Spain. The name derives from the original name of Camino del Rey (King’s Pathway), abbreviated locally to el caminito.[1] The walkway had fallen into disrepair and was partially closed for over a decade. After four years of extensive repairs and renovations, the walkway re-opened in 2015. It has been known in the past as the “world’s most dangerous walkway” following five deaths in 1999 and 2000.[2]

And here are just a few of the amazing pictures.  You can see the old walkway underneath the new one….scary!

Well folks, I think a reward is in order after that trek…time for a tour of a winery and some tapas 🙂

They headed back to their hotel after this tour and out for dinner at a great Spanish restaurant at the Marina…sea bass and tuna tartare were their choices tonight……I think they should take me with them.  I love fish!

Tomorrow is a new day and they hired a driver to take them to a couple of white villages and some caves.  Kim said she is a bit nervous that the driver won’t show, or that it won’t work out somehow.  But no worries….have to remember NEMA…..no excuses, make adjustments.   It will all work out one way or another…..stay tuned.

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Later folks! 💗Teddy

Gorgeous Granada…touring the Alhambra

Well folks, Kim ventured off on her own today with a bus and guided tour to the city of Granada.  It was an early start….at the bus stop for 7:00 am.  Good news…less people, and Kim was one of the midway pickups, so less waiting time on the bus.

Kim’s destination  today was the city of Granada and a tour of the Alhambra Complex.  This is a tour that you should try to book in advance, because you need tickets to get in, and they sell out fast! Kim loves learning the history about this place.

The Alhambra was the last Moorish stronghold in Europe.  This was the Nazarenes (Soanish Muslims) grand palace, filled with ornate stucco, plaster stalactites, colours, scalloped windows and amazing lush gardens.  Kim was amazed at how beautiful it was.  She had an amazing tour guide, who brought the place to life.

Here are just a few pictures of the gardens

There are also many palaces within the Alhambra.  The buildings are very intricate.

Kim also enjoyed the palace of the lions.  A couple of unique things included murals in the ceiling of humans and animals…and stained glass.  This was not typically used in Muslim art, and was added by Christians

 

After this amazing experience, the group was given free time to explore Granada….Kim might have got a bit lost in Granada, but it’s all part of the experience …isn’t it?

Well, that’s another great day in Spain.  Kim said to give Granada a big paws up!  She highly recommends the Alhambra tour if you make it to Spain.,

Have a pawsome day everyone!  💕 Teddy

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Beautiful Cordoba…touring the Mezquita

Hi everyone! Today was another epic bus tour for Kim and Dawn. Oh boy, this was a tough one. They had to be at the pickup location for 7:10 am and when they got on, they noticed they were the first to arrive. Kim asked the guide how many people were going to be on this tour….sesenta…well folks, that means 60 in Español…..and they all needed to be picked up. So, that added about an hour to their trip.

After everyone was picked up, they headed to Cordoba which was about 170 Kms away.

They both agreed that it felt like they got there faster than their bus trip yesterday, because the roads weren’t so windy. They still enjoyed the beautiful lush scenery, and the trip was smooth sailing.

The reward in Cordoba was their visit to the Mezquita (pronounced like mosquito;) )

This is the only one in the world, and they both thought it was pretty amazing. It’s a massive former mosque with a 16th century church rising up from the middle. It was once the Center of Western Islam and the heart of a cultural capital that rivaled Baghdad and Constantinople. Kim thought one of the coolest parts is that from the inside, there is a minaret, which is part of the mosque, but from the outside it looks like a bell tower. Kim also thought the history was interesting, particularly having just visited Morocco. Funny how things start to fit into place, isn’t it?

The ceiling and columns
Decorative wood carvings inside the window
Traditional mosque
The minaret from inside
Stunning architecture
The tower from the outside, the inside is the mosque minaret
The exterior of the mezquita
Ceiling of the catholic chapel inside the mezquita

Now a Catholic Church
The choir area, all hand carved seats and a spectacular organ

After the tour of the Mezquita, the guide took them for a tour around the winding streets of the Medina and the Jewish quarter. Beautiful spot, with lots of people. Oh my goodness! The gals wonder what high season would look like!

Look at all the people!

Next is free time! Dawn and Kim found an amazing tapas place and shared eggplant with honey and meatballs…they may have had a glass of sangria too. They both thought this was the best meal yet!

Aubergine…..eggplant with honey
Delicious meatballs!

A few stops in some souvenir shops and Kim purchased a few prints from a local artist on the street! doesn’t he look happy!

Okay folks! The gals are busy and they are off to Granada tomorrow….stay tuned!

Kim saw this today in the Medina….says it all, doesn’t it? Love and kisses, Teddy ❤️

On the road again! Tour bus takes the gals to the white villages

 

Today was a very busy day and it started early.  Kim and Dawn booked a tour to the white village of Ronda.   They had to get to their starting location, about a block from their condo, at 8:10.  They made it in time to head to a small cafe for a couple of Americanos to go.  Kim is missing her pot of coffee that she has every morning in Saskatoon….I think she is suffering from withdrawal.  Kim is thankful to know enough Spanish to order coffee ;).  Most people speak English here, but having some Spanish has been helpful….I think she is just having fun practicing.

And, they are off!  Coffees in hand on a big bus with lots of people.  Kim didn’t count, but she thinks there were about 30.  She was getting a bit frustrated, because the bus kept stopping to get more people for the tour, and this took over an hour.   I think she needs a chill pill 😉

Once everyone was on the bus, they headed up the mountains. The scenery was absolutely spectacular..lush greenery, steep hills, windy roads, and at the top it flattened out, and there were olive orchards everywhere.  Stunning!

Their first stop was a tiny white village called Serenil.  This was unique town where shops and homes are cut into the side and underneath cliffs.  There were a lot of swallows that nested here.   This was a very small village, and they spent about 1/2 hour here, wandering the streets, and taking pictures.  Kim walked into a unique deli and tried their Ibericos Chicharrones….fried pork.  The Spanish are known for their cured ham.

Back on the bus, they headed to their final destination, the white village of Ronda.  Ronda is one of the largest white towns and has a gorge straddling setting.  Kim and Dawn started off the tour with a local guide, who was great!  First stop was the bullfight ring.  Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting and it is still in use today…once a year on September 1st.  Kim has mixed emotions about this place, but found the history interesting.

78B728AC-417E-47EC-8612-AFF1555AA589Next stop…they headed towards the gorge and the new bridge.  The ravine, called the El Tajo is 360 feet down and 200 feet wide.  The “new” bridge was built between 1751 and 1793….it’s a pretty scary height!

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Their guide then took them to explore more of the old town of Ronda.  Narrow streets, the church of Santa Maria and the town hall were just some of the highlights ….and the spectacular vistas!

And of course the day wouldn’t be complete if they didn’t track down some tapas…Dawn used her amazing app that helped them find a restaurant with excellent trip advisor reviews, and recommended by Rick Steves.  It was called Bodega San Francisco. The gals got a little stressed here, because the food was a bit slow and they had a bus to catch!  But all ended well and this was a very cool spot!

That’s it for today!  They have another busy day set for tomorrow…bus leaves at 7 am folks and is headed for Cordoba!  Stay tuned…..

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