Empedrada is underfoot in Portugal

Empedrada is a particular kind of square cobblestone surface that is found all over Portugal. The material tends to be a uniform pale color and it covers lots of sidewalk and many public plazas, private patios and even streets. Contrasting designs are made with black stone, and very rarely colors. There are some typical patternsContinue reading “Empedrada is underfoot in Portugal”

New Architecture Ignores the Old in Portugal

Portugal is full of churches, palaces, fortresses and restored historic houses containing private art collections. Possibly there are more historic sites per capita in Portugal than anywhere in Europe. Older houses, too, are frequently architecturally interesting, with curved roof lines, angled windows, wrought iron balconies, tiled facades and other graceful details. We even see theContinue reading “New Architecture Ignores the Old in Portugal”

Porto on a sunny Sunday

The Douro River divides Porto into the city and the port-tasting zone. There is a long tradition of making port here (Porto, get it?). Whether you like port or not, it is part of the experience to taste some. We didn’t trek across the bridge to the lodges because Jonathan found a place where youContinue reading “Porto on a sunny Sunday”

Lisbon Sights

We had a whirlwind week, splashing through the rain and ducking into cafes to avoid the worst of the downpours as we visited a variety of places with our visitor, Peggy. In Lisbon, we began at the “Taste of Perdition” and Thieves Markets, both of which might have been better without rain. Despite the unprepossesingContinue reading “Lisbon Sights”

A few more sights from the neighborhood

Young people are everywhere, here are some hanging out at a local fountain (water tap). What is education like in Morocco? Are there after school activities or part-time jobs available to young people? Is an after school job considered a good thing or a stigma? It’s clear I have a lot to learn about Morocco,Continue reading “A few more sights from the neighborhood”

We find a photography gallery off the beaten path: Dar Balmira

While at the Cafe clock, we saw a poster for an exhibit of historic photos of Fez from the early 20th century that have been restored and reprinted. The gallery is not far from our riad and is in a restored riad, so we decided a field trip was in order. We found our wayContinue reading “We find a photography gallery off the beaten path: Dar Balmira”

Gaudi Day, the Sagrada Familia church

We were going to use our ICOM cards to visit Sagrada Familia, but it requires waiting in the long ticket line and then returning for the timed entry, often late in the afternoon. We caved and bought the online tickets. Even waiting until the end of October didn’t diminish the crowds much, though we gotContinue reading “Gaudi Day, the Sagrada Familia church”