Ferry Adultery

I feel like I’m committing adultery. My palms are sweaty. I feel palpitations in my heart. I cast furtive glances over my shoulder. Any minute now my beloved spouse of six years will scoop me up and put me back where I belong. In the ferry lineup to my beloved Bowen Island. I live on an Island accessible only by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, British Columbia. About once or twice a week, I venture off the island and onto []

I Do the Unthinkable

I did the unthinkable today. I strode through the double doors into Future Shop, quickened my pace past the ranks of PCs and veered left into a stylish, flashy, oh-so-hip area that I never expected to enter willingly. The Mac area. The cute apples floating in space, the swooshy graphics on the wall, the rows of delicate little Mac books lined up demurely, confidently. “We are the best of the best,” they whisper seductively. “We will make your life better than you []

Estremoz – October 18

I sit in the bar of a fabulous restaurant converted from a 16th Century jail in Estremoz and sip the remainder of my wine. I don’t want to finish it! But even I won’t succumb to a second glass. After all, it’s just 2 pm! Gregg is at a meeting with the director of the local museum. The director included a piece of Gregg’s in a show a few years back and so Gregg is meeting with him now to perhaps discuss []

Evora – October 17 and 18

Now here’s a town that invented charming! Evora is a walled town dating back to Roman times that just reeks with stylish and historical beauty. The shops are beautiful, the twisting streets and white washed walls are beautiful, the cobbled pavements are beautiful and the people strolling the streets and sipping coffees in the terrace restaurants are, if not beautiful, certainly soulful. There is an unperturbed solidity about Evora that seems to arise from its survival for so many centuries as the []

Sintra – October 16

We devoted the whole of today for an outing to Sintra, which is about a 30-minute train ride from Lisbon. So many people have told us that we have to visit Sintra that we were very much looking forward to it! Sintra is a charming little town full of palaces and tourist shops. The highlight is the totally wacky Pena Palace perched atop an impossibly steep hill with a commanding view of the Atlantic and surrounding countryside. The Pena Palace was built []

Lisbon Museums

Apparently there are about 40 museums in Lisbon but so far I’ve just been to three! First, I took myself off by myself to visit the tile museum which was reputed to be just a mile down the road from our place. The walk was not one of the more scenic ones I’ve taken in my life! It follows the main road that borders the river. To my left was a succession of peeling and crumbling buildings and to my right, past []

Lisbon Fado

Fado is the Portuguese blues — hurtin’ songs that are unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Apparently they were originally sung by the women waiting for the sailors to get back from their long voyages. I had expected fado to sound like the flamenco singing but it is totally different. We went out to a fado club up in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood (near where we first stayed in Libson) for an evening of dinner and fado. The three course dinner included wine []

Chilling Out in Lisbon – October 13 to 15

Since arriving at our lovely apartment on Tuesday, October 12, we’ve just been enjoying being temporary residents of the Alfama district in Lisbon. Inside, our apartment is ultra modern–all white walls and swooping lines with beautiful appliances, nifty storage units, sleek furniture, and a sweeping view of Lisbon and the river. And then we step outside into a tiny cobbled street that only very narrow cars can negotiate. Gregg probably couldn’t lay down sideways between the walls on either side of the []

Lisbon – October 14

I sit in our bright kitchen with the window open and a reflection of red terracotta tiles, whitewashed wall, and bright blue sky in my computer screen. Outside the relentless beat of Portuguese pop music provides a pleasant enough soundtrack. It’s just past noon and the smell of fish has started to pervade the air. Fish is everywhere in the Alfama. This morning I looked out over our narrow street to see the back of a small truck open and flats of []

Figuiera da Foz to Lisbon – October 12

Today’s the day we get into our new apartment in the Alfama district in Lisbon. The Alfama is one of the few areas of Lisbon that survived the earthquake of 1755 and so is a maze of tiny streets and twisting staircases leading from the river up to the castle. The area has been inhabited continuously since the days of the Visigoths. Romans, Moors, and sailors have called the place home over the centuries. The drive from Figuiera da Foz went smoothly []