First, thank you so much for your kind comments after my last post (about pain.) It was a bit scary to reveal a not-pretty part of my life, but you all responded with compassion and insightful comments, and that meant a lot to me.
I had a bad few days, but am feeling great now, enjoying summertime with Ian and Lil Dude, writing more of a new book, cooking with herbs and veggies from our garden, going to little fairs and markets and fountains around town...
So, I'm gonna wrap up my series of Portugal posts here, since you're probably getting sick of them! (I do have to admit that this is serving as my personal family photo album/travelogue, too, as you may have guessed...)
Wouldn't it be fun if these wee balconies were standard in homes here in the U.S.?
We book-ended our trip with a few days in Lisbon, and at the tail end, we had a chance to explore more of the neighborhoods. View from the medieval, labyrinthine Alfama neighborhood, perched way up high:
I loved the tiles on the buildings... I have dozens of pics like this one, all different colors and patterns:
I always seek out flea markets and antique shops... here's one in the Alfama district, chock full of shiny, intriguing treasures...
In some neighborhoods, at nights, the cozy, narrow streets were full of tables and chairs and cushions and people and music and food... so cool.
We rented out bikes and rode along this great bike path to a famous ancient monastery in Belem.
Along the bike path (which ran along the river most of the time), there was art (see the boat hook-up thingie below) and poetry painted on the pavement.
These are the famous custard pastries of Lisbon, called pastel de nata... this cafe in Belem was supposedly the best place to eat them. The place was super-touristy, but the pastries were worth it-- warm for the oven, the crust flaky and buttery and delicious.
Fado music is Portugal's famous tradition of singing wistful songs accompanied by acoustic guitar. We listened to it at a hole-in-the-wall bar, over sangria and candle light. A nice romantic end to our 10-year anniversary trip. :-)
Thanks for coming by... hope you're enjoying summertime, too! Oh, and if you're in the Ft Collins area, please come to the Old Town Book Fair, which is happening all day on Saturday, June 29, 2013. I'll be chatting and signing at the Old Firehouse Books booth/tent in Old Town Square from 1-2:00. Come say hi!
Many readers have been asking me if Portugal will be a setting in an upcoming book! Wellll... as you know, I don't like to divulge much about a book before it's even written (not good for my creativity), but I will say that one reason I chose Portugal for our trip was because of the coastline, castles, and mysterious gardens... all of which play parts in the two new YA manuscripts I'm currently working on. I'm having lots of fun with it. For me, it's so important to engage in a setting with all my senses, to really make it come alive for readers.
Anyway, thank you all for asking, and I hope you like the books that will eventually materialize from this latest travel adventure!