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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lisbon Trip-- Porto and Aveiro!

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And here is the next batch of Portugal pics!  Hope you're not sick of them yet (because there's still another batch coming after this...;-)  So, these photos are from Porto and Aveiro, from the middle of our ten-day anniversary trip...

Cafes along the river...

Our beautiful hotel room was right on the water! Guest House Douro was a bit of a splurge for us, but totally worth it.  We were greeted with roses and champagne and this amazing view:

Our hosts, Carmen and Joao, were stylish and vibrant and warm- they made us feel so welcome!  They had a smile-inducing array of pet names for us: kittens and loves and kids and babies and sweeties. (I told Ian I wanted to start calling everyone babies and kittens, but he didn't think I could quite pull it off the way Carmen and Joao do.)  Beret-sporting Joao made breakfasts, which were veritable towers of sculpted exotic fruit... (I need to raid Ian's camera for pics, since for some reason I didn't get any on my own camera... too busy eating mango and guayabana.)

We spent our two days in Porto wandering the various cobble-stoned neighborhoods, going from one amazing scenic outlook to another.

This town definitely had a port feel-- the smells of water and tastes of fresh fish and smattering of colorful boats.  Like Lisbon, there were many beautifully tiled buildings with intricate wrought iron balconies holding flapping laundry...

We found a craft/antique market in the street, and got some cool little gifts.

We rented out bikes one afternoon and biked along the Douro River to the Atlantic. This was something I don't remember doing when I backpacked around Europe a couple decades ago-- renting bikes-- must be a more recent phenomena.  We made bike outings several times on this trip, and loved them all.

I appreciated how these people's laundry was color-coordinated with their tiles...

The colors of Porto are this wonderful mix of rich and gritty...

Ah, sunsets...

Porto is supposed to be one of the romantic cities in Europe, and I have to say, I agree... there's something about the river and boats and bridges...

Maybe it has to do with the light... look how golden! (Nothing here is photo-shopped-- I'm too lazy or perhaps busy for that.)

We stopped for a night and day at Aveiro, a small town between  Lisbon and Porto, on the coast.  It's called "Little Venice."

The bikes here were free to use (although they were fairly beat-up.) We biked along  the canals, past these gondola-like boats.


Half the time on this trip, we stayed in private rooms in economical hostels, like this one-- Aveiro Rossio Hostel.  These hostels were centuries-old and gorgeous-- twelve-foot high ceilings with elegant moulding and other cool architectural details. They were usually decorated in a mix of antiques and IKEA-- a kind of funky vintage-modern scheme-- waaaay different from the crumbling and utilitarian hostels I stayed in a couple decades ago while backpacking in Europe.   (We have those same curtains from IKEA at home, hehehe.)

Here's the lobby of the hostel.  In the morning, I had a nice long conversation in French with a French guy-- it's so fun to meet people from other countries, speak in other languages-- another bonus of hostel-hopping.

Here's the beautiful old hostel where we stayed in Lisbon-- Travellers' House-- super-high ceilings, lovely moulding touches, private balcony, antique desk, IKEA beds. This place was kind of a Scandanavian-minimalist aesthetic with the white walls and linens. And the staff and other guests there were very cool and interesting to talk with, too. They made me nutella crepes for breakfast, further winning my heart...

Okay, I will only subject you to one more batch of these pictures, I promise!  Coming up next... Lisbon again-- the medieval, labyrinthine Alfama district; another bike ride along another river; romantic fado music in a hole-in-the-wall bar...

Off for a cup of tea now!



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!

1 comment:

  1. Laura, You've hooked me! I totally want to go to Portugal now. Lisbon looks so charming and you guys look so relaxed and at peace. Amazing photos. Thanks for sharing :)

    Hope to catch up soon!