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portugal: guidebook research 2018

Rick Steves Europe, Portugal, guidebook, research

Last time I updated the entire Rick Steves’ Portugal book, I posted daily comments on Facebook —each one beginning with “Wow, do I love Portugal” & describing fun moments + the ups & downs of being a guidebook researcher. Four years on, I no longer have a Facebook account, but I took a few moments before going to bed each night during this trip to jot down some notes about the day. Here we go again!

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lisboa: expo ’98

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Expo '98

Twenty years ago today, Lisboa opened a specialized World’s Fair that completely altered the city’s landscape. Local government reclaimed an abandoned industrial zone to make way for pavilions, new housing, a new Metro line, a multi-modal train station & a second bridge across the Tejo River. Lisbon would never be the same.

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sevilla: exhibición de enganches

España, Spain, Andalucía, Sevilla, horse, caballo, Exhibición de Enganches

While Feria may not be my thing, an event coinciding with the April fair gets me excited every year: a horse carriage display & competition. The first one took place in 1984 & later, with the King of Spain accepting the title of honorary President, the Club de Enganches de Andalucía added Real (“royal”) to their title. Horses & Andalucía have gone together forever, & many families choose to arrive to their caseta during feria either on horseback or by carriage… one more way to promote local culture as well as add a touch of glamour.

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lisboa: palácio galveias

Portugal, Lisboa, Palácio Galveias, Arquivo O Século

I practically grew up in our local branch of the public library in Memphis. I think my mom figured out it doubled as free child care, & I could spend hours going through the stacks without ever noticing time pass. So when I heard the Lisbon city government spent 2.5 million € to fix up this public library, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

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sevilla: san luis de los franceses

España, Spain, Sevilla, Jesuit, San Luis de los Franceses, Baroque

Sevilla —as any city with a 2,000-year history— has seen its share of ups & downs. But one of its most prosperous periods came after the discovery of the Americas in 1492. Possessing an inland location on a river navigable all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, Sevilla became the heart of all trade for the Spanish empire. Wealth & power concentrated in a walled city rich with tax income & bursting with new products as well as new ideas… even for Catholicism.

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spain: écija

España, Spain, Andalucía, Écija, Plaza de España, Plaza del Salón

An hour & 15 minute bus ride from Sevilla takes you to another important Roman city in Andalucía: Écija. Although technically in Sevilla province, Écija is actually closer to Córdoba which influences its gastronomy. But let’s work up an appetite first…

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spain: itálica

España, Andalucía, Sevilla, Itálica, Roman

A short ride from Sevilla, getting off the bus in Santiponce may feel like you’ve stepped into small-town Spain. But you’re about to enter the hometown of two emperors & what was once a thriving city of 10,000 people… at one of the far reaches of the Roman Empire.

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japan: friends & fun

Japan, Tokyo, sakura, cherry blossoms

Some of you might remember I have a Master’s degree in China Studies, but I’ve never been to China! I assure you that’s a long story no one wants to hear. My first Asian trip was to Japan instead… & it couldn’t have been better.

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year in review: 2017

2017, travel, year in review
● Where was I? Spain, Morocco, Portugal, France, & USA.

It’s back! As always, I write this for personal reasons, but you’re welcome to revisit the past year with me. This year turned out to be as crazy as last, so I’ve grouped events into a few broad categories to help make sense of it all.

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