one step at a time…

spain: sevilla day trips

España, Spain, Sevilla, day trips

When I moved back to Spain in 2016, I resolved to visit all places near home in Sevilla —big or small— that I’d never had time to see during a work trip. Part of this ambitious plan also included re-visiting places I knew well but felt I needed to explore more… and write trip reports for this blog. Well, that was the plan. Life has a way of making plans go astray so… no time like the present to start.

Read More »spain: sevilla day trips

year in review: 2018

2018, travel, year in review
● Where was I? Spain & Portugal

Here we go again! As always, I write this for personal reasons, but you’re welcome to revisit the past year with me. Ahhhh, looks can be deceiving. From the above graph, you might think I stayed at home more than last year. Well, kinda but not really…

Read More »year in review: 2018

spain: osuna

España, Andalucía, Osuna, panorama

Countless day trips exist from Sevilla, but larger cities like Córdoba, Cádiz & Jerez get all the press. After moving to Spain in 2016, I’ve started to think of Sevilla as a hub… it’s easy to make the grand city your home base, then explore from there. Smaller, equally important destinations like Écija, Itálica & Carmona lie nearby, all less than a couple of hours away by either bus or train. Rafa wanted to show me around Osuna, so off we went…

Read More »spain: osuna

lisboa: palácio fronteira

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Palácio Fronteira, Mascarenhas

Situated far from the Metro & far from tourist crowds, the Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira has to be one of the best-kept secrets of Lisbon. Heck, it’s taken me 20 years to get around to visit it! Built in the 1670s, this hunting estate survived the 1755 earthquake & then became the main residence of the Mascarenhas family.

Read More »lisboa: palácio fronteira

discovery: 1929 expo tiles

Spain, Portugal, Espanha espera a nossa visita

Many tourists are told an old, tired tale that Spain & Portugal merely tolerate each other… as if turning their backs to one another at the border. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since early medieval times, intermarriage between the Portuguese & Castilian courts formed the cornerstone of foreign policy for both kingdoms. The 1385 battle at Batalha established a fairly permanent border between them, but soon afterwards the Discoveries era brought them into frequent contact again. Portuguese captains worked for Spain with ship crews almost always a mix from both. To the chagrin of other European countries, Spain & Portugal divided the world. Even in the 20th century, both had decades-long dictatorships. Spain & Portugal have much more in common than most people realize.

Read More »discovery: 1929 expo tiles

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!

Read More »portugal: guidebook research 2018

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.

Read More »lisboa: expo ’98

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.

Read More »sevilla: exhibición de enganches