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Category: Culture

Buzzing Quito

On our last day in Ecuador, we set out to explore some of Quito.  After making our way over to the historic old city, we are greeted with much unexpected excitement.  First, we encounter a mob scene developing as street vendors and metro police swarm around each other, angry words shared, fists fly, lots of […]

Inspirational species diversity

Coming to Ecuador inspired me to read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.  And at the end of his argument that evolution takes place through a process called natural selection, he writes: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms […]

Wining and dining in Portugal and Venice

One of the true highlights of this trip are its meals.  And not only because the food, the wine, and the atmosphere of so many of them are beyond special.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all times that Lindsey and I get to completely slow down, be together, and just talk about our honeymoon, our […]

Like a Disneyland ride

The pictures tell the story.  This city built with canals as streets, gondolas as its taxis, and a beautifully decaying charm, creates a wonderfully romantic atmosphere.

Murano glassblowing

For as touristy as we know it will be and as it ends up being, the glass blowing demonstration while on Murano Island near Venice is spectacular.  We find ourselves two seats in a hot studio that is somehow much hotter than the very hot day outside.  The actors of the show are a master […]

Transported back to the Renaissance

I’ve never been much of a history buff. The past already happened, irrelevant beyond memorization for exams. But Venice? Venice captivated. We arrived by private boat, speeding through the ocean then slowing to the 5mph speed limit to grace the Grand Canal. Our hotel entrance was unabashedly grand, a contrast to our departure by foot […]

The magic and a little science of port

After learning more, we can appreciate almost any true craft, and port making is no exception.  Which grapes to use, when to stop fermentation using grappa-esque liquor, if and how to age the drink, what to age the drink in, and how long to wait before drinking. After spending over a week in Portugal, we […]

The road to Porto includes Aveiro

When traveling, all rental cars feel like a red convertible along a palm-tree lined beach road.  Wind in hair, classic rock on the radio, and a glass-bottled Coca-Cola in the cup holder.  A couple of the details are different in our case – the rental car is very compact and white, the music playing is […]

Azulejos

We are immediately taken by the azulejos, the Portuguese blue tiles that cover the inside and outside walls of so many sites.  These tiles are both art and construction material, and they come in the form of realistic stories and geometric patterns. The most traditional are an incredibly calming blue; however, as we explore further, […]

Port and cheese

Portugal’s staple foods are our favorite snack at home or abroad — cheese, bread, charcuterie, and wine.  Instead of a true dinner, one night in Lisbon we indulge in only these wonders.  From two different wine bars, one in Belem and one in Lisbon, we eat and drink and snack until we’re a little too […]