The other night I was looking through some of our past travel photos to print for wall art. I figured it would be a fun and simple project. This was not as easy as I thought. There is only so much wall space and thousands of photos to choose from. As of now we decided on just 10 of the best from the past five years. Did I mention how hard this was?
Spending hours looking through these photos was really enjoyable. Talking about certain parts we enjoyed and remembering crazy things that happened along the way. Photographs will always be priceless because they are our best memories and the people and places that we love beautifully illustrated on paper.
I realized after looking at them all that I just didn’t do many of them justice. I barley posted photos on my website or shared them anywhere at all. I take these photos to share with friends and I’m always hoping that people will be inspired by the world we live in.
Getting to the point of this novel…I decided to add more travel photos to my website starting with our time in Portugal – a place I love and have loved since before I knew I loved it. Yes, I did post a small blog about Portugal right after we went, but I feel it deserves more of my attention.
So, let’s talk about Portugal.
We went to Portugal last year, which feels like sooo long ago already. In the very beginning of my years building a bucket list I was collecting photos of places I really wanted to see in my lifetime. One of those photos was of a very old enchanted red staircase. I knew nothing about the location of this red staircase – just that I really really wanted to see it in person. It happens to be part of a small bookstore in Porto. Fun fact for any Harry Potter lovers – this bookstore is also where JK Rowling got her inspiration for the library in Hogwarts.
So 4 years later we headed out to Portugal and had a truly memorable experience. Portugal isn’t like any place I’ve ever seen before.
Lisbon is kind of a mix between eccentric and medieval. Some of the castles and ruins date back to the 8th century. Walking along an old castle wall was unreal, I don’t think I could really understand the magnitude of how cool that was at the time.
We traveled to Sintra which was a city of great wealth. One castle, the best one in my opinion, was fabulously pastel colored with a variety of patterns and textures. Something that could have possibly emerged from Wesley Anderson’s dreams. It gets better… down the road from the candy colored castle is the once home of millionaire António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. He built himself a palace (of course) and on his property he has a huge garden with an extensive series of under ground tunnels. The tunnels connect to a well that is 27 meters deep.
On to our last stop, Porto. One look at Porto and it immediately became one of my favorite cities in the world. The way the city is built is like an art installation. The medieval district is built next to the Douro river and almost entirely on a slope. The colorful buildings seemed to be piled on top of each other. Aside from 18th century buildings and beautiful art, Porto may be best known for Port wine. The Douro Valley is where the sweet dessert wine is produced.
We pretty much spent our days in Porto walking around in a cloud of happiness. Everything was beautiful. All of the food we ate was delicious. Of course, we also filled up on every glass of Port wine we could find. We did find the bookstore, Lello Bookshop, with the red staircase and it was enchanting. The funny thing is they have a very strict no photography policy. I really tried, but if you want nice photos they have an early morning tour you can pay for to get your staircase photos. We passed on that. So after all of the hype about the red staircase I leave you with no photos of my own. Sometimes it’s more important to just enjoy what you are doing at the moment you are doing it. We found a small cafe table with a nice view of the staircase and enjoyed our espresso while marveling at how freaking cool it was to be there.
I’ve attached a gallery of some highlights from our Portugal trip. There are a few pages for you to enjoy. If you’d like to share the travel inspiration or give someone an idea for a really cool trip – feel free to share this post.