Photography Session and New Friends in Portugal

The second surprise Daniel had for me was a private photography session in Portugal with Kali Jade Photography. Maya and her husband Miguel were very accommodating and drove us all around the area for fabulous locations to shoot at. We started at the Palace of Monserrate at Sintra, where we toured the gardens complete with waterfalls and moss covered rocks. The palace itself was stunning too of course. From there we went to the western most tip of Europe and admired the sea at Cabo da Roca. Oh my was it pretty. Green, green grass, the bluest water and sky… We finished up with a spontaneous stop on our way back to Cascais, along the side of the road at a ruins for some last minute pictures with the sunset.

So, because I’m lazy, I’ll just send you over to Maya’s blog to see these pictures they took! Please click here. :)

Before catching our train back to Lisbon, we snapped a picture with Miguel, Maya and their children after having supper with them at a local restaurant in Cascais. It was such fun to get to know them and now we have connections in Portugal! It’s really fun having friends all over the world.

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6th Anniversary Surprise

Now that I finally finished up the family trip we took to Germany last fall, it’s time to share some pictures from a trip Daniel and I took alone  for our 6th anniversary back in February. He knows me pretty well by now and has figured out that surprises are the way to go. But I still love trying to guess what the surprise is, so he supplied me with a few clues of our anniversary destination:

Clue #1: It’s near an ocean.

Clue #2: It’s famous, but used to be more famous than it is now.

Clue #3: The weather would be about like it was in Austin for our 5th anniversary. (Springish)

I guessed California. But yet, not all those clues matched up properly, so I still didn’t know till a few weeks before we left.

Turns out, we landed in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Folks, this is a city you’ll want to visit.

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There are fun red trolley cars. What more can you want?

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Even the world famous trolley car that goes up and down a steep hill, all while keeping the passengers quite level. We rode it and it worked just fine.

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The food, and this meal in particular, was bursting with flavor.

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Our hotel and “home base” was in Lisbon (or Lisboa in Portugese) for the week, but we took the train for a couple day trips down the coast. Our first outing took us to Cascais which had a large fortification, an older couple walking in the rain {holding hands nonetheless}, lots more tiled buildings which I fell in love with, and yet more tasty food. I had squid for the first time and liked it. :)

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Holten, Holland

{October 1, 2013}

Suddenly, there were thatched roofs. :)

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Since we were flying out of Dusseldorf to return home, we stayed at a hotel near the airport. But we still had the rental car and wanted to see Holland since we were so close. Therefore, we drove across the border and spent part of the day in Holten.

We walked around town and fed some goats in a…petting zoo? of some sort. Not sure what the purpose of this little menagerie was. There were a few turkeys, some guineas, and goats in a pen across from a miniature playground. While we were watching this dear lady came up with her walker and emptied a bag of old bread slices over the fence for the goats. We couldn’t help but wonder if goats were really created to eat bread…

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Here’s where I confirmed my desire to own a lovely European bicycle.

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Why are there not more roundabouts in the States?

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So, I know this is a very dark picture. This is what happens when you’re riding along at say, 70 km an hour, and the camera is in your lap, turned off, on the manual setting, when you suddenly need a picture right. now. I had to do some serious lighting adjustments to even get this picture as viewable as it is.

But it’s a good example of what I’m learning the more I travel: There are plenty of methods of transportation that don’t include carseats.

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I had to include it, because it reminded me of another momma in another bike riding town. This was taken when we were in Bocas Town back in 2012. Now why can’t I rig up something for my one child and ride my bike around town? If the Netherlands and Panama can do it, certainly I can!

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Goodbye Eibelstadt, Hello Belgium

{September 30, 2013}

Our month in Germany had come to an end, and so we packed up our belongings in a new rental car (below left) and said goodbye to our little apartment in Eibelstadt. Here’s the whole house, but we lived in the white part below all the brown, kind of hidden behind the greenery.

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The night before we left, we finally had our neighbor over. We met him earlier when he was kind enough to let us borrow his bike for pedaling adventures, but really waited till the last moment to invite him over for supper. :( So, the night before we were leaving Germany (sigh, next time we visit a new country, we won’t wait till the last evening to have new friends over), we shared several hours chatting and getting to know Hermann. He actually drove Daniel to Wurzburg this particular morning to get the new rental car, and we snapped a photo before we said goodbye. During our evening meal, we shared with him our desire to have a good  beer sometime, but didn’t want it to be a lousy Budweiser (all too common in the States). Hermann was true to his word and brought us two German beers from the region as a send-off gift. :)

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After making sure we had all our suitcases and clothes, we packed up and headed out. We were on our way to Belgium. Specifically, Eupen. We had lunch/dinner at a little restaurant on a busy street corner, and I enjoyed the little addition of blankets draped across the chairs. It was chilly enough to use them, and so I did.

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We walked around town a wee bit, but were anxious to head to the dam nearby, so we didn’t linger too long.

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The dam was outside of town and rather impressive:

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