Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Beauty Of Lisbon, Portugal......

We are back in real Europe enjoying the stunning, capital city of Lisbon, Portugal. Known as the City Of Seven Hills, "Lisboa," in Portuguese overlooks the Rio Tejo. Today we explored the narrow, cobbled streets that are shared with cable cars, tourist buses, tuk tuks and even horse drawn carriages. This precarious twist of streets that ascend steep hills is not one to be taken by foot so we quickly enlisted the help of a small tourist bus that was tiny enough to get down the narrow lanes.

Sights Around Lisbon, Portugal

Plenty Of Colorful Buildings

Cable Car Tours For Tourists....Along With Hop On Hop Off Buses
Tuk Tuk Tours and Horse Drawn Carriages

Tiled Fronts Of Many Buildings

Enjoying the ride we choose to stay on the bus for the full 90-minute loop of the city just to get an overview of it's beauty. Lined with colorful buildings covered in ornate tiles, plenty of gothic architecture, domed churches there was plenty of make us smile.

Afterwards we drove over to the district called Belem to visit its famous tower. Commissioned by King John II in the early 16th Century, this fortified tower served as a defense system . With it's position perched high above the River Tagus it was later declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tower Of Belem, Lisbon, Portugal

Nearby we visited the massive Jeronomino's Monastery, that once housed the monks of St. Jerome. Built in 1501 it is one of the most prominent examples of Late Gothic Architecture in Portugal. Like the Belem Tower it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for it's significant importance in Portugal history.

Plenty Of Mosaic Tiled Streets

Jeronimo's Monastery

Although the weather today was a combination of clouds with a few sprinkles and breaks of sunshine, the temperatures were a comfortable 16 degrees which to our American friends translates to around 60 degrees. Not bad considering this is the middle of December so we'll take it while we can. Tomorrow we are off to the Algarve Region of Portugal to explore the city of Lagos and see what things we can find to excite us as we explore Portugal.......along the gringo trail.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sand, Surf And Sun.....Island Time In The Canaries of Spain.....

The village of Corralejo lies along the northeast coast of the island of Fuerteventura, the second largest of Spain's Canary Islands.  The gorgeous, turquoise waters of the Atlantic can be seen from just about everywhere in the town. Framed by massive, golden dunes of sand, white capped waves smashing against the volcanic, rocky shoreline with mountain vistas in the distance this place is the definition of island living.

Filled with a combo of dreadlocked, bare foot surfer dudes, European families on holiday, and Brits enjoying the sunshine Corralejo has something for everyone. Palm trees sway in the breeze while aloe vera plants grow just about everywhere. The main street is lined with tourist shops and restaurants while the coastline is dominated by high rise resorts for holiday makers.

But on the outskirts of the city is of the main tourist attraction that can't be missed. Parque Natural de Corralejo features a desert-like oasis of pristine mountains of sand and miles of beaches. We stopped to snap a few photos one day and caught some kids rolling down the dunes like they were mountains of snow. Bus loads of tourists from cruise ships make the trek to waddle through the sand or just stand on the edge of the road and take in the beauty.

The south side of the island features the rugged, reddish volcanic mountains just waiting to be explored by would be travelers. Since we rented a car for our house sit here we did get out and explore just about every part of this picturesque landscape.

As our time here comes to an end we are thankful that we had this opportunity to explore the island, live on island time and care for a dog and two cats as house and pet sitters. Another adventure comes to an end as we head out to our next destination......along the gringo trail.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Beaches, Windmills And Naked People....

I know I've been lazy about blogging recently simply because we had nothing much to say. Since we finished our tour of the Holy Land we spent three weeks in the United Kingdom doing a few house sits, visiting friends and spending time in London once again. Since it was fall in the UK the weather was getting a bit nippy but the colorful array of leaves falling all over the ground made it quite pleasant during our daily walks with our furry friends.

Second Time Around Taking Care Of These Cuties
In March, Cambridgeshire, England
This Is Daisy May

And This Is Evie
And Old Girl Named Chelsea, In Horsham, England

Currently we are house and pet sitting in Fuerteventura, the second largest of the Canary Islands that are owned by Spain. Daytime temperatures here warm up nicely to 70 degrees with bright sunshine. The island offers breathtaking vistas of the turquoise Atlantic Ocean that can be seen from just about everywhere. Although the water is way too chilly for us we have seen some brave Brits wading in the water or basking in the sunshine along the beaches. It's common here to spot females sunbathing topless or anyone else walking or lying about totally naked, since public nudity is quite accepted here.

While we have been to Spain several times before we have never been to any of the Canary Islands so when I saw this house sit pop up I jumped at the chance to visit a new place. Fuerteventura is situated in between Grand Canary and Lanzarote, actually closer to the coast of Africa than mainland Spain. Believed to be the oldest of the Canaries it was created from a volcanic eruption some 20 million years ago. With perfect year round temperatures, little to no rain and white sandy beaches it's a quick flight for British holiday makers coming from London and those flying in from elsewhere in Europe.

Sights Around Fuerteventura

We Hiked Up To Calderon Hondo
A Dormant Volcano

Plenty Of Wind Makes For Great Water Sports

Chipmonks Everywhere

Fuerteventura is known worldwide for it's goat cheese that it produces from the quarter of a million goats that live here on the island, so we hear. Yet somehow we have managed to not see even a single goat, so apparently they hide them well. Also not far away are windmills that were originally used to grind maize to make the much loved Canary staple called, "gofio." A type of flour made from corn, toasted wheat, barley and chickpeas golfio seems to be made into cereals, breads and other types of food enjoyed by the locals.

Our Day Out In Betancuria, The Oldest Town In All Of The Canaries

Goat Cheese Making Supplies

While most of our sits around the world have been for British people the homeowners here are not Brits or even Spaniards but instead from Italy. They first headed to our old stomping ground in Panama City, Panama to begin their holiday and before they left we offered them some advice of things to do and see while there.

This Darling Is Mika

This Is Lola

Here's Michy

We are enjoying our last days of summertime wearing shorts, tank tops and not much else as we walk the dog on the beach taking in the sights, smells and sounds of the seashore in Fuerteventura......along the gringo trail.