After a few days in Barcelona, we rented a car and drove up to San Sebastián with Pam and Josh and with a plan of eating all the pintxos (that region’s tapas) we could find. Along the way, we stopped in Zaragoza to stretch our legs and have some lunch. Zaragoza had a nice waterfront and some pretty shops and cathedrals in the old quarter. It also had a shopping mall with a two-story tall Augustus statue in the middle. We’re not sure why.
It was wonderful to come back to Barcelona after seven years. We really enjoyed the city the last time we were here, but this time we did it even better. We had our good friends from San Francisco, Pam and Josh, visiting us and together we explored cute neighborhoods and fully embraced la hora de vermut.
Porto was our last destination in Portugal and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Our first evening, we stumbled upon a local favorite for caldo verde, pork sandwiches, and white wine. Apparently “carafe” in Porto means “bottle:”
Another place we stopped in northern Portugal was Braga, a small town known for its churches and for this otherworldly-looking monastery:
After flying back into Lisbon from Madeira, we rented a car and headed north. We really enjoyed seeing some smaller Portuguese cities, including:
Nazaré. Nazaré had the first sandy beach we’ve seen in a really long time, and it also wooed us with this amazing fish stew:
Lisbon was not all just eating delicious things and walking around. Some of it was drinking delicious things and walking around.
Zadar was one of the few places we went in Croatia that seemed to take an ongoing interest in public art installations. They had two really cool things. The first was the “Greeting to the Sun,” an LED installation that stored up solar power during the day and put on a light show at night.
We day tripped from Zadar out to Krka falls; a place with a curious lack of vowels. My photo timestamps tells me this was almost a month ago now, but hey, water under the bridge right?
After a few amazing days in Porto Moniz we drove back across Madeira toward Funchal. Along the way, we took a detour to Pico do Arieiro, one of the highest peaks on the island. The drive turned out to be pretty perilous and a lot longer than expected. By the time we got to the top, we were in danger of missing our rental car return time, so we had about 10 minutes to take some photos and admire the view. It was still worth it!
Since the beginning of this trip, Ian and I have known that at some point we would want to drink madeira in Madeira. But, other than its viticulture, we knew very little about the island (actually an archipelago, but Madeira is also the name of the largest island, a la Hawaii). As it turns out, this place is a tropical paradise.