3 gringos and I in Portugal

Portugal a country widely known for its friendly people and their love for bacalao. 4 days spent in this country was way not enough to discover all the treasures of Lisbon, Porto and between but more than enough to find more things Portuguese (or Portugalese) people love!

Lisboa views  Lisboa castle

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I. Tiles

This practical thing that in the past was used to keep buildings safe from the heat and humidity nowadays became a signature look of Portugal. It is impossible not to like or admire it. To preserve this long lasting tradition Portuguese kids at schools are taught how to make mosaics of tiles.

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oPorto  InstagramCapture_efcff6de-93aa-443b-95ec-948a9bd44fa7

II. Weird transportation

So, Lisboa has introduced tuk tuks into the city’s transportation system. But as Jose, our Lisbon guide, explained to us the locals are not so happy about it as this little noisy and diesel smelling machines are not suiting the steep hills of Lisboa often starting traffic jams in the city’s narrow streets.

As an alternative the old school tram is serving the tourists perfectly. Tourists exactly! Tram n°28 became so popular that its image is now a folklore element of the city. Trams are on every souvenir next to the classics: Rooster of Barcelos, Sardines and Tiles.

I also spotted some strange yellow half-machines…

Tramers  InstagramCapture_5dcacaa9-7212-469d-9b99-3187057bb516

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III. Bridges

Lisboa and Porto are settled on the banks of Tagus and Douro rivers and this gave a lot of creativity space for the bridge architects. The Dom Luís I in Porto is very spectacular! This two story bridge is 44.6 metres high and becomes a real challenge for acrophobia-ns.

San Francisco ... not  yet another bridge

Porto bridges  Bridge again

What I love about Portugal

People! People People!

  1. It is amazing how they love their country and always want to show the best of it! A special thanks goes to Miguel for all his tips and advises before the trip.
  2. Jose, our guide from the Lisbon Chill-out free tours, gave us almost a 4 hours tour in Lisboa. The longest tour of my life but it was very interesting to see the city through Jose’s eyes!
  3. Uber drivers! All of them in Lisboa gave us a little story/tip about the city!
  4. and everyone else we met in hostels, restaurants, bars, markets, streets…

Jose the guide  Pringaos after dinner

And last but not least,  I must mention my trip companions: two Spaniards and the usual Mexican. Their love to eat, walk and talk to strangers only helped me to discover the country more!

Posers  Posers and not

Get a room  bridge watching

Pueblos Magicos & Acapulco – checked!

After 3 days in crazy Mexico City, we decided to get away from the crowds and to dive into the little pueblos around the capital. Tepotztlan, Acapulco (not a pueblo!) and Taxco are only a hand-reach away (in Mexican sizes) from DF and are an often escape destinations for the wealthy DFians.

I. Tepoztlán: green mountains & Temazcal

This pueblo magico is just an hour away from the busy DF streets. Many come here to enjoy the nature and pleasures of Temazcal – an ancient Maya sweat house. But before you go into the hands of a local shaman:

Enjoy the cuisine from the local market:

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Then work it out by climbing up to El Tepozteco pyramide

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And then lock yourself out in the surroundings of the mountains and when the sun goes down follow a well deserved (mystical) Temazcal…

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II. The 60’s shine in Acapulco

Acapulco is the closest beach escape for chilangos. Just 4 hours on the toll road and you are on the Pacific coast. Once a n°1 destination for the Hollywood stars, now Acapulco is a hub of the local tourism. Recent hurricanes and instabilities in the area has washed off its 60s glitter but the footprints of once the capital of tourism are still here.

Playa Caletilla in the morning and in the afternoon:

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A try to find a virgin spot on the Pacific:

However the Pacific Ocean was not so Pacific that day at Pie de la Cuesta:

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Other than that it was just a regular day in the city that have seen it all:

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III. The silvery Taxco

This little beautiful Pueblo Mágico is spread around the hills – just 3 hours drive from DF. We came here for a quick stop, but after the first glimpse, stayed for as long as we could.

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Known for its old days silver resources today the city reflects the past via stunningly beautiful architecture thus becoming a trendy escape for DFians and other random passers like us.

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On top of all the architectural surprises around every corner, here you will also find street vendors offering beautiful hand made pieces, never seen anywhere else before or after. However, the density of the local plata shops have made me not too keen in buying the silver here…

After the sun goes down Taxco offers a wide list of restaurants and bars, but stays pretty calm and locky. This is how we found MeZcalería Xoco a recently open house of Mezcal and an artesania in one with a very nice owner. Here I finally got my Agave shaped silver earnings. If you happen to pass by send my warmest greetings.

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Mexico Lindo – Riviera Maya

Mexico lindo   A must picture

In August’15 we did a 3 week odyssey to Mexico: starting in Playa del Carmen in the South – finishing in Juarez in the North. With 13 GB of pictures it would impossible to put everything in one post. Therefore I will work on my Mexico series to archive my biggest memories from this beautiful beautiful country.

Part I – Riviera Maya

Mexico’s Caribbean cost stretching through the states of Yucatán & Quintana Roo. This part of Mexico is populated by Mayans – beautiful people with most beautiful babies in the world!

7 days spent : we saw a lot, but much more remains to be seen!

Palm tree   Guapa

Where to stay: as a base location we chose a beautiful village of Playa del Carmen. Over the years the place has become very popular among tourists and has so many restaurants/ bars/ nighclubs that it is hard to call it a village. However just leave the centre’s streets and you will find yourself in the real Mexico with local cantinas and taquerias. Traditional Mexican for almost no money.

For my next trip to this region I would also choose to stay in
Tulumup & coming location for many Europeans, plenty of small hotels & restaurants with corresponding European prices.
Isla Mujeres – for it being an island, staying here would make it hard to travel in Riviera. But if you want to lock yourself out in an island with beautiful and still untouched beaches – that’s a place to go!
Punta Allen – a small village reachable by car, bumping 50 km for 1,5 hour on an unpaved road going through Reserva de la Biósfera de Sian Ka´an ( a-must see place).

A small Mayan fishing village with a 2010 census population of 469 inhabitants. Punta Allen has 1 generator that runs electricity to the village during two periods daily; 11am – 2pm and from 7pm – midnight.

Not convinced? It gets even better! No connectivity here! Perfect small village with local restaurants surrounded by emerald blue beaches. Once in Punta Allen hiring a boat is a must! Just go into the wild to follow free lives of turtles, dolphins, variuos species of birds, do some snorkelling and just escape the busy modern live! My most favourite place from my 3 weeks in Mexico!

IMHO avoid Cancun – unless you are looking to spend your holidays in one of the most beautiful nature spots in the world in the hotels strip.

Dream office   Captain oh captain

Punto Alen   Mayan girl

Must see & do:
Tulum pyramides – not the biggest pyramids in Mexico, but probably one out of few standing on the coast. The mix of colours blue/white/green is just breathtaking!
Cenotes – South Mexico is a hot place to be in August. Forget sun tanning on virgin beaches with 40 degrees heat! But nature is offering another way to cool off. Cenotes – cold water lakes in the middle of the palm forests or underground caves. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear and dive in to observe a complete new water world. It is an impressive nature’s piece of work typical for this part of Mexico and Belize.
Chichén Itzá – one of the largest Maya cities and one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. We run out of time to see it – but I am definitely coming back for it!

Stange Mexicans   Zero people beach

Note to myself


Panama Meksika labai graži

I dalis

Meksija puikiai pažįstama šalis tiems kas savo televizorius mėgsta įsijungti šiek tiek po 15 valandos. Mari Mar, Maria la del Barrio, Maria Mercedes bei vergė Izaura puikiai pristato savo šalį ir supažindina su pirmąją taisykle – Meksikoje kontrastų netrūksta.
Lietuvoje ši Centrinės Amerikos šalis taip pat turi gana prieštaringa reputacija. Prieš mažiau nei dešimtmetį šalyje vykę narko grupuočių karai dar ilgai temdys Meksikos saulę jų egzotiškuose paplūdimiuose. Tačiau sostinėje sparčiai populiarėjantys meksikietiško maisto restoranai vis labiau vilioja į šią tolimą ir paslaptingą šalį.

Man Meksika tai spalvota, besišypsanti, dainuojanti ir begalo turtinga šalis. Savo meksikietišką odisėją pradėjau jos karibiškuose pietuose, o užbaigiau po 3 savaičių kirsdama Meksikos JAV sieną šalies šiaurėje. Beje ten šiaurė tai dykumos. Kontrastai… ar ne?

Bet apie viską nuo pradžių…

Savaite Maju Ilankoje

Riviera Maya tai Meksikos karibų jūros pakrantė su visais nuo to neatsiejamais atributais: žydra jūra, palmėmis, baltu smėliu, karšta saule, na ir su šiek tiek mums mažiau pažįstamais reiškiniais kaip požieminiai ežerai – senotės, paplūdimiuose perintys vėžliai, Majų žmonės bei jų kultūra, na ir be abejo visas knibžtantis šnibždantis palmių miškų gyvenimas.

Jeigu į Majų Įlanka jus atgabens lėktuvas pirmieji jūsų žingsiai bus populiariajame Kankune. Neužsibūkite čia, kuo greičiau išsinuomokite mašiną bei leiskitęs žemyn žydrąja pakrante. Pamatyti čia devynios galybės.

_Karmen paplūdimys (Playa del Carmen) tai vietinis Majų kaimelis, beje gana išpopuliarėjęs tarp čia atvykstančių poilsiautoju. Vakarėjant turistai ūžia kaimelio centre bei paplūdimyje įsikūrusiuose vakarietiško stilaus restoranuose, baruose bei klubuose. Tačiau ženkite žingsnį už centro ribų ir jūs jau tikrojoje Meksikos su vietinėmis valgyklomis bei taquerias, kuriuose liežuvius pakutensite aštriai saldžiais skoniais ir už meksikietišką kainą.

_Tulum – apie 50 kilometrų nuo Karmen Paplūdimio įsikūręs miestelis garsėjantis Majų piramidėmis ant jūros kranto. Įspūdiga vieta. Šis miestelis dabar yra ypač pamėgtas europiečių tad kainos čia didesnės, bet jei jūs ieškote šiek tiek kitokios poilsio nei nei 50iaukščiai viešbučiai su baseinais atveriančiais jums vaizdą į jūrą – tai vieta Jums.

_Moterų sala (Isla mujeres) – taip tai sala, bet ši vieta puiki, ypač jei norite pabėgti nuo turistinio šurmulio bei pasimėgauti autentiška atmosfera. Paplūdimiaičia gražūs, gamta dar gražesnė. Tereikės susidraugauti (o tai sunku nebus) su vietiniais, kad parodytų kur tą vakarą gros salsos grupės, Beje, žarijose kepta žuvis čia fantastiška.

_Punta Allen – o va į čia tai norėjau imigruoti. Kaip jums skamba: elektros tiekimas vyksta du kartus per dieną… Nulis ryšio padalų jūsų telefone… Čia pateksite tik po pusantros valandos kratimosi negrįstu keliu einančių palmių mišku viename iš pietinių Meksikos gamtos rezervatų Reserva de la Biósfera de Sian Ka´an. Manau, kad tie kas mielai šveistų savo nenutylančius išmanuosius per langą, įvertins šios vietos tylą ir grožį.

_Chichén Itzá pyramidės, priklausančios UNESCO paveldo sąrašui, yra lankomiausias Meksikos architektūrinis paminklas. Tai kvapą gniaužianti vieta, o naktinis šviesų šou yra kažkas nepaprasto.

_Senotės – požeminiai ežerai – tai unikalus gamtos reiškinys būdingas šiai pasaulio daliai, taip pat dar sutinkamas Australijoje bei keliose Afrikos regionuose. Rugpjūtį Meksikoje liūčių sezonas tik įsibėgėja, tačiau 40 laipsnių karštis neleis ramiai vartytis paplūdimiuose. Tad senotės savo vėsiu ir įspųdingu povandeniniu pasauliu vilioja visus. Jų čia apstu palmių miškuose, uoluose. Pasiimkite akvalangą, lastus ir pirmyn.

Sardinia’34

All roads go to the beach How's the water

As my better half was turning 34 and days were getting colder and darker in Brussels, we decided to celebrate it on the beach in Sardinia. Ohh gods we were sooooo wrong…

Even though Google shows that Sardinia is not a bad beaching spot for the beginning of October (I was expecting 24 degrees and more), we exceptionally got a lot of rain. Nevertheless we enjoyed it to the fullest!

Cagliari:

The capital of the island. Cute & Cozy. Center/Marina – easily walkable with a bit of mountain hiking.

To stay: Giuseppe’s Airbnb. My birthday boy especially loved all hi-tech devices that Giuseppe has in the apartment. Location was ideal! A wonderful terrace with a view to the city.

To eat:

Corso dodici – gastrobar right in the center. Great service/food/winde & dessert + full of locals which always is a good sign

To drink:

Mojito Di Damu Pietro – stone stairs just outside the bar full with happy people drinking and enjoying pleasant Cagliari nights.

Cagliari at Night Clouds :(

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Alghero:

Beautiful town in the north west of the island with a charming old town. 2.5 hours of drive from Cagliari; 3 hours if you choose the picturesque road going through the mountains with the view to the beautiful coast. It was raining – so we had time!

To eat: Il pesce d’oro – recomendation by hotel – delicious food and nice service. Quite busy on a Saturday night. As we did not have a reservation we were warned that we will have to leave in 1.5 hour. Time came and we were politely checked out – at least they warned us! 🙂 Nevertheless pay a visit!

To drink: the old town was quite calm that chilly October Saturday, so we just passed by Birreria Sant Miguel Alghero for a finishing drink on the swings.

Beach day – South West coast:

Even though the East North of the island is known as the place to be for the beach, the rain only allowed us to visit South West cost. Having left 5 hours before the plane, Jaime chose a small beach spiaggia di Sa Mesa Longa

Luckily enough this small spot had a cozy restaurant Sottovento, run by a charming Italian man, who seemed to know everyone coming to have lunch to his place. A greenhouse next to the restaurant reassured that this place has good local good!

Farewell to summer InstagramCapture_351227c1-ecce-457c-ba9c-0128d4743bff

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Budget:

Ticket Away: 179,48 Eur for 2! Ryanair of course. Ideal time for long weekend (CRL – CAG Thursday later afternoon – CAG – CRL Sunday at 20.10.

Car Rent: from 23 went up to 150 Eur – there is just something about car rentals that you do not get what you expect…

Giuseppe’s Airbnb: 180 Eur

Note to myself:

  • Buy a vinyl player and start collecting old vinyl records (Thanks Giuseppe)
  • Start saving for a mini van to spend retirement years on the road