Portugal Travel Guide

An art deco bookstore with a the most beautiful gilded staircase. A castle more colorful and crazy than Neuschwanstein. Rocky coasts and white beach sands and surf. Port wine. Grilled suckling pig prawns bigger than your hand. Colorful tiled homes. The most elegant capital city in Europe. An 18th century Baroque library. Lighthouses at the ends of the Earth. Portugal is full of beautiful surprises, and for these, and so many other reasons, it’s become one of my favorite destinations.

Continue reading “Portugal Travel Guide”

A Great Fire in Portugal

During my last trip to Portugal, I stayed at a bona fide palace, complete with flying buttresses, a butler, a maze garden. It was hotter than the dickens, and one night while we were there, something tragic happened not far outside the castle walls while we were sleeping. Here’s a story about waking up to the smoke of the worst Portuguese wildfire in recent memory – and the false security of staying in a fortress.

Continue reading “A Great Fire in Portugal”

Getting Trapped in an Elevator in Athens

It was pretty much the worse case scenario: no water, no phone reception, 100 degrees outside and no air conditioning, no emergency bell, no way to alert anyone, and getting hotter by the minute. Read on to find out how we survived this traumatic ordeal and my husband go-go-gadgeted a way out for us. I’ve been taking the stairs ever since.

Continue reading “Getting Trapped in an Elevator in Athens”

Driving Laos’ Bolaven Plateau

Laos’s Bolaven Plateau is another world of waterfalls straight out of Jurassic Park, quiet village life, and the best coffee I’ve ever had. We drove into the plateau with a rented scooter that maxed out at about 30 km/hour, not really knowing where we were going or what we were going to see…and were rewarded with landscapes that reminded me of what the word “stunning” really means.

Continue reading “Driving Laos’ Bolaven Plateau”

Coffee in Laos

When I was in Laos last month, I drank A LOT of coffee. Well, I actually always drink a lot of coffee, so what I mean is that I drank a lot of really exceptional coffee. With the perfect geology and climate for coffee cultivation, Laos’s Bolaven Plateau produces some of the best beans in the world.

I got a recipe for the perfect pour over from a barista and coffee expert Jackie at Jhai Coffee House in Paksong, and I’m sharing it with you here…it’s changed my mornings forever!

Continue reading “Coffee in Laos”

Laos, Land of a Million Bombs

During the Vietnam War, there was this entire Secret War going on in Laos that I learned about while I visited what is one of the world’s most beautiful – and unfortunately, most heavily bombed – countries. It got me thinking about what it means to travel as an American, especially at this political moment just weeks before Trump’s inauguration, to places like Laos, where they are still dealing with the legacy of destruction with millions of unexploded bombs littering the countryside.

Continue reading “Laos, Land of a Million Bombs”

Segovia, a Day Trip from Madrid and a World Away

Segovia is just over 50 miles away from central Madrid and a world apart. The UNESCO world heritage city, with its historic downtown, gothic cathedral, and soaring fortress of El Alcázar (which is said to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle), makes for an easy and worthy day trip from from Madrid.

Continue reading “Segovia, a Day Trip from Madrid and a World Away”