As I sit with a heating pad in my lap, a blanket over my shoulders, and listen to rain pour down all clickity-clackety on our roof, I stopped to visit this sequence of shots of a bubble artist we saw on the river front in Porto, Portugal in May 2015. Bubbles are so great in that they produce these beautiful shapes and a rainbow of colors that come from items you probably already have at home: water, dish soap, rope, sticks, and a bucket. They are simple creations that bring smiles to faces and a sense of wonder to the mind.

Looking Out, Looking In


For me, watching waves ebb and flow is probably the most meditative experience. My mind immediately calms. I breathe more deeply. I start thinking about what I’m grateful for. I smile. Looking at these photos I think about how life is just as much about looking out as it is looking in. To see and journey toward a horizon while paying attention to what’s close and stirring inside.

You can’t walk 10 feet without stopping to…

You can’t walk down any street in Portugal without taking a picture of tile or ornate doorways and windows. A mixture of charming, old world, and fun.

Who doesn’t like a mannequin leg hanging above their door? Taken in an alleyway in the Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon, Portugal.
One of the many doors at the Universidade de Coimbra.
I think I took this in Lisbon.
Nazare, Portugal
Nazare, Portugal
From the lighthouse building in Nazare, Portugal. This building is a place for spectators to watch surfing competitions. This video of how big the waves get says it all. It was so windy there, you could lean into the wind about 10 degrees and it’d hold you up for a good second or two.
Where I had the best gin and tonic, ever. This is a little bar that plays great music, and holds live jazz performances. Slavo the bartender was the greatest, and made us an awesome beef sandwich. And we met a sea merchant (?) who told us about his travels. It was like talking to your favorite uncle.
Universidade de Coimbra
Universidade de Coimbra
Coimbra, Portugal

I believe this was taken in Porto, Portugal.
Porto, Portugal by the river front. We were told that the marks on the concrete are the flood levels from that year.
Lisbon, Portugal
Yes. Not a doorway, but next to one. I was distracted by the fun sign and bicycle. How could I not take a photo of this? A last minute visit to get some beard cream for a friend who swore by it. Taken in the Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon.
In any city, I always like looking at how builders level their doors on a steep incline.
Okay, so this is a window. But I saw a lot of doorways with tile decor of religious scenes like this around them. This is probably one photo I felt good about posting. I really like the lace in the window and the naturally distressed wood.
And just so you get an idea of how the other side of doors can look like in this country, we found this door lock in one of our lodgings to be especially entertaining.

Furry (and feathery) encounters

I continue to edit my photos from Portugal. My intention, I think, is to just roll out small sets of themes or places to share because there are just too many. Here are a few I wanted to share of the furry and feathery friends that crossed our paths.

Coming out of the shadows – This one was feisty and would not stay still.

Looking after – I could not love this image more.

Surgery sucks – Ice the Dog recently went through surgery.

Old bones – How cute are those ears?

Tourist fatigue. Can’t blame it.

This is my best side. And after this I get a chip, okay?

This is a bookstore.

Last May, my husband and I traveled to Portugal for 10 short days (Side note: In my opinion, if you’re coming from the U.S., 10 days is not long enough to explore anywhere outside of the States). On our last leg of the trip, we ventured to Porto to visit my friend Gail, who showed us around this city she now calls home. One of the places of interest she brought us to was the bookstore Livraria Lello & Irmão. Unfortunately, it was late in the day, and it wasn’t open. But a couple of days later, we showed up before lunch, walked in, and stepped into this magical spectacle of a bookstore. Here’s a little collection of photos I took. You can peruse more here.

You can only imagine the insane amount of foot traffic this place gets. You’d think that it would drum up a good amount of business, but I think a lot of people just want to go in, look around, and take tons of pictures, with little intention of purchasing anything. Gail’s recent post Making Friends With Livraria  Lello & Irmão goes into the history of the bookstore and how it has been managing being open to curious tourists and making a profit. Per the post, “In July 2015, Lello started charging an entrance fee of 3 euros, which is deducted from any in-store purchase.” We feel lucky to have been able to walk in without having to pay a fee, and take pictures without too much of a crowd. We enjoyed sitting for coffee and cake and purchased a few souvenirs on our way out.  If you’re ever in Porto, a visit to the bookstore is definitely worth a visit.