Tag Archives: travel

Love and St. Croix.

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I realized I’ve been back from St. Croix for 2 months now, and I haven’t posted photos.  And then I think about all that has happened in the last 8 weeks, and I realize why.  Wow.  It seems like forever ago.  And while the last time I wrote about St. Croix, I wrote about fear, I wanted to post this time about a few of the incredible adventures I had down there.

The beaches.  Ahhhh, give me a good book, some good tunes, and a beach any day and I’m a happy girl.

I loved Cane Bay on the north shore of the island.  It was quieter than some of the other more beautiful beaches (hello, Sandy Point beach – arguably the most beautiful beach I’ve been to in the WORLD).  It’s also where I got to dive “the wall” – an incredible reef around ~50 feet down that suddenly drops off to about 3000 feet.  A little surreal.  Also where I had my run in with a shark.  And by run in, I mean, I saw one, it seemed pretty close, I tried not to freak out, and then thought about it for the rest of the dive.  🙂  I’m deathly, unreasonably afraid of sharks for those unaware.

The architecture, the yellow Dutch bricks.  The doors.  I find them beautiful and intriguing.  My mom always takes photos of doors and uses them in the most creative ways.  There were beautiful doors in Christiansted and Frederiksted – many that were boarded up.  Places that looked like they had been magnificent, regal buildings at one point, now seemed dilapidated, quiet, and sad.  As if the owners had moved on and moved out.  I learned that many Cruzians left the island in the last year after the oil refinery shut down – a major employer on the island.

In addition, much of the island was left in ruins after the devastating Hurricaine Charley (2004).  And many buildings have yet to be repaired.

And then of course, there is Norma and the pigs.  Norma makes a killer breakfast.  Killer.  Her secret drink – mama wana – is known throughout the island.  It’s rum based, has honey and herbs – and it will knock you on your feet before noon.  Or anytime thereafter.

And no paradise is perfect without being able to share it with your favorite person.  

Although honestly, this is what we usually look like.  We are big goofballs.  

Thanks for an amazing month St. Croix.  It was a blast.

Fear and St. Croix.

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Barcelona, España.

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Porto, Portugal.

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Porto, Portugal.

Who wouldn’t fall in love with this city?  It’s beautiful, manageably small (but big enough), located at the mouth of the Douro river with miles of coastline along the Atlantic, friendly people, and home to the world renowned port wine cellars.

It was our favorite place on our trip – *for many reasons*.  It felt very old-world, quaint.  A quiet working city with gorgeous buildings, squares, and bridges.  And oh, the bridges – there are six that connect Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia across the River Douro.  The most striking is Ponte Maria Pia (i.e., the Eiffel bridge – designed by the same man as the Eiffel Tower), and will always hold a special place in my heart.  The outdoor cafes that line river and look out over to Vila Nova de Gaia are a great place to people-watch while grabbing a cafe, or a francesinha.

Wandering through the markets is a daily activity for those in Porto, and it’s impossible to not want to stop into every pastry or cheese shop for a taste!  The cured hams and aged cheeses were incredible!

We happened to be in Portugal for St. Martin’s Day (November 11th) – a popular holiday celebrating a saint who shared his coat with a beggar.  For some reason, this day is celebrated by eating roasted chestnuts.  There were chestnuts EVERYWHERE – every street corner, market stall, cheese shop, everywhere.  And they smelled glorious.  They were not, however, as delicious as they smelled (to us at least).

No trip to Porto is complete without a tour of the port wine cellars across the river.  We walked over the Ponte Maria Pia towards the cellars, sun setting en route.  We meandered up and down the streets until we got to Taylors.  We enjoyed a tour of the port wine cellar, then tasted a few of the wines.  Jake even snatched a sip of a 100-year-old bottle of port – courtesy of the friends he made in the tasting room.  I had to settle for a sip of a 40-year old port.  🙂  It was really good – not as sweet as I remember the port being here in the US.

Had amazing creamy mussel soup at Cafeina on our last night.  But I am still craving the cheese we had on the river bank – but maybe that’s just because *my love asked me to marry him* here.  And we could have been eating probably anything at that point and I’d be nostalgic for it.

The road trip ends here, and we sadly had to drop off our rented Fiat that we grew to love, but there is one more stop ‘por aviao’ before the vacation ends…

Sintra, Coimbra, Aviero, Portugal.

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