Tag Archives: People

Motivational Travel Thoughts

dsc02310In this episode, we answer some of the emails we receive. As we claim to learn a lot about ourselves in the opening and closing of each of our podcasts, many of our listeners want to know what we learn from our travels. We share a little of ourselves and the things we learn, like listening to others, accepting others beliefs and not trying to make others believe the same as we believe. We also share a story of how we learn gratefulness. So join us and share your own thoughts with us!


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Summer Fun in Vienna without Breaking the Bank

Wachau Valley
Wachau Valley

In this episode, we answer your questions and take an opposing view to the belief that Vienna is an expensive city to visit.   We meet Al Cook, a blues music legend in Austria.

AL Cook, "The White King of Black Blues"
AL Cook, “The White King of Black Blues”

Get some tips on summertime fun in Vienna, along with a great day trip idea.

That and more fun on this episode of Stories Faces Places.

Dinner Time in Lisbon

Ok, so there we where, on the way back to the Sofitel in Lisbon after touring numerous places in this City.  It was time for a rest.  But before the afternoon rest, we need to stop at the store and pick up a bottle of wine for our early evening, err, late afternoon, err, dusk, cheese, wine and crackers.  Wow, that was a flashback.  I feel like I’m running the old Steve Martin comedy routine, “No never at dusk”.  Anyway, it is a great way to rewind the day’s activities, reminisce and converse about the experiences.

After the rest and the warm up for dinner, the exploration continued.  This time our goal was to find that ‘off the main trail’ place for dinner.  A location where English was the second language, maybe.  Out the entrance of the Sofitel, we went.  Which way left or right?  How about right this time.  Wander we did.  We wandered some more.  We wandered right into a neat section of town not high on the tourist grid.  How did we know we had left the tourist trail? First clue presents itself with the lack of people menu reading out side the main door to the restaurants.  Second clue eliminates English menus posted on the front doors to the restaurants.  Third clue is the recognition of the first two clues.

The area known as the Bairro Alto District was “Old Portugal” looking, if you can picture cobblestone streets, buildings in close proximity, short entrance doors and small windows.  If you have ever been to Boston’s historic district located down by the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in the US, then you have somewhat of an idea of the picture I am attempting to paint here.  However, the area covered in Lisbon is comparably immense.  In the years this area was constructed, horses were the mode of land transportation.  So the roads are, well, you know.

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world.  It was ruled in the fifth century by what history calls Germanic Tribes, not German, but a name referring to less civilized and physically harden bodies.  To me, a description like that translates to marauders, bandits, and the likes of thugs causing murder and mayhem.  My kind of place.  The moors, conquerors from Algeria and Morocco regions, took over in the eighth century.  The crusades took over in the 1000’s. Baldwin of Boulogne, King of Jerusalem in the first crusade then European kings like Louis the VII of France, Pope Eugene III may have been involved in that crusade.  With the Crusades came the European and Catholic influence in Portugal’s history.  Which it is very rich in.

Portugal RestaurantAh, there it is, just what we’ve been looking for.  No English menu on the front door, quaint atmosphere with inside and outside seating, and packed to the rump steak with seemingly satisfied customers.  It is not a big place, inside maybe enough for thirty seats, and outside maybe fifteen in the street.

“I’ll have the steak”.  Glass of wine?  Sure.  Typically, the camera was not present at the crowded time, so the pictures were taken early morning, our bad.

A debris field we did create.  The atmosphere was cozy, and being the only English-speaking people in this restaurant, privacy was not a problem.  At least that is the story we are sticking too.  If I thought people were evil I could convince myself into believing that maybe everyone spoke English instead of no one, and we just unveiled our deepest dark nothings to the city of Lisboa.  But that would be absurd, neurotic and in need of a shrink, to which I hope that is not the case, being in need of a shrink.  Anyway, you can tell if anyone is bluffing with the language or not.  The story of The Ride posted here provides an example of such bluffing and how to recognize it.  But for now, nothing to worry.  Most of these people are genuine, and only interested in creating their own experience.

The stroll back to the Sofitel was relaxing, safe, and needed for digestions of such a pleasantly gastro affair.  So when in Lisboa, just start wandering, you too will come across a fantastic place to create you own memorable experience. For another idea, check out our story in Portugal, But the Fado is Free


Off-Grid in Portugal

If you ever find yourself in Lisbon, by chance. Well, nothing really ever happens in this world by chance, does it?  Anyway, good questions to ask and ponder as you travel the world. A great day trip out of Lisbon is a short train ride, maybe thirty or so minutes to Cascais, Portugal. It is about 19 miles west of Lisbon on the Atlantic. There is a quaint “Old Town” section to  shop and stroll through town. Cascais  was the site of the 2011 America’s Cup World Series. It is also home to about 35,000 people, and numerous other sailing events.

Grab a cab when you are ready to move on to one of the neatest rides going.  Ask the driver to take you to Bar do Guincho, and ask him to take you along the coast. The ride is magnificent as you view small cliffs plunging into the Atlantic. You wind around turns and vistas that just relax and offer feelings of the magnificence of this world.  It’s about a twenty-minute ride, but well worth the journey. If you are budget oriented, ask the fare going in. But don’t let that kill this experience for you.

At the end of the trip, the driver will turn down this dirt road. You’ll wonder what is going on? You may even think that you’ve made the wrong decision as he will let you out in what appears to be the middle of nowhere. The driver will then point you in a direction. Start walking, do not worry about the translation.  Walk down a dirt path. You’ll question the trip again. But then, you will come out, after only a few feet, to Bar do Guincho, ahh!!bguincho1_gr

The Burgers are great. The view is awesome, and the experience is priceless.  Have a beer or two and a burger, or whatever your palate craves. When you are ready to move on, which will be a while because this place is very cool and enjoyable, walk out to the beach, turn left and walk straight along the beach to the hotel you see. It’s not a long walk, but very enjoyable.  You will be walking from one end of this cove like beach to the other, right along the Atlantic. When you get to that hotel, you can call a cab to take you back to Cascais.

As a final note, if it is raining forget it. If it is sunny, then take this blunt hint as the fun it was meant to be. The title of this article is “OFF-GRID”. That means off grid. You are getting in with the locals. That means getting into their world. That means their world not yours. That means they do not have to speak English. That means they don’t. That means have patience and fun trying to communicate. Enjoy the experience, they will help you as much as possible. You help them too. That means do not get intimidated when others are waiting behind you. Just keep doing your best. That means keep the ordering simple, it’s the experience you are after. That means they can not translate everything on the menu for you. That means go for a new experience and enjoy. So what does this all mean? If you are looking for a safe, great way to really experience something different and awesomely rewarding, do it.

Keewaydin Island, Naples

Someone sent me this video about an adventure to Keewaydin Island in Naples, Florida. I think the videography, editing and the music are very professional. The very last scene in the video captures a moon, not the lunar kind. I just wished they had edited that one out. But I elected to go with the video because in my opinion it is not really offensive. We have all scene bums. This one is from a distance for a split second. But the rest of the video is enjoyable, really.