Last summer when I headed back to Connecticut, I wanted to find something completely different to see or explore. I lived in that state for so long, but there are still a lot of fascinating places that I never visited or even knew about. One of my favorite travel sites showcasing strange and weird things to visit around the world, Atlas Obscura, posted about the Cushing Brain Collection deep within the bowels of Yale University. A museum of diseased brains was exactly what I was looking for.Read More
This past summer I returned to America where I stayed with family, finished up some business, and ate a bunch of super nommy delights. My sister is an amazing chef, having both a culinary degree and a ton of back-of-the-house experience, so I was pretty lucky to be staying with her. She has a small furry sidekick who does a lot of the tastings, but mostly just sits around looking way too cute.
All of this occurred in the tiny east coast state of Connecticut, a place I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with. I was so miserable when my parents moved us there as a kid and couldn't wait to leave when I graduated high school. But years later I went back to teach at an amazing youth summer camp and fell in love with Connecticut again. Now I have quite a bit of family there and friends from high school, so it's always nice to visit even though I'd never want to live there again.Read More
As you may already know, I love cats. When I was a child, my favorite book was filled with photos of different breeds and as an adult I am a rabid watcher of every internet video I come across. I take every opportunity to meet and feed the ferals around town and have two sweet furry squishballs living with me who we brought over from America. So when my friend Adolfo Usier, a fashion and lifestyle photographer here in Coimbra, asked if my husband and I would like to join him for a cat shoot, we were knocking on his door in a flash.Read More
Every two years the city of Coimbra holds a massive celebration honoring their patron saint, Queen Isabel (Rainha Santa Isabel) that goes on over the course of several weeks in July. Being in honor of a saint, this is a religious festival, but like all festas in Portugal it has its secular side. Street food and drink carts line the streets where the parades march, and every restaurant and pastelaria has its doors flung open to the street. Girls everywhere - from those barely able to walk to the university aged - appear dressed as Rainha Santa Isabel. Folks who live in town lean down off their balconies to watch, while sharing a bottle of wine with friends. There are mimes, balloon sellers, buskers, and if we're lucky enough someone will be selling farturas.Read More
I love Cookiepuss. Look at his stupid face; how can you not? This way-too-happy, ridiculous looking ice cream cake from Carvel, an eastern U.S. chain of ice cream shops, is one of my favorite foods to eat. Not because it tastes good - because it doesn't really - it's just one of those longstanding nostalgic traditions that I am compelled to follow, until either I or Cookiepuss dies.
Most foodies tend to care about the palette of flavors and the quality of ingredients making up their dishes, and usually I do, too. But there is a tower in the mansion of my love of edibles, stuffed with food that looks gorgeous, weird, horrifying, or amazing. It could taste good, but there is no guarantee. In fact it'll probably be pretty bland or awful, but you have to try it just once before you die, just to know.Read More
Last November a friend reminded me that the annual Mostra Internacional de Doces e Licores Conventuais was going to held again inside the monastery of Alcobaça, so we made plans to drive down there and sample some of the treats. For those that don't speak Portuguese - this is a festival dedicated to conventual desserts and alcohol. While not every pastry, candy, or liquor is currently being made by nuns or monks, all of the recipes supposedly originated in a convent or monastery. While the delicious treats on display were mainly Portuguese; Spain, France, and Belgium also represented with a number of their own tasty sweets and drinks.Read More
A few weeks back, my friend Hugo Gageiro had his first show ever, O Complexo do Épico, at Rápo-Táxo, the república I've mentioned before in some previous posts. Hugo has crazy talent with instruments and production - watching him play guitar is amazing. This was my first experience getting to hear him sing though, with several friends playing with him during the songs.Read More
Last October I visited Morocco with my husband and had an incredibly remarkable and beautiful journey. One of the things I rarely do while traveling is take a tour; I am a budget traveler and prefer exploring sites and places on my own without tripping over a big crowd of other photographers and tourists.Read More
I originally booked a trip to Morocco because I missed the desert. About once a year my husband and I would drive through the American southwest to hike and camp and live among nature for a week or two. I knew we couldn't afford to fly back home to make this happen, so I looked for a desert closer to Portugal that was reasonably priced and ended up choosing Morocco.
During my research for our trip, I kept seeing photos from Morocco of cats on the streets and throughout the souks. I read travel reviews that mentioned cats, mostly telling people to stay away from them because they might have rabies. I decided early on I wasn't going to stay away from them. I gathered up all the treats my cats refused to eat because they are spoiled American cats and packed them in my luggage.Read More
The Umbrella Sky Project is a seasonal art installation in Águeda, a town in Portugal about 1/2 an hour east of Aveiro. In 2015, which was its 4th year decorating the streets, it ran from the beginning of July to the end of September. The project was imagined and carried out by the creative group, SextaFeira, who describes it as "a simple idea that protects and brings life to public spaces and events."Read More
I love urban decay - there's always a story behind every abandoned place. Buildings that are silently succumbing to entropy, but were once noisy and busy with people moving to and fro. Why did this factory shut down and why was so much of the product left behind to slowly disintegrate? When was the last day this place was in operation and who was the last person to leave here, turn the key in the door, and walk away forever?Read More
I know I'm making a really bold claim here when I say that Honorato has the best hamburgers in Portugal. And I also put forth a full disclaimer that I was vegetarian and then pescatarian for almost 10 years prior to moving to Portugal (where it's really hard to be a vegetarian because of all the enticing meaty options), but I say this with the blessing of my carnivorous husband who had been fiending for a great American style hamburger for over a year now.Read More