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12
Mar
2019

sevilla: heliópolis

España, Spain, Andalucía, Sevilla, Heliópolis

…As with all social housing projects, a few design types were repeated over & over for rapid construction. We identified four distinct house designs during our walk, but there may be more. All consist of two levels with a fenced entrance, room for a small garden, a terrace & often a small tower. Naturally owners have modified original designs since 1929, but it’s fun to walk around & see how things have changed. One thing that remains the same is how peaceful, cute & charming this neighborhood is…

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23
Feb
2019

spain: sevilla day trips

España, Spain, Sevilla, day trips

When I moved back to Spain in 2016, I made a resolution to visit all the places near home in Sevilla —big or small— that I’d never had time to see while here on a work trip. Part of this grand plan also included re-visiting places I already knew well but felt I needed to know a little better, and I’d write up several places that had yet to appear in this blog. That was the plan. Life has a way of making plans go astray so… no time like the present to start.

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17
Jan
2019

writing: catholic heritage, lisbon

Why would someone from the southern USA who grew up in a non-religious family decide to write a guide about Catholicism in Lisbon? A good question that begs to be answered…

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29
Dec
2018

2018: year in review

2018 by day graph

Here we go again! As always, I write this for personal reasons, but you’re welcome to revisit the past year with me. Ahhhh, looks can be deceiving. From the above graph, you might think I stayed at home more than last year. Well, kinda but not really…

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20
Nov
2018

spain: osuna

España, Andalucía, Osuna, panorama

Countless day trips exist from Sevilla, but larger cities like Córdoba, Cádiz & Jerez get all the press. After moving to Spain in 2016, I’ve started to think of Sevilla as a hub… it’s easy to make the grand city your home base, then explore from there. Smaller, equally important destinations like Écija, Itálica & Carmona lie nearby, all less than a couple of hours away by either bus or train. Rafa wanted to show me around Osuna, so off we went…

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15
Sep
2018

lisboa: palácio fronteira

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Palácio Fronteira, Mascarenhas

Situated far from the Metro & tourist crowds, the Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira has to be one of the best-kept secrets of Lisbon. Heck, it’s taken me 20 years to get around to visit it! Built in the 1670s, this hunting estate survived the 1755 earthquake & became the main residence of the Mascarenhas family since then…

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27
Aug
2018

discovery: 1929 expo tiles

O Notícias Ilustrado, fev 1929, Mário Reis, 1929 Expo

Browsing through digitized period magazines on the Biblioteca Nacional website the other day, I stumbled across several photos of the Portugal pavilion under construction. A February 1929 edition of O Notícias Ilustrado highlighted artist Mário Reis with his portrait & the azulejos he made for the pavilion. I froze because I recognized those tiles… they’re now on the Chafariz da Junqueira!

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06
Aug
2018

portugal: guidebook research 2018

Rick Steves Europe, Portugal, guidebook, research

Last time I updated the entire Rick Steves’ Portugal book, I posted daily comments on Facebook—each one beginning with “Wow, do I love Portugal”… fun moments describing the ups & downs of being a guidebook researcher. Four years on, I still love Portugal but Facebook not so much. This time I took a few moments before going to bed each night to jot down some notes about the day. Here we go again!

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05
Jul
2018

pamplona: running with the bulls

España, Spain, País Vasco, Basque Country, Pamplona, Iruña, Encierro, Running of the Bulls

It’s July & that means one thing only in the Basque Country… time to run with the bulls! I’ve been lucky enough to go for the past two years, so this post is an amalgam of both experiences. And while I’ve never been tempted to put my life on the line & actually run alongside, the spectacle is something I’ll never forget.

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22
May
2018

lisboa: expo ’98

Portugal, Lisboa, Lisbon, Parque das Nações, Expo '98

Twenty years ago today, Lisboa opened a specialized World’s Fair that completely altered the city’s landscape. Local government reclaimed an abandoned industrial zone to make way for pavilions, new housing, a new Metro line, a multi-modal train station & a second bridge across the Tejo River. Lisbon would never be the same.

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