Baron, France

There are lots of ‘beau villages’ or beautiful villages in the Dordogne area. Old little towns and hamlets with narrow streets and traditional buildings. Baron is one such village just outside of Saint Cyprien where a friend of Mark’s family…

Maison Neuve, Saint Cyprien

Maison Neuve, a lovely three-story home just minutes from the Saint Cyprien town center, is our home for the length of our stay in the French countryside. It’s a lovely old house with a warm atmosphere, creaky floors, a front…

Saint Cyprien, France

Saint Cyprien is a small town in the French countryside, a two and a half hour drive east of Bordeaux. It has a beautiful old town which winds uphill towards the 12th century belltower and the abbey church, which dominate…

Astoria7 Hotel, San Sebastian

I don’t generally submit entries on hotels, but Astoria7 is special. I truly enjoyed this hotel. It’s thematically based on artists from movies that have attended the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The walls are peppered with famous faces and…

San Sebastian Funicular

We took a Funicular up Monte Igueldo for a 360 degree view including San Sebastian and the Cantabrian coastline. It’s a slow rickety ride engulfed in beautiful greenery and the views from the top are truly stunning.

San Sebastian, Spain

Urumea river, San Sebastian, at 6:30 in the morning after arriving by overnight train. Buen Pastor Cathedral (19th century) Beach and promenade. Iglesia de Santa Maria del Coro Church Tapas!

Duoro Boat Cruise, Portugal

Our day trip started in Cais de Gaia, which sits across the Duoro river from Porto, a major Portuguese city. Our boat travelled down the Duoro river to the town of Regua then we returned to Porto by train. We…

Costa Nova, Portugal

A group of us spent a lazy afternoon at Costa Nova beach near Aveiro, a beautiful area with traditional striped houses in bold colors, a sparkling ocean and soft rolling sand dunes.

Aveiro, Portugal

Aveiro, about two and a half hours drive north of Lisbon, is Xana’s home town. It is also home to Xana’s sister and parents. Aveiro is sometimes referred to as the ‘Vienna of Portugal’ because of it’s canals in the…

Batalha, Portugal

On our way north to the town of Aveiro, where Xana’s parents live, we stopped and took pictures at a monastery in Batalha. Monasterio Santa Maria de Vittoria was erected in 1385 and displays very ornate limestone. In true gothic…

Carmo Ruins, Lisbon

We picked friends up at the Lisbon train station, a well kept building with a beautifully ornate facade. Then we walked around town, exploring the views and buildings. The cobblestone streets and tile buildings are characteristic architectural elements throughout Portugal.…