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BARCELONA AS SEEN FROM A TOURIST BUS,

We pay for our train ride and are released from the underground train station.  We meet our Air B&B host and get the keys.  We glance over the maps and make our wish list of places to visit.  .  After 5 weeks of adventure travel and Natasa killing me in Colera. , I don’t want to walk 5 blocks. We decide to buy the all day tourist bus ticket, on & off all around town I’m looking forward to the bus ride. They give us headphones to listen to our recorded tour guide.

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FEELING LIKE A TOURIST NOW, BUT STILL BETTER THAN WORKING!

IMG_3351 I notice a lot of the apartments all have outdoor patios, there are no patios here in Skofja Loka.
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Were go to Sagrada Família first, but can only get a ticket for a 4:30 entrance.  We hop back onto the bus and head to Park Güell, can’t get an entrance ticket until 6:30 pm.  So we get back on the bus, we’re full fledged tourist now.

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THE DRAGON GATE AT THE PAVELLONS GUELL GAUDI’S EARLY WORK

The bus only stops at designated stops, not like when you ride a bike.  After all the walking in Colera, I’m super happy just sitting and riding around on the outdoor top deck of the bus.
Were back at the Sagrada Família ( outside google images) (inside google images) for our entrance time.

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WE PAY EXTRA TO GO UP THE ELEVATOR IN ONE OF THE SPIRES

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TREE BRANCHES THAT HAVE BEEN REMOVED WERE USED FOR GAUDI’S DESIGNS

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GAUDI LIKES TO USE FORMS OF NATURE IN HIS DESIGNS

We grab the bus and hurry to Guell Park

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PALM INSPIRED FENCE AT GUELL PARK

MORE PHOTOS FROM GUELL PARK

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MORE GOOGLE IMAGES OF GUELL PARK

We grab the last bus home, but must ride the whole route around town before we can get off at our destination.
I’m so done, I tell Natasa that I don’t want to walk anywhere or go see anything tomorrow.  After 5 weeks of adventure travel I’ve reached the limit.  I just want to take a shower, write some postcards and have a hit.   I agree to meet Natasa at the church square, but even that is a bit too much for me.

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THIS IS A PICTURE OF A PROFESSIONAL TOURIST

Natasa went out alone, to see and explore more of Barcelona.  When we met up she asked “did you miss me?”, we were laughing so hard.  So were walking down to the beach for lunch and see this rock shop.

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                                                                                                                      THESE ARE SOME OF THE LARGEST “FLAWLESS” AMETHYST CRYSTALS I’VE EVER SEEN. 

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I TOLD THE SHOP OWNER I WAS A ROCK COLLECTOR AND HE PRECEDED TO TAKE US TO THE BASEMENT AND SHOW US MORE, A ROOM FULL OF AMETHYST CRYSTALS AND MANY MORE SPECIMENS

We go out for our last meal in Barcelona, paella, which is a traditional Spanish meal..  We order the cod and vegetable paella, 2 little pieces of fish and not a vegetable in sight.  Then they’re shocked were not buying any wine.  But then they too pull the same “appetizer scam” , they bring us toast with ketchup and a bowl of olives just another 10 euro.  Lunch was 60 euro or 60 dollars.  I can’t wait for a home cooked meal.

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AFTER THAT MEAL, WHERE CAN I GET SOME OF THESE?

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AT THE FARMERS MARKET i SEE THESE DEER FEET, FOR SOUP?

We must fly to Rome first, then fly to Triesta for our 2 hour bus ride to Ljubljana.  As old as Italy and Rome is I couldn’t believe this.

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THIS ULTRA MODERN BATHROOM HAD NO FAUCETS OR ANYTHING, WATER, SOAP AND DRY BY JUST PUTTING YOUR HANDS IN FRONT OF THE IMAGE.

We must wait another hour in Ljubljana for our final bus to Skofja Loka-HOME!

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NICE COMFY COUCHES & COFFEE FOR OUR FINAL HOUR OF WAITING.

It’s so great to be home.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Jeff & Natasa

NEXT?  I’m going to America in a few days. I will be comparing America to Slovenia and Portland   to Skofja Loka, this will be fun!
Corey from France via Portland is visiting for the next couple days.  I’ll keep you posted

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COLERA, SPAIN: A HIKING WE WILL GO

When I first arrived in Colera 2 years ago, I thought I was just staying for one night, France was only 8km away.  I paid camping for one night, then I rode my bike into town.  Looking around, I knew right away I would be here longer.  I stayed 2 weeks and did something different almost everyday: hiking, biking, kayaking, snorkeling, beach combing, hitchhiking, ride the train to the Dali Museum,   The town has 800 year round residents, the rich of Barcelona have homes and apartments here too.

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GOOGLE MAP

From Tavira we took the bus to Seville and flew to Barcelona the next day. We got the train through Colera, the problem is that this train didn’t stop in Colera   So we stopped in FIGUERES , home of the Dali Museum where there were 150 people in line.  It’s the second time I’ve been to the Dali Museum and I still haven’t been inside.

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DALI MUSEUM, FIGUERES . SPAIN

I’m pretty excited to get on our way to Colera.  Were staying at CAMPING SANT MIGUEL.  I highly recommend it for camping or renting a small cabin.  It’s only a 5 minute walk to downtown Colera.

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CAMPGROUND WITH COLERA IN THE BACKGROUND

THE CAMPGROUND WAS CROWED ON THE WEEKEND BUT BY MONDAY WE HAD THE WHOLE TOWN TO OURSELVES, IT  WAS ALMOST A GHOST TOWN.

There’s some great hikes in the area, one is to the abandoned village of Molina.  I was here last in mid. June and I don’t remember seeing so much wild lavender, rosemary and thyme (maybe that’s because of Morocco?).

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THE START OF THE HIKE

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HILLSIDES OF WILD LAVENDER

This trail is also suppose to be one of the best mountain bike trails in Spain. Last time here I met some locals who were going to rebuild a house.  When I met them there was only 6 left of the 12 that started together.

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RECLAIMED HOUSE

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MOLINAS ABANDONED HOMES

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Once we left Molina the real climbing started

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THE VIEWS FROM THE TOP WERE SPECTACULAR AND THAT’S MOLINA IN THE EDGE OF THE SHADOW

It’s a long 14.5 km (9 miles) hike up & around the mountains I was beat when I got back to the campground.  There was an event in town, crafts, salamis, cheeses and 3 people baking bread.

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THEY WERE BAKING OLIVE, SUN DRIED TOMATO, SPELT, SEEDED AND CHOCOLATE BREAD RIGHT ON THE STREET.  THE GUY PLAYING THE BREAD BOARD KNEW JUST ONE ENGLISH LINE &  EVERY TIME WE SAW HIM “HOW ARE YOU?”  WE GOT THE SPELT, OLIVE & HOT CHOCOLATE BREAD.

I wrote about the artist Nuria Surribas after my first visit here.  I bought one of her signature ants last time.  We finally went over to meet her and she had an art project for us.

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NATASA GLAZING HER CERAMIC FISH

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NURI FIRING THE CERAMIC FISH

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CERAMIC FISH IN OUR GARDEN BOX

Nuri has art around town and at the campground too! She’s the true artist. When I was here, 2 years ago, I suggest she get a sign on her “business”, she promised.

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NO SIGN BUT STILL THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOUSE IN DOWNTOWN COLERA

SHE’S A TRUE ARTIST.  ANYWAY I NOTICED HER WINDOW’S NEEDED CLEANING. SO I BROUGHT OVER MY WINDOW WASHING KIT I GOT IN ROYAN, FRANCE.  SHE WAS HAPPY.
HERE’S A SAMPLE OF SOME OF NURI’S ART:

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CERAMIC LAMPS

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THANKS NURI FOR MAKING IT SUCH A MEMORABLE TRIP, AGAIN!

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LOOKING BACK TO COLERA HIKING TO PORTBOU

The next day we hiked to Portbou, which is only 2 km from France and plan to take the train back.

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COLERA

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PORTBOU

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BEACH AND BAY IN PORTBOU

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THIS WAS IN THE TOURIST OFFICE WIDOW IN PORTBOU

(update)  My friend Jill translated the dog sign.
“If yours doesn’t know how, you do it!
There are people and children at the park and in the streets. For everyone’s good, pick up your dog’s poop.
Be a civic-minded person. We all come out winning.”

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THE TRAIN LEAVES YOU AT THE CERAMIC TILED “ART” PARK OVERLOOKING COLERA

It took an hour and 40 minutes to hike over and 4 minutes for the train back (tunnels help).  We got back quick, so we rented a couple bikes from the campground and rode through the “exclusive” neighborhood.

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THIS HOUSE HAS THE ULTIMATE GREEN ROOF, SEE THE GARAGE DOOR ON THE LOWER LEFT AND THE HOUSE IS ON THE RIGHT

Today were walking along the beach to LLanca about 12 km.
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I like giving back to places I visit and last time here I picked up garbage on my beach walk. I asked Natasa, if she would, she agreed.

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FIRST LOADS PUT INTO EMPTY DUMPSTER

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I WANTED TO DUMP INTO ONTO THE SIDEWALK, BUT NATASA SAID NO, I REALLY WANTED TO SHOW ALL THE PLASTKIC WE FOUND ALONG A “SMALL” STRETCH OF SEVERAL BEACHES. THOSE ARE LARGE PLASTIC BAGS.

We waited to come Llanca  until after the holidays.  Nearly everything was closed?  We did have some goat cheese salads that I’ve made at home twice now.

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We take the train back to Colera

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Sant Miguel Campground has added a Tiki bar/coffee shop.  There are lots of new cabins and grassy tent sites. This fish pond (with fish) is brand new, this place is super nice.

Natasa wanted to pick a little lavender and rosemary, on the hikes it was everywhere, but not close to town. She brought home a little lavender. Colera is my favorite place, I don’t need to go to Barcelona to know that. If you want a super active vacation, Colera is the place.
We catch the train which will follow right along the beach to Barcelona.  We board the train and Natasa looks around and announces “we hiked every mountain”, I’m thinking no shirt, I’m so sore I’m happy to be riding the train and saying goodbye to Colera (that I love).
There’s no train ticket office in Colera, your suppose to buy on board.  No one ever came by? But when we got off in Barcelona we couldn’t get past the turnstiles without a ticket. They gave us a super deal, it was great ( I guess?).
Thanks for reading & commenting
Jeff and Natasa
NEXT? Barcelona and Gaudi I ride my first tourist bus-ever

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AS SEEN IN A SHOP WINDOW IN TAVIRA

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IT’S SPRING TIME, GET PLANTING

SOME MORE GREAT MUSIC

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TAVIRA THE GEM OF PORTUGAL

I rode my bike through TAVIRA  nearly 2 years ago.  I really loved it here and wanted to return to see Miguel of LAGOAS ALOJAMENTO LOCAL and their super hostel.  It’s a must visit.

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WE TOOK THE TRAIN TO TAVIRA, WERE CROSSING THE BRIDGE THAT’S IN THE SUNSET PHOTO ON THE LISBON BLOG

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Our first day was the warmest of the 4 days we were here. So we rented bikes, rode to the dock and go to Tavira Island. (3euro).  Last time I was here I walked to the dock, I tried to hitchhike, no one would give me a ride, but then I saw those same people waiting for the boat. Were they scared of me now?

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TRAVELING THIS TIME OF YEAR IS THE BEST, THE FLOWERS ARE BLOOMING NOT A LOT OF TOURIST  AND IT’S NOT TOO HOT.  WE DID GO IN THE WATER, STILL COLD.

Tavira has a castle too, like almost every city I’ve visited n Portugal.

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THE STAIRS ARE SUPER NARROW AND STEEP. YOU CAN SEE THESE YOUNG PEOPLE SKIDDING DOWN ON THEIR ASS, IT’S SCARY.

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CASTLE COURTYARD GARDEN

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HOSTEL HONEYMOON SUITE

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BREAKFAST ON THE HOSTEL TERRACE

There was a local photographer who had collection of photos of local doors and doorways. So it sparked our interest so we walked around town, to look and take pictures of architectural features.

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I had the best meal of my whole bike trip here in Tavira, but where?  I couldn’t find it, I asked everyone, I downloaded the photo and showed people if they recognized the interior.  Miguel thought he knew too, so we went to a place O CICLISTA (who’s logo is a chicken ridding a bike)

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THE FOOD WAS GOOD, BUT IT WASN’T THE RESTAURANT

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      I  LIKE THE MATCHING HAIR                                     THE OUTDOOR TERRACE BED                                                                                                                                                               
There were some fun photos to be taken  too.

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Tavira, Miguel and family were all awesome, they said come back in Sept. when it isn’t so hot.  Natasa got a big smile on her face.

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SAYING OUR GOODBYES GOING TO TAKE THE BUS TO SEVILLE SPAIN.

THANKS FOR READING
JEFF AND NATASA

NEXT? Get ready to go hiking is Colera, Spain (is that like walking?)

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LISBON HONEYMOON STARTS NOW

IMG_3097I arrive a few days early from Bordeaux and stay at the Oasis Hostel, the place I stayed at when I started my bike trip 2 years ago.  They remember me!, go figure right?  I just work on my blog and wait to get my first Air B&B apartment a day before Natasa arrives.
I arrive at the airport an hour + early to pick up Natasa.  So I drink coffee and a use the bathroom.

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THERE’S EVEN WALL STREET HATERS AT THE LISBON AIRPORT!

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OUR APARTMENT IS ON A SHORT TRAM LINE,. THE TRAM’S ARE A HUGE TOURIST  ATTRACTION.

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IF YOU PARK YOUR CAR OVER THE WHITE LINE THE TRAM CAN’T PASS, SO THE POLICE AND TOW TRUCK SHOW UP.

The apartment is small but if your visiting a new city, your not in your room, accept to sleep.

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GOLDY LOCKS LET DOWN YOUR GOLDEN HAIR

Riding a bike in Lisbon, is difficult at best.  There are trolley tracks everywhere, plus it’s a city of hills. (where’s my E-Bike?).  I’ve traveled to 20 + countries in the past 2 years, as a pedestrian Lisbon is the safest city I’ve ever walked in.  When you look to cross the street, the cars practically skid to a stop to let you cross.
There is a nice but somewhat confusing bike path that is on again and off again along the Tagus river.  We rent bikes and head to the Belem Tower.

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A NICE SUNNY DAY TO BE A TOURIST TAKING PHOTOS

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THE MONUMENTS ARE GREAT, BUT IT’S GREATER TO SHARE IT WITH THE ONE YOU LOVE.

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THERE WAS A WORLD MAP MADE WITH STONE INLAY.

I had to post this drone shot of the map, that is stone inlay around the map.  It’s an amazing piece of Art.

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We make it to Belem Tower, the line to get inside is at least 2 hours, nope.  HERE are some google images of the interior.  We have the famous Belem Creme Cake, good with coffee.

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A DEFENSE TOWER BUILT IN THE EARLY 1600 CENTURY.

We return the bikes and talk with the shop owner and he suggest we take the ferry across the river and have dinner.  We go

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ANOTHER SAN FRANCISCO GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE LOOK ALIKE, ONE OF SEVERAL AROUND THE WORLD.  IT’S TOO COLD AFTER THE SUN GOES DOWN, WE GO INSIDE TO EAT.

There is a habit (or scam) of restaurants in Portugal, they bring you multiple appetizers, that you never ordered.  They brought us a big chunk of goat cheese, smoked fish, olives, bread.  I was full by the time the food we actually ordered came.

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THEY CALLED THEM SEAHORSES ON THE MENU, WHAT THEY WERE THEY? FRIED SARDINES.

Our Air B&B host thought one roll of toilet paper was enough for 2 adults for 4 days. So we thought to buy some, we could only buy a 6 pack.  So while in the restaurant bathroom, I spotted a small roll sitting on the back of the toilet, so I stuffed it into my pants.  On the walk back to the ferry, I was so proud of myself, I showed Natasa my score.  Then she said she saw one in the women’s bathroom too.  Did she take it?  She confessed that she put it in her purse, but overwhelmed with guilt, she put it back. She wasn’t paying attention in Jeff’s budget travel ideas class.  We paid an extra 20 euro for food we didn’t order, I say next time give me a full roll.

The next day were walking the streets of Lisbon.  It’s my 2nd time here, but with another set of eyes you see more.

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LIKE A BUILDINGS WHO’S EXTERIOR IS TOTALLY COVERED WITH TILE

Walking the pedestrian streets is a great way to see a city and it’s many characteristics.

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Delivering vegetables and the blue tiled door entry, laundry hanging, security door and graffiti–this photo defines Lisbon’s diversity.

We waited till Monday to go so SIntra a mountain of multiple palaces, castles & gardens, I’ve been here twice and still haven’t seen it all.

PENNA PALACE SITS AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN. AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE 1775, IT WAS REBUILT AND USED AS A ROYAL RESIDENCE.

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SELECT PHOTOS FROM INSIDE THE PALACE: PALACE, DUAL TOILETS, CARVED ARCH, WOOD INLAY FLOOR
MORE GOOGLE PHOTOS  INTERIOR PICTURES–EXTERIOR PICTURES.
We took the bus to the Pena Palace  and walked down the Castle of the Moors

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IT’S WARM AND WINDY                                      YOU CAN SEE THE OCEAN 
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                IT’S A GREAT PLACE FOR SELFIES,  i WATCHED HER TAKE  10 PICTURES.

Then we took the bus to the Monserrate Palace .  It was being remodeled, but still there was some things to see.
IMG_3148                                The carvings are plaster castings with marble supports.

The best part of the palace were the gardens.
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Lots of the cacti were blooming in the Mexican Garden.                                                                                                                                                              IMG_0831                                                                                                                                                                    IMG_0854                                                                                                                                                                  It’s been a long day and we will have to list Sintra as a “must re-visit.”  There’s just too much to see in one day.  Leave yourself 2 FULL days to see it all.  Maybe visit one day then hang out in Lisbon, then head out for another long day.
Thanks for reading.
Jeff and Natasa
NEXT?  WE VISIT TAVIRA PORTUGAL.

I highly recommend this new band Allah Las

MICKEY MOUSE LOVER STANLEY IN ROYAN, FRANCE

I met Stanley, when he was bike touring  in Portland 6 years ago.  He joined us on our annual Oxbow Park introduction to bike touring camp out.  I toured Europe in 2011 with The Dandy Warhols, I had to have my Euro-Rail sent to his house in Royan.  Stanley’s  mom didn’t want any guest, so I rented an apartment from their friend. We’ve been face-book friends and last saw each other in Prague, Czech last summer. I always seem to hit the ground running, when visiting friends.  Stanley bought a little house in Morocco and has learned to cook Moroccan style. So we packed the car (yes car) and brought  all the ingredients to  Christophe’s house.

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HE TREATED US TO CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES COOKED IN A CLAY TAJINE

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                          SEBASTIAN, CHRISTOPHE AND STANLEY

I ask Stanley if we can just walk around town a little, OK.  They had a great farmers market  everyday I was here.  We walk around Royan, which I don’t think Stanley does very often and probably most of us don’t walk much around our cities.either? I love walking through the shops just to see what I can see THERE WAS AN ECLECTIC ART SHOP WITH THESE BIKE SCENE TILES.  SUPER NICE!. IMG_2955 IMG_2954 IMG_2953 I usually like to write about biking but that said walking can be a great way to explore a new city.  We walked along the docks, shops, a sardine shop, and the super farmers market. Stanley told me his mom didn’t want me in the house and he would bring me coffee in the morning.  OK? I  guess.  But by morning Mom came around and welcomed me into the house.  Mom ended up extending a very warm welcome, she cooked us several dinners, authentic French Food. We go biking on these Fat Tire bikes, which made riding on the beach sand,  AWESOME! AND FUN!

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            I HAD JUST ENOUGH CLOTHES TO NOT BE COLD.

People were constantly staring and asking questions about my bike, in French of course ( go figure).  Stanley said it was fun for him the first couple times, then he said he started to just ignored them, so
I took his advice and just kept on riding.

. IMG_2980IMG_2981 THESE ARE FISHING HOUSES ALONG THE BIKE PATH IN ROYAN, FRANCE, A SUPER RIDE I’m staying in an apartment attached to the house, it’s basically in the backyard.  Stanley got his mom to agree to make an Air B&B out of the apartment. I guess I won’t be staying for free anymore. But Good Luck anyway. So my 25 years of landscaping skills kick in and I see where I can make a difference.  I love giving back to my host, it’s makes my traveling adventures more meaningful.

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                                                  THE BEFORE PICTURE

I’m an early riser, so I’m up and start working my Yardtamer magic on this yard.  It takes me maybe 2 hours?

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                                THE AFTER PICTURE (you can see where the ivy was)

Stanley’s Mom  asks me where I got all the stones?  They were there all the time, just buried.  Then she got excited about what we could do.  She wanted these thorn tree branches cut off, (French Style trimming).  I hate ivy so cutting it is always good,  it was growing into the shed and starting up the side of the house.

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                                 EVERYONE GOT IN ON THE ACTION, IT WAS A REALLY FUN TIME.

We had cut the thorn tree first, then attacked the ivy.  Were standing there and Stanley asked for my camera?  He takes a head shot of me? What?

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WHEN I CUT THE THORN BRANCHES ONE BRANCH BRUSHED MY HEAD AND LEFT THIS THORN. i WORKED FOR AN HOUR WITH THE THORN IN MY HEAD. THANKS FOR THE PHOTO STANLEY.

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FINISHED AND REMEMBER TO NEVER PLANT IVY

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FRENCH STYLE TREE TRIMMING, REMOVE ALL THE BRANCHES

Mom cooked us dinner every day so, to give her a break, I went to the Farmers Market and bought Spanish Seafood Paella for us.  I also bought a window cleaning kit at the Farmers Market.  I was skeptical at first, no solution, just water with a scrub pad and bamboo cloths.  I did 2 windows testing it out, it worked great.  Now I have my traveling window cleaning kit.
Active travel is hard work and I’m getting tired.  I don’t want to be dead when I meet Natasa in Lisbon in a few days.  I opt to stay in Bordeaux before flying out to Lisboni say my goodbyes to Stanley and thank him.

I TAKE THE TRAIN TO BORDEAUX AND STAY AT THE ONLY HOSTEL IN TOWN.

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HOSTEL BEDS WITH PRIVY CURTAINS , I’M #2. (I’ll survive)

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I REPORTED TO THE FRONT DESK THAT SOMEONE HAD STOLEN THE TOILET SEAT LAST NIGHT! YOU SEE THIS ALL OVER FRANCE,

IMG_2997I RARELY SAW ANY BUILDINGS THAT WERE PAINTED AND IF THEY WERE IT WAS SOME SHADE OF STONE OR CONCRETE.

Walking around Bordeaux I can smell coffee roasting, I ask at the Hostel and they tell me where it is.

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I’VE STRUCK GOLD, 25KG BAGS OF: GUATEMALAN, COSTA RICAN, BRAZILIAN, MEXICAN, NICARAGUAN and MANY MORE–ALL “FRENCH ROASTED”. I BUY SOME GUATEMALAN. 

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WHILE WALKING I DISCOVER THIS PART FLEA MARKET PART ANTIQUE MARKET.

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SOME AFRICAN ART MASKS

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I WAS TAKING THIS PHOTO AND THE OWNER CAME OUT AND WANTED ME TO PAY TO TAKE THE PICTURE, I JUST WALKED AWAY.

I’m flying Easy Jet to Lisbon, which means you can only bring 1 small bag, nothing more.  The last day I packed my bag early to see if I had room for some more coffee. If your in Bordeaux, visit cafebastouil-alvarezetfils  for the best coffee I have found in Europe. IMG_3060 IMG_3062

SHE DIDN’T SPEAK ANY ENGLISH-NONE, BUT THAT’S OK THE COFFEE’S GREAT!
Thanks for reading and by the way, Stanley-“I Love Mickey Mouse too”
Jeff

NEXT? After 3 weeks of solo travel I’m finally meeting Natasa in Lisbon, now the fun really starts. coffeef1 coffee2 coffee3 coffee4 coffeef

HANGING WITH CAROLE IN POITIER, FRANCE

I met Carole in Portland when she married my friend and past employee Corey.  She was originally from Poitier, but was now married and living in Portland.  Like half of marriages, they separated and she moved back to Poitier, close to her family.  I always liked Carole, if I was at a party in Portland and she was there, I immediately went over and talked with her.  I had planned my visits with Vincent and Stanley (next post), as an after thought I thought maybe Carole lived nearby?  Coincidentally they all lived with 100 km of each other, AWESOME!
Vincent and I meet Carole for lunch in front of Notre-Dame-la-Grande,

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IT MAY NOT SEEM LIKE MUCH FROM A DISTANCE

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BUT, UPON A CLOSER LOOK, IT’S AMAZING!

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AT NIGHT THEY PAINT THE CHURCH WITH COLORED LIGHTS

We walk and talk, it was super great to see Carole and how good she’s doing.

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WE WALK THROUGH THE PARK, THE FRENCH TRIM THEIR TREES “WAY BACK”, Interesting.

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WE CIRCLE AROUND AND BACK TO THE CHURCH AND THIS STRING BAND, WITH ATTACHMENTS IS PLAYING,

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EATING REAL FRENCH FOOD COOKED BY A FRENCH-WOMEN. WHAT’S A FRENCH MEAL WITHOUT A BAGUETTE!

The next day we walk, what feels like, the entire city of Poitier.  Anywhere you walk in Poitier it’s hills– everywhere.  If you’ve read this blog you know I Love the E-Bike.  You wouldn’t bike here very efficiently unless you had an E-Bike. I had suggested we rent an E-Bike, so we called the city sponsored program and all the E-Bikes they had were rented out, to residents.  They using a locally manufactured E-Bike, it’s good all around!
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THE OLD BUILDINGS IN TOWN WERE VERY RENAISSANCE 

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THIS WAS INSIDE A COURTYARD NEAR THE UNIVERSITY. IT CONTAINS SO MANY INTERESTING FEATURES.

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FRANCE GAVE AMERICA THE STATUE OF LIBERTY THAT’S STANDS IN NEW YORK’S HARBOR. AND WELL POITIER HAS A MINIATURE REPLICA IN THE PARK, MAYBE 3 METERS HIGH.(10ft.)

Carole’s mom invited us for dinner.  I met both her and her aunt during the wedding celebrations in Portland 8 years earlier in 2007.  They rented the house next door to me for a month during the wedding visit.  They said they actually remembered me, I’m feeling special now.

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CAROLE, her aunt MAURICETTE, ME and her Mom-CHARLETTE

There is this weird tradition that the French have which is after every meal they have a plate of different cheeses.

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CREAMY, SMOKEY, MOLDY AND HARD CHEESES FOR AFTER DINNER.

Being the American that I am, an after meal desert is something with sugar! and France is the best place to accomplish that.

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WE CUT THE DESERTS INTO 4 PIECES SO WE COULD TRY THEM ALL

Visiting people and places is awesome and having a local guide is great too.  But the biggest reward for me is to give back to my host.  She lived on the 6th floor with a great view of the city but through dirty windows.
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I HAD CAROLE TAKE ME TO THE STORE WHERE I BOUGHT THIS WINDOW SQUEEGEE
(I had to show my best side)

It’s farmers market day, another great activity to do in a new city.
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Europe is full of immigrants from all around the world and Poitier is no different.
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THESE TURKISH WOMEN ARE MAKING TRADITIONAL VEGETARIAN WRAPS

IMG_2947WE HAD AN AWESOME FARMERS MARKET LUNCH: OLIVES, FRESH APPLE JUICE AND TURKISH WRAPS
When I wasn’t looking Carole bought some turkey for dinner, little did she know that turkey is my favorite meat (if I’m eating meat).
COOKING QUAIL EGGS FROM THE FARMERS MARKET.
 CAROLE IS COOKING A FRENCH DELICACY WE GOT AT THE FARMERS MARKET       SMALL QUAIL EGGS

It’s my last day and Carole offers to do a small village tour loop–with the car.  After walking up and down hills for 2 days, I’m ready to just sit and enjoy the sights.

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                                   THIS IS KNOWN AS SMALL VILLAGE PUBLIC “ART”

IMG_2935CHATEAU DE DISSAY, THIS IS WHY EUROPE IS MORE INTERESTING THAN AMERICA, HISTORY.  THIS CASTLE IS 500 YEARS OLD.

IMG_2948IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE, THANKS CAROLE FOR HAVING ME AS A HOUSE GUEST.
 Now Carole can get back to the hitting the books, preparing to take the teachers test. Good Luck.
Thanks for reading
Jeff
NEXT? MIICKEY MOUSE LOVER STANLEY IN ROYAN FRANCE

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WHERE THE HELL IS AIRVAULT FRANCE?   DON’T ASK THE FRENCH CAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW EITHER.

I’m came to Airvault because that’s where Vincent of Albania and Greece bike touring fame lives.  We also exchanged many corresondences  after we parted ways 

Vincent moved out of his parents basement, so I moved into the basement, super great place.  Both of his parents are interesting, gardening, cooking and some travelling too.  I had a gardening business in Portland for 25 years, so I know how much work their yard is to maintain.

  

THIS IS FRANCOIS (VINCET’S DAD) WINTER GARDEN OF LETTUCE, HE USES THOSE PLASTIC COVERS TO SUCCEED 

                        THIS IS MARIE-JEANNE (VINCET’S MOM) PICKING SPRING DAFFODILS. 

The next day, Vincent and I biked around the forgotten villages of the French countryside.  We passed through one village and Vincent said “this is where my Dad grew up”,

                                                                         HE ONLY GREW SO FAR!

Marie-Francois spoke a little english, Dad? nearly none.   Vincent said it was killing his Dad because he loves to talk.  They asked me to help Vincent quit smoking, Dad ran marathons, so go figure.

Vincent got us a couple bikes so off we go.  We explored places you couldn’t find on your own without a local guide like Vincent.

  

    I’M GETTING FAT-HOLY SHIT

THIS LOCAL GENTLEMAN GOT US THE PHONE NUMBER FOR SOMEONE TO LET US INTO A HISTORICAL BUILDING.

  

                          WE CROSSED THE RIVER MANY TIMES  ON A DIFFERENT TYPE OF BRIDGE EVERYTIME

                                            I TOOK THIS PHOTO FROM THE “NEW” BRIDGE

I ASKED VINCENT IF WE COULD RIDE OVER IT, EASIER SAID THAN DONE,, I WALKED THE BIKE , IT WAS ROUGH..

 

VINCENT IS A GREAT TOUR GUIDE, EVERYTIME WE FELT A LITTLE LOST, HE GOT OUT THE MAP AND SORTED IT OUT.

                     THIS IS THE WALK  FROM VINCENTS HOUSE BACK TO HIS PARENTS HOUSE.

                            THIS CASTLE HAD THE  MOET COMPLETELY AROUND IT, JUST LIKE A REAL CASTLE!

WE WERE GOING TO TAKE A GET HIGH BREAK, THEN CROSS THIS STONE BRIDGE AFTER, I DECIDED TO TAKE MY BIKE OVER BEFORE,THEN VINCENT CHANGED OUR ROUTE.  HE VOLUNTEERED TO RETRIEVE MY BIKE.

GETTING VINCENT TO QUIT SMOKING WON’T BE EASY..  NATASA TOLD HIM HE WAS A PERFECT GUY, BUT JUST NEEDED TO QUIT SMOKING.  I HOPE HE DECIDES TO!

  

                                       TYPICAL FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE STONE BUILDING

VINCENT TOOK 10 PICTURES OF THIS SHEEP IN THE FIELD, SO TO MAKE HIM FEEL BETTER, I’M POSTING IT.

                             THIS IS A SPECIAL BREED OF DONKEY THAT IS NATIVE TO THIS REGION

                                                               SOME OF THEM WERE SUPER HAIRY

                               THIS IS THE NOW CLOSED AND FORGOTTEN  AIRVAULT TRAIN STATION  

  

ALL OF THESE TREES ARE COVERED WITH ENGLISH IVY.  ENGLISH IVY, AN INVASIVE PLANT, IS EVERWHERE.  THERE NEEDS TO BE A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO STOP IT FROM SPREADING.  YOU CANNOT BUY IVY IN OREGON.

Vincent bought us some tickets to see Portland’s band, THE DANDY WARHOLS, in La Rochell..  There’s an island outside of La Rochell, called Ile de Re.  We pack up the bikes and head to the island, for several days of cycling.

WE’RE KILLING IT ON THE ISLAND

  I SPRAWLED OUT AND JUST WATCHED THE CLOUDS FLOAT BY AND REALIZED I LUCKY I AM TO BE ALIVE.

 

THIS  IS A WALKING PATH, NO BIKES ALLOWED!! BUT “OFF” SEASON TRAVEL HAS IT’S PERKS, WE HAD THE ISLAND TO OURSELVES.  YOU CAN SEE THERE’S NOBODY HERE,  JUST DRESS WARM!

  

THIS IS THE SCENE OF THE CRIME, VINCENT WAS TURNING THE CAR AROUND AND CRUNCHED THE REAR FENDER, BAD.  I TOLD VINCENT TO TELL HIS PARENTS HE QUIT SMOKING SO THEY WOULDN’T CARE ABOUT THE CAR.

  WE SAW THE DANDY’S IN LA ROCHELL,   I’VE SEEN THEM MAYBE 12 TIMES,, I KNOW ALL THEIR MUSIC INSIDE AND OUT.  THERE WERE TIMES I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT SONG THEY WERE PLAYING, THE SOUND WAS BAD. 

  

            THE BIKE PATH MEANDERED THROUGH THE SALT MARSHES THAT WERE FULL  OF WILDLIFE

            THE BIKE PATH AROUND THE ISLAND WAS OFF ROAD AND ALWAYS NEARLY CAR-FREE WHEN WE HAD TO USE A ROAD.

BICYCLE DOOR MAT,  I WANTED TO BUY IT. BUT FLYING EASY JET THEY DONT LIKE EXTRA STUFF.  I PAID $500 EXTRA TO SEND MY BICYCLE & CAMPING GEAR A COUPLE YEARS AGO. MAYBE THEY LIKE EXTRA STUFF?

HANGING OUT OCEANSIDE WITH MY GOOD FRIEND AND BIKING BUDDY, VINCENT. IT DOESNT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS.

  

EVERY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING LOOKED LIKE THIS, ONLY MAYBE WITH DIFFERENT COLORED SHUTTERS, THAT’S IT.

II SWEAR 1/2 THE FRENCH AT ANYONE TIME ARE WALKING AROUND WITH A BAUGETTE IN HAND, IN A BIKE BASKET TOO!

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES OF THE ISLAND FROM A LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER..                                                            We never actually visit La Rochell, maybe next time.  Were back in Airvault

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                                  THIS IS VINCENT’S NEW UPSTAIRS BEDROOM, FROM THE PARENTS  BASEMENT TO THE SECOND FLOOR, MOVING ON UP!

It’s our last day in Airvault,, Vincent’s asking biking? hiking? I’m beat, I tell him I just want to wash his parents cars,, they were dirty.  I like showing my appreciation for them hosting me. HIs parents served us Foie Gras, cheese fondue  with baugette!! with homegrown lettuce  salad, which was super cool.

After finishing the cars, we start  an hour walk, as were walking he mentions fixing the greenhouse.  As were walking I suggest we go back and fix the greenhouse.  I love to do that kind of handy stuff, while I still can.

                     IT TOOK SEVERAL HOURS JUST TO TAKE OFF ALL THE NAILS AND TRIM WOOD

WE WEREN’T VERY GOOD AT GETTING THE PLASTIC TIGHT BEFORE STAPLING, IN CASE YOU COULDN’T TELL. 

THE BRITISH RETIRES HAVE FOUND AIRVAULT, THIS IS WHERE THEY STORE THEIR TRAILERS IN THE WINTER.

II had a super time with Vincent and his parents.  The thing that impressed me the most were all the birds we saw and heard while on our bike ride around Airvault, WOW!   I didn’t hear that many different birds in the jungles of SE Asia.  If birding and biking is something you enjoy, you must visit Airvault,  put it on your list, NOW.

Vincent spent 6 months living on Crete and was going to return.  But upon his return to Airvault I think he realizes how compareable they reallly are.  He has a great project going on with his dad. Vincent seems to have the decsion to live Airvault, awesome choice.  Now it will be easier to visit Airvault sooner, with Natasa.  Thanks for staying Vincent, hope to see you sooner than later.

VINCENT GIVES ME A RIDE TO POITIERS FOR THE HAND-OFF TO CAROLE

                                                                    IT’S A BAR PICTURE OK?

THANKS FOR READING

JEFF

NEXT?  POITIERS, FRANCE WITH CAROLE