Taking inspiration from the world’s great explorers on an adventure to Sagres, Portugal

DATE : February 20, 2017

COMMENTS : 49 Comments

Taking inspiration from the world's great explorers on an adventure to Sagres, Portugal Knocked down by failure, NASA astronaut Mike Massimino travels to the 'end of the world', Sagres in Portugal, when his dreams of space are on the line – only to be inspired by the world's great explorers
NASA astronaut and author Mike Massimino had to overcome many obstacles in his ambition to go into space, his journey taking many unexpected turns. Here, in an extract from his book Spaceman, he recalls making a vital decision in his career during a trip to Sagres in Portugal…
Mike Massimino (Mike Massimino)
When I got home from blowing my qualifying exam, my completed NASA application was sitting there on my desk, like salt in my wound.
My first thought was “Well, that’s done.” Then I thought about it and decided to send it in anyway. I’d failed the test, but they were offering me another crack at it, and until I decided what to do, I was still a PhD candidate at MIT, a..


Portugal’s Aristocratic Getaways

DATE : December 14, 2016

COMMENTS : 37 Comments

Everything about Pena Palace is fantastical, starting with its ersatz moat and drawbridge. (photo: Rich Earl) Pretty little Óbidos is a fun ramble for all ages. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli) It's a funny thing about aristocracies. They always seem to get the best vacation properties: the French kings and queens had Versailles near Paris, the Habsburgs retreated to Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace, and the British monarchs still have too many castles to count.
Less well known are Portugal's imperial retreats. But within an hour or so from Lisbon are some fun side trips into the country's royal and Moorish past. You'll find fantasy castles set amid exotic tropical plants, a craggy hilltop dusted with Moorish ruins, and a queen's tiny medieval walled town.
Just 15 miles northwest of Lisbon, the plush and lush town of Sintra is a perfect day-trip destination (frequent trains get you there in 40 minutes). For centuries, Portugal's aristocracy consider..


Porto, another European Jewel: You’ll Love It

DATE : December 14, 2016

COMMENTS : 78 Comments

26/01/2016 10:34 City of Bridges, with a centre declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and bathed by the Douro River, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with Spain; the second largest city in Portugal. Surely you can imagine what city we are speaking of: yesPorto.
Porto, known as Oporto in English, is located in northern Portugal and is the second largest city after Lisbon, the capital. Porto is full of beautiful bridges that populate and dominate the heights of the Douro River.
In Portuguese style, where life goes on peacefully as in the cities of Southern Europe, we walk around the city and in to the heart of Porto. Streets like the one we present full of life and that is the case with the Avenue of the Allies.
Where modern buildings are joined together amid daytime traffic noise, we find the City Hall; an impressive building made of marble and granite. Restaurants, banks and shops; you can find everything here in this famous avenue. And then we come to Freedom Square.


Finding Foodie Bliss in Lisbon

DATE : September 9, 2016

COMMENTS : 48 Comments

At the Mercado da Ribeira, diners can stroll through a fun selection of food stalls and enjoy a meal with enthusiastic locals. (photo: Rick Steves) Sommeliers are evangelical about the wide variety of Portuguese wines and ports and how they complement tasty local ingredients. (photo: Rick Steves) Just as I was an expert picnicker as a young backpacker, I'm now an older backpacker — who is packing a little extra taste and money — so I find myself seeking out “foodie” meals these days. For those of us who are no longer a fill-your-tank type of traveler, Lisbon is a great foodie destination. Perched on the sunny Atlantic coast of Portugal, it's a ramshackle but charming city proud of its tasty delicacies and heavenly wines.
One of Lisbon's recent claims to foodie-fame is the transformation of its traditional farmers market into a gourmet food circus. The Mercado da Ribeira is the place to join the young, trendy, and hungry crowd grazing among a wide variety of options, c..