Tag Archives: travel

Porto, Portugal

It’s been a few months, but k&mk are back…plus one. During the break, we added a family member, who we’ll call “little h” (in case you missed the new header).

Our first trip with the little guy was to Portugal. We started out in Porto, in the north, and traveled to Lagos, in the south, with the hope of finding some sun (a necessity during the wet UK winter).

Porto

Porto

The hilly city of Porto (also known as Oporto), located at the mouth of the Douro River, is one of Portugal’s oldest cities.  With its picturesque riverfront district, medieval alleyways, colorful buildings, and fascinating tile-work it is a lovely city to explore. Being the home of port wine also adds to its lists of attributes.  Here are some of the highlights from our trip…

Torres dos Clérigos

Tower of Clerics

The Tower of Clerics (Torre dos Clérigos) is the bell tower of Clérigos Church. Completed in 1763, this tower is an iconic landmark of Porto boasting the best panorama of the city (if you can climb the 230+ steps to the top).

Liberdade Square

Liberdade Square

Liberdade Square (Praça da Liberdade) is a popular square in Porto.  A statue of King Pedro IV stands in the center with the Avenue of the Allies (Avenida dos Aliados), a major, modern boulevard, to the north. Town Hall, with its tall bell tower, stands at the top of the avenue.

São Bento Station

São Bento Train Station

São Bento Station, the city’s main train station, is known for its impressive tiled panels in its main hall, called azulejos. Some 20,000 tiles representing scenes of Portugal’s history cover the walls.

Azulejos

Azulejos (painted, glazed, ceramic tiles)

Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral

Completed in the 13th Century, the fortress-like Porto Cathedral (Sé Catedral do Porto) is one of the city’s oldest structures.

Church of St. Francis

Church of St. Francis

The Church of Saint Francis (Igreja de São Francisco), widely known for its opulent Baroque interior, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ribeira District

Ribeira District

With its colorful buildings,  scenic riverfront location, cafés and restaurants, the Ribeira is a popular district in Porto.

Gaia

Gaia

Located across the Douro River from Porto is Gaia (Vila Nova de Gaia), home to the world-famous Port wine houses.  Port wine tasting was a highlight of our visit.  A must-do when in Porto!

Barcos Rabelos

Rabelo Boats

Rabelo boats (Barcos Rabelos) once transported port wine from the Alto Douro Wine Region to Gaia to be aged and stored.  These replicas make for the perfect photo op.

We had a wonderful time visiting this charming, riverside city.
Obrigado Porto!

Notable Eats
O Caracas Restaurant
Rua das Taipas, 27

Off to Lagos

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York, England

Last week we spent a day in York, England.  Founded by the Romans in AD 71, York is a historical and culturally rich city.  Here are some of the highlights from our visit…

York Minster

York Minster

York’s most prominent sight is the impressive York Minster.  Built between 1220 and 1480, this massive Gothic cathedral has one of the widest naves in Europe and can seat approximately 2,000 people.  York Minster’s interior is a marvel, boasting one striking feature after another.

The Shambles

The Shambles

The Shambles

The Shambles

The popular, medieval Shambles was once a street filled with red meat (shambles or shamel is an archaic term for slaughterhouse).  Although no butcher shops remain, some stores still have meat-hooks hanging outside.  Today, tourist shops, eateries, and retail shops line the old, narrow street.

York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum is one of Britain’s top museums that offers a trip back in time.

Kirkgate-York Castle Museum

Kirkgate, a re-created Victorian street, inside York Castle Museum.

From the Victorian era through to the “swinging 60s,” the re-created rooms and streets offer a glimpse into everyday life from the cleaning, cooking, and washing to birthing and marriage.  The museum is named after York Castle, which once stood on the same site.

Clifford's Tower

Clifford’s Tower

Sitting high on a small hill outside of York Castle Museum, Clifford’s Tower is all that remains of the former York Castle.

City Walls

York’s City Walls

Significant portions of the medieval city walls, that once protected York, remain intact.  Walking along these walled fortifications offer some wonderful views of the city as well as an interesting perspective.

Bootham Bar

Bootham Bar – One of the main gates in York’s wall.

Multangular Tower

Multangular Tower

The Multangular Tower, in Museum Gardens, is one of several defensive towers built around the city in the early third century.  This ten-sided tower is a fascinating snapshot of history, showing the original, smaller Roman stonework on the bottom and the larger medieval stonework on top.  It’s amazing that structures like this are still standing.

That’s all from York.  We enjoyed our quick, one-day visit to this historic, English city.

Seville, Spain

To celebrate our anniversary, Kevin and I took a short trip to Seville, Spain last weekend.

Gardens of Catalina de Ribera

Gardens of Catalina de Ribera

As the fourth largest city in Spain, Seville is simply beautiful.  Rich in Gothic and Moorish architecture, tasty tapas, flamenco and bullfighting, Seville offers up a truly Spanish experience.  Here are some of the sights…

Metropol Parasol

Metropol Parasol in Plaza de la Encarnación

Euro 2012

Euro 2012 – Spain v France

Being in Seville for the Euro 2012 Spain v France Football Match was a real treat.  Hundreds of fans flocked to the Metropol Parasol (a huge, mushroom-like, wooden structure) in Plaza de la Encarnación to watch their Spanish team defeat France 2-0.  The cheers were endless…

Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral

As one of Seville’s main attractions, the Gothic Seville Cathedral is an impressive architectural feat.  Built on the site of the Great Mosque of the 12th century, it is the third largest cathedral in the world, behind St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

La Giralda - Seville Cathedral

La Giralda – Seville Cathedral

The original mosque’s minaret, La Giralda, converted into a bell tower, was preserved during the cathedral’s construction.  It is a beautiful Moorish structure that offers amazing views of the city from the top.

Tomb of Christopher Columbus

Tomb of Christopher Columbus

Inside the cathedral stands the monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus.  The authenticity of the remains inside the tomb, however, are still up for some serious debate between Spain and the Dominican Republic, despite DNA testing.

With its numerous chapels, a great deal of time can be spent inside the cathedral viewing notable works of art, reliquaries, stained-glass windows, as well as the Gothic altarpiece of the Capilla Mayor (high chapel)—referred to by many as the largest altarpiece in the world.

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Originally designed for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929, the recently refurbished Plaza de España (Spanish Square) is currently home to several government offices, including Seville Town Hall.  This semicircular complex of buildings with brightly tiled sections and ornately decorated bridges was featured in the film Star Wars Episode II:  Attack of the Clones.

Real Alcázar of Seville

Real Alcázar of Seville

The Real Alcázar is a royal residence once used as a military fort by the Moors in the 9th century.   With Spanish, Christian, and Moorish architectural influences, this palace offers a myriad of design elements to stimulate the senses.

Puerta del Leon

Puerta del Leon (The Lion Gate)—Main Entrance to Palace.

Palacio de Don Pedro

Palacio de Don Pedro  (Palace of King Peter I)

The Palacio de Don Pedro was the palace of King Peter I in the mid-1300s and is considered one of the most important Mudéjar style buildings in Spain.  The upper floors currently serve as the official Seville residence of the Spanish royal family.

Patio de la Montería

Patio de la Montería (Hunting Patio/Courtyard)

Alcázar Designs

Design elements of Alcázar

Palace Gardens

Palace Gardens

Baños de Doña María de Padilla

Baños de Doña María de Padilla (Baths of Lady Maria of Padilla)

The Baths of Lady Maria of Padilla are rainwater tanks named after the mistress of King Peter.

Plaza de Toros

Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza (Bullring)

Matador

All Hail the Matador!

Plaza de Torres

Plaza de Torres – Main Entrance

The Plaza de Toros (full name – Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Cabelleria de Sevilla) is considered the oldest bullring in Spain as well as one of the finest.

Torre del Oro

Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold)

The Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, served as a watchtower in the 13th century.

Here’s to a great anniversary in hot, sunny, summery Seville.  Muchas Gracias!

Edinburgh, Scotland

Last weekend Kevin and I visited the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh (pronounced EDn’-burah).  Formed by volcanic activity and by several glacial periods millions of years ago, Edinburgh has the hilly landscape and scenic beauty to prove it.

Edinburgh

View of Edinburgh on top of Calton Hill

Salisbury Crags

Salisbury Crags seen from Calton Hill

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile

The center of Edinburgh is divided into the Medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town.  The Old Town includes the historic Royal Mile, which runs from Edinburgh Castle at the top to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom.

The Royal Mile consists of four different streets (but feels more like one continuous street) filled with shops, restaurants, cafés, and pubs, along with some impressive architecture.

National Gallery and Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle high above the National Gallery of Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Located on the extinct volcano of Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle sits high above the city.  It has served as a royal residence and a military stronghold over its long history.  Highlights of the castle include St. Margaret’s Chapel, the Royal Palace, the Scottish Crown Jewels (Honors of Scotland), and the National War Museum.

St. Margaret's Chapel

St. Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle

Dedicated to Queen Margaret, St. Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building in Edinburgh—built in 1130.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Crown Square at Edinburgh Castle

The Royal Palace was one of the former residences of Scotland’s royalty.  Their other residence in Edinburgh, and the one they preferred,  is at the end of the Royal Mile (see below).

Soldier's Dog Cemetary

Soldier’s Dog Cemetery at Edinburgh Castle

The Soldier’s Dog Cemetery is quite possible the most touching site at the castle.

St. Giles’ Cathedral

St. Giles’ Cathedral

Located on the Royal Mile, St. Giles’ Cathedral, with its unique crown steeple and striking stained-glass windows, is sometimes referred to as the Mother Church of Presbyterianism.  It was built in the 14th and 15th centuries  but underwent major restorations during the 19th century.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse

At the end of the Royal Mile lies the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  This was the other official residence of Scotland’s royalty before the Act of Union with England in 1707.  It is now home to the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, when she is in Scotland.

Deacon Brodie-Day Job

Deacon Brodie’s Day Job

And finally, for a tale of Ye Olde Scotland, visit Deacon Brodie’s Tavern on the Royal Mile.  During William Brodie’s time in the mid-to-late 1700s, he was a respected member of Edinburgh society as a successful cabinet-maker.  He also served as deacon of the trades guild and was a member of the Town Council.  At night, however, Brodie lead a secret life as a burglar.  It is said that Brodie’s life was the inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Deacon Brodie-Night Job

Deacon Brodie’s Night Job

We enjoyed our visit to the beautiful and historic city of Edinburgh immensely… and hope to return.

Notable Eats:
Urbanangel
121 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ

Iris
47a Thistle Street, EH2 1DY