From lively marketplaces to stunning castles, Spain and Portugal have the variety and fun that every traveler dreams of. Hit the beach, see the arts, and live your own fairy tale with these can't-miss sights throughout Europe's westernmost countries.
I hate to say it, but modern townhouses have begun to look all the same to me. I see plenty with rich wood siding, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and sleek white façades, but I rarely pass by one that really wows me. But I just discovered this house in Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal by dIONISO LAB with a façade made of aluminum shutters that have been perforated with graphic symbols, and I'm kind of in love.
It's definitely one-of-a-kind. I like that the shutters simultaneously offer privacy and light when wanted, and the house still has those big glass sliding doors that so many homeowners love. What do you think of this wild house?
I just discovered the lovely Pensao Favorita hotel in Porto, Portugal, on Remodelista and fell absolutely in love. While I'm not normally drawn toward such restrained minimalism, the simplicity of the décor allows elements like the diamond-pattern tilework, the vintage chandelier, and the curved-back armchair to really shine. I love how the doors were painted in soft gray; it makes the space more intriguing than an all-white room.
Fortunately, this little dining room is really easy to replicate with some affordable Ikea furniture pieces, which will allow you to spend more on a vintage chandelier you truly love and have tiles laid. If new tilework is not in the budget, I've found a similar diamond-pattern rug that will certainly fit the bill. Check out all my finds below and be sure to check out more photos of the beautiful hotel here.
Easy to drink indeed. The nonvintage nine percent alcohol Vinho Verde wine — a blend of Azal, Pedernã, Trajadura, and Loureiro grapes — was so light in color it almost looked like water in a glass. At first sip it was crisp, almost weightless in body, and ever-so-slightly effervescent, with an apple-pear bouquet and a medium-dry finish. It was delightful on its own, but would've been even better with some grilled Spring vegetables and seafood at a sun-filled picnic. What's your favorite warm-weather wine?
If I didn't already know it was Portuguese, I might've thought Singularis ($17) was a Ribera de Duero. Much like the Spanish wine, it's made mostly of Aragonez — which is known as Tempranillo in neighboring Spain.
But, its best qualities were new to me: A bursting black cherry nose, very soft tannins, and a cooling, nearly menthol-like finish. Even though it'd be a great collector's wine, it has zero tightness, making it a wonderful wine for right now. Do you feel the same way about any Portuguese red wines?
The brut bubbly isn't overly perfumed, but just aromatic enough, with fruity-floral notes of apricot and peach and a nice dry finish. With its feminine flavors and pale straw hue, it brought to mind a ballerina fluttering in a tulle dress. It's rare in Portugal to see single-varietal wines, and this is no exception. I didn't recognize the grapes (Maria Gomes is a muscat-like varietal, and Arinto, a lemon-tinged, high-acid grape), but that was irrelevant after one sip. Have you ever tried a Portuguese sparkling wine?
I always thought the United States was associated with wealth and stability. Well, apparently not according to the latest rankings of country stability and prosperity. The US is ranked 22nd, with a still respectable score of 93 out of 100, coming in behind Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Australia, and France, to name a few.
Iraq just escaped the bottom ten, thanks to the high number of foreign troops and high level of oil revenue. But Afghanistan came in as the world's third most unstable country, thanks to its government's inability to control large regions of the country, and the fact that opium accounts for 50 percent of the economy.
Jane's Country Risk, the group that conducted the one year investigation, said that the proliferation of small arms (aka guns) owned by Americans, and dangerous drug trafficking on the Mexican border led to the US's drop in the rankings.
And who's number one? To find out read more
Anyone who mountain bikes should know what a Gary Fisher bike is. I know it particularly well because my husband's Gary Fisher bike was stolen when he was in college, and he has never fully recovered from the loss.
Gary Fisher, named "The Founding Father of Mountain Bikes" by Smithsonian Magazine, will guide mountain bike enthusiasts on a 363-mile ride September 3-10, 2007 through historic villages in and around Portugal's mountains. This is an amazing opportunity to bike one of the most scenic bike rides with one of the most famous bike makers -- Fisher is credited with inventing the mountain bike in 1975 and has a line of bikes appropriately named Gary Fisher.
This advanced-level ride takes bicyclists 363 miles over eight days, with two guides along the way. The shortest day will include 32 miles of riding, while the longest day will be 66 miles. All meals, including 7 dinners, are provided. Riders stay in two- or three-star inns. Transfers and a "chase" vehicle are provided, all for 1,150 Euros (about $1,567) per person. Without lodging or food, the price is 650 Euros ($887). Sign up today at A2Z Adventures.
FYI: This trip is not for the beginner mountain biker, 66 miles in one day is a long ride.