Two places I’d like to revisit…..like right now!!
let’s see, Cozumel? Tulum? Puerto Aventuras? Any place in Mexico? San Jose, Costa Rica? Porto, Portugal? Lisbon, Portugal? Madeira Island, Portugal? Madrid, Spain? Barcelona, Spain? Marseille, France? Paris, France? Rome, Italy? Palermo, Sicily, Italy? Dubrovnik, Croatia? Bucharest, Poland?
Then there’s all the places I haven’t been that are in competition too!!!
I loved my two years in Mexico. But, living there I realized that there is more to see of this lovely planet. Thus, the travels began.
It was winter in Bucharest. It was beautiful!! I loved it, despite all the snow (which I’m not a fan of). Paris is the one that made me want more. San Jose enticed me though I spent most my time around Mount Arenal to the northwest. I absolutely loved the ‘rainforest’!!
Leaving out a small description of one of the places I’ve visited doesn’t say anything about whether I’d like to return or not….it’s just that I need to get to the point.
There’s so many places that I didn’t get the chance to visit, that tugs at me. So, I’ll just look thru the rearview mirror for a bit here.
Just because I listed Porto first isn’t an indication that it’s my favorite. It might just be that I have the Wine on my mind.
Previously to visiting Porto, I didn’t care for Port Wine. That’s just because I never really got the opportunity to taste really good Port Wines.
Nearly every street and a store front with various offerings of Port Wine tastings…..and I drooled over each one. The wines were as different as we are people, you really want to sample them all. Well, maybe not all…..there are some wines like people, distasteful.
It’s hard as a tourist to get a good honest wine assessment from a store owner. As a tourist you’re a target, a walking money bag and they, well they are in business to make money. And there’s absolutley nothing wrong with that…..the two are made for each other.
My answer to this situation was to venture away from the crowded tourist areas. Buy a pizza or some local food and talk with the waiter (in rare cases a waitress). The pricing was a little more affordable and the store owners seem more interested in me having a delicious time than how much can I get from this American. A sincerity about the food and the wine.
Of course we stayed near the waterfront near the Douro River. So, most of what we wanted to see and do was in walking distance. The owner of the apartment we stayed at gave me my first true experience with Port Wine. I could’ve just sat there and drank the whole bottle. Which I did with bread and cheese over two days.
Home of Port Wines
The Douro River Valley is where all the Port Wines are born. Don’t let yourself be fooled. It’s much like the cheeses of Italy that are only found in small regions. The same here for Port Wine.
My experience was with 3 types of Port Wines and I refer to them as the major wines. Ruby, Tawny and White. It’s my understanding that within these three there are quality variations. I’m not sure, that’s one of the reasons I must return!
Cutting to the chase, my favorite is the Ruby. From there it’s a matter of wading in and finding what suits the palate. But, then….maybe I need to revisit and try some more!
I didn’t get the chance to tour the Douro River Valley, so that’s another reason for a return. I’d really like to spend more time than just 5 days. Do it right.
The food was the best….particularly ‘The Francesinha Sandwich‘. Took me by surprise!!! Comes with fries (that’s chips for the folks from Great Britain), and it’s just a delight. Filling too!! I want more! Just another reason I must return!
The history and the architecture was another experience. I could walk those streets all day long, day after day. Yep, another reason to revisit.
In closing before we scoot away…..here’s a Sangria I enjoyed on the Douro just about at sunset.
So, where else was one of those two places I want to revisit?
Palermo, Sicily, Italy!!!!
This is where I found my chair. I’ll get back to that in a moment.
This took me by surprise, by storm, my heart.
Another airbnb apartment. This was the 2nd best apartment we stayed in during the roughly 6 months in Europe. Very comfortable and most importantly right smack at the footsteps of a major marketplace that is actually on a tour stop!!
This place made me feel like home and the ‘chair’ was the topping on the cake. I’ll get to that shortly.
There is a few disappointments I had here and I’m gonna deal with them right up front. Both of those disappointments have to do with my camera. I didn’t use it in 2 instances.
The first instance that I failed to use my camera (right there, hanging around my neck!) was on a walk looking to find a drug store that was open on a Sunday. As I was walking along past all the mom and pop Italian storefronts across the street was this guy with a basket tying a rope that was hanging from the 4th floor window. Out the window was this elderly scarfed head woman pulling up the basket. I just stood there in awe!! The gentleman had a small grocery store several meters away and was making a delivery. I failed to even think of a photo, I was just embracing the moment. I revisit this in my mind often.
There was this chair….
The next time I missed the chance at a memorable photo was on a walk of curiosity starting down an alley across the way from my apartment.
Down this alley to my left were delivery doors for restaurants and small business….and on my side of the alley was nothing much but wall……except for this one corridor that caught my attention on a previous journey. There was access to an apartment there. And just a bit off the front of this door was this simple chair occupied by this elderly gentleman living his simple life.
That could have been a marvelous picture!!! Very touching. And, I had my camera with me, ready to shoot….I passed. For some reason, the intimacy of the moment needed to just stay as it was to be revisited in my mind only. Yet, I think I really missed out on a phenomenal moment to capture.
By the way. I’ve always asked for permission to photograph someone and only once was I denied.
Anyway, quickly back to the ‘chair’.
I thought to myself, that’s what I want. I want a chair and a place to sit it to rest upon. Simply. I’m still touched by that moment.
Sicily….I want to revisit.
Just like Porto and most anyplace in Europe, the architecture is an eye catcher.
I can’t help but when I walk along some cobblestone alley or some historic site, to place my hand upon a wall, touch the street, breathe the air and think of those lives that filled the streets, built the buildings and shrines….I just find that remarkable. I’m a bit the same in the states when visiting areas that Indians lived freely or slaves languished out their lives. It’s like I’m standing in the midst of these times observing these peoples lives…
I found that there was more diversity in foods found in Palermo than I’d experienced in Rome, Naples, and Pompeii. And I dared sampling as many as I could.
My favorite was Arancini. Another reason to revisit!
There was this small local restaurant down at the end of the market that we stopped late one afternoon for a beer or two. Always grabbing a new beer that has a name I’ve never heard of.
As I was saying, a beer or two at this local restaurant and a few feet from the table was this guy frying something.
Then it happened!!! A sample. Well, that sample led to me buy two more there and two for takeaway!!!
This post first appeared on Peace Love And Beaches - My Thoughts, My Life, ..., please read the originial post: here