Introducing a Roaming Boomer & My Wanderlust Encounters
I decided to start this Blog in October, about 6 months after my trip to Europe (Portugal, Malta, and Italy). As a prolific photographer, I took a couple hundred pictures of my travels. I also kept a journal with a few entries, less than daily. Enough to sketch out where I went and some of the sights, experiences, and my encounters as a solo traveler.
So, I thought that describing a bit about me and that trip would be a good beginning lifestyle blog article. Since I intend to write one or more blog entries per week, I will be writing much more about where I am going, where I am, what I am experiencing, my encounters during my wanderings - my “Wanderlust Encounters”, and my opinions, always my opinions.
Since I took so many pictures, you will see them interspersed throughout this blog, and a part of this blog site. As always, your feedback is encouraged – what you like and what you don’t, as well as any questions. If you ask a question and I don’t have the answer, I’ll try to find the answer and send it in my response. My promise is to respond to everyone within 24 hours of seeing your post.
After selling my townhouse 8 months before my trip and moving about an hour north of Denver, I decided I wanted to, no, had to get away. I subscribe to and regularly read different online publications about international travel and international relocation. Although I have been to several places in Europe and even lived in London while working on projects, for this trip I decided to visit places I haven’t experienced before and even places I might want to move to.
Added to those two criteria, I received a notice about a 3-day conference on moving to and living in Portugal, put on by an organization called Living and Investing Overseas (go to Live and Invest Overseas | Our Expertise Unlocks The World). An excellent organization, of which I am a member, with a tremendous number of articles and research information for anyone thinking about “Living and Investing Overseas”. About the same time, I received a solicitation from Wine Tourism in Portugal (go to Wine and Food Tours in Portugal | winetourismportugal.com), promoting a several wineries in the northern, mountainous region of the Algarve.
So, the Portugal portion of my trip started to come together – the conference, a couple of wine tours, and visiting 3-4 towns along the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve. Yes, I scheduled all of this myself, without the help of any US-based travel agency, except for a couple of hotel recommendations from Wine Tourism in Portugal - All were Excellent recommendations!
In addition to Portugal, I set my sights on Malta and several days in Italy (my father’s home country), the Puglia (southeastern region) area. My exploration of the Algarve involved renting a car, at Sixt in Faro (try Car Rental at Faro Airport | SIXT rent a car), and driving to the various towns along the coast, from Carvoeiro to Tavira. While in Malta and Italy, I decided to choose a place to stay and explore outward, by train and bus, from a sort of home base.
As mentioned earlier, I have been to many places in Europe, and I have yet to be anyplace in Europe that doesn’t have excellent transportation systems – urban and intercity trains (which I used in Italy); multiple bus services (I used these in Malta), and roads and highways (as I used in Portugal). I’ve also yet to encounter a city or town in Europe that is not pedestrian friendly.
In this blog and in the Portfolio section of this site, you will find numerous photos of the towns and resorts I visited in Portugal, including the two wineries that I toured. I have labeled them to describe the content of each picture.
Flight from Denver to Frankfurt to Lisbon, then a train ride (I highly recommend: Discover Europe by Train | Best Rail Pass in Europe | Eurail.com®) from Lisbon to Carvoeiro.
Important, if you plan on doing a lot of train travel, definitely purchase a Eurail pass (go to Everything you need to know about Eurail | Eurail.com). The Live and Invest Overseas conference provided great information focused on moving to, living in, and/or investing in Portugal. It gave me a lot to think about. Living in Europe would be fun, after all I have dual American and Italian citizenship, and my ever-present wanderlust always has me restless to be wandering. And to top it off, I love history and architecture, which are in abundance in Europe.
After four days at the Carvoeiro Algarve Resort I hired a car to take me to Faro to pick up my rental car. I also decided to stay a night Faro, at the 3HB Faro Hotel (go to: 3HB Hotels - 3HB Hotels) and explore the old town and seafront.
After my Faro visit, I headed to Vilamoura and the beautiful Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort (see Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, Resort in Algarve | Anantara Hotels). This part of the trip was organized for me by Wine Tourism in Portugal. If your wanderlust has you pointed toward Portugal and the Algarve, and you appreciate wines, I highly recommend that you contact Wine Tourism in Portugal (see Wine and Food Tours in Portugal | winetourismportugal.com). They will set up a first-class itinerary, specific to your schedule and the places you wish to visit, and you will taste some excellent wines.
Ms. Rita Pinto, Travel Advisor with Wine Tourism in Portugal (firstname.lastname@example.org, +351 226 102 075), organized and reserved two winery tours and tastings, which I drove to from the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort. Being located a few minutes north of the Vilamoura Marina, it was easy to access the main roads and highways to get to both wineries.
After a reasonable drive north from Vilamoura on the E01/A2 and E802/IP2, I arrived at Herdade da Malhadinha (go to: Herdade da Malhadinha Nova - Relais & Châteaux, Portugal), a beautiful multi-generational family-owned winery. Very knowledgeable, friendly staff drove us through the vineyard pointing out the various grape varietal growing sections. We then had a tour of the wine production building. On a wall over the aging casks of wine, the staff pointed out all of the label art from their initial bottling. All the label art is and has always been drawn by the children of the owner’s family.
As part of the tour, I had a wonderful lunch of sautéed fresh fish and a salad of local greens, along with their delicious rose wine, on site at the Casa do Ancoradouro Restaurant.
The following day, I drove to Quinta de Mata Mouros estate (at: Adega do Convento do Paraíso | conventodoparaiso.com), within sight of the town of Silves, a short drive north and west of Vilamoura. From their website: "The Mata Mouros estate comprises several unique features, including the historic Convento de Nossa Senhora do Paraíso building, the Lake, the Monks Garden, the Palace, a Vineyard, and the Convento do Paraíso Winery."
Mine was a solo tour and tasting. Ms. Vanessa Somes gave me the tour and setup my picnic lunch, as organized by Wine Tourism in Portugal. Ms. Somes was a delight and extremely knowledgeable about the winery and wines in general. A wonderful day concluded by me purchasing a case of wine, which was shipped to me in Colorado (only took about 6 weeks, of which Ms. Somes warned me). This one-time convent and historic property produce an excellent rose, highly recommended.
I will describe my trip to Portugal's Algarve region in more detail in additional blog posts.
Following the wine tasting portion of my trip, I decided to drive east, toward the Spanish boarder, and visit a few of the towns toward Tavira, my next stop. This will be covered in a different blog post.