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Showing posts from September, 2012

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, PART 1 - State Beaches

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I frequented the beaches of Carmel, Monterey, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz off Highway 1,  but never took much photos.  After seeing pictures of Santa Cruz posted by a family member in Facebook, I realized the beauty of the landscape.   So during my recent visit I took some pictures and videos.

 First is the video of Natural Bridge Beach.  Natural Bridge has a lookout point that offers incredible views out towards the Pacific Ocean and to see seabirds, seals and otters frolicking in the water. Further down the beach are tidepools that offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea.   It's a great place to catch the waves (boogie board), fly a kite and enjoy a beautiful scenery.


Video of Natural Bridge Beach
The second video is a video of Twin Bridges Beach.  Twin Bridges Beach has expansive play area.  A great place to play in the sand, play volleyball, Frisbee, fly a kite and to watch the boats come and go from the harbor, and a nice view of the lighthouse.
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PORTUGAL Part 2: Obidos, Nazare, Bathalia & Fatima

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It’s 6:00am. I looked over the window from my hotel room and saw the shiny rooftops. The purple jacaranda tree-lined street looked gloomy. It rained all night.  It was not the weather I was expecting from Portugal. Since I was already in Portugal I thought I would visit some World Heritage sites. So I signed up for a day trip to visit 3 of the seven Portugal Wonders and a visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady at Fatima. I figured, the clouds would probably dissipate by the time we reached our destination.

Our first stop was Obidos. This fortified village of whitewashed houses and narrow streets has a distinctive feel of a bygone era and medieval atmosphere. It seemed a world away from the coastal region of Cascais and Estoril I visited the day earlier.


Our next stop was Nazar -- a medieval fishing village.  As a sucker for ocean beach, I found this trip to be enjoyable.  I loved the expansive views of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. 


Before lunch time, we arrived at Batalha Monastery…

Portugal: The Coastal Road to Sintra, Cascais and Cabo Da Roca

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My plan was to spend some time at the Basque country in Spain and have a relaxing stay at the luxurious Hotel Riscal in Bilbao after my Camino De Santiago walk. But unable to exchange my hotel points, I changed my travel plans and booked a flight to Lisbon, Portugal. Luckily I was able to use my hotel points at the Sheraton Hotel and SPA.  My first day in Lisbon was literally spent relaxing, getting a massage and facial at the hotel/SPA.  The following day, I decided to explore the city.  I walked through Alfama, the oldest section of Lisbon, and visited a museum, historical landmarks, and the World Heritage sites of 'Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém'. Lisbon has very similar topography as San Francisco.

A lengthy bus ride the following day, took me along the coast of Sintra, Cascais, Estoril and Cabo De Roca.

In Sintra, the highlight was the Pena Palace, the greatest example of romantic architecture in Portugal, built in 19th century upon a hilltop. Then we …

SPAIN: A Coruña

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     I was in Galicia, Spain doing the Camino De Santiago walk when my cousin's family from Lugo, Spain came to visit me at my rural hotel and offered to take me out. I have not met them in person before, but through Facebook, we got to know each other well. They knew I love the ocean, the beach and that I wanted to visit San San Sebastian and the Basque region of Spain. Upon learning that I cancelled my plans on going to San Sebastian after the walk, my cousin's husband, Ruben, decided to take me to A Coruña - 1 1/2 hour drive from my rural hotel. I never heard of A Coruna before I arrived in Galicia, a charming city of around a quarter million inhabitants on Spain's Northwestern coast. So on our way to a Coruna, Ruben - a well-traveled marine engineer, told me that it's one of his favorite cities in Spain, 2nd only to San Sebastian and Barcelona. (Later, I found the common thread between his favorite cities).
Just having finished a segment of my Camino De Santiago wa…