2023 Mediterranean Diet Tour

Taking off from PSC

Taking off from PSC with my one tiny suitcase and backpack. Purple stands out in baggage claim (I try to avoid checking baggage anyway). Tiny suitcase was essential to not being charged extra on RyanAir.

Lisbon, Portugal


First lesson of foreign travel, don’t automatically assume you have to stand in a line just because it is there. Ask questions. This was passport control going into Portugal. When I got to the front, there was staff there and I asked what the empty area to the left was. She said it was for electronic passports, like Americans have. I could have skipped the 1.5 hour line…

Business Speakers Toastmasters Lisbon

Attending the Business Speakers Toastmasters Club meeting in Lisbon. Even though this meeting was in Portugese, which I do not speak, I took the role of Um Ahh Counter.  They meet weekly from 8 pm – 10 pm and the last Wednesday is in English! They are hard core. This was my first in-person TM meeting as my own, the Women of Influence Toastmasters Club, is 100% online.


My first place in Lisbon was located at the top of these steps. I brought my Keens, close-toed sandals, which have worked out great on all these cobbled streets which are actually smooth and slippery, even when dry. Stairs like these, and there's been a lot, is why I brought my extra little suitcase, which still weighed almost 20 lbs.

So picturesque. Imagine it 100 years ago without all the tourists.

Sangria, lemons and bread, shrimp, crepe, grilled fish of Portugal
Flavors of Portugal - fresh home-grown lemons and fresh-baked bread, grilled shrimp in piri piri sauce, grilled fresh-caught fish, lemon and sugar crepe, and a wonderful Sangria that I was told the secret was chocolate liquor! Yum

Evora, Portugal

People of Evora walk by this everyday object, a Roman Temple, dating back to the 1st century AD, located in a lovely town square with an adjoining park overlooking the countryside.
Evora, in Alentejo, is in the 2nd largest wine-producing district (behind Porto).  Stopping to taste wine was a must and great fun.
Jose Piteira Alentejo Wine

Ordinary Rooms With Extraordinary Views & People

Most of the places I've stayed at in Portugal are called guest houses. They come with a private or shared bathroom. I've even stayed at a youth hostel, twice, even though I sort of swore them off.  The first time, I got a private room with a shared bath shown in the photo with the luxury plywood stalls. The second time, on my return to Faro to fly out early the next day, I actually got a bunk bed in an 8-bed female room. Really took me back to when I was in my 20s traveling but I have to say, the facilities are way, way nicer (safer, cleaner, warmer, cooler, more modern, etc). But the best thing about youth hostels is the possibilities are greater of meeting someone when you are traveling solo. I met Clive from England who was walking the El Camino alone while his wife back home was remodeling their bathroom! Clive even shared some of his homemade chicken curry with me.
Plywood stalls youth hostelBunk bedImage
Casa Patacas

My favorite guesthouse was in Salema. No reservation in hand, I wandered on foot around the small, seaside town on this warm day looking for a room to rent. Rooms often have a simple sign outside with a phone number to call. Standing outside, I called on my first room, and I could hear the phone ring on the other side of the door, the owner being right there. He was going out of town, so no room was available for tonight. "Try across the street", he said, referring to Casa Patacas.

The owners were Afonso and his wife of Casa Patacas who lived on the ground floor of a beautiful old house with death-defying parking.

When I got back with my rental car, they invited me in to eat lunch with them. That's where the homegrown lemons and as he called it, church bread, came from. They offered other food to share, some grilled pork, oranges (also from the tree) and a cold beer.

The house was completely redone inside with Portuguese tile everything. Just beautiful. The hospitality of this family was really welcomed.

The Algarve