Paris in the the Spring

We went to Paris again last weekend, and finally made it ot the Louvre.  It’s the world’s largest museum, with a cracking 1989-era glass-pyramid addition designed by IM Pei.  Mr. Pei also left his mark on Toronto – the same guy who designed Commerce Court West, another building which combines the very new with the very old.

More time was spent this time visiting cooler, hipper, fannypack-free Paris locales.  Highlights include hipster cafe Chez Prune , Les Enfants Rouges market (in city centre with a food focus) and Marche aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves (vintage flea market in an outer borough).

What to expect if you visit us in London

We’ve had our 4th group of visitors through these parts in the past 5 weeks, and our Londonology is down to a science.  If you think you’re in for fannypacks, C$8 bottles of water or 4 hour lineups to see the changing of the guard, guess again!  Here’s how the typical schedule works out:

Saturday

Making Lemonade out of Lemons 2

While stuck in Salema (see Making Lemonade out of Lemons 1) Jorn’s wife was quite upset to hear of our bad luck, and on getting to her house to pick up keys to our apartment, insisted on taking us for a hike the next day.

My sisters and I are active.  We work out regularly and consider ourselves fairly healthy.  Jorn’s wife, goes for 3 walks per day, two hour long walks, and one 2-3 hour walk.  Every day.  We may not have been adequately prepared for the hike that followed.  Regardless, it was an amazing hike and we saw herbs and beautiful plants growing wild everywhere we looked.

Wild Thyme

Rosemary - this stuff was everywhere and so fragrant!

Almond Trees

Fennel

Fig Tree

Wild Lavender

Walking down to Figueira Beach

Doesn't that rock formation remind you of pull-apart bread?

Figueira

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

So you may have heard, our trip to Portugal did not go entirely without incident.  In the same breath, if you ever have the chance to go to Salema, Portugal, you must go.  It was breathtakingly beautiful and the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Cape Sagres, Portugal

We had an amazing 6 days in Portugal.  Great food, great time spent with my family, and amazing sights, it was the perfect vacation right up until the last hour before we left for the airport.  The six of us (Mr416expat, myself, my parents, and two of three sisters) packed up the cars to go to the airport, and on a whim, decided to check out one more beach.  While we were taking some fabulous pictures…

Beach near Villa de Bispo, Portugal

Nifty mussels?

Beach near Villa de Bispo

Someone was making off with some importantly relevant (for leaving the country) personal belongings.  This resulted in a visit to the Villa de Bispo police station, some difficult conversations in Portuguese, missed flights, a side trip to Lisbon for new passports, and an extended stay in Portugal for some of us.  Word to the wise, don’t have your passports stolen on a Friday afternoon…you’ll definitely have to wait till Monday to even apply for new ones.

It wasn’t the family vacation I thought I was getting, but it turned into a fabulous opportunity to hang out with two of my sisters in a beautiful country.  If only we could have convinced our third sister to fly in for the weekend.

In true, making lemonade out of lemons fashion, my sisters and I did not want to break the bank while waiting for new passports.  We rented a small apartment in Salema from the same folks we’d rented the villa we stayed in as a group of 6.  Why go back to Salema?  It’s a beautiful place and we felt totally safe and comfortable there.  Our hosts, Jan and his wife, were amazing, providing us with fresh beach towels, taking us on an amazing hike (more on that later), and providing us with a delicious bottle of wine.  While getting robbed stunk, Jan and his wife kept our memories of Salema happy.

Down to the business of food…

Being the enterprising young ladies that we are, we thought we’d save money by buying groceries and making dinner at the apartment, after all, what apartment doesn’t have an oven?

A vegetarian pizza for our vegetarian sister

Sadly there is no oven in our apartment...but there is a sandwich maker!

Cheese leakage was a bit of an issue

Pretty good outcome I'd say...not one of my more picturesque meals though