Surf & turf sliders at Vice Versa, Vdarra

Review: Vice Versa at Vdarra, Las Vegas

Vice Versa Patio Lounge Address: 2600 W. Harmon Avenue, Las Vegas (at the Vdarra Hotel & Spa) MJ Rating:  1/2 (2 1/2 out of 3 stars) Features: Vice Versa is located on the center patio of the Vdarra Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas. Casual, yet hip, Vice Versa’s patio has fire pits (perfect for colder desert evenings) […]

Is a River Cruise Right for You?

Earlier this year, I was the enthusiastic guest of Viking River Cruises onboard their longship Eistla cruising the Rhine. We started in Frankfurt and ended in Amsterdam, the trip is also offered in reverse, and, I’m told, this was a fairly typical first river cruise itinerary. River cruising is generating a lot of buzz lately, […]

American Goldfinch Martini

There’s a New Bird in Town: Goldfinch Tavern at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

After months (and months) of construction, and months (and months) of wondering what it would be like, the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle and Ethan Stowell have now opened the Goldfinch Tavern. Named for Washington’s state bird, the Goldfinch Tavern offers simply prepared Pacific Northwest cuisine made with premium local ingredients. Open for break, lunch, dinner, weekend […]

Mt Fuji, Japan

Yoshida Udon: A Meal Fit for Mt. Fuji

It was hot and filling, and best of all – it wasn’t fish! I slurped up that bowl of Yoshida Udon like there was no tomorrow. I had been in Japan for a couple of days and had been treated to gourmet meals aplenty. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were beautiful works of art, masterpieces of […]

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Lisbon: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Monument of the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal

Monument of the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal

A little over four years ago, we were planning a trip to Portugal. The plan was to stay in the Lisbon area for a week, before continuing on with another week in Tuscany. It was our first trip to Portugal, and in my Type-A way, I researched and found a place to stay in Cascais near the beach, figured out public transportation, and was charting a list of things to see and do. We were traveling with a friend and every few days we shared something new and exciting that we learned.

Tickets were purchased, accommodations booked, lists were made. We were ready.

BUT – as we were about to be reminded – travel plans don’t always turn out the way we want. Or that we would hope for.

Sixteen hours before we were to board our flight for Lisbon, my father-in-law passed away. It was not entirely unexpected, he had been hospitalized for a short while, but it nevertheless through us for a loop emotionally as well as logistically. While family expected us to leave on the trip as planned, it was what John would have wanted, that wasn’t a decision we were comfortable with. We needed a plan, and by the time we were able to start working on it, we were down to under 12 hours and counting.

We were able to make things work out on a modified schedule. The airlines was remarkably helpful in getting us re-booked, despite there only being one flight that had availability that could still catch us up with the rest of our flights and trip. The flight change fees were modest, our apartment rental helpful, and we were able to get word to our traveling companion who was already on the road (and without cell phone or internet access).

We were a ragged looking couple when we finally showed up for our flight. We splurged and spent an obscene amount of money on a last minute upgrade to business class, a decision that I regretted for only an instant.

In the end, we made it to Portugal. We didn’t make it to all the sites we wanted to see, but we did make it to the Monument of the Discoveries. We didn’t make it to all the restaurants we wanted to try, but we did drink vino tinto and snack on pastel de nata. We didn’t get to take any of the day trips we had planned, but we did recover from jet lag with a view of the beach in Estoril, and even managed a enough energy to walk part of the boardwalk.

We missed so much of Lisbon and Portugal, but we always knew we’d go back. One day.

And “one day” will happen next month when we return to to Portugal for a Viking River Cruise, Portugal’s River of Gold, a 10-day tour and cruise. (Disclosure:  We’re invited guests of Viking for the sailing.) The itinerary includes a couple days in Portugal, giving us a chance to see at least a few of things we missed, and then heads to Porto to start the cruise. The itinerary if full of intersting ports and side trips including:  Porto, Bitetos, Regua, Pinhao, Barca d’Alva, all in Portugal, and then we venture into Spain to Salamanca and Vega de Terron.

Our sailing is sold out – sorry, it would have been fun to have you along – but there are plenty of other sailings through the end of the year and into 2016. Not sure if you’d like a river cruise? Read my post to help you decide if a river cruise is right for you. (And please take a moment to answer our survey at the end of that post.)

I’m pretty excited about returning to Portugal. My friends at Viking River had no idea when they extended this invitation that it was turning our “one day” into a specific day – September 29, 2015. We’re looking forward to an entirely different experience on our return visit to Portugal. As always, you can follow along on our advdnture; I’ll share specific information as we get closer to departure.

Are you interested in river crusing or visiting Portugal? Pin this to your travel Pinterest boards.

Monument of the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal






Explore the archives for more travel ideas.

Visiting the Ruins of Pompeii: From Tragedy to Tourism

The ruins of Pompeii are a UNESCO World Heritage Site

On August 24th, 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted in a violent two day display that destroyed the city of Pompeii, […]

Sunday Stories for August 23rd, 2014

Seattle Washington skyline

It’s been another great week in Seattle, and I’m going to extend my time enjoying it with a few days […]

Four Seasons Luxury on Private Jet Tours

The interior seating area on the Beoing 757 Four Seasons jet is spacious with lots of leg room

Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, 52 passengers are embarking on a round-the-world luxury tour the likes of which I can […]

Sunday Stories for August 16th, 2015

Surf & turf sliders at Vice Versa, Vdarra

This is a great time to be in the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve enjoyed sticking pretty close to home this […]