A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: ACoelho


Bagni San Filippo

all seasons in one day -24 °C

Hi everyone!

I've just realized that it was been almost 3 years since I do not post anything.
In fact - thanks God for that! - this does not mean that I've stopped traveling around the world.
Changed my job, new routines, more time with the family and maybe also a little bit of that terrible feeling of getting older...

Anyway, to commemorate this return to my travel blog I decided that I wanted to share with you a very strange experience I've had this summer in Toscania, more precisely in Bagni San Felippo, a sulfur hot spring with natural pools where you can take a bath and relax free of charge...
I've knew of this place through my daughter, also now becoming a travelling addicted :) who had searched for different spots to stop during our summer holidays 2016.
After driving through the country roads south of Siena, passing though all those landscapes that fill up the internet we came to a stop in a steep road at the entrance of this small village. The temperature outside was 30+C as expected in Tuscany in august.
It happens that the moment we stoped the car, the sky turned from blue to dark grey and drops of rain begun to fall.
After a moment of discussion we decided to go out and visit the place regardless of the menace of thunderstorm.
Now with light rain falling continuous the pools were almost deserted. One last step in the trail in the woods were the pools are located, and WOW!
There's a waterfall of hot water falling from 20 or 30 meters above flowing down over a bed of white sediments! Totally unexpected, but very beautiful.
I only regret the light was very poor (and it was raining) and I've decided not to bring my camera with me. Fortunately my son had is brand new wide angle camera that he uses for filming is skateboarding activities. The temperature was now around 20-22C outside.
30 minutes of soaking in the hot water (for sure above 40C) and nobody was paying attention to the falling rain. Actually it was kind of interesting and funny.
But suddenly the rain become stronger and at a certain moment it changed to ice cubes falling strongly!!!!
For more than 15 minutes it rained small ice stones, the outside temperature dropped to 10C or less and if we did not had the hot water falling down over our heads we would freeze! Again, after the initial surprise, that hot/cold situation was a lot of fun.
When we decided to return to the car we were all totally wet and feeling really cold. Our bathing suits were full of sulfur residues and I'm sure that Budget's people is still trying to remove that rotten eggs smell from the seats still today ;)
Well this is it, a funny moment in a nice trip to Toscania, 2016.

Posted by ACoelho 09:02 Archived in Italy Tagged tuscany Comments (0)

Travelling in Poland


sunny 0 °C

Hi All,
My last business trip took me to Poland.
This was my first visit to the country and I was naturally curious about it.
I've started in Warsaw and from there I drove to Krakow. The motorway system in Poland still has a long way to go and we are forced to drive in national roads a lot of times.
Eventually we arrived to Krakow and checked in at a nice hotel in the jewish quarter.
The centre of the city was decorated with Christmas lights and and we had a nice traditional polish dinner, full of pork fat, pork sausages, pork this, pork that... it tasted good but really not healthy! Oh well, nothing that a good walk could not (dis)solve.

The next day we drove from Krakow to Wroclaw and the trip took again almost three hours. Yes, travelling around in Poland demands patience...
On our way we stoped in the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The morning was very cold and a thick fog was still laying on the ground.
We arrived early in Birkenau and the camp was still without tourits. Let me tell you that even after 70 years we can still feel the emotional pressure of the place.
The rail road used to bring the jewish prisioners to the camp ends there... end of the road, literally.

Birkenau is only one camp, one part of a large human extermination factory. Looking at the layout of the large complex we can see that this area was clearly designed like an assembly line, optimized to kill efficiently thousands of people.
We left Auschwitz and we've stayed silent for awhile. No words can explain the experience of walking in that place.
Wroclaw greated us with another Christmas party in the main square. The buildings in this square are very beautifull and colored, and the city deserves some time to be enjoyed.
yeah, curious statue... are they trying to tell us something?

Overall, Poland was a good surprise with nice friendly cities like Krakow and Wroclaw.
But of course, the stop in Auschwiz was the highlight of the trip. Hopefully this place will teach future generations about the bad things that human civilization must not do.

Posted by ACoelho 14:02 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Above 68º North

Summer hollidays in Lofoten, Norway

semi-overcast 14 °C


Hi again,

I finally got some time to chose some pictures and to write some words about our summer holidays.
This year was the time to travel to some colder place. Lofoten in Norway was in the top of the list already for quite some time so this year we went there, above 68º north.
We took the flight from Lisbon to Oslo and then to Bodo. Then from Bodo we took the ferry to Moskenes in Lofoten in a crossing that took a little bit more than 3 hours. Nusfjord, our final destination, took another hour driving. Nusfjord, was our base camp during that week.
Driving around is easy and it is the best way to reach all the nice spots in the islands. We've spent five days checking out the increadible beaches with white sand and turquoise waters, surrounded by tall mountains.
We've started at Â, the beautiful fishing village, and we've finished our tour in Laukvik, the northern most point we've visited. Difficult to put on words - and even in pictures - the feeling of calmness and the real scale of the landscape... you really need to be there to understand it. Below some pictures of places we've visited in Lofoten.
Aah... such nice moments!

Â, the world heritage fishing village

Fisherman preparing the stockfish in Â

Our cabin in Nusfjord, another world heritage place

On our way to Unstad beach...

After walking for more than one hour following the mountain trail, there it was, the great view of Kvalvika beach.

Rock and rolling
Las picture before returning to the mountain trail

The amazing Uttakleiv beach, really my favourite beach in Lofoten!

Breakfast in Svolvaer / The Ice Magic Bar, strange but unexpected / The impressive WW2 museum in Svolvaer / Bridges of Lofoten
The kingdom of the Gods

After leaving Lofoten and Bodo, we drove south to visit the Svartisen glacier.
No words to describe the feeling of touching the ice and being inside some caves inside the glacier...

This is it, I hope this will tease you to make the same trip one day.
Memories stay alive...

Posted by ACoelho 09:34 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

The Portuguese coast - Cape Espichel

Sea, stunning landscape and.... Dinossaur trails!

sunny 24 °C

It's not the first time I've been to this place but it still surprises me nevertheless.
The loneliness feeling comes along with a fantastic sense of getting in tune with the sea, the land and the power of the planet.
We can walk around the trails overlooking the sea or maybe we just walk the most interesting one, the dinossaurs trail.
In Pedra da Mua and in the Lagosteiros spot its possible to observe unique dinossaur trails.
The land was flat in this area hundred of million years ago and dinossaur herds walked around leaving their footprints in the mud. Since then, the planet got into action and bent the ground to almost a 90 degrees angle.
Hundred of years ago, people saw the strange trail and associated it with a religious appearance, a miracle.
In consequence, a santuary and a chapel was built in the top of the clifts, at Cape Espichel.
Science as usual told us a different thing and we now know that it's only the evidence of dinossaurs playing around in the beach...
This place is only 40 minutes south of Lisbon and deserves a visit if in the neibourhoods.



Posted by ACoelho 11:28 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Buddha Eden Park in the Silver Coast

Great thematic park in the centre of Portugal

sunny 20 °C

For those who like chinese culture or just like to see and enjoy those Buddha's images, this is the right place to visit.
The park is situated just 60 km north of Lisbon in Carvalhal, Bombarral, and it takes about a one hour drive to get there from Lisbon using the A8 motorway (exit 12)
The park entrance is very cheap, just 2,5 eur per person and it's worth the visit.
In a large property partially used for vineyards - the well known and wonderfull Quinta de Lorido winee, same owner as Quinta da Bacalhoa - a large set of granite and marble statues are spread around a lake and small hills covered with cork trees and local flora.
Strolling around the pathways and statues is very nice and you need at least 2-3 hours to enjoy the park properly. There's a good self service restaurant in the park and at the exit a wine shop which also needs some time to be explored ..... :)
The park claims to be the largest Buddha park in Europe and it was build in response to the destruction of the Giant Bamyan Buddhas, sculpted in the rocks of the valley of Bamyan in central Afghanistan and which had for centuries been a cultural and spiritual reference.
Check the pictures!
Ah, not too far away from the park there's a magnificent beach.
The Silver Coast reagion is full of nice beaches but I think this Foz do Arelho beach is one of the most scenic places.large_SAM_6085_copy.jpg

Posted by ACoelho 05:31 Archived in Portugal Comments (1)

Weekend in Madeira

The pearl of the Atlantic

sunny 20 °C

I'm writing this post already three months past my visit to Madeira.
We've travelled to the main island in December 26th and stayed in a nice hotel near Funchal, for four days.
The main island is not so big and altough there's a lot to see we've found out that 3-4 days is enough to get a good view of the place.
I really suggest that you rent a car and do your own driving as this is the easiest way to enjoy the island at your own speed.
It was my first time in the island and I must say that Madeira exceeded my expectations.


Like many other islands with the same geological history - Madeira raised up from the ocean during a long and intense vulcanic event - the coastal landscape is impressive and very beautifull. It rains a lot during the entire year in the island and the mountains are always green and with lush vegetation . And in how many places in Europe can you expect to have 20 °C temperature during the day in late December????


Many years ago, driving around the island used to take too many hours because the coastal roads were very narrow and cutted in the rugged cliffs. Today it's possible to go from one end of Madeira to the other end in just a couple of hours. Many new tunnels cut through the mountains making life much more easier for visitors. However, there is still a couple of these old roads in service in the north side of the island which will defy your patience and driving skills...


The place that I liked the most is Ponta de São Lourenço, a strip of land made by vulcano in the east part of the island.
Hiking in São Lourenço is a must do, and there's a marked trail which lead you to the end of the land.
But enough of words, please have a look into some pictures taken during that visit.
Madeira is a nice place to visit and, who knows, maybe a place to live someday - like many foreigners do.
PS: do not forget to try the local kebab with corn cake on the side.
To drink? The Poncha, of course!!!


Posted by ACoelho 13:35 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Art in Madeira

Great idea in the old town of Funchal

sunny 18 °C

The family spent some days in Madeira this Christmas.
Weather was perfect, temperature around 20 °C. I will post shortly some impressions about the island along with some photos.
Overall, and this was our first time in Madeira, the island met or exceeded our expectations. But like I said, I will share with you all soon more about Madeira.
What I want to present today is a set of pictures taken in the main street of the old town quarter in Funchal.
We were strolling in the area when we entered this street where artists used the old building doors to express their art.
May be not really a new thing but nevertheless the final result is very interesting and unique.
No more words, just a sample sequence of art made in the buildings doors in Funchal.

Posted by ACoelho 14:03 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Happy New Year 2013!

Fireworks in Sado River, Setubal and Troia

semi-overcast 12 °C

Hi Everyone,
First of all, I wish you all a Great 2013, full of good things and new travel around the world.
This year we went out to see the 2012/2013 fireworks in Setubal. Thousands of people enjoyed the show from the Fishermans Warf, facing the Sado River mouth and the peninsula of Troia.

Posted by ACoelho 03:58 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Boston, Plymouth & Cape Cod

Historical moments and places to remember

sunny 16 °C

I'm still in Boston area, in Quincy, to be precise. After some days working in Boston I went south for the weekend - cheaper hotel rates forced the move!
This was my second time in Boston but only this week I managed to have some time to really feel the city.
To an European guy like me, Boston feels like the most "european" city that I've been in the USA.
The water front is very beautiful, always full of activity and with lots of spots to visit in detail.
I took one of the many hop-on/hop-off tours that go around the main icons of the city. It is my opinion that these hop-on/hop-off tours always work well when we do not have too much time to visit the place.
Today, I drove down to Plymouth, place of the first english settlement back in 1620. The morning was gorgeous, the light was perfect and I spend some good moments walking around the park area just in front of the bay.
A replica of Mayflower can be visited in the pier and I had to stop and think about how difficult it was to travel in the seventeen century... no more bitching when travelling economy next time :)
Another two hours driving south and I arrived to Provincetown just in time to a nice lunch facing the fishermans warf.
The city was full of people, maybe warming up for the halloween weekend. So I've just spend there enough time to record some images of the place in my mind and camera and left to visit the sandy beaches of the Cape.
For me it was interesting to find out that this landscape is really very similar to our peninsula of Troia - please see my previous post about Troia - both places are separated by an ocean and 5500 km.
In fact I was surprised by the fact that there is a large portuguese comunity living in the area. But, may be this is not so strange after all. The Cape is all about fishermans, white sandy beaches, good seafood... that's us, portuguese people, any where in the world!
Well, hopefully my pictures of the Cape will show the calm, relaxed atmosphere of a late October saturday.
This is a place that I would like to visit again with a little bit more time. We'll see...
Tomorrow it's time to return home, running away from Sandy hurricane just in time (I hope!)

Posted by ACoelho 19:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Playing like a rabbit in Lagos, Algarve

Boat ride through the caves in Lagos, Portugal

sunny 27 °C

Yesterday I was surprised by a friend.
Knowing that I was in Lagos for a meeting with a large group of people, we all have been invited for a meal on bord followed by a boat tour to the coastal caves in Lagos.
The caves can only be accessed by boat and only experienced sailors can take you to some of the caves. The tides are strong, the rocks are like sharp needles in some places and in certain caves you need to know the right moment of the day to get in - simply put, you need enough head room to go through in the boat.
Enjoy the short set of pictures, which were taken with my phone camera - many of which were taken while I was trying to keep my balance in the boat :)



Posted by ACoelho 12:19 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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