5 Days in Porto: Eat, Drink, See

One of the gorgeous views of the Ribeira side during our Porto Walkers tour.

Porto is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. You actually need much more than five days to experience all it has to offer, but we’ll give it a go. Bring your camera, an umbrella, a raincoat, and your appetite. This city has it all. SO much so, that we’re considering moving there!

Where we stayed: One Shot Aliados Goldsmith 12
Fabulous boutique hotel in the middle of everything you want to see, including many restaurants, cafes, tourist sites and more. The beds were amazingly soft (I didn’t want to get out of bed!) and each room has it’s own private wifi connection instead of connecting to the entire hotel. We scored an amazing deal at $90/night during our September trip.

Where we Ate:

Breakfast: Do Norte Café by Hungry Biker
Think Williamsburg hipster meets Seattle. Gorgeous cappuccinos, delicious options for meat eaters and vegans in a cosy decor. It’s pretty busy from the moment they open but we arrived around noon and found a table quickly.


Londrina Taberna: Our hotel recommended this taberna for the infamous Porto francesinha and it didn’t dissapoint. For me, the francesinha is all about the sauce and the sauce here is pretty magical.
My hubrock had the full throttle meat version and I had the vegetarian. BOTH were delicious. We washed them down with a cool Superbock caneca (big beer), though they had a variety of craft beers on tap as well as a variety of yummy looking cocktails.

Taberninha do Manel : great place to eat a real sized steak and typical Portuguese dishes. I had the octopus salad with grilled chouriço and my husband had a giant, thick steak with delicious hand cut fries. Fantastic food and perfect place to watch the sunset over the Douro river.

Brasao Cervejaria Aliados: (lunch/dinner-reservations required)
There is always an insane line outside of this place, so you definitely have to make a reservation, whether it’s lunch or dinner. The food and service is above and beyond.
People come here for the mythical Francesinha, but we strayed from the norm since there was such a fantastic selection on the menu. Both my husband and I started with delicious, crunchy empanadas covered in a unique panko crust (truffle for me, cheese for him). I had the steak Portuguesa filet mignon and he had the onion filet mignon; both were top quality delicious and came with fries and a delicious salad (good salads are hard to come by in Portugal, FYI). For dessert, you MUST have the lemon meringue; it comes in a circular shape with a hard meringue exterior that you have to tap and break with your fork to dive into the deliciousness of the lemon inside.
Yes, there are vegetarian options.

Raiz: (dinner only-reservations strongly suggested)
I would recommend that you make a reservation for this place, as well. My husband and I lucked out here on a rainy night and they happened to find a table for us. Most people did have reservations. Quaint setting, delicious food and excellent service. I had the roasted octopus over vegetables; my husband had pork cheeks with sweet potatoes… all magnificent.

*Special note: You must close every meal out with dessert and Port wine…because PORTO. It’s what you do.

What we Did:

Day 1: Wander around to find your bearings and head over to the Douro river.
Walk to the Ribeira side with all it’s cafes, street performers and restaurants and then wander across the lower deck of Ponte D. Luísbridge to the beautiful Vila Nova de Gaia side and settle into a restaurant or bar to watch the sun set and have dinner. If you’ve not had too much wine with dinner, dare to do a wine tasting at one of the many port wineries.

Day 2: Take the Yellow Bus tour. Yes, I said Yellow Bus tour.
Alright you tourist snobs… just give in. This bus takes you all over Porto main sites: the Sé, castles, gorgeous beach areas that I didn’t expect to see, and some tours feature port wine tastings as well as underground art exhibitions. We were thoroughly impressed and because of this tour, had a proper plan of action of where to walk, what to see and do. I highly recommend.

Day 3: Take a port riverboat tour. We took the Oporto Six Bridges Cruise.
You get 3 free wine tastings with it! Not bad for about 15 Euros.

Day 4: Take a free walking tour. We went on the Porto Lifestyle free walking tour with Porto Walkers.
Meet at Praça da Liberdade in front of the D. Pedro IV statue.
Covers: pass by the nightlife area, Lello bookshop (outside), University, Carmo and Carmelitas churches, Piolho cafe, Clérigos tower, Cordoaria garden, the Courthouse and former prison, Vitória view point, Virtudes garden, Miragaia neighborhood, S.Francisco church, Palácio da Bolsa, ending at Praça do Infante.

Discover the city from the point of view of a local and get the inside download on where to eat, what to see and Porto’s history. Maria was our tour guide and was excellent. Finish off with a port tasting at one of the many wineries (many offer 3-5 VERY full glasses per tasting) or take one of Porto Walkers wine tours.

Day 5: Have brunch at Do Norte Café by Hungry Biker and contemplate when you can come back to this fantastic city.


Portugal: Top 5 Things to Know Before You Go

Image available on https://www.chattergoldstudios.com/Photography/Places/Lisbon-Portugal/i-3mLzGPx/buy

Portugal is hot these days. Everyone seems to be moving here or buying property. My husband claims everyone has a bad case of fomo, but I am here to tell you that are some things you should know before you book your trip to this beautiful land of my ancestry. If you plan on moving here sight unseen (yes, people are actually moving here without visiting first, but that’s another blog post), then you should subscribe to my blog because I’ll be posting my honest observations.

  1. Leave your heels at home. Once upon a time, I was the master of running in heels on the cobblestone streets of Greene Street in NYC, but I dare not wear them here. Those beautiful tiles and hilly cobble stone streets that pave each road are extremely slippery when it rains. You will literally go hydroplaning if you don’t have comfortable, sturdy shoes on with good grip. Bring sneakers “trainers”, flats with rubber based soles, or boots.

  2. Get “Wise.” Formerly “Transferwise” now “Wise.” It’s the best way to get money from the ATM without an insane fee. Sadly, I did not have a “wise” account when we first moved here and suffered a $75 exchange fee from my bank when I made my first Euro withdrawal from a multibanco. I literally gasped in shock at the ATM. This didn’t happen to me at Deutsche bank in Spain when we traveled there because my bank had an affiliation with them. Portuguese banks have no deals with US banks. Most expats and international travelers use a “wise” account for all money transfers. I created my account in 15 minutes and the card arrived within a week here in Lisbon. Use this referral code to join if you’d like to set your account up: https://wise.com/invite/u/triciac42
    PLEASE NOTE: Only use your Wise card in Multibanco ATMs, NOT the Euronet ones. Euronet will rip you off.

3. Learn Some Basic Portuguese. Many expats will argue that you don’t need to know Portuguese when you get here but that’s a farce unless you are staying in only tourist areas (Baixa) or expat-centric neighborhoods (Chiado). If you want to truly experience the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, Alfama, you should learn at least a little Portuguese or basic phrases for a more authentic experience. Load your phone with helpful apps like deepL, drops, and Memrise for truly European Portuguese. In a pinch, I confess that I will break out my Google Translate “conversation” mode even though Google translate is Brazilian Portuguese. Some frown upon using the Brazilian version but it helps in a pinch.

4. AirBnB & Hotel Bookings. I could write an entire post about this but make sure you ask a few questions before booking your lodging here in Lisbon or any part of Portugal, especially if you have mobility limitations. Is it wheelchair accessible? Do you have air conditioning and or heating? Can your taxi/uber drive you to the front door of the establishment?
For example, many people want to stay in Alfama because it’s the oldest and one of the most historically rich areas of Lisbon. Alfama’s beautiful, winding maze of cobble stoned streets are also the hardest to navigate unless you are extremely fit and don’t mind dragging your luggage up flights of cobble stoned stairs.

If you are a tall or bigger person, say 6′ tall, ask if the doorways, bathrooms, and ceiling height of their establishment can handle someone of your size. This is especially important if you are planning to stay in an airbnb. Portuguese people are small and some doorways are tiny, I’m talking my height (which is 5’3″). The bathrooms are another matter; some showers were challenging for my 6’1″ husband and he’s on the thinner side.

5. December & January are wet and COLD. Before we moved here from Santa Monica, everyone told us that the weather in Lisbon was identical to southern California. That is a blatant lie. It’s wet and cold and many of the buildings don’t have adequate insulation to keep heat inside, even when you crank up the heaters. The buildings here were built to keep you cool in the hot summer months. Sometimes it’s actually warmer outside than it is inside! And it’s damp. Your bedding and most surfaces will be damp. Mold is a problem here, especially in AirBnB’s that are in the older parts of the city. Make sure your lodgings either provide a dehumidifier and adequate means of heat or wait until Spring to visit. Or visit Madeira. It’s always nice in Madeira.

If you have any questions or would like me to write more blogs on this topic, drop me a line. Thanks for reading and please subscribe!

We’re in Portugal

photo available on http://www.chattergoldstudios.com

I know, I know. It’s been a minute since I’ve last posted and boy, oh boy, has life changed! We have all been going through a pandemic for just over a year.

Aaaaaaannnnnd, the hubby and I somehow managed to move to Lisbon last October!

And it’s beautiful.

And it’s quiet.

And we love it.

Stay tuned for more photos and stories to come.


Fashion Friday: Art Face

If you have to wear a mask, it may as well be art, right? Pretty art full of swirls of color…
Like my paintings!

I got tired of wearing the same old medical mask and black cloth masks that I ordered from Amazon, so I made my own. And some people think they’re pretty cool. I hope you do, too. Just make sure to wear a medical mask underneath so you’re double protected. Better to be safe than sorry!

Check them out on Fine Art America along with many other merchandise options, select the artwork you would like and then select the mask option:

Show your art face and set your style apart from everyone around you with one of my masks.

Please click here HERE to order one that matches each of your outfits-available in all colors. Masks start at $15.

The Holy Grail is in Valencia, Spain

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 4.35.30 PM



Happy Sunday!

I’m editing the photos from Valencia Cathedral, taken during my Spain trip, and thought I’d share a photo of what is said to be the Holy Grail. For those of you who don’t know what the Holy Grail is (or who have never watched “Indiana Jones”), the Holy Grail is said to be the cup that Jesus used during the last supper. This Cup is made of agate stone – a popular material for drink vessels in his time. It is cut out entirely from a large chunk of agate, 9 cm in diameter and completely plain. The decorations of gold and pearls were added to the supporting structure over the centuries. I have to say, it was quite a soul quieting experience to be in the chapel that holds it. You could hear a pin drop. Pretty awesome (literally the definition of awesome).

The Holy Grail is believed to had been left in the house where the Last Supper took place – a house belonging to the family of St Mark the Evangelist, who later took it to Rome when he went to serve as an interpreter for St Peter. Passed on within the church and used as Papal Chalice, the relic was shipped out of Rome in 3rd century by St Lawrence, in anticipation of a persecution. It was taken out of Rome in the hands of a Spanish soldier to Huesca, Spain. During the Muslim occupation of the Iberic peninsula, the Grail went into hiding and later re-emerged in various Spanish monasteries and cathedrals. The Kings of Spain looked after it, on occasions taking it into their treasuries or palaces, until it was finally presented to the Valencia Cathedral in XV century, where it remained ever since. It briefly left the Cathedral only twice, both times during the 1930s Civil War, for fears of plunder. #Sundayfeels #thegrail #Valencia

(info credit given to http://www.valenciavalencia.com/sig…/holy-grail-valencia.htm)

And yes, this photo is available for purchase in any size. Click to order.,

Donate & Decorate! Proceeds Go to Hurricane Dorian Relief

50% of profit from the images on my website (www.chattergoldstudios.com) will go to Hurricane Dorian relief (Red Cross) today through September. Please share, buy, etc… You will find a variety of images from photography to prints of my latest abstract paintings. Just use the search bar in the upper right side of my website.

These images are a little flashback to Hurricane Sandy’s waves climbing the beach at Deerfield Beach’s Trespass area (local Deerfield Beach, Florida folk know where that is).

The storm surges and waves were a reminder of mother nature’s strength…and extreme beauty.
Click on images below for prints, canvas, fine art prints and a variety of wall art and mediums.Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 11.22.01 AMHurricane Sandy

Donate & Decorate This “Giving Tuesday”

From now through the end of January, I will be donating 50% of all profits from my Etsy Shop to St. Judes and Shriners Hospitals for children. Great excuse to both donate and decorate. Please check out my shop regularly for new pieces and share with your friends.

Click image to check each piece out and order…



Sunday Monday Funday Travel Photography

Could your home use an art update for 2018?

Today and tomorrow ONLY, I’m offering 40% off of all prints, metal prints, canvas and photo products in my photography on  www.chattergoldstudios.com

when you use the code: SundayMondayFunday at checkout

on images like… angels and saints in the Cathedral of Barcelona… (click on images to order)




and Madrid…



and Venice, Italy


Visit Chattergold Studios for more wonderful places and feel free to use the search bar in the upper right corner to find any subject matter you fancy.

Thank you for visiting.

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