Some Restaurants

You already know we will be running two races in Portugal, a 25K trail run and a Half Marathon. So I’m sure you understand that we will need to make up for that calorie deficit with some fine dining.  In fact, my mouth is already watering over these dinner reservations:

May 12 Tea at Reid’s Palace Tea Terrace will include delicious cakes and finger sandwiches.

May 14 also at Reid’s Palace we will enjoy a Gala Champagne Dinner at the Main Dining Room.

May 17 we will walk up the hill from our hotel in Lisbon to experience a 7 course tasting at 100 Maneiras.

We’re still working on the rest of our choices for dinners and lunches in Funchal, Lisbon, and Porto. Any recommendations?

Training Adventure

I’ve been having some busy few weeks. Going to Physical Therapy 3x a week for my rotator cuff impingement, attending work events that last up to 3 hours past my bedtime, finishing up the semester’s 3 classes, completing Issue 7 of my magazine, planning my summer of travel to Portugal & Vermont & Minnesota. And, oh, there is that little nagging thing called training for two races: a 15.5 mile trail run and a half marathon. Our trail run is on the island of Madeira, and it starts at 3000 feet and drops to sea level. My training needs to include some elevation change–as much as I can manage in the desert.

So this morning, after a frenzied week of work and etc., all I wanted to do was stay home in bed with a book. What do you think I did?

Right. I ran from my house to the top of  South Mountain, through Hidden Valley to the Buena Vista Trailhead, down Summit Drive to San Juan Road to Central Avenue. Because, well, that’s relaxing #sarcasm.

Now that I’m home with a burrito in my belly, I can tell you that it WAS relaxing #notsarcasm. What a beautiful way to spend a Saturday morning. I can’t wait to do it again. Want to come? Here are the details.

The Lodging–Five Hotels in Portugal

Our approach to planning the Portugal trip, I will admit to you, was a little sloppy. We came back from Peru in December feeling manic. We tried to plan an Italy/Croatia adventure for August, which is the perfect time to get out of Phoenix, but we couldn’t make the flights happen. So then, we tried Portugal in May, and it worked. We spent about a month thinking we would go to Morocco as well. We’re going to Madeira, which is off the coast of Africa, so we thought it would be easy to hop on over. Well, to get to Morocco we would have had to fly back to Lisbon. We were looking at only about 32 hours in Fez. I really want to spend more time in Morocco, so we’ll dedicate a future trip completely to it.

That decided, and our races picked, we looked for places to sleep. John found our Lisbon hotel lx boutique on Tripadvisor. We booked it, and later it showed up on Conde Nast’s 2011 hot list for Europe. We’ll stay there a total of 4 nights, though they are spread out: our first and last night, and a couple in the middle. We’re hoping it will be a nice home base.

Lisbon: lx Boutique Hotel







We looked into staying at the race launch point in Porto Moniz, but all the hotels were booked, and I have to say thank goodness since we waited a few weeks, and a package for Reid’s Palace came up on This is an Orient Express hotel so the service has already been impeccable. The concierge has made my dinner reservations, arranged a car on the day of the race, and promised to pick us up at the airport in a limo. Since I haven’t been in a limo since prom, this is going to be fun!

Madeira: Reid’s Palace

Reid's Palace

Back to the continent, we are going to take several days to drive from Lisbon up the coast to Porto. I’m interested to see the two cities, since Lisbon was devastated by an earthquake in the 1700’s, and Porto was not. I wonder how much difference that will make in landmarks and architecture? Our first stop on this drive up the coast is Obidos.

Obidos: Casa d’Obidos

Also on our drive, we’ll stop in the town of Coimbra where I can’t wait to stay in this elegant manor.

Coimbra: Hotel Quinta das Lagirmas


We are running a half marathon in the Douro Valley, so we wanted a retreat where we could relax afterwards. When I emailed and inquired about rooms, I got a sweet note from Ursula, the owner. She said “It’s hard to believe our little half marathon made its way to Arizona. Sometimes I feel like we live at the end of the earth.” Well, I can’t wait to see her end of the earth. And soon, I will!

Pinhao: Case do Visconde de Chancelerios


Pretty Morning

It is a gorgeous morning here and what better way is there to start the day than my favorite mountain bike ride? It only takes 45 minutes and it’s easy to ride clean. I need to remember to do this more often. Here’s the route.

Trish Loves a Mtn Bike Ride
Trish Loves a Mtn Bike Ride

Preparing for Portugal

I’m starting the 22 day countdown to our departure for Portugal. Behind the scenes we have been very busy preparing last details not only for this 2 week trip, but also for the 6 weeks I will be in Vermont and Minnesota come June and July. My departure for cooler climes only a week after we return Stateside means a bit of additional pressure, especially in the dog sitting department. And the what should I wear department.

There’s another particularly good reason we’ve been busy. We are doing two races during our trip so we need to make sure we’re in running shape. On May 14 we will be running the Madeira Island Ultra Trail 25K , which is a 15.5 mile run that starts at Achada Grande (Fonte do Bispo) at about 3000 feet elevation, and drops to sea level at Porto Moniz. In addition to making sure we can hack it, we need to gather the following items that are required by the race director:

– Thermal blanket;
– 2 Light (head or hand), with batteries reserve;
– Mobile phone with Roaming and with enough battery;
– Camel Bak, bottles or other means to carry water, with a minimum capacity of 1 litre;
– Food reserve in case of emergency;
– Whistle
– Rain cover jacket
– Pants covering minimum knees

Madeira Island
On the trail at Madeira Island 25K

Then on May 22 we’ll be running the Duoro Valley Half Marathon, in the UNESCO world heritage site at Foz do Rio Douro. We’ll run along the valley with gorgeous views of port country. Yes, that’s port the wine.

Douro Valley
Running along the Douro Valley in the heart of Port Country.

We’re really looking forward to our active vacation. And don’t worry, there will be plenty of eating to fuel our activity.