My Special Fondness For Portugal’s Favaios

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50If Portugal is on your “travel bucket list,” (and well it should be) then you’ll want to head over to read my guest post on My Itchy Travel Feet, an award-winning boomer travel blog.

Falling In Love With The Village of Favaios,” highlights one of the towns I visited  last summer while traveling along the Douro on the Viking River Cruise Portugal’s River of Gold.* You’ll see why I have a fondness for Favaios and what makes it so special. (More about my travels to Portugal are available on my Travel and Leisure page.)

Four Corners Bread in Favaios, Portugal, Douro River, Viking River Cruises, boomer travel, life after 50

Four Corners Bread is fresh from the ovens in Favaios. Grapes hang from the outside of the bakery.

My Itchy Travel Feet
After you read about Favaios, you’ll want to spend extra time perusing this boomer travel blog. My Itchy Travel Feet, The Boomer’s Guide To Travel is written by a husband and wife team from Montana, Donna and Alan Hull. Donna is the writer and Alan takes all the photographs. They highlight a range of domestic and international active adventures for the second half of your life.

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My River Cruise on the Douro – A Grand Finale

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It was the last two days of our river cruise on the Douro in Portugal.*

“Tomorrow we will see the most scenic road you can find in the Douro,” said our program director Jorge. “Come along and you will be wowed.” While I couldn’t wait to go on a tour of the wine country, my boyfriend L was happy to stay on board and watch the vineyards from the deck as the Viking Hemming sailed to Pinhão.

Douro River, Portugal, Favaios, Viking River Cruises, life after 50, boomers, boomer travel

We were wowed by the views of the Douro wine country.

Favaios – Home of Muscatel Wine and Four Corners Bread
The small town of Favaios was my favorite spot of the entire week. The village is home to Muscatel wine and four corners bread. We visited a few of the cooperative wineries. Together, they make 30 million bottles of wine per year — most of the bottles are individual size because in Portugal they often combine a small bottle of Muscatel with beer. Muscatel grapes are very sweet and our guide Maria told us that “Muscatel is very good to cure a cold, perhaps because of the honey aroma.” Continue reading

My River Cruise on the Douro – Spotlight on Salamanca

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“Tomorrow we rise early for our excursion to the golden city of Salamanca,” said our program director Jorge on our Viking river cruise on the Douro in Portugal.* “We’re going to Spain,” I said to my boyfriend L. “You’ll finally be able to get an authentic paella. Are you going to join me for this excursion?” “Yes, yes,” said L.

Our Trip To Salamanca
We boarded the bus for a very long two hour ride. L slept, while I looked out the window at the beautiful views of the countryside.

Salamanca, Portugal, VIking River Cruise, boomer travel, post 50 travel

During our free time in the morning, we walked around the city streets:

We went to Museo Art Nouveau where there was a special Coco Chanel exhibition. L stayed outside while I toured the collection of Coco’s fashions – a fun fashionista experience. Continue reading

My River Cruise on the Douro – Breathtaking Views

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“Take me back to Portugal, I miss the picturesque villages, pristine waters, and magnificent vineyard covered mountains,” I said to my boyfriend L. I wished to return to the Viking Hemming, but instead spent time cherishing all the memories from our first-ever river cruise on the Douro.* It had been a fun adventure and there’s plenty more to share.

Lots To Do On-Board 
There were many activities on-board and unlike L, who enjoyed relaxing and reading on deck, I was eager to participate in all.

Viking River of Gold Cruise, Portugal, Douro, river cruise, over 50, life after 50, boomer travel

Como està,” I said to L when I returned from my Portuguese language lesson. L smiled and went on reading. Elia taught us how to say popular words and phrases, like bom dia (good morning), boa tarde (good afternoon), boa noite (good evening and good night), adeus (good bye), and olà (hello). “There are two ways to say thank you,” said Elia. “If you are a woman you say obrigada, but if you are a man you say obrigado.”

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My River Cruise On The Douro – Welcome Aboard!

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“We are delighted to welcome you aboard Viking Hemming, and look forward to serving you,” said our program director Jorge. My boyfriend L and I were excited for our cruise along Portugal’s Douro River, compliments of Viking.*

A Stop Off In Ciombra
It was a fun day of travel to the ship, leaving our pre-trip in Lisbon in the early morning and heading north to Coimbra, the original capital of Portugal, and home to one of its oldest universities. Students gave us a tour and shared stories about their “black capes,” which are a tradition on campus. The capes were originally worn so students would not be judged by their clothes if they were rich or poor. “During graduation festivities, we cut the cape,” said Maria, a student of engineering. “A middle cut is for your boyfriend, but must be sewn up if you break up.” Moi tried on one of these heavy woolen capes and almost fell over.

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The university at Combria is one of the oldest. Black capes are a tradition for students.

Welcome Aboard!
We arrived in Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, by early evening and boarded the Viking Hemming, The small ship holds about 105 people, Our third floor room was lovely, with a veranda, a king-sized bed, contemporary bathroom (that even had a night-light), and plenty of closet space. “I could definitely live on this ship,” I said to L. “It’s great waking up to a magnificent views of the Douro river and Portugal’s mountainous terrain of vineyards. My only wish is that they had yoga classes on the deck instead of shuffle board and pitch and putt.” Continue reading

My Travels To Portugal – Falling In Love With Lisbon

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“This is a beautiful city and I’m sure you are going to fall in love with it,” said our Viking Program Director Ileana as we boarded the buses to tour Lisbon. It was day two of the pre-cruise trip on “Portugal’s River of Gold,” courtesy of Viking River Cruises.* My lucky boyfriend L (always remind him how lucky he is) and I were assigned to Bus B for the morning and all future tours during the cruise.

Touring Historical Belém
We started our guided tour of Lisbon in Belém, located in the southwestern tip of the city along the Tagus River, one of the longest rivers in the Iberian Pennisula bordering between Portugal and Spain. Our guide Maria told us all about the ravishing earthquake, tsunami and fires that destroyed much of Lisbon in 1755. “Portugal’s royal family moved to Belem because it wasn’t destroyed by the earthquake,” said Maria.

Belem, Lisbon, Tower of Belem, Pasteis de Belem, Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal, VIking River Cruise River of Gold

Sites in Belem (l to r): Tower of Belem, Monastery, Pasteis de Belem

Belem is home to many of Portugal’s historical landmarks and we visited several: Continue reading

My Travels On “Portugal’s River of Gold” – First Stop Lisbon

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50In yoga we learn to flow with the river. That’s exactly what I did during my travels last week on “Portugal’s River of Gold,” courtesy of Viking River Cruises. I was invited to, as Viking says, “explore the world in comfort” along the Douro.* My boyfriend L (I tell him how lucky he is every day) joined me.

As our first-ever cruising experience, L and I agreed that river cruises, because of their small size of only about 100 or so people, are the way to go cruising during one’s life after 50 and after 60, 70, 80, and even 90 (I will share more in future posts about the two inspiring friends R and A who were in their 90s.)

If you haven’t planned a trip yet, not to worry – there’s plenty of time ahead. While not inexpensive, we found that these inclusive cruises are well worth the value and convenience if you want to travel with ease.

Viking River Cruises, Portugal, life after 50, boomer travel, aging


There were many stops on our Portugal cruise and I took time to do as the young students in the small village of Favaios (one of my favorite excursions) encouraged me to do: “observe, feel, taste, smell, buy, play, enjoy, and learn.”

It was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

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