To the sea.

One last glance at Dubrovnik: the harbor at the southern end of town. You can keep walking around the main harbor and around the city wall, and though it looks like it comes to an abrupt end, you can sort of sidle around a corner and find a lovely spot for snoozing (if you're a cat) or swimming (if you're an older gentleman in speedos). I will only provide photographic evidence for one of those categories (you're welcome).

 Every single photo of me by the sea is sort of tense, ready to run from a wave at any moment...

Just hypothetically.

At some point while wandering around Dubrovnik, you might find yourself standing in front of this staircase:

And if you walk to the top of that staircase, you'll be rewarded with a lovely view:

You may be curious about what is just beyond the plaza at the top of those stairs, and you might walk past the cafe and down a stone passageway and be confronted by an intriguing sign:

You might follow the arrow and up another staircase and discover a hole in the stone wall and step through it:

And at that point, you'll find yourself on a small cliff-side bar. Take a seat (or walk down the steps to the sea for a swim) and marvel.


We spent a beautiful couple of hours on a double-decker bus last weekend, winding through the mountains and up the coast to Croatia. The Grand Imperial Hotel welcomed us with a sunny balcony and sweets, and the entire city of Dubrovnik was a gem: lots of winding streets, endless staircases, a sea wall to climb (I mostly clung onto the sides and tried not to look over the sheer drops, but people without fear of heights seemed to enjoy it...), a delicious vegetarian restaurant (Nishta, highly recommended), and cliffside bars. And cats. More cats.

Our Lady of the Rocks.

From the shores of Perast, you can make out two small islands in the center of the bay. The tree-covered space is home to a small monastery (there has been an abbey in this spot since at least 1166!) that is closed to the public, but the other one is easily reachable by boat.  Legend has it that this almost entirely man-made island was founded when sailors found an icon of Mary on a protruding sea rock, and seafarers began dropping stones and sinking ships in that spot to form a place to honor her. The small church that sits there now was built in the 1600s and contains relics left behind by grateful sailors and their families in thanks for safe voyages and miraculous interventions at sea: silver plaques, lanterns, embroidery, ship bells, coffee grinders, and the occasional parasol. Brides still leave a memento above the doorways when they marry there, and residents continue to boat out to drop a rock or two during a festival in July. It's a lovely place for a history lesson.


We braved the local bus system and took a short trip to the nearby town of Perast this past weekend. We were unceremoniously dropped off on the side of the road at the top of the town, which made for a spectacular, if slightly bewildering, first impression. We ultimately discovered a steep winding staircase to follow into the main square and down to the water's edge, and I didn't trip once. Less than 400 people live in this formerly Venetian-controlled little place, but there are some wonderful restaurants -- and mysterious islands. I'll save that story for another time!

Quietly regretting footwear choices.
The gorgeous dress that I sported on this outing is from the upcoming fall line from Mata Traders (hi, guys!), a marvelous fair trade jewelry and clothing company headquartered in Chicago. I've had the fantastic opportunity to do some work for them these past few months, and the people who comprise the company are just as warm and wonderful (and occasionally silly) as I could have hoped. It's a company that ticks all of my favorite things (ethically produced fashion! pretty dresses! small business! women helping women!), and it's been so much fun to swan around Montenegro in some of the new dresses. More to come on that front, too! 

A Vida Portuguesa

I wanted one new blog post in 2017, with the promise to myself to document my travels in the new year, before I completely forget the a...