An overnight short hop across the English Channel behind us and we are safely docked in Dover with views of the famous white cliffs right from our balcony.
All packed, we are now ready to disembark the Crystal Serenity and board the bus to make our way to London Heathrow airport.
Upon reflection, as this adventure is coming to a close, I can say that we will remember it for a long time as we first and foremost were able to spend quality time together in a seamless flow of discoveries, lovely meals, and comfort ashore & aboard. Enjoying Crystal’s thoughtful luxury provided by a team of passionate staff that tirelessly makes even the smallest detail feel effortless was a treat for both of us.
Strong stormy conditions – not unlike what the Allied troops encountered 75 years ago – made it necessary for our captain to change navigation. Instead of stopping in La Coruna, we sailed on across the Bay of Biscay toward tge tiny British island Guernsey.
While disappointing, this change gave us more time for meetings and to enjoy the fantastic on-board lectures about WWII at tge 75th anniversary of the invasion that changed the course of history.
The opened up time also allowed us to taste the creative food at Nobu’s only restaurant at sea called Umi Uma which is outstanding in freshness and creativity.
Over a mid-day update we learned that weather continued to plague us and that Guernsey was also cancelled. This meant an additional afternoon of sailing before we reached our stop in Honfleur, France. Overall we are having a fantastic time aboard and the days are flying by fast.
With a first rather wavy night (thank you Atlantic might) of rest behind us, the ship docked in Porto early morning or us to explore. Conveniently located at the mouth of the Douro River, this wealthy city of fortified wine fame is worth exploring.
We started with a morning of business sessions and then left the ship on an afternoon drive. Our first stop was the hillside terrace of the Relais&Chateaux hotel Yateman located opposite of Porto on the ravine in Gaia. The views from there are absolutely spectacular as is the port house of Taylor’s right down the hill which is owned by the same family. Afterwards we crossed the Douro River and discovered the narrow streets with its narrow cobbled streets.
Our special tour included a VIP visit to the British Factory House – the union hall of the by now well-established port wineries. It’s interior is most fascinating – from the library to the port decanter collection and the dining room, this private meeting place is stunning and historic. Loved the visit.
Back at the ship, we set sail for La Coruna in Spain. Stay tuned for more of my adventures.
After a lovely day of riding the historic yellow trams and walking through rainy Lisbon, Julie and I enjoyed a bite of Portuguese pasteis de baccalau (fish fritter) at a spectacular local stand.
Then we returned to our abode – The Lapa Palace Hotel to grab our stuff and headed boarded the Crystal Serenity docked in Lisbon for our first adventure aboard the venerable luxury line to sail for 5 nights to London.
Here we are sailing under the 25th of April bridge – headed out to the Atlantic.
Join us on our adventure along the Iberian coastline.
Yes, there is such a thing as food tourism, meaning returning to a place simply for the pleasure of enjoying a particular dish or meal!
That is exactly what I did yesterday myself. I have dreamt about this day for over 13 years since our discovery of this very special of bakeries in the Belém neighborhood of Lisbon. The “world’s best custard tartlets” being crafted here by the millions since 1837, the Pasteis de Belém is simply fantastic.
From its crunchy yet super thin shell to the perfectly balanced custard, this tasty treat is best enjoyed at the bakery when it is still slightly warm to the touch with a sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Yes, take-out is offered but eating them fresh is the unrivaled experience. The challenge with take-out is that once the tartlet cools off, the custard (egg based as it is) sets up and becomes dense. Trust me, the taste changes at that stage – so eat it fresh for maximum enjoyment.
The line outside is for take out clients while over 400 seats in a maze of rooms and chambers takes you into the inner sanctum of the baking area, a sight not to be missed.
Simple yet so well perfected, this treat is worth a trip around the globe to be enjoyed. Will I be back someday? You bet.
The taste, the experience, and the memories made with my tastebuds make this one of my all time favorite food pilgrimages. So much so that the image is worth repeating.
I have to admit that I am a bit jet lag challenged these past few days as I returned from Australia last Saturday and I am already off to my next destination. This week it’s Jamaica for a special event with Delta Vacations in Montego Bay.
Upon arrival in this Caribbean island nation, we were greeted and whisked away to our resort for the next 3 nights – the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall.
Held in a white colonial cottage style, this adults only resort is perfectly situated on a calm stretch of private beach. Stay tuned for more details of my stay over the coming days.