The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge
December 1:
What was your best trip in 2009?

Jumping onto the bandwagon a little late, but excited about joining Emily and participating in The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge as a way to remember and share all the best things experienced this year. I begin with my favourite journey of the year…actually two destinations, as I was fortunate to travel to two new spots on this globe I had previously never seen: the central coast of Portugal and the East Hamptons.

Sunset from Peninha

At the beginning of the year I was amongst a handful of bloggers invited by electronics manufacturer, Philips, to participate in a special press preview of their products in Penha Longa, Portugal. I was treated to opulent accommodations at a Ritz Carlton resort situated within an Estoril coastal park, hobnobbed with fellow bloggers/journalists from around the world, and attended the best trade related events I’ve ever attended. But even more importantly, after all the previews were finished, a trio of us Americans escaped out with a rental car to explore various towns and landmarks alongside the Portuguese coast with a hungry curiosity that sent us to Sintra, Cascais, Lisbon and everywhere inbetween (sometimes not on purpose). Moments felt like scenes from Bande à part, my favourite memory being a silent vigil shared by my compatriots and I as we watched the sun descend into a hazy distant sea, standing ontop of a deserted monastery after a day exploring small towns, Moorish castles, journeying windy paths by foot and auto, standing at the most Western point in Europe and investigating labyrinthine alleyways all throughout Portugal. I also attended my first soccer match, a frightening experience of intense rivalry between Lisbon’s two local teams, while also eating my heart’s content of some of the best seafood in Cascais. I hope to return soon, this next time with Emily, knowing adventures of storybook fashion await.

More photos from Portugal here.

My first glance at Atlantic Ocean seaweed

The Hamptons. I never thought I’d find myself staying in the much ballyhooed Atlantic vacation destination of the well heeled, let alone having a great stretch of the Eastern peninsula all to myself. But that’s exactly what happened when my boss invited me to his family’s glorious property bordering right up against the water and stretching for acres. Hours before the work day began or upon completion of our work schedule, I took every opportunity to venture out for a walk or dangerous jog alongside the coast and surrounding estuary. Collecting shells for Emily (who was on her own coastal adventure miles distant in Cornwall), walking beside beach combing birds, listening to the relaxing rhythm of water lapping onto shore and overwhelmed with the sensation and realization that life is lived with each breath, not in anticipation or remembrance of the last.

More photos from East Hampton here.