Places To Visit In Portugal

Visiting Portugal will make you believe in love at first sight.

Places To Visit In Portugal: Lisbon

Chunky pieces of limestone and basalt of all different shapes and sizes lead your eye across mosaic walkways lined by towering trees full of lush green leaves. The sidewalks bring to life the history and culture of Portugal. Each stone is laid by hand; it is a labor of love. There is no other place in the world quite like it.

Places To Visit In Portugal

In spring and summer you will find the Portuguese sitting at corner cafes catching up with friends laughing over a shared bowl of Feijoada Trasmontana. This traditional bean stew is hearty, the kind of meal your grandmother would make you when you come for a visit. This meal sprung forth at a time when people could not afford to waste any part of the animal or their food, so a hodge podge of unmentionable meats add intriguing flavors to the stew.

There are as many ways to get to Portugal, as there are places to visit in Portugal. I’ve taken a boat across the Atlantic Ocean through the Azores, I’ve flown into Lisbon’s Portela International Airport (airport code LIS). I’ve also made the drive from Spain. Portugal is a land locked country with a few islands sprinkled just off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

The capital city Lisbon or Lisboa is a great place to fly into and start your journey. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, as friendly people greet you with “Hola!” as they scatter in different directions on their merry way.

With many places to visit in Portugal the hop-on hop-off buses are a great way to get an overview of all that a city offers. A 24 hour pass on the bus will cost an adult 14.50€. Once you have an understanding of the cities layout and places you may want to spend more time, you can venture off on escapes that could fill days or weeks worth of time.

Places To Visit In Portugal


Lisbon is reminiscent of San Francisco as you see trolleys buzzing down the streets and the “25 de Abril Bridge” is a burnt orange suspension bridge designed by the San Francisco architect who designed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Be sure to stop at Mosteiro dos Jerónimos to view prominent examples of Portuguese late Gothic Manueline style of architecture. It is an inordinate detailed and expansive structure that evokes the reverence of visitors.

The Alfama is the old quarter of Lisbon and a picturesque neighborhood as the bright terra-cotta roofs accent the white buildings below and contrast with the vibrant blue sky. The streets are a maze where one can easily get lost as you wind through the cobble stoned streets soaking in the scene before you. Local vendors set up stands along the side walk for tourist to buy their hand made goods and musicians elicit the music pouring out of their hearts. It’s a wild romanic and inviting area to spend the day.

Places To Visit In Portugal

The Praça do Comércio or Commerce Square has a long history you can review as you have lunch at “Martinho da Arcada”, Lisbon’s oldest café. The Tagus river Triumphal Arch is a lined one. Near the center of the square, you will find the bronze Statue of King Joseph I.

Places To Visit In Portugal: Sintra

If you plan to spend all of your time in Lisbon on your trip to Portugal, then be sure to make Sintra a day trip on your itinerary.

Lisbon has an easy to navigate public transport system which is a cost effect way to travel around the city and into the outskirts of town. A 20 minute ride from Lisbon is the charming late 14th century palace of Sintra. Pena Palace is the oldest surviving palace in Portugal. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also one of the seven wonders of Portugal. It sits high on the hill above the town of Sintra. The palace has held many titles including the role of a monastery and private residence. The sprawling terrain of park will keep visitors busy for hours, be sure to wear your walking shoes as the park has over 200 hectares to explore.

Places To Visit In PortugalQuinta da Regaleira is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. The grounds are exquisitely kept and one should take time to stroll through the entire property. With great detail the palace, chapel, lakes, grottoes, wells and fountains are gorgeously designed. The property gives shrouded with a veil of mystery as secret tunnels and caves weave through out the property. One such tunnel leads you past a waterfall into a dark cavern that opens up to the “Initiation Well,” which was never finished as it was not meant to hold water but constructed for ceremonial purposes. The Quinta da Regaleira should be on your list of interesting places to visit in Portugal.

Places To Visit In Portugal: Porto

Places To Visit In Portugal

From Sintra you can catch a train through the rolling green hills of the Portuguese country side as you travel up the coast to the second largest city in the country, Porto. Porto is the birth place of Port Wine. In the 14th and 15th centuries this coastal city moved into the forefront of ship building. The wine of the region was shipped from the vineyards down the Douro? River in large wooden casts. It comes in semi-dry, dry and sweet varieties. Though most know port wine as a red dessert wine in also comes in a white variety. Unlike other wines, Port wine can be recorked and drank over a period of two months. A wine tasting will cost you 5 euros. The town is marked by its mid-evil? feeling and burnt orange terra-cotta roof tops. Enjoy a glass of port from the deck of the Yateman hotel, it is the best view of the city. The city can be easily walked and most of the sites can be seen in one day. If you prefer, there is a hop-on, hop-off bus or metro that can be taken for about 20 euros. If you forego the sight seeing bus and choose to walk the city center you can see everything on the tourist map for less then 20 euros, including lunch.

Places To Visit In Portugal: The Azores

Image courtesy of:

Image courtesy of:

A short plane ride off the coast of Portugal will land you in the Azores. (Be aware that if you are flying one of the low cost carriers, you will most likely be charged 40 euros for your carry on bag, and prices go up if the weight of your bag is over 15kg. Also, the acceptable size of a carry on bag in Europe is much smaller then carry-on bags in the United States). The largest of the Azzore islands is São Miguel Island. The beautiful landscape will capture the heart. When driving around the island, be aware of the cattle that roam the streets as they move from pasture to pasture to feed, which make sense as the leading industries are agriculture, dairy farming and livestock ranching. Once and active the Azores have fertile soil and a rich history. In the crater of the volcano you will find Lagoa das Sete Cidades otherwise known as twin lake. This is a special lake as one half of the lake appears vibrant blue and the other half of the lake is emerald green. Legend says the lake is made up of the tears of torn lovers. One lover had blue eyes, the other green and as they said good bye forever the lake was divided, holding their tears forever together.

Of all the places to visit in Portugal, I have not visited a city I have not not instantly fallen in love with.

Do tampons cause cancer?

The use of glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide more commonly referred to as Roundup, is coming under fire yet again.  It’s environmental impact in 160 countries is raising questions as to its safety.  According to a U.S. Geological Survey, farmers in the U.S. have sprayed 2.6 billion pounds of Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide on agricultural land between 1992 and 2012.

How do tampons cause cancer?

The potential dangers this herbicide has on farmers and the food they produce for our consumption is alarming.  The staggering number of products that have been proven to contain glyphosate is also concerning.  The National Pesticide Information Center reports that “There are over 750 products containing glyphosate for sale in the United States”.  Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies, and highly permeable.  Preservatives, pesticides, fragrances and dyes can be transferred through our skin and mucous membranes and contribute to our toxic load.  The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

As women we must address the feminine hygiene products we use monthly that increase our exposure to glyphosates and other questionably unsafe chemicals. Feminine hygiene products are marketed and sold with little to no data as to the ingredients contained with in them.  Tampons and pads are considered medical devices per the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  For this reason manufacturers are not required to disclose their ingredients.  This makes it is nearly impossible for consumers to know what is in the products they are using.

Dr. Damian Marino, a member of the Socio-Environmental Interaction Multidisciplinary Space (EMISA) UNLP reported that, “According to a recent study out of the University of La Plata , 85 percent of all samples of tampons tested positive for glyphosate, and 62 percent also tested positive for AMPA, the environmental metabolite.”

On average a woman will use approximately 17,000 sanitary care products in her lifetime.  We know that the skin and mucous membranes are highly permeable, we also now know that there are chemicals in the feminine hygiene products we use monthly, what we did not know until now is that, “The chemicals absorbed through the vagina are easily and effectively distributed throughout the body, without being metabolized.  For example, when estrogenic drugs are administered vaginally, the resulting systemic levels of the drug in the body can be 10-80 times higher than when the very same dose is given orally.” as reported by a Chem Fatale Report outlining the potential health effects of toxic chemicals in feminine care products.  This means the glyphosate laced tampons we have been using could be spreading carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens through the permeable mucus membranes of the vagina at dangerous levels.

When researching the issue “do tampons cause cancer?”  It is important to know how we can reduce our risk.

  • Read the labels.
  • Go organic. Order organic tampons by clicking here.
  • Reduce the use of unnecessary feminine products.
  • Use unscented and unbleached products.
  • Consider using applicator free tampons.
  • Try reusable menstrual pads and cups.

If you have been adversely affected or to voice your concern contact the FDA by calling 1-800-332-1088 or fill out a consumer report form.

Two products that I personally recommend are:

THINX | Period Panties For Modern Women and

Organic tampons from The Honest Company

(You can order these products by clicking on the above links).



Bitcoin Explained – A Beginners Understanding

When I first heard of Bitcoin I was confused which made me uninterested in the topic.  As the cryptocurrency gained traction I decided I needed to have bitcoin explained to me.  This piece helps those new to the movement understand, this is Bitcoin Explained.

Bitcoin Explained: What is Bitcoin?

In 2009 the cryptocurrency Bitcoin was released to the world.  Since then, Bitcoin has proven to have capacity and value in the marketplace.  It has increased our ability to exchange with one another.

As a decentralized system bitcoin works through autonomous computers and functions outside any one institution.  Imagine a worldwide network of computers that is one hundred times more powerful than Google and you have bitcoins computation power.  Unless the Internet is shut down all at once, everywhere, the operating system will always be functional.

One of the allures of this technology is it cuts out the middleman i.e. the banks, yet maintains an infrastructure that allows strangers to deal with one another.  Unlike other currencies on the market the Bitcoin ledger is fully public and universal.  Bitcoin alleviates blind trust in using banking institutions and instead relies on cryptographic proof as a means to instill trust.  This transparent ledger of accounting is known as the Blockchain.  The Blockchains common ledger ensures all transactions are visible which maintains the integrity and accuracy of the currency.

In the most simplistic of terms our current economic system, the dollar is an IOU.  When we use dollars we are agreeing upon the valued amount a good or service holds.  We then exchange a paper note for that good or service.  Our belief in this system is what gives the money value.  The entire system hinges on societies willingness to accept the paper payment to settle a debt.

Once the dollar was formally backed by hard money, specifically gold and silver.  The value of these metals comes from the scarcity of the metal versus the demand for the precious metal.  Bitcoins, like gold and silver are market driven.  The value fluctuates with the supply and demand for bitcoin.  Dollars or metals are simply a means of exchange in which both parties know the relative worth and value of the items being exchanged.

The current middleman, the bank, will allow accounts to be over drafted if money is not in an account.  The Blockchain instantly verifies that the funds are available.  Funds are pulled if available and if not available then the transaction is denied.  In this way bitcoin essentially functions as cash as all money being rendered must be immediately available.  There are no overdraft fees, merchant processing fees or charge backs.  Once bitcoin is sent, only through a secondary transaction can the money be agreed to be refunded.  A new payment must be issued back to the payor essentially acting as a “refund”.

The reason you do not have bitcoin yet is because you don’t fully trust it.  Instead your trust is in a debt based fiat system that is all but bankrupt and on the edge of collapse.  Federal reserve notes require a lot more trust because currently money can be printed from thin air with nothing backing it which can lead to hyperinflation.

Bitcoin Explained: Where does bitcoin come from? 

Mining is a term you will often hear when talking to others about bringing bitcoin into existence, yet, mining it is a misnomer.  “Mining” is a term used for simplicity.  A bitcoin springs into existence when a “miner” solves and confirms a random mathematical problem, the reward is the bitcoin which is released to the miner.  The problems are increasingly more and more difficult to solve, taking more computing power to find a bitcoin and the bitcoins themselves also grow in scarcity.

To earn the block and the associated bitcoins the winning computer must match a hash in the algorithm which changes every ten minutes.  Those computer systems with the fastest hashing power have a better chance of solving the algorithm and mining the bitcoin.

Mining bitcoin makes me think of the Mario Brothers game.  With his hammer Mario goes through the game breaking through bricks and rock to attain the coins that lie on the other side.  He races through the game working to get all the coins he can possibly mine.  Once the coins are attained Mario celebrates winning the level by pulling the flag pole signaling the conclusion of that mission.  The fireworks go off and he levels up.  Each consecutive level increases in difficulty.  The grand finale comes when he has solved all the games problems and he retires with the princess to live happily ever after free from the tyranny of the dragon.

The open sourced software that the creator Satoshi Yakamoto invented has a self correcting mechanism which tweaks the algorithms difficulty so that bitcoin will be consistently mined every ten minutes until the year 2140.  In the program Yakamoto also stipulated that every four years would be a halving year.  So in 2009 every ten minutes fifty bitcoin entered the economy; when 2012 rolled around twenty-five bitcoin would be added to the economy every ten minutes and next year in July of 2016 twelve and a half bitcoins will be mined every ten minutes.  The halving process will continue until every bitcoin has been uncovered.

When a block is confirmed this is when the reward is given aka the bitcoins are released.  The block is then sealed and added to the chain.  None of the information within that block can be changed or deleted.  The Blockchains on going permanent ledger of all transactions is continuously being built.

Since transactions cannot be changed or deleted bitcoins can not be double spent.  Each transaction has a time-stamp of the purchase which is recorded and irreversible.  If someone tries to double spend the system deems the transaction as illegitimate due to the chronological structuring and verification built into the Blockchain.


To send or receive bitcoin you must have a public key consisting of letters and numbers that identifies a wallet.  A wallet can be attained and used without giving any personal identifying information of the holder of the said wallet.  This key or address is how people buy and sell goods outside of the monetary system. One of the largest forums for wallets in the Bitcoin community comes from CoinBase.  Signing up for a wallet is easy, click this link to get your wallet today.


Bitcoin Explained: How do I get bitcoin?

At one time a personal computer could easily attain bitcoins through mining.  Now that the computations are increasing in difficulty the individual is having a rough time mining any bitcoins.  Mining pools are becoming popular as they pool the individuals resources and divvy out the intake according to each members contribution to the computation power.  For more information on this topic visit BitcoinMine.Club

If you are not mining bitcoin then you must sell a good or service and accept bitcoin as payment.  Another option is to purchase bitcoin from an exchange.  There are many exchanges, the largest is Coinbase which has an app that is easily downloaded to your phone and linked to a bank account.  To download your wallet click this link.

Bitcoin ATM’s are popping up all over the world which allow patrons to insert cash and receive bitcoin or vice versa.  The ease of entry is ever increasing and doing business with bitcoin is easier now then ever before.

Bitcoin Explained: What is the future of bitcoin?

This cryptocurrency has the ability to change the way the world does business.  The unbanked around the world, those without verifiable account balances or credit histories can now acquire the freedoms of doing business which they were previously kept from.  People who can’t set up a bank account, get a credit card or live in places banks don’t want to be are now bankable.  Anyone with a cell phone (and yes, those without bank accounts often have a cell phone) can make transactions quickly and easily from their device.

Think of the impact this will have in countries where women or minorities are unable to have a bank account and cannot freely do business because of this fact.  People everywhere now have a means to transact with others.  The website offers bitcoin backed micro loans so that those with bitcoin can help finance businesses and projects of people worldwide.  Bitcoin creates so much opportunity for people everywhere.

Bitcoins are becoming widely accepted by individuals and businesses alike.  You can buy just about anything you might need using bitcoin.  Companies like Overstock, Amazon, Virgin and Expedia now take bitcoin as payment.  If you use Bitcoin to buy Starbucks to save 20% or use it at Target and save 10% for example.  Some businesses give you a discount for using bitcoin.  Companies like Gyft sell gift cards to over 200 different retailers all of which can be purchased with bitcoin.

No one can read the future and tell us exactly what the next few years hold for bitcoin.  As it currently stands the European Union has decided that bitcoin will be untaxed.  In the United States bitcoin is seen as a commodity.  Its use and acceptance is reaching the tipping point.  We live in exciting times.

For those that are new to bitcoin I hope this article was informative and cleared up some of the questions you may have had.  If you found the article informative share it with your friends and family that may also have questions about this cryptocurrency.

To join the Bitcoin revolution or to have Bitcoin Explained further, click this link: BitcoinMine.Club