The Heartwarming Tale of the Kindly Portuguese Pickpocket

This heartwarming tale is set in Lisbon, Portugal.

Portugal is a beautiful country. The countryside, the architecture, the warmth and friendliness of the people.

We recently spent two weeks in Portugal. It’s a place we’d like to go back to and spend more time exploring. It was a wonderful trip.

All except for that pickpocket in Lisbon on Tram 28. But that wasn’t so bad, either, as you’ll see.

Tram in Lisbon Continue reading “The Heartwarming Tale of the Kindly Portuguese Pickpocket”

Springtime in Seville

Springtime in Seville

You want to go to Spain, perhaps visit several cities, and you’re wondering which cities and what time of year. Make Seville – the heart of Andalusia in southern Spain – one of the cities. And go in late March or early April. Springtime in Seville is a delight.

Southern Spain can get quite hot in the summer, with many days topping 100 degrees. In March, though, it is as pleasant as you could wish for – warm enough to be comfortable in short sleeves during the day and sometimes cool enough for a light jacket at night. But the real reason to choose that time of year for your visit is the smell.

Orange Blossoms

Orange tree and cathedral towerWhile you’re strolling the cobblestone streets during springtime in Seville, the scent of orange blossoms is everywhere, sometimes so strong that it’s almost intoxicating.

Thousands of orange trees line the streets of Seville and in the early spring, they’re all in bloom. The oranges, themselves, are not edible.  The Moors brought Seville Oranges to Spain  a thousand years ago and, unlike more modern varieties, the fruit is bitter. It makes wonderful marmalade, though, and most of it is harvested and shipped to Britain for that purpose.

 Springtime in Seville – Festivals

Continue reading “Springtime in Seville”

Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera” Lagniappe

This lagniappe post is a visit to the rooftop of the Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera” in Barcelona.

You might remember the post that we did back in February 2017 featuring Gaudi’s Park Guell. You can find it here. Rebecca at Artsy found it and reached out to us after reading the post

Here at With the Barretts, beautiful things – architecture, furnishings, art, nature – mean a great deal to us. So, Debra and I were delighted that  Rebecca found our post and wanted to make sure that we had seen Artsy’s Gaudi page. Please go take a look at it here. This post is our way of saying “Thanks” to Rebecca and Artsy for helping make art accessible to everyone. Is that a great mission, or what?

Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera”

Casa Mila RooftopGaudi’s spectacular apartment building, Casa Mila – colloquially known as “La Pedrera” – was mostly closed for interior renovation when we visited in 2014 but the rooftop was more than worth the effort and price of admission.  As with many – even most – Gaudi sites, it feels like an alien landscape, complete with otherworldly sentinels:

"Sentinel" ventstacksThe structures are unpredictable, both as to shape and as to material.

Glass-capped towersThey invite you to indulge your whimsical side. Continue reading “Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera” Lagniappe”

Black and White Pictures of Paris from 2009

If you’ve spent any time on social media these days, you’ve seen posts of “7 Days Black and White Pictures – No People – No Explanation.” I decided to post some black and white pictures of Paris from 2009. Just because.

And, since I have this contrarian tendency to flout arbitrary rules and because 8 is a Chinese number of good fortune, I posted on Instagram and shared to the With the Barretts Facebook page for 8 days. (By the way, if you want to see the “official” With the Barretts Instagram account, where Debra posts beautiful pics, go here.)

But – since y’all are my favorites – I decided to re-post the pics here on the blog. And I’ve added a couple shots, too. Also just because. So, here they are:

Black and White Pictures from Paris 2009

Lamp posts with the Eiffel TowerPeople tend to fantasize about Paris on clear Spring days. But it’s beautiful in the Fall haze, as well.

View toward Sacre Coeur from Musee d'OrsayThis one was taken on the roof of the wonderful Musee d’Orsay looking toward Sacre Coeur on the distant hilltop. Continue reading “Black and White Pictures of Paris from 2009”

Travel Lagniappe – Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative

Recently, I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with my son. It’s a trip that we’ve been talking about for years and it was an amazing, transformative, massive experience. No doubt it will be the subject of many posts. Today’s travel lagniappe is from that trip: before we began the trek, we visited a Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative where indigenous people create beautiful woven textiles of sheep, llama, and alpaca wool.

Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative
Women at the Coop
Women in traditional costume at the weaving cooperative

The outfitter for our trip – G Adventures – sponsors a foundation that, in turn, sponsors these cooperatives. Unlike many of the “shopping opportunities” that are foisted upon you on some tours, this one felt authentic – a genuine chance to experience and foster a traditional way of life.

Interestingly, despite the rustic and rural setting,

Livestock pens at the beginning of the Coop village
Livestock pens at the beginning of the Coop village

cell phone reception was excellent. Continue reading “Travel Lagniappe – Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative”

Many Paths – Journey Lagniappe

Many Paths

You may have noticed a lapse in posts. I spent a couple of weeks in Peru hiking the Inca Trail with one of our sons – something we’ve been talking about for years. Right before I returned, Debra flew to France with a couple of dear friends for a “girls’ trip.” The schedules just worked out that way. Life With the Barretts means adventures down many paths.

But I’m back and she’s coming back and we’ll be back on track, just as soon as the jet lag abates.

For now – here are a some teaser shots from Peru – a little journey lagniappe.

Path inside Saqsaywaman, above Cusco
Path inside Saqsaywaman, above Cusco

Continue reading “Many Paths – Journey Lagniappe”