Porto, Portugal: The Real Port Wine Town

Porto is considered the real Port wine town in Portugal where port wine tastings rooms are plentiful.  Historic port wine producers; store their wines in caves, aging tanks, and tasting rooms along the waterside docks in Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Signs emblazed the rooftops and upper deck areas along the riverbanks, advertising the Vintner's wines and tasting rooms.  It’s remarkable - the voyage of the grapes, from the steep, hot terraces of the Douro region, to being transported  down to Vila Nova de Gaia, where it is aged and fortified into wine in the maritime climate before being shipped around the world.

Tuk-Tuk rides in Porto, Portugal


Every Traveler's Dream: European River Cruising

Few journeys are more endearing than traveling on Europe’s rivers. Embarking on a one-of-a-kind European river cruise allows travelers to step-off into the heart of great European cities, with ease, grace and anticipation.  Every traveler’s dream is to be up-close and personal to iconic landmarks, flower-laden villages, and picturesque hamlets. With European river cruising you will experience vistas and sights that some only glimpse on postcards.
photo credits Flickr
 Pont de Pierre  - Bordeaux, France - Garonne River
Seventeen magnificent arches - one arch for every letter in Napoléon Bonaparte. Connecting the left and right banks of the Garonne River, commissioned by Napoléon and inaugurated in 1822, the first bridge ever built in Bordeaux.
J. Christina@ Scribbles and Smiles, has followed this traveler’s dream now for more than a decade. “With cruises down the plentiful and enchanting rivers of Europe, including her most recent along Bordeaux’s alluring Garonne and Dordogne and the not-to-be missed, gleaming waters of Portugal’s Douro River.”  While indulging in the sip, sample, and stroll among some of the world’s greatest vineyards and river destinations.


Pinhão is the Best Kept Secret in Portugal

Pinhão is the best kept secret in Portugal. One main attraction is the Pinhão train station showcasing the perfect example of Azulejo (aZHəˈlāˌhō) tiles. A decorative, hand painted ceramic tile-introduced into Portugal by the Moors, around 1500.  There are 37 Azulejo tiles in the Pinhão  train station, created in 1937 - using the traditional blue and white ceramic art design. All  telling the story of grape harvests, and depicting scenes of the  Douro Valley wine region and landscape...documenting the history of the country.
Pinhão offers postcard perfect views, mountains that reach 3000’ high and fall right right-back down into the riverbed-terraced vineyards, with lush green grapevines; along with romantic and rustic country houses spotted on the hillsides.


Saint Émilion: A Postcard-Perfect Hilltop Town in Dordogne

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post appeared December 7, 2016 by J. Christina on  France Today

Sitting perched on a limestone hilltop like a graceful balcony above the Dordogne ValleySaint-Émilion is a town in the Gironde department in southwest France. In 1999, Saint-Émilion became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, honored for its cultural landscape and historical vineyards. This medieval, fairy-tale town is a maze of curlicue ballast stone streets– strewn with charming storefronts, squares, and flower-laden terraces– all ready for the one million tourists who visit annually.


Portugal: Castelo Rodrigo

Castelo Rodrigo is a hilltop medieval village in central eastern Portugal. Throughout its history, the castle has been conquered and occupied by many, including Romans, Moors, Spanish, and  Portuguese. To see more images of these beautiful and colorful doors from this quaint village follow our link: http://bit.ly/2mKlArZ or see more about Portugal on Scribblesandsmiles.


France: Postcards from the Côte d'Azur

From Seaside to Tippy-Top Medieval Ruins
Walking the sentier du littoral from Nice to Menton, France -  Côte d’Azur
Basilica St. Michel - Menton, France


Blaye & Bourg: Perched Atop A Quiet Secret in Dordogne

The Citadel of Blaye played an extraordinary role in history; protecting the Gironde Estuary and the port of Bordeaux during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Now let me tell you about the strong and brave neighbor Bourg. A quaint medieval village perched atop a quiet secret: hence it seems to be forgotten by the crowds.

Bourg held a prominent position at the confluences of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers, inside her own fortified community.  Where this tiny hamlet was invaded by Visigoths, ravaged by the Normans, fortified  by the English, visited by four kings and hosted more royalty than anyone ever expected.

Chateau de Citadelle of Bourg
 photo: T. Sonnnontine
Blaye and Bourg are synonymous in history and heritage but each embraces a special legacy, where they walked hand-in-hand through the middle ages.  Bourg, France, is a hidden gem on the right bank of the Dordogne River, in the heart of the wine appellation of Côtes de Bourg, in the Gironde department. 


Happy New Year: Celebrating Beautiful Memories of 2016

Happy New Year! Thanks to our readers who joined J. Christina in our travel adventures.  We zigzagged through picturesque hamlets, strolled beautiful cobblestone streets, sipped regional wines, and climbed to the tippy-top of medieval ramparts, through Spain, Portugal, France, and many other dreamy destinations.

We enjoyed sharing our outstanding year of travels with you: on foot, river cruise ship, motorcoach, and private transport to places that will linger in our memories forever.  We had the great privilege to wake up each day to vistas that some only glimpse on a postcard.  Happily, we invite you to reminisce through our images and reflect along with us. 

 Smiling with your eyes is a wonderful thing!

copyright scribblesandsmiles.net
Terrace -  Paris, France

We are looking forward to our 2017 travels, hopscotching through The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France, once again. While looking beyond to travels in China and India.  Wishing you health, happiness, and safe travels always. 


Celebrating A Wonderful Year of Travel And More: Happy Holidays

Wishing our readers and followers the happiest of holidays and a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for traveling vicariously with us through so many beautiful cities, towns and quaint villages in Europe.  As we prepare for the holiday season and a joyous New Year, J. Christina would like to share some of our beautiful images and warm memories. Smiling with your eyes is a wonderful thing!
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J. Christina at Scribbles and Smiles wishing you the happiest of holidays


Paris, France: Three Top Tips.....

Paris is always a good idea but can be expensive for most travelers, but there are ways to make your money go further. Discover the Paris of locals, authentic and real, gorgeous as always but not expensive. It’s all too easy to keep to the tourist destinations but look a little further and you’ll find the real Paris at a fraction of the price.



Vienna, Austria: "Fräulein Apfelstrudel"

Vienna, the capital city of Austria, hardly needs an introduction as a romantic imperial city. This palatial and historic city has all the ingredients of a dreamy fairytale: Christkindlmarkt, Hapsburg palaces, medieval cobblestone streets, and chandelier-lit cathedrals, all creating the perfect holiday dreamscape.  Today we are sharing some memories from our travels to Vienna, Austria. 
December is a beautiful time to discover this  magical city, all dressed for the holidays with just a whisper of  refinement and elegance.
 The Belvedere Palace                                photo credits Birdas-Flickr