{view of Madeira Island just before sunset}

We went to Portugal and Madeira Island, and we had a blast! The sad truth is that I’m already fuzzy on some of the details, and somehow I didn’t write anything down, so I’m going to give you the highlights!

We spent the first four days in Lisbon; two were spent exploring, one day was spent wine tasting and the other day was spent on a day trip to another city called Belem. It was the perfect amount of time to spend there! The one thing we didn’t do in Lisbon was tour the castle! It was in our back yard, but we never got to it.

Wine tasting in Europe is very different from wine tasting in the states. The tours and tastings are “private” so you get an entire tour of the grounds, and then you head to the tasting room and it’s just your group! No crowds, no loud conversations to talk over, and you don’t have to wait for your questions to be answered. Overall, I wasn’t a fan of the white wines in the region, they are salty and smokey and did not work for me. The midwestern in me wantsto drink all of the tasting and never pour them out and love them all. No dice. I dumped out most of the whites after just a sip. The reds were more my speed, but the best reds were from the Duoro River Valley region.


{bright blue skies, beautiful flowering tree and many skooters in Funchal Madeira}

Another one of our day trips was to a city called Belem, known for their pastries – pasteis de nata – to be specific. Essentially, they are phyllo dough cups filled with custard, baked and dusted with cinnamon. We stuffed our faces with them while standing in this huge park in the sunshine. They were awesome, and I seriously must recreate them soon.

Lisbon was quieter than I expected, it took about three days before we finally asked a cab driver what the deal was. Turns out Lisbon is where you grow up and go to school, then you leave and work in other parts of Europe and then you come back to retire. Totally explained things!

Other awesome things from Lisbon – flea market, shopping, date night, sangria, beautiful tile homes everywhere, sailboats on the harbor, sculpture garden, the boardwalk, sunsets and oh so much walking.


{view of the ocean while we had lunch}

Super Bock

{tiny beers in the afternoon}

We left Lisbon, excited for our next adventure, not really knowing what Madeira Island would have in store for us. When we landed, my jaw just dropped. Madeira Island is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been – no contest. Australia is beautiful, Hawaii is beautiful, but Maderia is… beyond.


{a couple of German men decided we needed to mimic the statues, Lisbon Portugal}

Madeira was our relaxation time, we laid by the pool, made dinner at night, and for the most part, we were just enjoying the peace and quiet. One of the days we were there, we hit Funchal. After we got some lunch, we hopped on this gondola/tram thing that was all windows and took us up the to the top of the mountain. At the top of the mountain, we sat and had a drink, enjoying the weather. Then it was time for the fun part. You ride baskets down the mountain. No seriously. Mike and I hopped into one, and two men push you down the mountain. The breaking mechanism was their feet, it was hilarious.

After that, we spent our afternoon tasting Madeira port, shopping and walking the city. Dinner was at this restaurant called Mozart. It was a 6 course delicious meal, I savored every bite. We walked down to the ocean one day and spent the afternoon by the water and rocks. Since the island is between Europe and Africa, you get an interesting mix of accents and people watching every where you go! A few more pictures before I sign off…


{gondola ride up the mountain in Funchal, Madeira Island, first Olson selfie, and certainly not the last}

Palm Trees

{more gorgeous weather, walking through a sculpture garden in Belem, Portugal}

Date Night

{we snuck in quick date in Lisbon}


{boardwalk in Lisbon}


{weirdest thing we ate, some sort of barnacle in Lisbon}


{view from our balcony on Madeira Island}

The six of us had a blast, and I can’t wait for the next trip!