It’s been such a long winter. It’s not even really over, we have some days of sunshine but then they disappear into grey days just as quickly as they arrived. I’m craving sunshine and sand and wandering in the evening sun in a way I never really have before.
I’ve been spending my morning bus journeys looking at travel websites recently and I’m hooked. It’s feeding my need and at the same time placating me slightly.

The joy that sunshine can bring is totally underrated until you haven’t really seen it in a long time.

Now, not to make it sound like I live in greyville – we have had some lovely sunny days recently. But week days are lost on me and the weekends haven’t been warm enough to enjoy lying around in the garden in as little clothes as is decent. You need maximum exposure to really feel it. I want to sweat just from the exertion of walking up the street. Temporarily at least.

So to that end, I’ve been fantasising about a little trip to Portugal some time in June just to get my dose of sun. Even if this summer is a pure scorcher (which in Ireland is both highly talked about and equally unlikely) I’ll be spending most of it working as mid June to early September are our busiest months in EFL. And our office doesn’t have any natural light yet……We’re working on it though, the ceiling tiles actually cover up a first floor courtyard which has some light boxes so we’re getting some transparent ceiling tiles in soon hopefully.

Back to Portugal. Well, I’ve found these wonderful websites in the last few weeks and I’ve been spending a fair bit of time on them. I’ll start with the one which lists Portugal as the number one place on its top ten for 2013 – am I an unconscious trend follower here?
Globespots is a lovely website with lots of little snapshots and a map to see where exactly you’re reading about. I like it a lot. I found the Capela dos Ossos and I think I’d like to go there. It’s in a town called Evora where an entire chapel is decorated with human remains. Sounds fascinating!
There are great links to city guides (Lisbon) and lovely ways to get inspired. The whole site feels very human and is obviously trying to seek out quality and quirk rather than quantity.

Lisbon has free tours too. I knew about Dublin’s one already but I haven’t been on it yet. It’s something I might look into doing soon some weekend. One of the services our school offers is a walking tour of Dublin once every two weeks and I’ve hosted it a few times but it barely skims the surface. I’d be interested to see what parts of Dublin I’m missing out on.

Local Travel Movement is my kind of blog! Oh my word, how exciting! How had I never seen this before? The whole reason I took Vietnamese classes before I went on my trip in 2008 was precisely because I wanted to experience at least one city or town as a local and not as a tourist. I feel like I saw some wonderful places as a local as I went along elsewhere but I figured learning some of the language would be the easiest way.

The monastery where I spent an unplanned night back in 2008.

The monastery where I spent an unplanned night back in 2008.

This website appeals to that very serious need I have to feel the city, feel the countryside and meet the locals wherever I go. I’m really not in to sightseeing, although I do find myself doing it from time to time out of a sense of obligation.

Fathom is just beautiful; sleek and lovely. I could spend years on this website. I love how they’ve categorised the site in to such wonderful sub sections and each category has some wonderful articles. The website is so easy to navigate and everything is so interesting. Again, the stories are from real people and although some of them seem a bit daft, the idea of adventure is always there.

Are you planning any trips this summer, big or small? Have you ever become a local for even just a day? I’d love to hear about it.