Around the World
I've lived in four totally different cities in four different countries. This is my tribute to each of them. Also please make sure to visit my wife's website which features many more pictures from our travels and my reviews in TripAdvisor (mostly of restaurants).
Porto by Ricardo Magalhães
I was born in Porto, Portugal, and lived there for over two decades, even if partly in its suburbs of Vila Nova de Gaia and Maia. Porto is a fairly big city: its metropolitan area, including Gaia and Maia, has over 1,500,000 inhabitants. Due to the courage and bravery of its population in the 19th century civil war, in particular during Porto's siege, Porto is known as "Cidade Invicta" or "Undefeated City."
Porto by Ricardo Magalhães
While there are some wonderful places in Porto, such as the beaches to the north, Foz, or Parque da Cidade, I have to admit Porto is a bit of a sad city, perhaps due to its gloomy architecture. Portugal's capital Lisboa, Óbidos, and the beaches in the Algarve are probably more suited for tourists. My silly travel guide to Portugal showcases some of the idiosyncracies of Portugal.
Namur by Jean-Pol Grandmont
In 1999 I moved to Belgium, to the lovely city of Namur. One problem of Namur is the French language as not everyone speaks English, but I managed to get along. Even though I'm not a party animal, Namur is one of the quietest cities on the face of the earth with a nearly nonexistent nightlife. As I used to say: the most exciting thing to do in Namur is work. Still, it is a delightful small city that I recommend visiting.
Despite the rainy weather, Belgium is a beautiful country that is well worth visiting. The Flemish side of Belgium is the most enjoyable since everyone speaks fluent English and it has several small, picturesque cities like Gent, Antwerp, Brugge, and Leuven. My favorite cities in the French-side are, apart from Namur, Dinant, and Durbuy, well worth a visit. The countryside of Belgium is also quite beautiful, particularly the Ardennes. If you are thinking of visiting Belgium, just one warning: skip Liège and Charleroi--really.
After a brief interlude back in Porto, I moved again in 2004 to Boston in the US state of Massachusetts. I lived in Brookline, a very nice suburb of Boston with lots of green spaces. I found Boston, even though a big city, far less confusing than New York or Los Angeles and much more open-minded than other parts of the US, so I really enjoyed it there and it remains one of my favorites cities in America. New England itself is a beautiful region well worth a visit, particularly in the fall. Some places I recommend visiting include Cape Cod, the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the many seaside towns of the state of Maine such as Bar Harbor, and also in Maine Baxter State Park for its wilderness.
In 2008 once again I relocated, this time to Liverpool in England's Northwest. The city has some lovely areas such as Sefton Park, the Liverpool Cathedral, and Albert Dock. Liverpool is of course famous too for being the birthplace of the Beatles and there are plenty of attractions related to them. On the downside, the weather is similar to that of Belgium with frequent rain. Presently I live in Heswall, a small town in the lovely Wirral peninsula between Liverpool and Wales.
Because of my job as a scientist, I also give talks all around the world. Below are some of the favorite places I've visited, can you recognize them?