At the start of this year I didn’t think we’d be able to generate enough content for another issue of Flojohn magazine with travel being so limited because of the Covid-19 crisis. But we did manage to get in quite a few trips, especially by car, which is a lot easier during this type of a crisis. Matter of fact we ended up with enough content to increase the size of the magazine to 80 pages.
In this issue we visit Northern Portugal, Costa Verde, Spain, Noirmoutier, France, The Algarve in Portugal and Marrakesh in Morocco.
For this edition I decided to take advantage of the interactive features of InDesign, the software I used to create the publications. This allows me to make the page design more dynamic, and to embed videos that can be played right inside the document.
Click here to see the 2019 version of Flojohn Magazine.
After being stuck inside for awhile during Covid we started getting a little antsy, bored, in need of something to keep us occupied. So we began making videos to entertain ourselves, our friends and family members. And we learned a few things about making videos along the way.
Our trip into northern Portugal took us to the very top of the country, to a region that has the Spanish border both to the north (which follows the Minho River) and to the east (marked by the Peneda-Geres National Park). To the west is the Atlantic ocean while the Lima River forms this region’s southern border. Through the middle flows the Vez River from the north until it empties into the Lima River.
I’ve written about the Algarve here, here and here, but it is worth revisiting once more to recommend a couple of beach places we’ve discovered and enjoy for long beach walks as well as cliff exploring. The cliffs of the Algarve, primarily found around Carvoeiro, are fantastic for hikes, but if you just want to walk the beach and feel the sand between your toes, the beaches here are too small and short. Great for hidden hideaways, but not if you just want to walk the shoreline for as long as you can. That said, we’re also not big fans of pure beaches that offer nothing but beach; (like around Faro) – a rocky shoreline and cliffs provides a little color and variety which we prefer. We have two beaches that have become favorites of ours.
Well, after a few delays caused by a couple of dreaded the “C” diseases (Cancer and Covid), we have finally been able to venture out of our apartment and do a little exploring once again. It seems that our travels for awhile will be limited to Portugal as the borders in Europe are not all open yet and flying anywhere right now is not only a little risky but downright complicated. So we’re happy to just take this time to get to know Portugal a little better.
After a rather wet fall and cold winter in Lisbon we decided to head south in search of sun. We opted for Marrakesh, to enjoy the hamans and spas, as well as, of course, explore the city itself. My earliest memories of Marrakesh come from the song Marrakesh Express by Crosby Stills & Nash. I listened to that album over and over again as a teenager, charmed by lyrics and the excitement of taking a train from Casablanca to Marrakesh.
We were in need of a weekend getaway so we decided to head north and visit the town of Obidos that we’d been hearing so much about. And we weren’t let down! Obidos is a captivating medieval walled town an hour or so north of Lisbon, surrounded by rolling hills covered with orchards and vineyards. It’s set on a hillside, along a narrow ridge, allowing just a couple of streets barely wide enough for a car to run its length, and which are connected by a number of steep alleys and staircases.
This magazine is something I recently created from the content of this blog, which is about our travels and what we’ve been up to over the past year. In my previous life I was a magazine publisher and frankly, I’ve missed the process of putting a magazine together. So I decided to make one from all the photography I’ve gathered and stories I’ve posted on this blog. Thanks to short-run printing, I’ve also printed a few copies, but just for family.
Anyone considering biking in Portugal, there’s an essential tool you must have and that’s the National Cycling Network guidebook, which maps out nearly 5,000 km of routes and includes GPS tracks in KML and GPX file formats, so you can follow the routes on your smartphone. As well, the guide has great photography and descriptions, so you have a really good idea of what your trip will entail before you begin.