by Caroline

I love the mix of familiar and unfamiliar when we travel. We bring food from home, but we shop in new markets. We rent an apartment so we can cook most of our own meals, but we also eat out and learn how to translate menus written in different languages. Our first night in Sintra, we went to a school fair (very familiar) but the theme was medieval Portugal (brand new!). Unlike most fairs, where plastic (or, more recently, cornstarch-based biodegradable) cups are standard, here we were given small clay mugs, which have now made their way safely home and become indispensable for breakfast drinks:

The boys shared a candy apple (familiar):

While I was more interested in the skewers of wine-poached pears:

All of our stay involved this fascinating push-pull of new and different. We ate familiar kinds of snacks (cookies and granola)…

…with amusingly new names.

We set the table for dinner outside:

But our table had a view of a castle:

So this is why we travel, even though it can be so complicated, and the rewards so simple: cereal you address with a honorific; a view of a castle. It’s enough to get me packing again.