New Blog Platform Coming Soon!

Hello from England on this beautiful Wednesday! 

I’m writing to you from my garden where I’m drinking in the sunshine after weeks working indoors toiling away on a brand spanking new website. Yes!! You guys, I’m thrilled to share that after a year and a half with this little blog I’m making the leap to a more permanent home on the internet. Hop on over to ErinKDoyle.com and pop in your email address so you don’t miss a beat when the site launches! 

This is especially important for those of you who follow Brum and Beyond using the WordPress Reader and WordPress app. Once the new site is live, I will no longer be posting on WordPress. I’ll say it again: if you only see my blog via the WordPress reader, and you do not actively head over to ErinKDoyle.com and subscribe, this post is likely the last you will ever hear of me.

Readers who are subscribed via email to Brum and Beyond will continue to receive email notifications when a new post is published. It will look a bit different, and probably just as plain and ugly as the existing system unless I can work some magic with my email platform (ugh). If you want in on these occasional emails, head over to the new site and subscribe! I do not share your email address with anyone or anything and promise not to spam you. 
I know everyone is going to love the new design and I can’t wait to share the final product with you! It has beautiful graphics, a fun and visual layout, and better navigation. The new platform gives me way more control and room to roll out new content and fun offerings down the road. 

Brum and Beyond has served me well, but if I’m being honest, I’ve always hated the name and the free version of WordPress is so limiting. I could never convince the dumb thing to behave. If you’ve been reading this for awhile now, you probably know I’m not really satisfied with the mediocre and I have no patience for stupidity. And so, we’re moving onward and upward. 

I can’t wait to tell you all about how fabulous Poland is and convince you that it should be at the top of your travel list. I’ll have some goodies up on the new platform when it goes live (SOON!), so head over to my fun little landing page now and subscribe! (Have I linked to it enough??)

And so, goodbye, adiós, adéu, Au Revoir, ciao, do widzenia, mar sin leat, slán… it’s been lovely having you along for this little blog journey. I hope you join me at my new home on the web.

New Blog Platform Coming Soon!

A Long Weekend Lisbon

Portugal is such a lovely country – beautiful towns, friendly people, officially the best wine, and very convenient. From renting a car and driving to Fatima, using Lisbon’s metro system from the airport, and finding public WCs… everything was smooth sailing. (Never underestimate the importance of public toilets!!!) We found a great Airbnb in the Alfama neighborhood which is the oldest district and consistently listed as one of the top areas to explore in Lisbon. If you don’t mind lugging your suitcase up and down the cobblestone maze-like streets, we highly recommend this neighborhood as home base! Thanks, as always, to my wonderful husband for being Minister of Suitcase Schlepping.

This trip we focused on exploring outside, taking advantage of the sunshine, trying local flavors, and relaxing by the river front. Lisbon also has museums and a highly rated botanical garden for chillier or rainier visits.  Continue reading “A Long Weekend Lisbon”

A Long Weekend Lisbon

Fatima

Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal and I’m so so thankful we were able to whip up a last-minute trip to the shrine while spending a weekend in Lisbon a couple weeks ago. For those of you interested and unfamiliar with the miracles at Fatima, I encourage you to Google it. A good place to start could be EWTN’s website. There’s also a fun little Saint John Paul II twist involving the bullet that almost killed him that you can read about.

Popular pilgrimage times are on the 13th of each month, especially in apparition months (May to October). Our visit was off-peak but there was still a decent number of people visiting. The campus of the shrine is quite large and so we focused our visit on the Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário where the three shepherd children are buried and the outdoor Capelinha das Apariçoes. Inside this chapel is a marble pedestal holding a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, built on the site of the old holm oak tree where Mary visited the children. The tree has long since died, or rather, was stripped away into nothingness by souvenir seeking pilgrims, so the spot was marked with a statue. I’m assuming this is the statue holding St. JPII’s bullet since it’s encased in glass.
Capelinha das Apariçoes
Connor
Capelinha das Apariçoes
iPhone
Planning and executing a pilgrimage to Fatima could not be easier. Fly to Lisbon, rent a car at the airport (very affordable, and basically free if you can operate a manual), and drive north for one hour. The majority of the drive is on a highway with only a few roundabouts to navigate. Have some Euros ready to pay tolls and you’re set. There are multiple free car parks at the shrine, public WCs, and well-kept areas to picnic. The town is small but has plenty of hotels for tourists and little traditional restaurants. Two were recommended to us, though we chose to picnic in the sunshine: Restaurante O Truão and Restaurante Ze Grande.

Some of you are into spiritual trips like this, others are not. Though I expect most will agree that some experiences are felt so deeply that trying to describe them is like trying to share a drink with a friend by scooping up water with your hands. With that in mind, I’m sure you’ll forgive me for the formulaic trip report. If pilgrimages are your jam, this is the year to do Fatima. And if you go, try to visit the homes of Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco. We didn’t have the time.

Fatima