Hiking Rota do Javali Near Manteigas – Waterfall and Vistas

While our trip to Portugal was primarily to seek out the country's best food and beverages, we knew we had to work in a stopover in the mountains to take a break, enjoy the fresh air, and more importantly- go hiking to work off the absurd about of food we were eating!

This goal led us to Manteigas- a stunning little mountain town in the heart of Serra da Estrela Natural Park (home to Torre- the tallest point in mainland Portugal).

Purely from driving in and out of this town, we would've had our fill of mountains and had been overjoyed with the experience. But we really needed to go on a hike, and while in the area we hit up the 7-mile Rota do Javali for a moderate, ~3 1/2 hour morning hike up and over a mountain. 

If you have any chance to visit the area, you'll want to consider adding on this hike if you can!

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Tips and Advice for Driving in Portugal to Have the Best Time

When we decided to visit Portugal, we knew we would rent a car to drive around the country to explore as much as possible. We went into it assuming that driving in Portugal would be a lot like in other European countries we've driven in, like Italy and Iceland- that is to say, crazy at worst or covered with speed cameras at best.

As it turns out, driving in Portugal was incredibly easy, and apart from a few key issues worth highlighting we really had no problems at all. In this one, we thought we'd share more about what you can expect when picking up a car to explore here!

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United Upgrade With Miles and Dollars – Is It Worth It?

As we are reaching the point in our lives where we desire comforts when we travel, flying in business class has been something we're moving to more and more. But as we typically cannot afford these tickets outright (as conventional routes can be $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, or more roundtrip), we have been acquiring these coveted seats in recent years using points. 

In the past, we would go the conventional route for snagging a rewards business class seat- simply using a boatload of points to buy the ticket outright while only having to pay taxes on the flight (often a nominal amount). But our points-earning capabilities have dropped a bit in the last few years such that we have to be a bit more selective with how we redeem our points when flying.

Thankfully, many airlines also let you upgrade a paid economy ticket with a mix of miles and dollars as a bit of a hybrid approach to try and snag a business class seat for less of a hit to your bottom line (pending availability). We tried this on a recent flight from Newark to Lisbon, Portugal, and had success in getting upgraded on our red-eye flight outbound.

So in this one, we thought we'd take a look at the process to score a United upgrade with miles and dollars, who has the best odds of snagging a seat in this process, and what happened when we didn't get upgraded on our return flight home!

  • Note: This article is based on our travel experiences flying United in October 2021. Rules can and do change regularly so please read current T&Cs of your particular airline before upgrading a future flight as things may change.

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Lake Twenty Two Makes for a Gorgeous Hike Near Seattle

Lake 22 is a popular, roughly 7-mile hiking trail about an hour northeast of Seattle that offers some stunning views, a gorgeous mountain lake, and more. 

We were fortunate enough to hit this trail when we were visiting Washington and wanted to share a bit more about what to expect on this one. 

To put it bluntly, it is an amazing day trip near Seattle- you just need to be prepared for all trail conditions imaginable!

Note: We've seen the trail name written as Lake 22, Lake Twentytwo and Lake Twenty Two. We use these interchangeably in this post and apologize for any confusion.

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