Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Porto's Atlantic Coast - surfside coffee at Praia dos Ingleses

I caught the number 500 bus from Porto's São Bento train station. About 18 stops later at Castelo do Foz, I'd reached the Atlantic Ocean.

Walking from Foz pier, along Avenida D. Carlos I, I
rounded the road into Rua Coronel Raúl Peres. Cue expansive horizons and large, dark rocks smoothed and shined by the waves.

Café Praia dos Ingleses dominat
ed this stretch of coastal road, and it called me in for coffee. Wooden steps led down onto a spacious decked terrace filled with white, unfussy tables and chairs. The sense of being at one with the waves was wonderfully tangible.

Indoors it also hit the laid-back surf atmosphere right on the head. The same unfussy tables and chairs filled half of the room, giving way to squidgy orange and brown leather beanbags set around low, dark wood coffee tables. Could there be a better place to spend the day working at a laptop or watching the turning of the tide through the café’s floor to ceiling windows?

For casual chilled out, beachside appeal, Café Praia dos Ingleses definitely fitted the bill. The music playing was unobtrusively ambient and the customers were totally at ease, gazing out of the windows and sipping hot or cold drinks. It was also impossible to imagine the young, friendly waiting staff that stood staring at the hypnotic rise and fall of the ocean, ever getting into a flap. My small coffee was cheap at €1, and satisfyingly strong. And the WIFI was free.

I travelled to Porto from London Stansted with Ryanair. I stayed at the Rivoli Cinema Hostel, and used the Communicarta transport map that is featured in Thomas Cook’s CityS
pots Porto guide. Read more!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Teach English in Castile-Leon, Spain - Escape The Hanger!

New Year, newly inspired to escape your mind-numbing hanger of an office? Then this opportunity to escape to Spain for a while might grab you.

The Spanish Government and Vaughan Systems are currently seeking Volunteer Teachers for a new English Language Education Project. Native English speakers are being offered the chance to teach English for two months while living in the northern Spanish region of Castile-Leon.

Working with pre-school children and early elementary school students, volunteers would help teaching assistants bring English Language studies to life in the classroom. The Spanish curriculum for pre-school and elementary school is almost identical to that found in primary education around the world. The students are aged between 3 and 8, with classroom size between 25 and 35.

In exchange, the project offers housing and a small monthly payment, plus insurance and opportunities for weekend excursions and activities. The maximum stay for the volunteer would be three months.

Available in various locations throughout the Castile-Leon area, these limited positions are open from 13th April 2009. For more information and to apply contact Project Coordinator Mayte Ziga at or visit

Vaughan Systems, founded by American Richard Vaughan, is the largest in-company language training firm in Spain, with over 300 trainers providing more than 350,000 hours per year of language training to over 5,000 executives and technical personnel in more than 520 companies, with such names as Microsoft, Ericsson, Accenture, Citibank, Ford, Pfizer, Coca Cola, etc. Vaughan Systems already brings some 1,500 volunteeers to Spain every year for a locally-famous adult English-learning program called VaughanTown.

Thanks to travelwriters.comfor all of the information above.
Read more!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Side Trips In # TravelTwitterLand

Since joining Twitter about a month ago, I've become privy to some of the most up to date and insight travel conversations online. I'm currently following 413 other travel obsessed micro-bloggers based around the world.

Some are bloggers looking to share their news, some are journalists spreading and hunting the latest buzz, and others are tour operators using Twitter to promote their products. It's a friendly world where conversation is encouraged yet kept manageable by a 140 character limit per Tweet. Updates and replies just trip off the keypad.

From now on I'll be sharing my experiences of Twitter, once a week. It might be a travel news story or a profile piece on one of the many new websites, businesses and blogs that Twitter has exposed me to. And, in the spirit of Sandwagon, I'm avoiding the travel bandwagon in favour of the new, the different and the spirited.

And Sandwagon has just hit the 300 Followers mark. Follow Sandwagon here!
Read more!