A Travellerspoint blog

On our way home

sunny 27 °C
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We lazed around Sao Martinho do Porto for the next couple of days. Our apartment had two balconies. One on the east side and one on the west side for the afternoon sun. I walked quite a bit and found the town to be very pedestrian friendly. The beach is huge and well sheltered. All in all it was a good place to end our holiday. We drove back to Lisbon and returned our rental car and were shuttled to the terminal. We were early and disappointed to find that it was one of the poorest airports we have been in. Little shopping or food places. Our plane to London was delayed a bit, so that contributed to a seemingly long day. We arrived at Gatwick and called our hotel to send their shuttle. It arrived quickly and we were driven the 5 minutes to the hotel. We were quite hungry so we soon were in the hotel restaurant having dinner. Then it was back to our room to get organized for the flight home. Our flight didn’t leave until afternoon, so we had a leisurely breakfast before getting back into the shuttle to get back to the airport. Check in and security took virtually no time, so we had a fairly long wait until our plane boarded. Then it was the long flight back to Calgary. I watched a bunch of movies and was happy when we landed.
We had been gone for 82 days this time, so home looked pretty good. That’s all for now!

Posted by Basebrown 19:28 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Last couple of days

sunny 28 °C
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We decided not to go with the rest of the tour to Cabo Sao Vincente as we have been there twice already. Instead, we slept in a bit and had a bit of a late breakfast. We then walked over to the beach. The Praia da Rocha is a huge beach. Must be about 3 km long. Gorgeous, soft sand. Shallow water. Very cold still so far this year as their weather has been unusually cool. We rented a beach umbrella with comfy cushioned chairs, and wifi, if you can believe it! We spent about 6 hours at the beach, both in and out of the sun. 5888BB4D-D3AA-4EA6-B89D-CAEAC318A289.jpegAround 4:30 we decided to head back to our room for a shower and a break from the heat. After getting cleaned up, we returned to the restaurant where we had eaten the previous evening. We had asked the owner if they could get percebes, which are barnacles in Portugal. When we arrived, he informed us that he was able to get some. We told him to bring them out. They are really good if you like seafood. A bit awkward and messy to get into, but so are things like crab and prawns. 67B8C853-7D81-44C2-B691-1B1F6FEECDC3.jpeg07AD514B-1244-4D4B-BD8A-570DBA903F44.jpegWe then had sea bream as our main course. Excellent meal. It had gotten a bit chilly while we were in the restaurant, so we made our way straight back to our room.

Last day of bus trip. Up very early for our return to Lisbon. We boarded the bus and were on our way from the Algarve to Lisbon. Just outside of Lisbon we stopped at a tile factory. Hand painted tiles are a thing in Portugal and are very beautiful. We saw how the tile was made, fired and painted. Very talented people.3AF483BF-7000-4D06-B47A-C75C2A3450EE.jpeg8F8079C2-001B-4DB6-8571-E7CD9D3FE528.jpeg769045A1-4B2B-4C01-8B47-2FA70C57868D.jpeg We got to our hotel shortly after 1:00 and had the afternoon to ourselves. We decided to visit the Gulbenkian Museum. We hadn’t been doing much walking, so decided that this would be a good time to start. It was a couple of miles to the museum, but we passed through parks and enjoyed the walk.8A5363C5-705C-4FD4-9382-9F4C55CB3DA2.jpeg Calouste Gulbenkian was an Armenian who made a crap ton of money in the oil industry. He used a fair chunk of that money to collect all sorts of stuff, from Egyptian artifacts to Ming vases to Persian tapestries and everything in between. He moved to Lisbon and fell in love with the city. When he died he left his collection to the city along with a bunch of money. The city built the museum around the collection. The museum is in a large tree filled park, and since we had walked, we didn’t really know where to go. We went into a building that had ‘museum ‘ and a bunch of other Portuguese words written on it and bought our tickets. We ended up being in the modern art part of the place. Didn’t take me long to decide that that wasn’t the place for me. We got directions to the main part of the museum and set out through the jungle like park to get there. Much happier with this part. The collection is stunning. Rodin sculptures beside Monet paintings. A room dedicated to Egyptian artifacts. Tapestries from Persia. Hand illustrated bibles. Paintings by Dutch masters. Ancient coins, furniture. You name it, he collected it.F43DF64C-31E4-497D-9726-7164C240A31B.jpegB7ECA5CD-C618-4D68-98E1-6458342166CD.jpeg03060BD3-B857-4328-A692-7693FFCD2A1C.jpeg53B608AA-7709-41D2-BF32-C2E2378BCA59.jpeg Excellent use of our time. After a few hours, we walked back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. It was our last bus tour activity. We had a nice dinner and said our goodbyes. Overall, the bus tour was ok. Nice to let someone else do the planning and driving. Hotels were really nice as well. The downside is being around a group of people for 10 days. There is a possibility that I’m not much of a people person. After dinner we went for a walk down to a square near the hotel where ther were lots of people out and about. We bought a couple of glasses of sangria from a vendor and strolled our way back to the hotel.

We slept a bit late our last day in Lisbon. After breakfast we finished packing and caught the aerobus to the airport where we were shuttled to our car rental location. We got the car and drove for about an hour and a half to our rental apartment in Sao Martinho do Porto. We got checked in and went and bought some groceries. No restaurant tonight!. We then decided to go explore the downtown and beach area. The beach is huge, sandy and well sheltered.55958EB6-833D-4A51-B005-E06D92E3470E.jpeg Have to check it out tomorrow. We returned to the apartment and sat on the balcony. The apartment has 2 huge balconies. One to catch the morning sun and the other to catch the afternoon sun. large_686B7582-01F2-4110-A610-FA4D653F3E80.jpegAfter a bit Arlene made us supper and then we sat back and enjoyed a glass of port.

Posted by Basebrown 02:33 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

From Evora to Portimao

sunny 30 °C
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This morning we got to sleep in a bit. No wake up until 7:15. Had a nice breakfast, then checked out of the hotel. The first order of the day was a walking tour of Evora. We started off from the hotel and learned that the aqueduct that abuts the back of our hotel is only 500 years old. It is built on the site of a first century Roman aqueduct, however. It runs for 18 km and drops only 2 metres in that distance. It’s source is dammed up river north of Evora. The aqueduct is not currently in use, but is maintained and could be put back into use at any time.6899A27C-A2B3-4B99-96B6-60970000C374.jpeg6CF3024B-0AA7-4A9D-BF99-86B7F73A8F0E.jpeg8C8E4ED2-8BB1-4E03-837F-46B9376BCCEE.jpeg We continued our walk and soon arrived at the ruins of a Roman temple that dates back to the 1st century. E3727D95-F794-42A8-B833-BACAE9A09450.jpeg9522D73C-E6D8-43ED-94C9-29A0D06A7682.jpegWe also stopped by the city hall which is interesting in that when they were doing some upgrades, they uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, also from the 1st century.E7E4C773-4A9E-4084-B213-BC6081751670.jpeg1CCC2AAF-40A8-441E-BA2D-C34C4AB603DC.jpeg We strolled past churches and through touristy areas and arrived at the city’s main square. A coffee/bathroom break was scheduled for here. Arlene and I walked back to a church that had interested us and took a few pictures. 93A23E13-9E87-4F5A-8943-EB08E1493264.jpeg35BF39BD-9271-4058-9B4C-526537D969DF.jpegWe then browsed in the shops for a bit. Then it was off to another church. The church wasn’t particularly of interest, but one of the chapels was quite extraordinary. It was decorated with the bones from 5000 skeletons. It is called the Chapel of the Bones and was built to remind the parishioners of their mortality and to be always faithful. Kind of a creepy place, but the message is loud and clear!35A6CC8F-EE61-4AAC-A5BD-726959B37B34.jpegF9B60151-9206-4C08-B176-B3B0AF0321EA.jpeg4A6E01C2-3BBF-4F75-8B44-22C78A8339F8.jpegC20D0D42-AA56-468B-B4D8-F8A10136542F.jpeg We then spent a bit of time in local park as we waited for our bus.6606A910-6410-418B-8561-75731B4D9F67.jpeg After that, it was back on the bus to complete the journey to the Algarve and our hotel in Portimao. We stopped for lunch at a roadside cafe along the way. Our hotel in Portimao is quite nice and the rooms have balconies that overlook the harbour.large_D98AFB95-0F01-4EFC-B61A-827B2B9E01E7.jpeg The weather has turned fantastic, so it should be a very enjoyable couple of days.

Posted by Basebrown 02:53 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

The interior of Portugal.

sunny 29 °C
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Today was our longest travel day. We were awakened early and had a great breakfast before leaving our Pousada. Could have spent more time there! We drove for about one and one half hours and arrived in the town of Belmonte. We were to visit the Jewish museum. I spent only a few minutes there, then left and walked around on my own. As in many of these towns, there is the remains of a castle, so I went and looked at it it was ok, but nothing special. A7DAC232-2FF3-4643-BABB-E85457BA97F7.jpegB294FE7E-A3F1-414B-9FE6-7E8C3E3A896E.jpegI then met up with the group and we walked over to an olive oil museum and tasting room. It was interesting and the olive oil was very good. EBB1B3EE-ED83-439B-911E-8B325C547629.jpegThen it was back on the bus for another hour and one half to get to the city of Castelo de Vide. We traveled along a mountain range before entering a dry plateau. Lots of cattle and hay lands. Castelo de Vide was to be our lunch stop. Arlene and I walked up to the castle, which afforded lovely views of the city and surrounding countryside. AE4B4DC7-E20D-404B-856E-EFA10F24483D.jpegCA5C9294-9694-48FC-83AB-B49B4BBE7B51.jpegA2DF7012-26BE-4468-AF93-7DACE6EE0BB6.jpeg8A2B1126-598A-4D7F-8201-C86CEBCBBAE3.jpegWe then walked back to the city center and had a bowl of soup for lunch. After that, we sat in a park in the shade and watched people go by. Pretty soon we were back on the bus for the final leg of the journey to Evora. This was a bit longer - about 2 hours. As we approached Evora, we stopped at a cork factory. The son of the owner gave us a very informative tour of the operation. He told us about the cork industry and the different uses of cork. 3CC91D77-3E12-4A69-A339-F33B93C89D91.jpeg1B7D2C27-B3C9-48C9-A905-E7C92DE5C69F.jpeg8864E09B-957D-4408-B451-2A5AA72434D6.jpegAfter the cork factory tour, we were treated to a nice surprise by our tour director. He presented us with a tin of Portuguese olive oil and a cork souvenir. We then drove the last 10 minutes to the walled city of Evora. Our hotel was very nice and is connected to a 500 year old aqueduct. We went for a walk and ended up in the city center where we found a cafe and had a cool drink with another couple from our tour. Soon we noticed that it was time to go for dinner. We walked back to the hotel and went immediately to the dining room. The meal was the best we have had so far in Portugal. A great salad, sea bream with rice and sautéed vegetables followed by a beautiful desert. After dinner it was time to read and pack up for tomorrow’s trip to the Algarve.

Posted by Basebrown 07:47 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Northern and eastern Portugal

sunny 22 °C
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We headed out from Porto early this morning. We traveled north from Porto to the small city of Guimares. We did a short walking tour of the city. It’s a really tranquil place with lots of parks and an interesting cathedral. 4D573D1D-2BF0-469A-8706-0BE869B84FDF.jpeg5166FEAE-B94C-4CEA-BC87-2B1C5F0F235E.jpeg0790D448-BE1C-4052-9477-074AE0728991.jpeg9FAA3CD3-52D6-4AF7-9558-8A8EDE892771.jpeg67376055-6360-42E0-8063-A46DBD95D584.jpegWe had a cappuccino and nata tart - possibly the best we’ve had so far - in a cafe overlooking a lovely garden.79F3B3E7-5093-4ADD-8CD9-087763A08CA0.jpeg Then it was back on the bus for the journey to a Duoro valley winery. The winery is Quinta da Aveleda. Upon arrival, we were met by our guide for the tour. She first took us on a tour of the gardens. The gardens cover 25 acres and are English Gardens. They are beautiful. The winery is owned by a family and the gardens are the largest private gardens in Portugal.FB41AA88-AAF6-42FC-AA2E-3F0C38EAC9B1.jpegB946AD5D-1B66-4816-91FD-F438273D7568.jpegE053EC3D-95B3-4071-97B1-0687052627D9.jpeg55538029-BEF7-484E-AB31-4CB348445770.jpeg We then went onto a patio for a wine tasting and tapas lunch. We were given 2 wines to sample. The white was ok, but I really liked the rose. The tasting was accompanied with cheese, several types of sausage, crackers and an amazing quince jam. Very tasty. Finally we headed for the gift shop to make a couple of purchases. Then it was back on the road for the trip to our hotel in Viseu. We drove through the gorgeous and wonderfully scenic Duoro valley. Very cool to see the acres and acres of terraced vines. 94CA477F-C547-4420-8621-884D5C55E2ED.jpegC6A56991-001A-4BCC-9EC5-0079315E7FE3.jpegWe arrived at our hotel in Viseu and were very happy with the place. It is Pousada. Pousadas are historical buildings that have been converted to hotels. The hotel we stayed at was a converted 18 century hospital. It had a lot of character and was quite charming. B1FCD109-EE02-4584-82B0-16A93FC0626F.jpegOur room was huge. A bedroom, a living room and a large bathroom. We walked around Viseu after checking in. Not a lot to see, but it was nice to get out for a walk and the park and city center were very nice. Dinner was included tonight, so we took the bus to Portuguese rostizo. We started off with several kinds of typical Portuguese sausage, and chicken gizzards. D3249883-FE75-4AD5-90D1-FC374DF76C4E.jpegThis was followed by potato and kale soup. Next came sautéed beef with vegetables and rice. Very delicious, but lots of food. Finally was time for desert. Didn’t have much of that as we were too full of chicken gizzards. Lots of really nice wine as well. Then it was back to the hotel. Early wake up call for tomorrow.

Posted by Basebrown 14:22 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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