April 2017
  • Day7

    Lagos

    April 24, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 59 °F

    Got up a bit later than planned but still made it to breakfast buffet by 9am. Man, did they have a spread! Hams and cheeses and breads and pastries of all kinds, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, baked beans, yogurts, and on and on. Puts continental breakfast of American chains to shame.

    After breakfast hiked down to Ponta da Piedade with some incredible rock/cove formations. You can take boat rides around to the various coves. Hiked back to the hotel and then hiked about 1/2 mile into town to explore the old town of Lagos. Neat looking little town on the beach but definitely overrun with tourists. Heard a few Americans, some Brits and a lot of Germans. Did some shopping and for a change up, ate at an Indian restaurant in town which was quite good (as most Indian restaurants are). The owner lured us in off the sidewalk (didn't take much luring).
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  • Day7

    Sagres

    April 24, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 59 °F

    After lunch, hiked back to the hotel, jumped into the car and headed for Sagres (to the west) where Henry the Navigator had a school some 500 years ago to teach people how to navigate the seas. We bypassed the museum and headed out another 10 miles to a windy little road that took us down to another beautiful beach area which was a surfer's meca. Roamed the beach , took pictures, watched the surfers (waves were not great at this moment) and then headed back towards SaleemaRead more

  • Day7

    Saleema

    April 24, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 59 °F

    Janet had a friend who had been to Saleema, so we took the side road into this little beach town. Pretty beach, surrounded by tall hills. We walked on the beach some and then Yelped it again to find a good restaurant. Found an excellent one, run by a great guy. Sat right on the beach, beautiful early evening. Ate grilled Golden Breem, potatoes, veggies, two glasses of wine, and the standard couvert of olives,bread, and pates. Afterwards, the owner gave us two small glasses of port to warm our innards before we left - yum. Afterwards, it was starting to get cold, so we headed back to Lagos - saw a sign on the at for McDonald's and after lots of twists and turns, actually made it to McDonalds where we confused the kid for sure trying to explain what kind of coffee we wanted - as in damn big coffee!! LOL - none of those thimble shots for this boy! :).

    Oh, did I mention that we stopped at a little convenience store after dinner and bought a bottle of port and vinho verde? Didn't want to take a chance on drying out on this vacation!
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  • Day8

    Evora

    April 25, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 66 °F

    Arrived in Evora around 3, just in time to check in to our hotel. Here's a cool video of the hotel which Includes the megalith site we were at earlier today!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpPg7hXkgv8Read more

  • Day9

    Coimbra

    April 26, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

    Well, I'm falling behind on my journaling. Not too surprising - lot of drivng going on from Lagos - Evora- Coimbra - and finally Porto. Took us longer than expected to navigate the IC2 out of Coimbra. Accidents and general slowdowns. Still we got to see all the backroads. Got very mountainous as we neared Coimbra. Tough haul on the little Toyota. Tried to drive onto the Campus - ho-ho ho - were lucky we ever escaped- driving nightmare! I should have filmed a video! Especially when I tried to enter a faculty parking lot with no entrance pass. That made the people behind me happy!! Finally found a free spot across the river to park (should have listened to Rick Steves suggestion for parking in the first place!). Trucked back into town to see the University library, known to be one of the great libraries of the world. (http://worldheritage.uc.pt/en/. - be sure to watch the video ) Claimed the longest and steepest set of stairs imaginable to get up there. Will have to post a photo! The library was ancient and magnificent as you can imagine - no photos allowed unfortunately. (But you will see the interior if you watch the video above)

    Afterwards strolled down through the town doing the usual gawking, shopping,eating.
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  • Day10

    Porto -Day 1

    April 27, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    Decided it was time to leave Coimbra to head for Porto. Thought we would make it in 2 hrs but the traffic was intolerably slow. The NC-2 is obviously a truck route. Someone also got clobbered on a cycle so that really messed it up. Finally by 8:30 we made it and after some confusing missteps from the GPS, managed to find the apt. Met by Paulo , a friend of the hosts. He gave us a brief show around (didn't seem to know that somewhere in the apt there was a washing machine). Told us that after 8 we could park on street for free but had to feed the meter or find a parking garage. So after much searching on the Net found an app (www.parkopedia.com), downloaded it and was good to go, finding a place next door that had parking for 21€ for 2 days. Sweet!

    Finally. crashing for the night. Crawled into bed (two singles put together). I felt fine - Janet said -
    "How come there are things poking me in the back?" I felt her side of bed - felt like nothing but springs. Turns out whoever put the bed together put her combo springs/mattress down upside down ! So we had to tear the bed apart and fix that. Haven't mentioned that to the host yet. :)
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  • Day10

    Porto - 1st full day

    April 27, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 57 °F

    Spent the day chasing down all the major sites in Porto. - Lots of churches - more food - beautiful day. Will catch up in a bit with this. Fado music - port wine tasting - lots of tiles - everywhere!

  • Day11

    Porto - 2nd full Day

    April 28, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 59 °F

    Today was a bit more relaxing. Woke up a bit later - probably didn't leave apt till about 10. Tried to wash some clothes last night. Noticed that someone had unplugged washing machine which we thought odd. Finally found the outlet under the water heater. They had a T where the water heater and the washing machine plugged in, but you had to look for it. So turned on the washing machine, didn't hear any water coming in. Examined the valves closer - looked like someone had shut the water valve off to the washing machine, so I turned the valve and then water started dripping on the floor. Not good - obviously a fitting was loose. Gave up on this idea and texted host via WhatsApp. She didn't even know about it - obviously hadn't checked out apt very carefully before we got there.

    Had some cheese,bread an apples for our breakfast and then strolled towards the old town looking for street art. Not far from the apt we stopped in a little pastry shop and had an Americano and a chocolate eclair. Good for my blood sugar which is a disaster on this trip! For the next 4 hours we just wandered the streets, shooting lots of photos. Stopped near the river for a good lunch at a place called My God, which had lousy reviews on Trip Advisor, but we thought it was excellent. Had grilled sea bass, Breem, with wine - excellent fish, good wine. Don't know what was up with the reviews.

    Saw a couple of good street performers, lots of things to photograph. Another beautiful sunny day. We have had incredible weather every single day.

    Finally back at the apt around 7:30 and now having to get our stuff together for tomorrow. Ugh. Tomorrow we drive back to Lisbon and crash at a hotel at the airport as we have an early 6:05 am flight. Yikes! Plan to stop at Fatima on the way down.
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  • Day12

    Porto to Nazaré

    April 29, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Got up early, walked over to parking garage and picked up car and headed out. No hassles on getting out of the garage. :) Plugged in Nazarè as our first point and off we went. About 145 mile drive to Nazarè As we drove, we noticed there were quite a few people of all ages walking along the road wearing bright green safety vests. They went on for miles and miles and miles. Janet suggested they were walking towards Fatima. I had my doubts, but a text message using WhatsApp to our hostess in Porto revealed that Janet was correct! And to think that this goes on day in and day out! Impressive. We had thought about heading to Fatima but time was important and we had been to shrines before so we decided to keep heading towards the seaside town of Nazaré, one of the most popular towns along the Costa de Prata (the Silver Coast of Portugal) - a town of fishermen where the women used to head to the sea to wait on their returning men and are known for their tradition of wearing a skirt with 7 petticoats to keep warm. Janet's eagle eye spotted a few of these ladies. I was struck by all the whitewashed buildings and brilliant sun and sea - for some reason , it made me feel like I was in Greece. Using Yelp, found a great place to eat - friendly hosts and very busy restaurant (http://bit.ly/2rnaLhN). After lunch, strolled the beachfront a bit, buying some souvenirs, taking pictures and wishing we had much longer to stay. This would be an ideal beachtown for a vacation.Read more