Portugal
Lapa

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23 travelers at this place:

  • Day272

    Porto - Portugal very last stop

    May 27, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Meine Überraschung ist gelungen! Zu Ronja's 18 Geburtstag ging es für mich nach Portugal, um sie zu überraschen. Dieser Zeit mit der Familie ohne andere Verpflichtungen zuhause, war eine gute Lösung, denn so genießt man einfach nur das Zusammensein mit Mama, Papa und Schwester. Allerdings hat mich das Fernweh echt schon wieder gepackt und ich würde am Liebsten bald wieder los. Allerdings die Freude heute ganz nach Hause zu gehen, meine allerliebste Omi zu sehen und auch meine ganzen Freunde zu besuchen, lässt sich nicht in Worte fassen.
    Bis bald meine Lieben!
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  • Day36

    Day 36: University of Coimbra -> Porto

    March 23, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Time to move on again, a bit of a shame since our Airbnb apartment was really nice and we didn't have much of a chance to enjoy it. But such is the life of a traveller! We actually vegged out a bit in the morning, catching up on stuff from the previous day before packing up and heading out at around 11am. Drove into the downtown area of the city near the University.

    The University is a world heritage site, not particularly because of its buildings (although nice), and also not because of famous scientists or discoveries here, but because of its influence on the world. It was founded originally in the 12th century in Lisbon and moved to Coimbra in the 16th century, but more importantly it was the only university in Portugal for much of its history. And because of Portugal's global status via the empire, the ideas and concepts developed here spread quickly around the world.

    We had a look at the main quadrangle, overlooked by some impressive buildings. The Royal Hall (actually a repurposed part of an old royal palace) was very cool, a hall very heavy on dark decor where "PHD defences" are held. Essentially, PhD students sit at a table in the centre of the hall and defend their thesis against argument and criticism, I assume from the professors and academics. One was in progress as we visited so we couldn't enter the hall, but the view from the windows looked cool.

    The highlight here was definitely the library though - a huge building that housed 60,000 Renaissance era books. It was one of the first purpose-built libraries in Europe, and much thought was put into preservation. For example, the walls were 2 metres thick and the doors constructed of a special wood to regulate both temperature and humidity. Bookshelves made of a certain wood that smells repulsive to insects, and there's even a colony of bats living in the walls to feed on paper-eating beetles!

    Had lunch at a restaurant near a clifftop, which, although it looked and felt expensive, was actually very reasonably priced. We both had a fish dish of something very similar to grilled octopus, but not octopus, along with bread, wine and coffee for just 8 euros per head!

    Dashed upstairs to the Physics Laboratory where we had a guided tour of the faculty's collection of old instruments, an interesting throwback to an era when physics experiments were done with brass pipes and strings, not computers. We also went through the natural history department which had an enormous collection of preserved and taxidermied animals. The fin whale skeleton was the highlight, although some of the stuffed animals were comical - I guess taxidermy as a science and an art has come a long way since the 18th century!

    Back to the car where Schnitzel was faithfully waiting for us, fast asleep in his bed. He seems very happy there, and I suppose since we move houses every few days, the car and his bed are the main constants in his environment aside from us.

    Out of Coimbra we hit the road and headed north, this time thankfully on the freeway rather than the highway. About 90 minutes driving later we arrived in Porto, the second-largest city in the country and home to about 1.5 million people. Found our accommodation with no dramas and settled in. As usual, we're staying in an apartment about 20 minutes walk from the main centre of town.

    Although it was approaching evening, we headed out for a walk to stretch Schnitzel's legs. Found a park a few hundred metres up the road where he did his business and entertained himself chasing pigeons, before we headed a bit further on to a supermarket. Schnitzel and I waited outside while Shandos bought some supplies. I think I've mentioned before, but Schnitzel gets far more attention here in Portugal than in Spain - people often react like they've never seen a dachshund before (although we have seen a few around). It's nice that he's popular, but the attention gets a bit tiring sometimes. Particularly when you're cold and waiting around outside a supermarket for 30 minutes on a busy street at dusk.

    Back to the apartment where we relaxed in front of the heater and ate our dinner of soup and spinach frittata. Expecting a long day of sight-seeing tomorrow as I've heard great things about Porto - and of course it has a World Heritage listed Old Town!
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  • Day20

    Second day in Porto

    October 22, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    After a lifetime of never using open top buses, the hop-on and hop-off type, we are now convinced they have value. We lined up for the Blue Bus circuit (which is probably the same as the Red Bus circuit, and the Yellow Bus circuit) and caught it at stop 11, just around the corner from our apartment. It was quite interesting and took us to places we would not otherwise have gone, but when it reached the ocean we hopped off because we had the opportunity to walk for some kilometres along the beach, such as it was. There were a few people brave enough to go into the water, but most were just sunbaking.

    We missed the bus two stops on so had to go to the third one along, and then waited and waited while Red and Yellow buses drove past. At least we had a good walk along the Rio Douro.

    While walking around the centre of the old town we noticed many tram tracks, but no trams. Today we say a few of them out and about, all packed to the rafters with hot passengers. We weren’t even slightly tempted to hop on. They looked more like the ones you seen in third world countries where they are piled high with people and their belongings.

    Naturally we are trying a broad range of local wines, including some “Port” left by our hosts. Mostly they have been okay, picked as they were at random because we could not understand the labels. However this evening we opened a bottle of sparkling and had to pour it down the sink, after a heroic effort to convince ourselves it was okay! Cork bottle closures are still the standard here. We did not see one screw cap anywhere, so it was just as well there was a corkscrew in the drawer.
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  • Day15

    Belfast

    October 17, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    It was time to pack up and leave our cottage and head for Belfast. Mary, our host, turned up early because, as she explained, she had to look after breakfasts for her B&B. She read the meter, calculated the electricity cost and gave us a bill for a ridiculously small amount. Admittedly we had to stuff coins into a meter for the gas heating, but it was still peanuts for a nice cottage with a million dollar view!
    Our trip to Belfast was easy as we ended up taking more major roads than little byways. This put is in Belfast a bit early for our unit, but it is always nice to know where it is, and what the parking is like. Because there were few opportunities to park on the side of the road and put the actual address into the GPS we ended up in Belfast proper first. By then, of course, we had overshot the mark, and Madam Lash took us up some fairly narrow streets to get us back on track.
    Parking around the corner from the unit was a breeze, so we headed down Antram Road towards town. As luck would have it a lady opened the (very shabby) door of our apartment block so I asked if Barry was in. The lady was the person who did all the housekeeping, and was more than happy to let us in quite early. What a bonus that was. It meant that we could set ourselves up early, and then spend the rest of the afternoon in town.
    We walked in to Cathedral Square, had a look round, and then decided to have some lunch. The couple beside us in the patisserie, sort of locals, strongly advised us to take one of the Red Buses on a tour of the city. What a good suggestion that was. We had an hour and a half of guided tour that gave us a brief history of much of the town. Robyn was especially interested in The Troubles, and travelling down Falls Road and seeing the murals and memorial gardens was very sobering.
    Following that Robyn went shopping and ended up with three items of clothing, so all in all a great day.
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  • Day18

    Porto

    October 20, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Breakfast at our hotel was sumptuous, unless you wanted a truckie’s breakfast. We had plenty of choice and the staff were very helpful.
    As we were leaving one of the hotel staff suggested that we go to the church museum just up from the hotel, and, not being rude, we took her advice. As we have found in the past it is so awesome to be in the presence of paintings, or statues etc from many hundreds of years ago, with NO security. While there I heard the organ in the church start up so I went in, hoping to hear something really nice. The organ was nice, the acoustics were fine, and ..... the organist was a young boy practising. Oh well .....
    When travelling we try to avoid tolls and did the same today, until it became obvious that we were doing it the hard way. So we changed the GPS and headed in to Porto , ending up in the old part of town. We were really early,and I wanted to scope the place out first, but all we could see was a garage entrance in a one-way street with no parking. This makes for a difficult time. Anyway, we drove around until I could park (illegally) and we texted the owners to open up the garage door. In five minutes or so we came up the street and the owner was there with the door open. Good, except that we had to stop our line of traffic. The we had to wait until the other lane was relatively clear so I could swing out and then turn left into the most narrow entrance. I think we probably upset about 100 drivers in all!
    That aside, our apartment is just wonderful - so roomy and well presented. We asked if it would be possible to stay another day, which was okay, so we can now settle in a bit and not live out of our suitcases for a little while.
    We went for a brief walk to see what the lie of the land was. Then we returned to our apartment to do some washing (very important when travelling for some time) and then went for a much longer walk, over one bridge and back on another. Back for a shower, then had a drink in a local cafe, did some shopping and returned for dinner. All in all, a good day.
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  • Day19

    Porto on a Sunday

    October 21, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    We eased into the day slowly so it was around midday when we went shopping. We really packed for colder weather and the 25 degrees in Porto has shown up the weaknesses in both our wardrobes. So, when the going gets tough the tough get going, and Robyn is tough.

    Robyn soon found a lightweight top and two T-shirts, and even I found a nice shirt, T-shirt and jeans. Unfortunately shorts were off the menu here, as most of the stock on display was for winter.

    Then it was off for our walk for the day. Those to whom we have related our plans for these holidays will know that we are going for a 5 day walk around Segovia in Spain, averaging around 15 kms per day. That is why we have been trying to walk more each day, and today was no exception. We managed around 9 kms, which included a long walk along the river and crossing it twice, on two different bridges. They certainly know how to build bridges here.

    Earlier in the evening, on our way home from our big walk, we started looking at restaurants in our area. One that appealed to us had only 1 person in it, while the next one had people all over the sidewalk. Not a good recommendation. After showering we went back and it was still deserted until 6 people suddenly walked in while we were looking on. We ended up having a lovely meal there, more like a tapas evening, with nice wine and beer. The young lady who served us spoke lovely English, and no wonder - she had English as a subject for 12 years at school! By the time we left there were heaps of people there. The Portuguese do prefer to come out later in the evening, like the Italians and Spanish I suppose.
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  • Day21

    Last day in Porto

    October 23, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ 🌬 21 °C

    The tickets we bought yesterday for the Blue Bus included a trip on the Rio Douro on the Blue Boat. We walked over to the riverside dock where we were soon on a boat. Once again, it was interesting, and the 45 minutes we spent on board showed us things we would not otherwise have seen. Most of the traffic on the river was tourist boats such as ours, with one going past every couple of minutes.

    Our next planned event for the day was to visit the Offley Port House. We had read a good report about it in the SMH six months ago so we bypassed the ones closer to the tourist area. On arrival, at 1pm, we were told that the next tour was at 3pm. Not to be deterred we went for a long walk, with gelato, and were back in time.

    Sophie, our guide, gave a good presentation of the history of Port Wine, how and where it is made, and so forth. I believe that this is not one of the larger port houses, but they certainly had a lot of wine maturing away in French oak barrels. At the end of the tour we were taken to the tasting room where tables had been set up to reflect each ticket. Robyn had bought a two glass tasting, and of course I had to have a three glass ticket. It was all very nicely set out, and we were talked through the various types. Obviously doing two port house sessions in one day would take an effort.

    On our return we showered and changed and went out for a pre-dinner drink. This was a pleasant way of ending our time in Porto, as tomorrow we head to Lisbon for three days.
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  • Apr9

    Die Brücken von Porto...

    April 9 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    ...sind schon sehr gigantisch, gegen die z.B. die Tower Bridge in London wie eine Miniatur wirkt. Hier stehe ich gerade vor der Ponte Luis und komme aus dem Staunen über die Ausmaße gar nicht mehr raus.

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