Vera Cruz

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    • Day 57

      Aveiro per Rad

      March 29, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      Vermutlich hatte ich den falschen Weg gewählt, um in die Stadt zu kommen. Endlose Industrie und Hauptverkehrsstrassen, unvorteilhafte Quartiere, chaotische Verkehrsführung. Bald mal der Eindruck, dieser Ort sei in erster Linie dank erfolgreichen Marketings bekannt. Einem tatsächlichen "Venedig Portugals" hätte ich mehr als drei Kanäle gewünscht.
      Nun, nach dem Mittagessen habe ich doch noch ein paar malerische Winkel gefunden, im alten Fischer-Viertel und entlang der Salinenfelder. Und die 20km Rückfahrt genoss ich mit kräftigem Rückenwind!
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    • Day 51

      The "Venice" of Portugal

      November 7, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      While we were on the Camino we met a woman from Minnesota who just moved to Aveiro, Portugal. Aveiro has the reputation of being the "Venice" of Portugal because it has a small number of canals that are navigated brightly colored "moliciero" boats. Aveiro is about an hour and a half train ride from Porto. We decided to check out the city today. The weather was kind of cloudy but still pretty warm. We took a 45-minute boat cruise and got a little history and info about this little city. The old train station is also one of the highlights to see in the city as it is a white building with beautiful murals made from "Azulejos". These are tin-glazed ceramic tiles traditionally used in Portugal to cover facades and internal walls. Aveiro is also known for a large variety of coastal birds and for its salt flats. All around the city you can see brightly colored buildings.Read more

    • Day 36

      Menu de Almoço in Venice

      March 28 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

      After a quick visit to the Fatima Pilgrimage Centre in the daylight, we headed to Coimbra, a university town and home to the 2nd oldest university in Europe. Coimbra was the capital of Portugal until 1255 and the former royal palace is now part of the university. We toured the impressive library (unfortunately no photos allowed), the former royal palace and the chapel.

      For lunch we travelled to Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal. Many of the restaurants were closed, but we found a cafe in the backstreets where the special of the day (Menu de Almoço) was Spaghetty Chicken Curry - and despite the unusual combination, it was delicious!

      Aveiro has been a centre of salt production since Roman times, and more recently seagrass harvesting in a moliceiro (traditional boat), which are now used for tours of the canals. They are known for their colourful decorative panels with satirical, religious or bawdry images on the bow and stern.

      We made a detour to Costa Nova, known for it's striped houses, before arriving in Porto just after 6pm. As we are staying in the centre of their main pedestrian shopping street, getting near the hotel in a vehicle in peak hour was quite the challenge!
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    • Day 39


      December 25, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

      Eine sehr unruhige Nacht mit heftigem Sturzregen und starken Windböen ging dann endlich auch zu Ende...Frühstück...Fahrzeug checken und ab dafür...

      Durch flaches Hinterland ging es durch teils sehr ärmliche Gegenden Richtung Aveiro.

      Die Stadt ist bekannt für ihre Kanäle und schöne Altstadt. Das hätte uns mit Sicherheit auch gut gefallen und wir ließen es vor unserem geistigen Auge abspielen. Bei dem herrschenden Wetter war es leider nur halb so schön, aber es hatte trotzdem gut getan noch mal ein Stückchen zu laufen und nicht nur zu fahren 🚚💨

      Danach ging es weiter zur Stellplatzsuche...wir wollten unser zweites Weihnachtsmal einnehmen...

      Der erste angefahrene Stellplatz entpuppte sich als offizieller Wohnmobilplatz und war auch gut besucht...von 20 WM waren 18 mit deutschem Nummernschild...zu voll, zu deutsch...nicht unser Ding, also weiter

      Ein Parkplatz an den Dünen, das gefiel uns dann schon besser und bald war auch unser zweites Weihnachtsessen auf dem Teller: Nudeln mit Garnelen und gebratenem Lachs...dazu frischer Salat...Yumm, Yumm

      Danach wurden noch einige Spielchen Backgammon zur Verdauung gespielt...
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    • Day 71

      Bummel durch die Lagunenstadt Aveiro 🚤

      October 24, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

      Der Zwischenstopp in Aveiro hat sich gelohnt. Die Lagunenstadt ist auch bekannt als das "Portugiesische Venedig". Aber das fanden wir dann doch etwas übertrieben, nachdem wir (wie alle anderen Touristen auch) gleich in das erstbeste Boot 🚤 gesprungen sind und eine 45-minütige Rundfahrt durch die Kanäle gemacht haben 🤪. Von der Bootsfahrt waren wir etwas enttäuscht. Bis auf einen kleinen Streckenabschnitt führte sie durch wenig attraktive Gegenden.

      Viel schöner war es dann, noch etwas durch die Gassen des historischen Zentrums zu bummeln und die restaurierten Jugendstilhäuser und schön gefliesten Häuserfassaden zu bewundern.
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    • Day 17

      Porto, Aveiro....ich muss weiter!

      February 17 in Portugal

      Ich musste aus Porto flüchten. Zuviel Lärm, zuviel Hektik, zuviel Menschen...von allem zuviel. Habe nur 3 Stunden geschlafen wegen dem Baulärm.
      Als Abschluss bin ich mit der Tram , Strassenbahn gefahren. Eine der ältesten Bahnen Europas, nur noch die Touristen fahren damit🤔
      Fand ich irgendwie blöd.
      Noch zwei Nächte, dann bin ich bei den Monsterwellen in Nazare.
      Nach der Düne mein ansolutes Highlight dieser Reise.
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    • Day 18

      Day 15/4 Agueda to Albergaria a Nova

      May 18, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      We started our day at 7:00 in a light mist and 18°C. Not wet enough for rain gear, but humid enough to cover my glasses with water. Our plan was to do a short 16 km walk to Albergaria-a-Velha and then Uber to Aveiro to enjoy a better choice of restaurants and accommodations, because today was no ordinary day on the Camino. Today my lovely wife turns sixty!

      As soon as we left Agueda, the path took a sharp upward route and had us climbing up 75 meters in only 3/4 km. My companions, who tell me they've already contended with much worse, made the climb look easy. Me, not so much. Our first opportunity for coffee came only 4 kms into the walk, so we decided to move straight on to the next, only 7.6 kms away.

      As we passed through the little town of Mourisca, we were astounded by the size and beauty of some very old mansions along the way. Some were pristine, others need a little TLC and a couple were abandoned and in complete disrepair. One looked like it could have been lifted from a Hitchcock movie. We had to wonder why so much wealth was at one time drawn to this out of the way little burg.

      After Mourisca we were treated to a short time on an ancient Roman road, flanked on both sides by a completely intact stone wall. On one side was a beautiful pond dotted with lily pads and off in the distance, atop a hill, was the local place of worship.

      As we traversed a bridge, overlooking the landscape in the distance we couldn't help but admire nature's beauty, despite being partially shrouded in mist.

      Since our 7km coffee stop turned out to be non-existant, we continued on to the 10km mark where we finally succeeded in getting an infusion of very good, and very welcome, caffeine. While there, the group decided it would be a better idea to finish our day in Albergaria-a-Nova, 7.5 kms past our original destination. We arrived there at around 1:30, stopped for a quick celebratory pint and then Ubered into Aveiro, straight to Cha & Bolachas, where we had lunch. Brenda had found this little restaurant that offers vegan and gluten free options, so it was a must for her special day. Although we all wanted a light lunch, the different bruschetta plates we all ordered were very substantial and so good that our plates were virtually licked clean. Before leaving, we all ordered a slice of gluten free cake to take away to top off tonight's dinner.

      After checking in, we started the birthday celebrations with a bottle of Vinho Verde at The Iron Duke Pub. Champagne was in order, but when in Portugal...

      Dinner was at Food K'Ort, an Indian restaurant located a one minute walk from our hotel. The food was delicious, plentiful and served by the most entertaining waiter I can ever recall having. We topped off the meal, and the evening, with a resounding version of Happy Birthday, as much of the gluten free birthday cake as we could eat, and a complimentary glass of Brandy from the chef. And just as we were about to leave, Happy Birthday and an accompanying video began playing on the house TV.

      A pretty darn good day all around.
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    • Day 51

      A Day Trip to Aveiro

      November 7, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      We took a day trip today, an hour+ train ride south to Aveiro, the "Venice of Portugal"!

      On the Camino, we had met an American woman now living in Portugal, who told us about Aveiro. She and her husband live there now.

      It is a great little city, on a big bay set back from the coast, with a network of canals. The Gondola Canal boats are still taking tourists for 45 minute rides around the canals.

      The weather was nice, cloudy but warm enough.

      Some beautiful exterior ceramic tile exteriors on buildings in the Old Town!
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    • Day 14


      May 21 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      We stopped off for lunch in Aveiro then took the tourist trail along their sea water canals. The area had been a salt harvesting and ceramics manufacturing centre, and the gondola trip took us past bothRead more

    • Day 14–15

      Aveiro, Portugal

      November 20 in Portugal

      I dropped off the car in Lisbon after 10 days. It was well worth it because we saw so much more outside of cities than we normally do when traveling. Tolls are high and so are gas prices, but we had a fuel efficient Ford Focus and the daily rental was cheap. For $35/day, that's a great bargain and it's about what we paid for two first class rail passes on average for 2 people on Eurail last year. Driving in cities here can be stressful though. The streets are narrow and you sometimes can barely turn a corner since peple park just about anywhere. I don't regret it, but it felt good to leave it behind for awhile.

      We took a metro to Lisbon's Oriente station and grabbed an Alfa Pendula, their high speed train, up to Aveiro (ah VAY roo). It's the last stop before Porto. I'd heard good things about Aveiro, and it's a place many expats are settling in. It used to be a place where seaweed and sea salt was harvested. Canals were built in the 18th century for this, but they silted up later. Now, everything is cleaned up and it's like a little Venice, with brick-lined canals sporting long tourist boats zipping about.

      We got a super cheap room above a bakery near the train station ($40?). It was newly remodeled, but the private bathroom was down the hall. We used our room key to get in and out of it. We had no complaints about it, as it was very convenient when arriving after dark. Besides canals, Aveiro is also known for their little pastries, the Ovos Moles. Centuries ago, local nuns used egg whites to clean and starch their habits. Not wanting the egg yolks to go to waste, they added lots of sugar to them and put them in little crimped layers of dough, and voila, ovos moles. We tried one at the bakery below and they're pretty good.

      I must say, France has nothing on Portugal when it comes to pastry shops. Pastelarias seem to be on every corner in Portugal. Everywhere you go, you'll see locals of all ages sitting in cafes, eating a pastry and making an espresso (cafe, or bica) last forever. Oddly, they seem to be in pretty good shape. That's probably because walking culture is alive and well here. Walking to and from a bus/metro/tram station adds up. We're averaging 5 miles a day so far, and that's even with the car rental.

      We allotted one night only here since we're on a bit of a tight schedule. Too bad, because it really is a lovely city. You sometimes get an immediate like or dislike for a town. Portimao, a tourist beach city in the Algarve is one of those cities I immediately hated. It's full of soulless highrises for short term rentals to families on a beach vacation. The beaches were amazing, but there was no old town and it was an urban hellscape. Aveiro on the other hand has a wide boulevard leading down to the center from the train station. It's lined with lots of locally owned shops selling all the stuff we rarely sell in individual shops in the US: baby shoe stores, hat stores, lots and lots of clothing stores, etc. There are small restaurants and bars everywhere in the center. And the canals and small bridges add a romantic touch.

      As we approached the center, we'd see some high end chain stores and there's even a nice new multi-story outdoor mall next to a canal. They're really made some great improvements to the city, you can tell. And they're refurbishing a new park near the main canal bridge, which is undergoing a restoration. We hit the Art Nouveau museum first. We read that it's really just an empty house. No furniture, glass, collectibles, jewelry, etc. But for $3 each, it was worth it to see the house inside and out. Then we walked all over town looking for more of these architectural masterpieces. It was sunny and warm and we grabbed the requisite espresso before finding a nice local seafood place for a late lunch.

      We made our way across the town to a large central park with huge steps leading down to a pond. We only had about 6 hours to spend on our one day in town, but it was a nice change from beach culture towns or big cities. At dinner the night before, we met an American expat couple and their daughter/son in law. They love living there and mentioned they just celebrated a Thanksgiving meal party with all expats in town from all over the world. Over 60 people showed up from a dozen or so countries.

      In the early afternoon, we bought the inexpensive train tickets to Porto. We're close enough to be on a commuter "Urbano" line. It makes frequent stops, but it's a new metro style train that takes just over an hour to get to Porto. We've got a room waiting for us there for 3 nights.

      More photos and videos are here https://photos.app.goo.gl/uaYbMhoWJ9wJ8vrg7 and here https://photos.app.goo.gl/Wtj2Sxdfef4jChdA6
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