Castles, fortresses and Roman ruins, oh my!


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Europe » Portugal » Northern
September 4th 2013
Published: September 7th 2013
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Wow, Sept 7th came so fast. I set my 2 alarms for 07:17 and was drinking my first IN ROOM coffee of the trip (I found when looking for the hair dryer) and realized I needed to be up a bit earlier. Oops. Typical Ned. So quickly got ready, ran down to have breakfast and saw some of the gang, so said I'm having a quick coffee and seeing what I can steal for lunch.

It was an incredible spread of food, had I known I would have gotten up earlier. Truth be told I wasn't that hungry, so grabbed some yoghurt made a couple of cheese sandwiches for the trip, and caught a cab. Tipped the guy almost 2 euro and he nattered away to me in Portuguese and I could tell he was very happy. I think he said I had such little luggage, but not sure. Either way I think I made his morning, which was great and put a smile on my face, perfect way to start the journey home.

Check in was confusing as no one could figure out where I needed to go, but finally found it, cruised through security, flew by duty free (other than my regular spray of my Chanel for trip home), and discover the passport line. It's the same one I tried to leave with when I first entered, however it was 5 times as long. And I got nervous for the first time. Fortunately It was moving quickly and while it took me long enough that I got to the gate we were just starting boarding, it made the airport time go quickly.

Now prepping for landing in LHR and have 3 hours there. I know how anal they are about security so I'm anticipating doing that again, which is fine. Will duty free shop here, incase I see good deals. My suitcase has a bottle of brandy for a friend, a bottle of wine for me, and a small bottle of port for another friend. Good thing I pack light! So in theory I have no more duty free allowance, we will see what I decide based on pricing!!

Pedro our Travel Director really is fabulous at his job, I and most of the group were very impressed by him. It's a shame to say goodbye to Portugal, but looking forward to going home as well. Over 2,600 km covered, pretty impressive considering how small the country is; it truly is the Best of Portugal!

The last few days of this itinerary were without question my fav bits, I've blogged about Porto, but Coimbra, Conimbriga, Tomar, Batalha, Nazare, Obidos overall blew me away. A my title says it was full of really old, cool, ancient cities and buildings, and castles, and beautiful national forests, old trees, UNESCO heritage sites to take your breath away and more! I swear Trafalgar saved the best for last to leave me wanting to come back, other than the spectacular Agarve scenery, these small gems were full of wonderfully rich history, culture and beauty.

Nazare is this adorable fishing village made internationally famous by a Garrett McNamara, surfer. I copied this from Wikipedia:

In November 2011, chasing storms and tracking swells paid off for McNamara as he entered the Guinness World Records. He caught a 78 foot (24 m) wave in Nazaré, Portugal after being towed into the wave from a jet ski riding a 6’0 Dick Brewer Tow Board. His record beat the prior world record by over a foot.

In January 2013, McNamara may have broken his own world record by surfing a 100-foot (30 m) wave, pending confirmation and certification.He also did this off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal.

Pedro kept having these great hidden treasures/local specialities of home made pastries, ginja cherry brandy served in chocolate cups, famous Belan pastries and other Portuguese goodies, it never stopped and the entire group loved I'm for it. I will be hitting the gym hard after this trip, I don't have a choice, but every morsel was worth it!

I didn't burst into flames when I visited the Bacilicas of Fatima fortunately, and I was late for catching the bus after our stop in the national park of Bucaco; I was so busy taking forest photos I literally felt like I had stepped back in time! Amazing and I so can't wait to see the photos on my computer.

Ah, yes, my photos. I kept trying to take less and less (the hazards of digital) but mi still bringing home close to 500 including Switzerland. (Not bd for 2.5 weeks of travel.......) Oh well, I can honestly say there are people in my group that are taking home 10 times that. Seriously. All hail digital, if they keep trying eventually they will get a good one, right? I just hope I stay focused and get mine up on my website before I get swamped with work.

So much more to say, buy I shall get ready to fly soon, suffice to say Portugal did not disappoint. Some people on the trip 'normally' travel with 'ahem, other' companies, but they all chose this because of the itinerary as Trafalgar were the only ones that offers it, even the brother and sister from Sydney who were 20 and 22 respectively. A few people chose it because old their heritage, some because they liked traveling with Trafalgar so it was quite a mix of people, but loads of fun. For once there were 12-15 Canadians so we hour ground for once, was cool. Even our group photo has one of the guys wearing his CANADA shirt (total fluke) but it sticks out. Tose darn Canadians and their maple leaf.....

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