Blogs from Northern, Portugal, Europe

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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto June 28th 2022

After a great breakfast in the hotel, today we say adios to Spain and head out to Portugal. Fortunately, Spain and Portugal have a passport agreement between them that allows for easy transfer between then, so when we crossed the border, we didn’t even slow down to interact with the Border Police. According to Dominic, they have the authority to stop us and check our passports, but they don’t usually, and they didn’t this time. As you enter Portugal, there’s about a couple of kilometer stretch of various run down shops. Evidently, before the EU was formed, this was a “no man’s land” which offered tax-free goods as it was neither Spain or Portugal. Since the EU was formed, there are no tax-free zones, so the shops are just a remnant of a bygone era. Once ... read more
City of Porto
City of Porto
Hotel Infante Sagres

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Covas do Douro June 6th 2022

The Douro (pronounced Douroo) Valley is such a magical area and the Quinta de la Rosa, where we stayed, overlooks the fork of the Douro and Pinhao rivers where quite a few river boat cruise ships stop at the nearby town of Pinhao. The Douro is known for Port wine and like other regions in the world, such as Champagne, Cognac, Bordeau etc, there are strict regulations on making Port and a DOC designation is used for approved products. For example, irrigation is prohibited on Port vines and is actually against the law. Reducing the water forces the vine roots to penetrate the shale soil by as much as 30-40ft. The basic difference between Port and regular table wine is the addition of brandy which slows the fermentation process leaving a higher sugar content, therefore a ... read more
Desert at Quinta de la Rosa
Cruising the Douro
Hike to Provesende from Pinhao

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto June 4th 2022

TOUR 2 – Great Iberian Tour – SAT, 04 JUN 2022 – Day 5: Fatima Shrine. Visit Porto and the old cellars. We will head to the north of Portugal and visit FATIMA, an important sanctuary. We will continue on our way through to PORTO, Portugal’s second largest city. We will have time to have lunch and then go on a sightseeing tour of this city, which sits on the bank of the Duero River, and its historic city centre. We will also include a visit to the old cellars. Free time.... read more
Fatima, Portugal
Along the Road to Porto, Portugal
Along the Road to Porto, Portugal

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto February 27th 2022

Over a year since we have been overseas and it was going to be our last opportunity before the little one arrives. We also had to be careful as to not catch Covid and prevent us from getting to Porto, in the end we made it. We booked an airbnb close to the river front and most importantly opposite our daily Pasties de Nata shop! We arrived the Friday to warm sunny weather which stayed with us until we left on Monday. It definitely made the trip more enjoyable especially given it was mid winter! Our first day we enjoyed exploring along the riverfront on both sides. Starting along the Cais de Ribeira where you can sit in the sun, as it's south facing, and order a drink or some food whilst enjoying the river front ... read more
Sao Bento Train Station
View from Camara Municipal do Porto
_MG_0811

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto October 27th 2021

Lisbon proved to be a wonderful time, but the real reason for our trip with the Chef was just ahead. We conceived our voyage as one that involved food, fun and cruising on a river boat. The conversation started a few years ago at a restaurant in Burlingame, CA when the subject of "where would you like to travel" came up as usual. Brendan mentioned that a river boat cruise in northern Portugal would be quite the adventure. The idea sat on the back burner for a few years, but now the day was upon us, as we traveled north from Lisbon to Porto, where we would float on the Douro River for a week in the luxurious lap of a Tauck cruise. And so, after four days of fun bouncing around Lisbon having a grand ... read more
Clouds over ruins in Castelo Rodrigo
Architecture in Porto
Lisbon train station

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto October 23rd 2021

Hier in Porto konnte ich heute sogar bis 11:00 frühstücken und das war auch sehr angenehm. Danach startete ich meinen Spaziergang durch diese traditionsreiche Stadt. Ich ging vorbei an zwei Kirchen und dann etwas ins Tal hinunter, als ich endlich vom Ufer des Douro die berühmte Brücke sah (Ponte Dom Luis I). Sie ist schon sehr beindruckend und ist als Metallbrücke vielleicht mit der Harbour Bridge in Sydney vergleichbar, über die ich 2002 gelaufen bin. Von dort stieg ich wieder bergauf an einigen anderen Sehenswürdigkeiten vorbei. Eine davon ist eine sehr bekannte Buchhandlung, aber da war eine ganze Schlange an Besuchern davor, so dass ich nicht hinein ging. Statt dessen setzte ich mich in ein Starbucks und trank einen Frappuccino und füllte meine Getränkevorräte auf. Anschließend kehrte ich ins Hotel zurück. Hier sah ich auf Sky ... read more
Spaziergang durch Porto.
Spaziergang durch Porto.
Spaziergang durch Porto.

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto October 22nd 2021

Heute konnte ich wieder bis 10:30 frühstücken und nutzte das auch aus. Dann habe ich problemlos Santiago de Compostela verlassen und bin nach Süden gefahren. Am Grenzfluss zu Portugal gibt es den Monte de Santa Trega, der schon früh besiedelt war. Gegen eine kleine Maut konnte ich bis zum Gipfel fahren, von wo aus man eine gute Aussicht in Richtung Portugal, aber auch rundum hat. Hier trank ich einen Cappuccino. Danach fuhr ich weiter über die Grenze nach Braga. Portugal wollte mich in zweierlei Hinsicht ärgern: zum einen kann man an den Mautstellen, die es auch hier an der Autobahn gibt, nur mit VISA-Karte bezahlen (ich habe eine solche, aber bewahre sie im Moment aus Vorsichtsgründen außerhalb des Geldbeutels auf, falls dieser gestohlen wird) und zum anderen war der Kassenautomat der Tiefgarage in Braga defekt, aber ... read more
Auf dem Monte de Santa Trega.
Spaziergang durch Braga.
Spaziergang durch Braga.

Europe » Portugal » Northern October 22nd 2021

Fueled by my blue pancakes, I was ready to get the day under way. Our next excursion was the town of Pinhao. This is the first year of doing the Duoro River cruise, so they are still fine tuning the activities. We walked up to a train station were given vouchers for free gifts at various shops throughout the town. I spent most of the day with Alex, a Tauck tour guide from Ecuador who was on this trip as part vacation, part training. We had talked frequently, so it was nice to stroll the town while chatting. We had delicious local sausage at a shop called the Mercearia do Viking, a sad tiny hot dog on a giant bun at another, coffee and a sublime lemon cake at a third, but my favorite was the ... read more
Quinta do Noval
Quinta do Noval
Captain Alves

Europe » Portugal » Northern October 21st 2021

Ok, just completed our toughest day, and we are both feeling pretty good. A couple of minor blisters but overall ok!. Basically, our days begin usually around 8am for breakfast, and on the road by 9. Then 15 -18 kilometers and @4-5 hrs hiking, arriving at our guest house by 2-3.pm. Showers, a short nap, an earlier dinner and by 8:30ish. We are done for the day. Only to start all over the next day! But, we love it! What I love most, you are walking among villages, and so catch a glimpse of their lives. The farmer spreading manure or lime on his freshly plowed field, the 2 older women exchanging gossip over the stone wall, the man splitting wood, getting ready for winter. And almost always greeted with a bom dia, a smile and ... read more
Early morning start
Weekly market in Barcelos
Nursery truck at the Market

Europe » Portugal » Northern October 20th 2021

Ok, determined to keep the pace slow, and enjoy what we see. After 2 more beautiful days along the coast we decided to take a day and enjoy the town of Barcelos. Plus do laundry, (it has been surprisingly hot and humid). And transfer to the Central route. Yesterday we did 15 miles, and although a bit sore, we're very happy with the day. And, both of us thoroughly enjoying the walk. Even Ed! I had not planned to post another blog, but I uploaded some pics (and to my chagrin, almost all are taken by our phones...) so, these are some of our sights. ... read more
Vila de  donde
Fishing village along the camino
Love the markers to confirm we are on the right path




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