Blogs from Northern, Portugal, Europe - page 5

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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Covas do Douro May 29th 2013

Have spent a couple of days in the Douro wine region which is famous for its ports and for having produced wine in the region for nearly two thousand years. Yesterday we spent some time in the morning hiking through vineyard trails. We had a 2 hour boat trip along the Upper Douro where we learnt a little about the vineyards. In the photos you will see differences in the terraces as you go up the hill. Originally vineyards were narrow family owned plots, see those close to the river's edge, then the terraces became wider and nowadays on the hilltop, flatter areas vines are grown in rows down the hill rather than across (note the different direction of vines at the hilltop). This leads to great patterns in the scenery. Late afternoon we headed to ... read more
Trilho de S. Cristovao do Duoro
Hilary on the trail
Roger on trail

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Viseu May 26th 2013

I remember mentioning in a previous blog entry, that the difference a warm welcome makes is huge. When we arrived at our chosen campsite: Quinta Chave Grande, near Satao, in central Portugal, we were tired and a bit tense, due to negotiating fairly narrow and steep roads again (flash backs of the road to San Sebastian!!), the reception area was down a steep driveway and the sign on the door said ‘Bar’. We tentatively looked in through the beaded curtain that hung at the open door and were greeted by Theo Pouwels and his wife Charlot, a Dutch couple, who both shook our hands, offered us a seat at the bar and immediately asked what we’d like to drink! The first drink, we were told, was on the house, as Theo found us maps and site ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Vila Nova de Gaia January 6th 2013

When you're in Porto, you just can't leave the city without go to Vila Nova de Gaia! On the other side of the river, there is "Vila Nova de Gaia", and in fact, it's in here that the Porto is made. It's not from the city called Porto. You can access this city by the famous bridge called "Dom Luis", by down or up the bridge, in fact, you can cross it near the river, or take a funicular to go up and walk the bridge from the up. Once the bridge crossed, you have all the cellar wine, Ferreira, Taylor's, Cavem, Sandeman...If you to go Cavem or Taylor's, the visit cost 3€, it include the guid (speaking the language you chose), and the tasting of 3 wines for each persons, it can be more or ... read more
Sandeman, in front of the river
A narrow street
huge cask

Europe » Portugal » Northern December 26th 2012

28.12.12 - Porto - Roma (curta tour por Roma - Coliseu; Monumento de Vitor Emanuel; Panteao; Piazza Navona e Fontana de Trevi) 28.12.12 - Pequim - Sydney 30.12.12 a 03.01.13 - Sydney 04.01.13 a 06.01.13 - journey Sydney to Melbourne by car! 07.01.13 a 09.01.13 - Melbourne 10.01.13 a 11.01.13 - Cairns (Ma Mu, Misty Mountains & Wooroonooran) 11.01.13 a 12.01.13 - Airlie Beach 12.01.13 a 14.01.13 - Whitsundays cruise 15.01.13 - Airlie Beach 16.01.13 a 17.01.13 - Sydney (Bondi Beach) 18.01.13 - Tour Pequim - Grande muralha (Mutianyu), Tiananmen Square e Forbidden City 19.01.13 - Madrid, Porto regresso a casa!... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto November 21st 2012

Now that we are overwintering in Lagos, Portugal we have decided to take advantage of the time and do some overland traveling. We choose to use public transportation for our travels to both Oporto (more commonly referred to as Porto) and to Lisboa (Lisbon). Conveniently the bus station is very close to the marina in Lagos and took us to Porto with only a half-hour layover in Lisbon on the way north. This was a great way to see some of the interior of the country as we traveled past fields of corn, rice, orchards of olive trees, cork trees and vineyards. We past open pit gravel mines, a large number of modern wind turbines and rolling hills covered with trees and scrub. Pigs, sheep and goats were grazing among the many orchards and many hills ... read more
Impressive Town Hall
Proud of their Native Son
Full Moon

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto » Póvoa de Varzim October 2nd 2012

We had very low expectations of our RyanAir flight to Porto. We'd heard horror stories about being charged obscene amounts for the tiniest indiscretions (not printing off your own boarding passes before arriving at the airport, your bags being accepted at one airport but rejected at another etc) and about the mad scramble to get a seat (seats are not allocated on RyanAir flights). We'd prepared for the worst, throwing away all non-essential toiletries and a whole bunch of our 'working' clothes to make sure we were under the baggage limit. We'd even heard horrible things about the length of their queues so we'd made sure we arrived at the airport with plenty of time. As has been the running theme of this trip, we'd worried ourselves for nothing. Even though the airport was completely obscure ... read more
The Douro in Porto
Restaurant in the old part of Porto
So Pretty!

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Guimarães September 21st 2012

While staying in Porto we did a day trip with the first stop being Guimarães, a European Capital of Culture in 2012. Guimarães is widely seen as the birthplace of Portuguese national identity and its historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a brief walk around the pretty historical centre, a few aguardente vinicas and an afternoon snack we found ourselves at Guimarães' castle. A fantastic place and an absolute icon in Portugal, it's the place from where the first King of Portugal, Alfonso began conquering the Moors and in turn creating the beginnings of modern day Portugal. The castle itself was built with the idea being to defend the town from muslims. I enjoyed the castle, it was a nice day, had a nice view, was something different and it was an educational ... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Viana do Castelo September 21st 2012

Even though I love the National Geographic, I think anybody or anything that claims something such as a view as the best in the world, is treading on thin ice and would have a hard time proving the claim in any objective manner. Therefore I arrived in Viana do Castelo unsurprisingly not surprised by the view not being better than many an amazing view that I have seen over my short but sweet lifespan. Dubbed the best view in the world by the National Geographic, it definitely ain't ugly and we spent a good few hours up the top of the hill, walking around taking it in. We also visited the church there and were treated to a fantastic "sing off" between an elderly pair. Joana explained to me at the time the name of the ... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 20th 2012

Sometimes when you travel, you get on rolls. I had been on a roll for a long time when I arrived back in Oporto, 5 days after having left. The roll continued whilst there, I hung out with Joanna and her friends. She lived at a nice beach town just out of Oporto, where I saw some beautiful sunsets, visited a beautiful beach church, ate some great food, drank some porty port and it was the place from which I explored parts of Portugal. The time I spent in Oporto this time was spent at the birthday party of one of Joanna's friends, eating francesinhas, drinking port, spotting Jose Mourinho's million dollar home, running and bodysurfing in a storm, drinking port, listening to Fado, visiting museums and drinking port. The Francesinha translated literally into English as ... read more
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