Blogs from Northern, Portugal, Europe - page 5

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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto October 4th 2013

Well, it's been a while scinceI last updates this lovely blog. The reason being an insanely busy week!! My week was filled with my new Spanish classes---which at first had me screaming but now are my new challenge! The kids (of course), gym time, coffee with the other au pairs and lots of Skype calls from my best friends at home. That--the calls--are amazing, to know they're taking their time and spending it on the phone to me...it's amazing and makes me feel so loved. Feeling a bit exhausted and a little short tempered, I left the kids on Friday morning for a little trip to...(drum roll please) PORTO, PORTUGAL!!!!!! Jen and I caught the 11:30 bus from Vigo to Porto on Friday morning. Once there we ate a delicious lunch. And then Went on a ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Viseu September 16th 2013

And so the journey beggins...I got all of my shit packed up, I did the online test for the course of Italian that I'm taking for the whole semester. Friday at 8:55 am me and my friend Inês will catch a plane to Bologna, Italy. Now it's time for farewell to friends and family with some tears envolved.... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 13th 2013

Another day and another country – we travelled out of Spain over unrelenting yellow landscapes as far as the eye could see. We passed the blue and white EU sign and entered Portugal. Our third country of the trip. We commented that by now in a usual holiday we would be travelling through at least 6 or 7 countries throughout our 5 week tour. Not so this time. The scenery of Portugal changed dramatically from that of Spain. Instead of the arable farmland as far as the eye could see we were looking at hills, trees, more greenery and huge boulders. Dropped as if by some giant on the side of the road they loomed large. We also saw sight of huge areas of devasted forest where fires had loomed large destroying grass and trees in ... read more
Porto
A serpent on the church steps
Porto

Europe » Portugal » Northern September 4th 2013

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 ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 4th 2013

What a great day so far, Porto is quickly becoming my fav city I've seen in this country! It's still a big city, but had a great 'old town' a neat UNECSO residential area and some truly magnificent buildings. Starting off the day with a 09:00 start helped my mood I'm sure, despite the fact I woke up around 06:30! Had a lazy lie in, got one blog done, then breakfast and away we went with our local guide Fatima. We went to the former stock exchange building, nothing I would have gone to on my own and I would have so missed out. No photos allowed inside, but what a truly spectacular building. Each room had a different in laid wood flooring pattern, different materials for the roof and walls, and stunning. I am not ... read more
Sensational views
Harry Potter.....
Ribeira

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Guimarães August 20th 2013

Portugal from Monday 19 to 24 August 2013 We thoroughly loved Portugal, the people, the extensive and effective highway/freeway system, the rugged coastal scenery with sandy coves, the castles and fortresses on the coasts perched up on cliffs, the food, the colourful tiles on walls (with a predominance of blue on white), the white-washed villages, particularly in the southern Algarve region, the mountains, fields of citrus fruit, vineyards, wheat paddocks, sandlewood plantations are all features to love. What we didn’t like was the tolls, both at the booths and overhead cameras (the latter of which we haven’t paid yet as we didn’t get an electronic metre for our car!!!!). We found most people spoke English so it was very easy for us. We spent time driving through the Douro Valley where they grow grapes for port ... read more
Viseu Portugal 19 Aug 2013 (4)
Campismo da Madalena at Porto Portugal 19 Aug 2013 (1)
Douro Valley from Salamanca Spain to Porto Portugal 19 Aug 2013 (8)

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto July 18th 2013

Spent the morning seeing the two main sights in Coimbra, the University that towers over town, and the equally impressive Old Cathedral. As with so many towns in Europe, though, the best sights literally sit at the highest point in town, and that usually means basically hiking up really intense looking streets that just go up and up. Not the best way to start the day, but at least you're rewarded with a good view. Coimbra University sits on such a cliff, which makes sense, though, since if was at one point the main castle in town. This University, I think I've said, is extremely old, dating from 1290. It's a beautiful place, and has one of the best preserved Medieval libraries in Europe. No photos allowed, though, and you're only allowed entry at specified times, ... read more
University's Main Courtyard
King John's Library
Montego River from University

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto July 9th 2013

Oporto translates to "the port" in English, which is fitting for a city that lives and dies by the water, where everything and everyone comes and goes by the Douro River. This valley is regarded as the capital of port wine, a deep, pungent, yet sweet wine suitable for a heavy meal; port wine originated in this country when the British were at war with France in the 17th century and couldn't gain access to the full-bodied French wine. The Brits managed by brewing their own version, which combined brandy and Portuguese wine, giving birth to what is now considered by many as the most complex and richest wine in the world. With that brief history, it's fair to say that one cannot leave Porto without having tasted or bringing back some of this vino. To ... read more
Zona Ribeira
Se Catedral
Dessert at Sandeman

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto June 9th 2013

Having never been to Portugal before I decided it was time for a long weekend there. And somehow I came up with Porto as my destination. It was a good trip complete with sore feet from so much cobblestone walking. I stayed all three nights in Porto and took the train to Guimaraes for one day. I bought a three-day public transportation pass for 15 Euros at the airport and that got me to my hotel downtown and around on the metro and buses all weekend. I would recommend a quick stop at the tourist info place in the Porto airport as they are very friendly and can provide lots of information (and a public transportation ticket). The relatively new metro is clean, efficient, and easy to navigate so consider it as an option for getting ... read more
Porto - city of blue and white tiles
Porto
Porto

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




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