Blogs from Portugal, Europe

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Europe » Portugal July 31st 2015

Once a major world power, the Portugal of today is a land of sea, sun, and “saudade”, a unique word meaning a sort of bitter-sweet nostalgia mixed with resignation -- a memory of, a longing for, and a pride in the lost glories of the past, with a touch of hope for the future. Even now, through its world-wide former empire, Portuguese is still one of the most widely spoken European languages. It is NOT a dialect of Spanish; it is a separate Romance language difficult to understand when spoken, but if you can read French or Spanish you’ll surely be able to understand the written language. I've seen many changes since the first of my five visits in 1986, the year Portugal joined the European Union. The infrastructure and standard of living have improved enormously ... read more
... wonderful things to see and do ...
... with indescribably beautiful sunsets
... fields of buttercups in winter

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto July 14th 2015

This is where we start to turn around and go back to Brussels, Porto proved to be a very nice experience and well worth a visit. These guys know how to cook and drink too. Interesting note: Everyone was extremely nice. Porto, although run down, offered amazing vistas and nooks with character where you could get good food and why not, some port! Cheers...... read more
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Europe » Portugal July 8th 2015

A road trip through Portugal (and a bit of Spain - see Spain blog) with Scott, Anne and Lauren. We visited Porto, Sintra, Lisbon, and Ferragudo. The cities of Portugal are simple yet charming with old and somewhat run down buildings that are traditionally clad in beautifully hand painted tiles. The highlight of the road trip (and of Europe in general) was Ferragudo, South of Portugal. We had an isolated hill top house with a beautiful view of the sea and the city in the distance. The beach was just a couple of minutes walk away with brilliantly blue water and enclosed by steep rock cliffs. It was so peaceful and relaxing and it really felt like paradise. Another highlight was Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra - a palace that is surrounded by a magnificent park ... read more
Our cute house - Ferragudo
Sunsets and Sangria
Bottom of well - Sintra

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon July 6th 2015

Hi Everyone, This weekend was Lisbon, Capital city of Portugal. Bottom Line Up Front: Go There. It is absolutely fantastic. When I set out on this weird European tour, Lisbon wasn't even on the list. If it weren't for my stay in the Netherlands getting extended to August 1st, then I never would have even gone. I'm so glad I stayed the extra month now :-) I described it earlier today as 90% the best of everything, at 1/3 the price and crowds. Barcelona's architecture and ocean, San Francisco's wandering hills and clanging trams, Rome's grand squares and narrow alleyways, etc... Heck, they even threw in copies of the Golden Gate Bridge and Christ the Redeemer! So if you're out to "see Europe", go to Paris and start checking stuff off a list. If you're out ... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Alentejo » Sines June 15th 2015

Today we are spending the day at the Alentenjo resort called Hotel Dom Vasco. It is so much more than I expected it to be. I knew we would be here all day with little to do during the day while Hector works. I woke up this morning as Hector was getting dressed for work. We chatted about breakfast, but I knew the girls would not want to wake up in time to eat, nor did I feel like wrestling alone in their fancy restaurant trying to keep the kids from breaking or spilling something. Once the girls naturally woke up on their own, we had some little cakes from the grocery store. I drank more coffee and watched tv. Then we decided to come down to the pool. I must say this place is literally ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Alentejo » Évora May 29th 2015

Nazaj v Evropi in takoj pogledat kaj je novega na Portugalskem. NIČ!! V regiji Alenteja, kjer je vse bolj na počas se nič ne zgodi hitro, menda. So najbolj leni, najbolj počasni, najbolj neumni, najbolj pasivni...nekdo mora biti kriv vsega. Iz Lizbone z avtom v notranjost Portugalske, na žgoče sonce, nič sence, na ravnino, pogledat par gradov, zapuščenih ulic, na počasen ritem (ja, še bolj počasen kot v Španiji), na dobro hrano, fado in na ta čudoviti nič. Monsaraz in Marvao, obe vasi sta bili trdnjavi v času Arabcev, zdaj pa se tam še mačkom ne ljubi veliko hodit. V Monsarazu je vsega skupaj 60 prebivalcev, ki praktično ne delajo veliko, so v penziji. Par restavracij, nekaj turistov in sonce, to imajo zagotovljeno in fantastičen razgled. Dobiš občutek pozabljenosti in policaj, ki je sedel zraven nas ... read more
Marvao
Marvao
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Europe » Portugal » Lisboa May 25th 2015

Leaving Spain in lovely sunshine we headed off towards our first destination of Monchique in Portugal......making the obligatory breakfast stop on the way! We arrived some 5 hours later, remembering to adjust our clocks - still find it strange that Portugal is on the same time zone as the UK, unlike the rest of Europe. We were staying at the Thermal spa hotel in Monchique, some 20km inland. A lovely spot which is actually a collection of 4 small hotels/apartments that have been taken over and it now has a lovely villagy feeling with a shady plaza at the heart of it. We were doing a recce for our walking club as the area is full of wonderful walks, perfect for one of our 4 day walking holidays. We settled in quickly with a large glass ... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Northern May 21st 2015

Exploring this area - the site is high up in the hills, very narrow lanes to approach. We headed down to the coast, the river estuary is at Caminha where we walked around the estuary mouth - white sand, lots of sea holly and other flowers in the dunes. We then had a lovely drive down the coast to Moledo and lunch at Ancona. Beautiful white sand - drove back to base via the mountain route and we could see in the distance a large forest fire (Not near us!) Supper tonight at the bar with Dutch friends, tomorrow we travel back into Spain. We have eaten at the bar. Bing the owner and his wife cook authentic Portuguese food, we have had cockles and pork, lemon soup! and some other very tasty dishes.... read more
Back from fishing
Fort at the mouth of the Minho
Sea Holly

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Funchal May 20th 2015

Oma, hoe oud is jouw badpak al? Een jaar of twee, geloof ik. Jeetje... We hebben een drukke tijd achter de rug, onder andere met logé‘s. Eerst eind januari de oudste zoon met vrouw en dochtertje. Een bliksem bezoek van een weekend, gelukkig wel een lang weekend. Heerlijk dat we een ruime flat hebben en ze dus bij ons konden logeren. Het weer was half half, maar toch nog goed genoeg om allerlei leuke dingen samen te doen. Eind april kwam jongste zoon met vrouw en twee zoons, voor een week, en die konden ook bij ons logeren, geweldig toch? Het is altijd wel even omschakelen van je eigen gang gaan naar intensief met zijn vijven of zessen bezig zijn. Leuk is altijd dat je dan dingen doet waar je normaal gesproken niet zo gauw toekomt, ... read more
Dodge bus
De poncha show
Bloemenfestival

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Vila Nova de Cerveira May 19th 2015

Leaving O Tamanco we set off north - very windy, fortunately most of the motorway route was quiet except around Porto. Managed to find our way to Camping Convivio up a mountain road and only just getting the caravan in. We are near Vila Nova de Cerveira which is by the Rio Minho the border with Spain. The town is preparing for an Arts Fiesta and some of the buildings are decorated with large butterflies and ladybirds. There are some sculptures around the town as it is a centre for the arts. We also visited Valenca. The Fortaleza is full of small streets selling Portuguese wares. Some lovely views. The Hart (deer) is especially revered in the area but their numbers are now very few and it is rare to see one.... read more
Rio Minho
Butterfly
Ladybird




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