Blogs from Portugal, Europe

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Europe » Portugal » Madeira May 18th 2019

May 6th 2019 – 18thMay 2019 It was a bit of a chaotic start to the holiday as we had Chris’ sister Wendy 70th birthday bash in Oxford on the Saturday. Two nights hotel booked in Swindon, a day sightseeing around Malborough and the bluebells at West Woods, then a drive on the Monday morning to Birmingham in our new car, where we were flying out at 3.30pm. Arrived at our hotel )Dorisol Mimosa) about 7.30pm, quite impressed with the room (903), as it has a kitchenette and a small balcony overlooking the sea and bay at Funchal with the morning sun! Beautiful! Tuesday 7th May 2019 Out by 9.30am and after walking to the seafront and discovering that there wasn’t a Paseo into Funchal, we decided to get the Big Red Bus ticket for the ... read more
Camara de Lobos
Chris inside the Cable Car
Monte

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa May 6th 2019

Sunday strolling around a beautiful city. What could be more splendid! However, there was a fair amount of climbing steps as well as strolling for us yesterday. Lisbon is a hilly city; it is built on seven hills, just like Rome only packed into a smaller area so the hills are much steeper! There are street lifts and funiculars as well as trams and even Thai-style Tuk-Tuks to get one up and down. However, the Sunday queues are lengthy so we took the old worn Medieval steps and cobbled streets, trodden by millions over centuries. The views were stunning at every twist and turn. Our Sunday started with a trip down the cobbled streets to one of the many bakery/restaurants to eat a breakfast of the famous Lisbon custard tarts with coffee. Rather expensive, two small ... read more
Placa Comercial down by the river
John and the LIberty Gate (freedom from Spain)
Placa Comercial

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa May 4th 2019

Well, today was a most auspicious start to our travels; a most encouraging day that proceeded without a hitch! We walked Mutley and Megan up to their holiday home (Nick and Mam’s house), then returned home to shut our place up for a couple of months before Nick collected us and drove us to Alicante airport. Our TAP flight (Portuguese Airlines) from Alicante to Lisbon was on a turboprop plane! Now you don’t fly on those many times any more in Europe! It was a 70-seater, similar to one we flew on in Borneo last year from Miri to the Mulu National Park. We loved it! It was like old-fashioned flying, just two wide seats each side of the aisle, tons of leg room, a most generous luggage allowance, free drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and ... read more
City centre location
"Cheers!"
Our hotel on the left

Europe » Portugal April 14th 2019

Now I am back on wifi after a few days without access! I continue to be amazed each day by the beauty and the variety in the Portuguese landscape. We settle in on the walking days to a good pace and cover around 20km each day which usually brings us to our next accomodation spot by about 3pm. The accomodation varies greatly from a sort of backpackers very simple room to where we are this evening in a sumptuous 4 star hotel! We never know until we get to the spot what awaits us! I have a couple of blisters despite my careful preparation over the last few months. In fact my fourth toenail has simply fallen off this afternoon leaving a gaping hole! Looks horrible but is not particularly painful! Today is Palm Sunday so ... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Funchal April 14th 2019

As we cruised out of Bermuda on a stunning evening we were looking forward to a week at sea. To some this would seem daunting but there is so much to do on a ship. There is plenty of time for reading, lectures, crafts, blogging, paddle tennis, swimming, hanging with new found friends or simply gazing at the beautiful ocean. The most important factor in crossing the pond is weather. When the Voyager came from Europe last November, they encountered a strong storm and had to cancel stops in Madeira and Bermuda. They ended up taking a southern route across the Atlantic via the Canary Islands and the Caribbean. For folks like us, who want to be outside, we always hope for good weather. We were very lucky. Captain Stan said it was the smoothest passage ... read more
"THE FLOATING GARDEN"
GONDOLA TO THE TOP
MONTE CATHEDRAL

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon April 12th 2019

Lisbon 11th April Our final port of call and we were arriving a good couple of hours late due to fighting head winds all day yesterday as we came out of the Mediterranean Sea, through the straits of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic Ocean. Normally we approach quite early in the morning so it gave us a chance to see the coastline in the daylight as we sailed up the river Tagus to our berth. We berthed at the newest terminal prow to prow with the Aurora, our next cruise ship which will take us to the Caribbean in January 2020. Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. From imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 of April suspension bridge. Since our visit last year they ... read more
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Europe » Portugal April 7th 2019

After arriving in beautiful Porto, Jenny and I have a day to explore the city before setting off northwards to Santiago. There is much to see in Porto. We begin in the train station where the walls are covered with over 20,000 tiles depicting historic scenes of the region. Across the road is the cathedral located on the hill and overlooking the River Douro. It is a Romanesque fortress church built of granite, like many buildings in the area. Inside are the medieval gold leaf reardos and altars. After exploring the cathedral we head downhill towards the river to see the bridges. One of these is built by Mr Eiffel, before he built the Eiffel Tower and indeed it does bear some resemblance to the French structure! I was not looking forward to the steep climb ... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Braga April 6th 2019

We are more and more against booking supercheap flights with budget airlines since it is more and more evident that these airline need to make money with different "services" such as spraying. We have our own opinion about this and do not want to support chemtrail activities. But this is not the point in this blog. Nevertheless, this time, we booked such a cheap flight as we simply could not find another option to come to our destination. For only 32 hours we flew to Braga in Portugal. From Switzerland it is a short 2 hours flight. We landed in Porto late morning with a fantastic spring weather and really warm temperatures. We took our rental car and drove the short way to Braga. Braga is a city in the north of Portugal about 40 min. ... read more
the old town
our spiritual master - Paramahamsa Vishwananda
us during darshan - in the very back you can see Paramahamsa Vishwananda giving darshan

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto April 1st 2019

We have been in our 'new' home for a few months now and since the actual move had meant we had cancelled our winter sun plans, things were now much calmer 😅 I was spending less time at the hospital and in general things were quiet. Andrew had some annual leave to use up before the end of March so a quick search on the Ryanair website and Porto was booked ☀️✈️ Neither of us had been to Portugal for quite a few years, we figured the weather wouldn't be too bad and the flights were cheap and convenient so whats not to love ❤️ . In the weeks preceeding however we had managed to find a house to buy and James had dropped out of school so things were not so calm on the home ... read more
OLD CITY DESIGN APARTMENTS
TOURIST TRAMS
FUNICULAR!

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Albufeira March 27th 2019

We took a shuttle to Albufeira today to our next apartment. The company was a bit of a pain as they wouldn’t let us check in early, charged 3% fee for absolutely NOTHING even on the deposit. The apartment was large, 3 bedrooms and a balcony overlooking the old town. However, the new thing for these Airbnb companies is to buy up real estate and start renting them out as self-catered flats. Essentially charging an arm and leg for apartments with nothing in them but furniture. No salt and pepper, no toilet paper (except for rolls in place), no hand soap, no dish soap, no dishwasher soap. It is frustrating as you have to buy a months worth of stuff for a few days rental. It is frustrating to renters ( or at least us, who ... read more
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