Blogs from Portugal, Europe


Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto November 11th 2018

Carl’s concert at Coimbra university went really well. He delivered an hour lecture speaking as a musician to the audience of musicians in terms they fully understood. But he also spoke about the zen of shakuhachi. The students learnt that there is more to music than the Western tradition and some were deeply inspired and wanted to purchase a shakuhachi and pursue studies in Japan. Our love for Portuguese Fado brings us again to Coimbra. Fado is medieval and was/is a serenade song. The spirit of Fado is a deep yearning and in that respect it is similar to Japanese Enka. It is in the tiny taverns that you hear the most soulful Fado. Oliveira Salazar, the cruel dictator of Portugal knew that the Fado singers were a danger to his regime. He sent many of ... read more
Carl concert Coimbre
Questions 01 smaller
audience 04

Europe » Portugal » Sintra » Cabo da Roca November 4th 2018

A few more pictures of Evora. Evora was originally Celtic and brutally conquered by the Romans, then the Moors. Évora was wrested from the Moors through a surprise attack by Gerald the Fearless(Geraldo Sem Pavor) in September 1165. The attractive town square was the site of some rather gruesome episodes thanks the the enthusiasm of the Inquisition. The weather turned cold, windy and somewhat wet, still the Cathedrals dripping in stolen gold did not hold a lot of pleasure. But there was an exhibition of thousands of nativity scenes from around the world that ranged from glorious to absurd. In a little workshop, hidden in a far corner, down a winding cobbled alley we found the workshop of a very talented clay sculpture Sericaia pudding is a baked custard with a crunchy top and smothered in ... read more
sintra magic well 06
sintra tower 03
Evora Holy Family 01

Europe » Portugal » Algarve October 18th 2018

This is quite a long post, more than 600 words and 40 pictures, so if you are too busy to read it or look at all the pictures, I totally understand. In Seville we suffered from monument fatigue so we didn't go to any. Religious shops sold naked baby Jesus, which you can dress yourself. The saints and Mary came with elegantly detailed extremities but a wire frame torso and an extensive and expensive wardrobe. But the real magic and the reason we returned to Seville was the Flamenco. It is passionate and powerful. When the gypsies arrived in Andalusia from India round 1425, they brought the precursor of flamenco. There are musicians, singers, dancers and 'hell raisers'. Hell raisers stamp their feet, clap and shout encouragement at the dancers who fling themselves with potent passion ... read more
Jann's Boat 07
seville naked baby Jesus
Servilla recycle dumpster

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos October 15th 2018

After walking the hills in Porto, I was really looking forward to having some beach time down in the Algarve. I got on the 5:40am train to Lagos (pronounced la-goosh) There isn’t a direct train down there so I had to take the train heading towards Faro and switched to a Regional train in Tunes. The journey in total took 5 hours, so I got in early afternoon. My new apartments host had her husband meet me at the train station to take me to my new digs, which was amazing. My new place was set inside the old city of Lagos. The old city has a wall build around it, which I could see from my apartment. I quickly got settled in and headed outside to check out my new surroundings. The sun was hot ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Vila do Porto October 11th 2018

For the third day of my travels, I had booked a street art tour. The tour started at 2:30 so I had time in the morning to get a quick visit into the Palácio da Bolsa. The only way to visit the palace is to take a guided tour. The only English tour was starting at the same time as my other tour so I took the French tour instead. I pretty much understood everything except for one word that kept coming up over and over again. I’ll have to ask my French teacher. The palace was impressive, especially the Arab room. Apparently the building is also available to be rented out. At an impressive rate I’m sure. Onto the street art tour. Met up with Miguel ( another Miguel ) at the São Bento ... read more
Those are what’s under neath the crypts

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa October 10th 2018

Exhausted, but satisfied with my layover adventure in Lisbon. Flights from EWR arrive at 5:45am to LIS, so I opted for the 10 hour layover, which gave me plenty of time to explore the city before getting back on the Barcelona bound plane. Compared to my previous experience flying TAP Air Portugal, the first leg of the flight fell a bit short. The stewardess in charge of my row was having a really hard day and it was clear (in her defense, she got tripped by someone’s mess in the aisle before the plane even took off). Though I had an aisle seat, it was right next to the slamming lavatory door and the stewardess station. Smells of microwaved food and excrement alternated from the frequented room beside me, and sleeping was out of the question ... read more
LIS pre-dawn
sunrise at Oriente
sunrise glow

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa October 8th 2018

After finishing biking in Italy we were on our way to Portugal. The original idea was that we would continue our bike ride along the coast of Portugal and some of the valleys. After we had a bit of a discussion, we decided that it may be a bit of a handful for us, even with E bikes so, we opted to fly into Lisbon, transfer to a flight to take us to Porto and stay in Porto for 3 nights so we could enjoy looking around this city that is located on the banks of the river Douro. As mentioned at the end of my last blog Di's bag didn't arrive at Porto so after a couple of hours waiting we finally got to our hotel at about 3am. Not a great start to our ... read more
Steeps and Alleyways.
The Douro River.

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Vila do Porto October 6th 2018

Portugal first got on my radar when I had some clients of mine talk about recent trips they had there. They talked about the culture, the food, the relative safeness and how reasonable the cost was. Then I had some co workers take a trip there and thier pictures were inspiring. Needless to say I did a little digging on my own and put it on my travel list. The main areas that get traveled in Portugal are the north, Porto and the Douro Valley, the Algarve down in the south, known for their cliffs and green sea, and of course Lisbon. My first stop was Porto. Porto is part of the Douro valley. Wine country. This is the birth place of port wine and also the main reason that Portugal got it’s name. I had ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern October 3rd 2018

Day 8 - Time is moving on. How about a thought for the dayg ? "Make the universe your companion always bearing in mind the true nature of things. Enjoy the falling blossom and the scattering leaves" Basho Last night was quite quiet on the camperstop at A Rua . Well it was until 10 pm when all the footballers had gone home another campervan turned up. He parked up next to us and put his radio or tv on . Very loudly. He listened to it until about 11 when he got out of his van and started to rummage in his boot. What for I will never know but this went on for quite a while breaking the otherwise silence of the area. At 12 he got his chocks out and started his engine ... read more
Plaza Mayor Chaves
Is it a gravestone or something different

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon October 3rd 2018

Hello from Lisbon Portugal. Wait! We are getting ahead of ourselves. Last night we left you with the adventure on the high seas as our ship swooped in and rescued another ship in distress in the Straits of Gibraltar. It turned out there were about 50 people on that small boat and apparently they were refugees trying to make it to Europe. Unfortunately for them, it appeared to be the Moroccan rescue service which came to help them, so they probably went back where they started. Anyway, our captain announced that we would probably be 2 hours late arriving in Lisbon and they would have to try to keep as many tours as possible, but to wait for morning. In any case they would not sail until midnight instead of the planned departure of 10:00 PM. ... read more

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