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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report One Week Gone Already

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We finished our 1st week in Portugal here at the Pousada in Ourem (3 nights). We have used the location to visit Tomar and Coimbra with a sidetrip to Dornes as well as a visit to
Alcobaca tomorrow on our way back to Lisbon.

We took British Air from Seattle to Lisbon with a 4 hour layover in Heathrow. The flight was 1/2 empty and we had 3 seats+ to stretch out and get a little airplane sleep which made up for almost inedible meals. We arrived around 6pm with easy walk to Europcar where we picked up a brand new Clio with installed GPS and the requested transponder for tolls. Europcar is in the airport, no transport needed. They were friendly, efficient and took their time explaining the details of the car and contract. We rejected the additional insurance, choosing to use our Visa Capital One coverage. They did put a $500 pending charge in case of damage on our card which we expected.

Side note for drivers: Very easy and for the most part stress free. Roundabouts are ubiquitous, roads are well signed, the GPS was indispensible and the toll transponder well worth the money. Use the green V lane when driving through the toll booths. Portuguese drivers seem to be the same as anywhere in Europe. You pump your own gas and we found cash was easiest for payment. Highways are almost empty.

From the airport, we set out for Evora where we spent 5 nights at ADC which we found just as wonderful as others have said. Recommend in a heartbeat. We ended up eating there 3 of the 5 nights as their food was better than the restaurants we tried ( we did have an exceptional meal at B L Lounge).

We saw the usual sights in Evora and especially loved the walk on the cathedral roof without another single soul. We covered a lot of ground in the Alentejo countryside and especially liked Arraiolos, Vila Vicosa and Portela. We had a picnic lunch at the Miradora in Sao Bartolomeu de Outeiro, a tiny town reached by lovely backroads and enjoyed walking across what was left of the road and seeing the submerged remnants of the herade in Olaria after the area was flooded (a bit chilling after watching the French series "The Revenants"). The countryside was green and dotted with early wildflowers and birdsong. Quite beautiful.
And Monsaraz was quiet and lovely for sunset. We had a forgettable meal in the town but will always remember the red and orange sunset, 1/2 silver moon and star covered sky.


We were lucky to have booked Mario for the Megalith tour and had an interesting morning on a beautiful day gaining insight into these amazing historical sites. All the more perfect as the sites were empty of people and filled with silence. We would recommend "Ze" who spent time helping us with our Portuguese pronounciation. Both can be booked with the helpful folks at ADC.

We left Evora and made our way to Marvao. Later.

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