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3 Weeks in Portugal: A photographic report of a trip in progress

3 Weeks in Portugal: A photographic report of a trip in progress

Old May 19th, 2021, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by russ_in_LA View Post
Thanks for the tip, but I am a few days behind on my posts, so we are currently in the Algarve. We’ll check it out next time.
russ, thanks a ton for your TR and especially the drool worthy pictures. My Lisbon visit has been overdue since February/March, am hoping to make it by Sept/October. In the meantime you’re keeping my appetite whetted...
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Old May 19th, 2021, 05:06 AM
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Please double every compliment above, russ_in_LA.
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Old May 19th, 2021, 12:01 PM
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Last day in Lisbon

Thanks for the kind words everyone. I’m getting further and further behind on my posts, so I’m going to make it a quick summary of our last day in Lisbon.

If you only go to one museum in Lisbon, you will want to consider the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, the National Tile Museum. Housed in a former convent, you will get two museums in one. First, a vast array of Azulejo tiles, from traditional to modern, with decorated with plants, animals, people and geometric motifs. In addition, you will get to see the stunning architecture, with more gold leaf than any other church we saw in Lisbon.

After our visit, we just wandered around for the rest of the day, with lunch in our Chiado neighborhood, at the well known “A Brasileira” Cafe. Afterwards, we discovered a cool hangout behind the Carmo church that we had someone missed earlier, located just below the top of the Elevador Santa Justa, from which we enjoyed the view toward the Rossini square.

So, overall, we were very satisfied with our Lisbon visit. We will be back!

Up next: Four nights in the Algarve



Tile museum

Tile museum

Tile museum

Tile museum

Tile museum

Tile museum


Tile museum

Tile museum

Very gold church at the Tile museum

Very gold church at the Tile museum

Very gold church at the Tile museum

A Brasileira Cafe

A Brasileira Cafe


View toward Rossio square from top of Elevador Santa Justa

Elevador Santa Justa (on right)

Theatre in Chiado

Chiado, near R. Garrett
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Old May 20th, 2021, 11:50 PM
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The Algarve

So, we just finished four nights in the Algarve, and it was exactly what we needed after walking ten miles a day in Lisbon. We based ourselves in Lagos, in a condo above the stunningly beautiful Praia de Don Ana. This beach features the stereotypical Algarve coastline, with craggy caves, small islets that look like icebergs floating offshore, and high cliffs which almost completely hide the hideous urban sprawl surrounding the tiny kernel of a historic center in Lagos.

Our first afternoon we just explored the beach, which was somewhat busy late on a Sunday. We discovered a hidden cove to the west, which could be accessed either by wading out into the very cold water (we didn’t), or by scrambling up a natural sandstone wall, which drops you into a cave with no roof, from which you can duck under the low cave opening and onto the hidden beach.

On Monday, we decided to explore the gorgeous coastline from above, via the boardwalk lined path along the renowned Ponta de Piedade. The views along here are fantastic.

Afterwards, we explored the charmingly scruffy historic center of Lagos, which is comprised of several streets radiating from a central square, featuring a pretty purple flowered jacaranda in bloom. We settled on an Italian restaurant for lunch, and our homesick server, who had only arrived a couple months before, was super happy that we were able to speak Italian with him.

Back to the Dona Ana beach after lunch, we we we found that the small weekend crowd had completely disappeared, and we spent we spent the afternoon almost completely alone in our private cove.

The next day we decided to do take a boat tour along the coastline to Ponta de Piedade, the area we had seen the previous day from above. Absolutely the best 20 euros we spent in the Argarve. We ended up being the only two people on the trip (besides the guide and captain), and the boat was able to enter into most of the small caves along the way. Definitely take this boat trip if you can.

After lunch, we headed east to Tavira, which my guide book had indicated was one of the most charming towns on the coast. We arrived to find a pretty white village, with a pleasant garden in the middle of some castle ruins. The highlight of the day was the amazing collection of blue and white azulejo tiles, completely surrounding the interior walls in the main church. I don’t know why these appeal to me so much, but they do I must have been Portuguese in another life

There is no question, however, that the best way to enjoy the Algarve coast is from the water. So on our last full day we decided we wanted to see the the famous Bonagil cave, which is featured in most literature about the area. Again, we were the only people on board the boat, which left from Portimão. At first I thought the trip might feel repetitive, after the cave tour of the day before, but it was just as awe inspiring. I asked the guide what it is like during high season, and he said there could be as many as 25 boats filled with people, all vying to get into Bonagil at the same time. Thankfully, that was not our experience.

After lunch we drove to the Algar Seco, which are dry caves above the same part of the coastline we had just explored by boat. There are also boardwalks above the cliffs, as well as access down the the dry caves. We found the drive in this area to be more enjoyable than near Lagos or Portimão, as the development tends to be less obtrusive, with mostly homes of one to two stories. The town of Carvoeiro looked particularly appealing as we passed through it.

Before heading back to Lagos, we made a stop at the attractive hilltop town of Silves. The castle is impossible to miss as you drive into town, and it was a pleasure walking along the walls and enjoying the views.

So that brings us almost up to date. We’ve since move on to Évora, with a stop in Monsaraz along the way, details coming soon.
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Old May 21st, 2021, 12:05 AM
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Algarve: From Lagos to Ponta de Piedade












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Old May 21st, 2021, 12:22 AM
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Algarve: Tavira









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Old May 21st, 2021, 03:01 AM
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Algarve: Along is the coast, from Portimão to the Benagil Cace




Benagil

“Lovers” cave

Carvoeiro






Portimão
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Old May 21st, 2021, 03:20 AM
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The Algarve: Algar Seco and Silves








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Old May 21st, 2021, 04:38 AM
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Definitely sounds like you picked the right time to visit the Algarve!
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Old May 21st, 2021, 05:25 AM
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Russ, you are killing me with these photos! I want to be there now! Such gorgeous photos and amazing locations! The water shots, especially the images of and through the rocks are amazing, and it looks like the weather was as perfect as it can be.

Thanks for posting and making me drool over these pix! 😉
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Old May 21st, 2021, 07:03 AM
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Oh My Goodness I recognize 85 % of the pictures.

You camera work is terrific and boy did you pic a great time to be there, in many places it looked like you had the place to yourself.!!

Pasteis de Belem looks empty., glad you took in the Culture Centre and the Electric Museum also.

Glad you took in the Monserrate Palace also, for some reason most people miss this one.

What can I say very beautiful pictures.

Thank You so much.
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Old May 21st, 2021, 07:56 AM
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russ, your pictures are absolutely stunning...paradise on earth, and you have it all to yourselves! Thanks again and keep it coming...
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Old May 21st, 2021, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
Definitely sounds like you picked the right time to visit the Algarve!
Originally Posted by progol View Post
Russ, you are killing me with these photos! I want to be there now! Such gorgeous photos and amazing locations! The water shots, especially the images of and through the rocks are amazing, and it looks like the weather was as perfect as it can be.

Thanks for posting and making me drool over these pix! 😉
Originally Posted by Percy View Post
Oh My Goodness I recognize 85 % of the pictures.

You camera work is terrific and boy did you pic a great time to be there, in many places it looked like you had the place to yourself.!!

Pasteis de Belem looks empty., glad you took in the Culture Centre and the Electric Museum also.

Glad you took in the Monserrate Palace also, for some reason most people miss this one.

What can I say very beautiful pictures.

Thank You so much.
Originally Posted by geetika View Post
russ, your pictures are absolutely stunning...paradise on earth, and you have it all to yourselves! Thanks again and keep it coming...
Thanks so much for the kind words. Really, the places are beautiful, so all I need do is point and shoot 😉

Last edited by russ_in_LA; May 21st, 2021 at 02:05 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2021, 01:33 PM
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Monsaraz

Our planned stop in Monsaraz en route to Évora worked out perfectly. The pleasant, three hour drive from Lagos went quickly, as we passed through rolling hills covered with cork oaks and vineyards along the way.

Since we arrived at lunch time, we chose a restaurant based on it having a terrace with a view, and good Google reviews. We had decided that, after 10 days of seafood, we would try some meat in this land-locked area, so we had to laugh when my pork Alentejo arrived smothered in clams. But regardless, the unintended surf and turf was delicious, as was Sam’s veal chop with an egg on top.

After lunch we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the extremely pretty, small town. The castle was built by the moors before being taken from them in the 12th century. It was much later fashioned into a bull ring (for which I’m happy to see it is no longer used). A walk along the ramparts pays you back with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

The attractive central square is lined with the church, town hall, and homes, with a strange column called a pillory, or more colloquially, a whipping post, which saw plenty of action during the inquisition.

We completed a tour of the town’s two main streets, admiring the whitewashed buildings, and ducking into the shops to admire heavy woven wool blankets or bottles of local white wine, which is light and refreshing. All in all, Monsaraz turned out to be a great stop. If it’s not already on the tour bus circuit, I imagine it will be soon.











Last edited by russ_in_LA; May 21st, 2021 at 02:06 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2021, 04:29 PM
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Russ, I know you’ve heard it a milion times before but truly, your photos not just on this trip but overall are stunning! You have a gift for photography.

And speaking of azulejos, wait until you see the tiles in the train station in Porto. Sono molto spettacolare!!
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Old May 23rd, 2021, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnBeef View Post
Russ, I know you’ve heard it a milion times before but truly, your photos not just on this trip but overall are stunning! You have a gift for photography.

And speaking of azulejos, wait until you see the tiles in the train station in Porto. Sono molto spettacolare!!
Thanks so much! We’ll make a point to check out the station.
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Old May 23rd, 2021, 09:52 AM
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Évora

For the next part of our trip, I booked us for two nights into each of Évora, Óbidos and Coimbra. This is absolutely not a necessity if you are planning a shorter trip than ours, but as we rapidly approach our 60’s, we prefer a slower pace, which also enables us to explore some of the surrounding areas a bit. (It’s also nice not packing and unpacking daily).

As far as density of worthwhile sites per square meter, it’s hard to beat UNESCO World Heritage listed Évora. We arrived in the late afternoon, to a lively and beautifully preserved small city. Our initial loop through the town took us through the main square, Praça do Giraldo, which fairly bustled with cafes and people enjoying an aperitif or an ice cream. We soon found ourselves at the Sé, where we climbed the tower to the roof of the church, and enjoyed the excellent views of the city, as well as the cloister below.

After the Sé, we continued on our loop, which took us to the incredible ruins of a first or second century Roman temple, the best preserved in Portugal.

The next day we sought out the University of Évora, where we read that we could wander around at will, seeking out some excellent examples of azuléjos, as well as the beautiful library. We were not disappointed. We ended the morning at the church of São Francisco, which has an ossuary, where the bones of former monks (previously buried all over the city), were deposited and now decorate a chapel.

As I mentioned above, having two nights in Évora gave us the opportunity to check out some of the sights in the surrounding area. So, in addition to Monsaraz, we visited Elvas, which has amazingly well preserved city walls and an impressive stone aqueduct, five levels high. But if you’re pressed for time, you could easily do Évora in one night, or even in 4 or 5 hours, if you are just passing through.



Plaça Giraldo

Plaça Giraldo

The Sé

Roof of the Sé

Roof of the Sé

Cloister of the Sé

Roman Temple

Window of our AirBnB, right in the city center

University of Évora

Art installation in the halls of the university competes with 300 year old azuléjos (but it’s really no contest).

The gorgeous university library

I would never get any work done if this were my classroom.

More university

Igreja da Graça

Igreja da Graça

São Francisco

Bone chapel

Bone chapel

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Old May 23rd, 2021, 09:57 AM
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Aqueduct in Elvas
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Old May 24th, 2021, 06:29 AM
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I’m so happy to be reading trip reports again! Hope you having a marvelous time and thank you for the tips, thoughts and beautiful pictures!
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Old May 24th, 2021, 07:37 AM
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Oh thank you SO much for your trip report! We’re going (to Lisbon only, sadly) in January, and I’m bookmarking all the places you’ve been. Very excited! Adrienne, still in LA 😎
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