Extended trip to Portugal

Old Jan 6th, 2023, 12:12 AM
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Apps
These are the apps I found useful.



Navigator GPS. Maps can be downloaded for offline use. Turn by turn directions for car or pedestrian use.



GPS Waypoint Navigator for off-road use. Good for tracking walks in back country. Vector or topographic maps can be downloaded for offline use. Paid $.



CP is the official app for trains in Portugal. Very useful if traveling by train.



myRNE is the official app for the Rede Expressos buses. Good for intercity buses.



Carris official app of the buses in Lisbon.


Vamus Algarve official app of intercity buses in the Algarve.



taxi-link useful for estimating taxi fares in available cities


Weather Network app for weather predictions, fairly accurate



Translate app, languages can be downloaded for offline use.
Real time photo text translation requires data.




My Vodafone app keeps track of the data and minutes on my phone plan



WhatsApp use for messages, voice calls and video calls.
Requires data


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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 11:18 PM
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Criminal activity
A friend called me to let me know that his girlfriend's car was broken in and items stolen, overnight in Lisbon.
It is a company car and the items stolen also belong to the company but still very upsetting.
The thieves smashed the rear window.

DON'T LEAVE ANY ITEMS IN THE CAR.

I have had my wallet stolen by pickpockets on 2 separate occasions in Lisbon, ( not on this trip -so far, hopefully it won't happen again).

Tip: don't have any valuables visible.
Keep your money separate from your ID.
Keep ID in hotel/rental safe and carry a certified copy of your ID.
Have a "sacrifice" wallet with a few €€ .

The emergency number in Portugal is 112.

The most visible police forces are:
PSP (polícia segurança pública), they have dark blue, almost black, uniforms.
GNR (guarda nacional republicana) their colors are green, grey and black.

Some large cities (Lisbon) have their own municipal police.

Some security companies uniforms look like police but it easy to differentiate - they don't carry guns.

Last edited by aulop; Jan 6th, 2023 at 11:54 PM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 10:51 PM
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Supermarkets

There are 3 basic ways to buy groceries in Portugal, local markets, small grocery store and supermarkets.

Continente and Auchan are the largest supermarkets with largest selection and some other products such electronics, clothing, etc.

MiniPreco, Lidl, Pingo Doce, Intermarche, are smaller supermarkets with smaller selection and just groceries.
The prices tend to be similar between supermarkets but selection is the big difference.

Groceries prices are somewhat lower but not by much once exchange rates are taken into account.
The biggest difference in prices in the supermarkets between Portugal and North America is the price of local wine, which is much lower in Portugal.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 11:43 PM
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Continente supermarket


Auchan supermarket


Auchan supermarket shellfish


Auchan supermarket fish counter


Auchan supermarket local wine section


Auchan supermarket lowest priced wine we could find. €1.29 that's less $2 dollars per bottle. Wine is literally cheaper than water.


Auchan supermarket juice boxes for adults 🙂.


The supermarket also sold "experiences" restaurant meals , hotels , vineyard visits with wine tasting. Didn't use it but I think it works by buying it at the supermarket and then booking online.
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 09:10 PM
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Sidewalks, Hills and Stairs
Portugal is the country of a thousand hills and the stairs that accompany those hills.
If you’re walking in Lisbon, Porto and most of Portugal be prepared for a leg workout, you’ll have the calves of an athlete by the time you’re done.
No need to join the gym, Stairmaster is free- just walk outside.
Did I mention there are stairs.

Sidewalks in Portugal range from beautiful works of art to safety hazards.
Most sidewalks are made of small square stones that become polished with wear and VERY slippery when wet.
Any natural stone sidewalk is a problem when wet – marble is the worst – almost every day that rained I witnessed people falling, spraining their knees, ankles and wrists as they braced for the fall.
Some sidewalk stones are uneven due to tree roots and ground shift.
Some sidewalks became smaller and simply disappeared.
But the majority of the sidewalks were crammed with cars forcing pedestrians to use the roadway.
For anyone with mobility issues, using a cane , walker, baby stroller or just wanting to safely walk on the side walk these are real concerns.

Tip: use Google Maps Streetview to look at the area you intend to walk ( around your hotel / rental ,attractions etc. This will help you find flatter areas with (hopefully) unobstructed sidewalks.
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 09:43 PM
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Stairs



More stairs



Did I mention "there will be stairs".



The steepness on this street is not readily apparent, take a look at the "stepped" fence wall, it gives an indication of how steep it really is.




Beautiful sidewalk art.



Sidewalk art

Sidewalk trees



Apparently in Portugal roads are for cars and sidewalks are also for cars



The disappearing sidewalk, onto the road we go.
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Old Jan 9th, 2023, 07:07 PM
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Loving your posts, so very practical and helpful. Thank you!!
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Old Jan 9th, 2023, 10:32 PM
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Seamus
Thanks, I appreciate the compliment.
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Old Jan 9th, 2023, 11:14 PM
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Oeiras Parque dos Poetas - Poets Park.

This is one of my favorite urban parks.
The theme of the park is poets and poetry and it's beautifuly done.
When I visit it has always been a very calm and serene experience.
Poems are written on the ground in leaf shaped stone border. Using Google translate one can read the poems and have some philosophical pondering.
Some of the statues are life like and some are abstract.
There are water features that produce a mist that give the garden a dream like quality, unfortunately I have seen only twice previously and not this time.



Oeiras Parque dos Poetas lifelike statue



The muses in one's mind.


This poet had a very strong connection to the sea, the waves on the pedestal represent that connection.


Pondering life's questions



Did not understand this one.
She's pointing at a bird on the wall.
Is the bird a dove?
Is she the dove?
Is the man behind her the brute?
Is he denying her freedom or blinding her from the truth?
Do they represent people or concepts like liberty and oppression?
So many questions.




Stone features. The metal grates is where the water mist emanates giving it a surreal, dream like appearance


Main boulevard in the park


Poets Obelisk



Poets Obelisk and art gallery in background. There is a rooftop restaurant in the gallery but it was closed



Gazebo café



View from the park towards the ocean



Poets piramid, there's a garden maze to enter the piramid. A storm rolled in and we got drenched


Poem leaf on the ground



Last edited by aulop; Jan 9th, 2023 at 11:18 PM.
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Old Jan 10th, 2023, 11:46 PM
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Oeiras Parque dos Poetas continuation


In the poets park everyone and everything seems to be inspired, this millipede seems to be asking the eternal question:why?



Wonder what a gathering of poets is called



Palms at the park



The inside of a palm

Passeio Marítimo
Oeiras has a seaside walk that follows the countour of the coastline for about 5 km.
It's very nice to walk along it.
At one end is Paço de Arcos (town) at the other end is Praia da Torre (beach) and Forte São Julião (very old fort ).
Along the way there's access to the beaches, cafes, restaurants, marina, a motel, and municipal swimming pools.



Oeiras Passeio Marítimo



Oeiras Passeio Marítimo

We stopped at the local church and at a wine store that sells Carcavelos wine, dessert wine.


Oeiras church



Oeiras church interior



Oeiras church ceiling



Carcavelos wine store
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Old Jan 12th, 2023, 12:39 AM
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The Lisbon to Cascais area is our favorite, except in the winter.
There are little sandy beaches and rocky outcrops with marine life to see at low tide.
Different types of restaurants, cafes, hotels, museums, monuments, cultural events are all whitin easy reach on the public transport.


Parede beach


Parede rock beach section


Cactus and cactus "tree" at São Pedro beach


Cactus trees


São Pedro beach


This spotlight is from the second world war era. The spotlight was used to light up the ships coming into the Lisbon harbor, cannons on the hill would fire on the ships. This was part the coastal defence of Portugal.


Close up of the spotlight


São Pedro beach, the dark area in the water is seaweed


São Pedro beach rocky section


São Pedro beach rocky section

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Old Jan 12th, 2023, 09:07 PM
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In Parede we found a traditional tile clad home alongside a more artistic pebble decorated home.


Pebble decorated home detail


Traditional tile clad home


Interesting pebble decorated home


Pebble decorated home


Compare with modernist square, flat design



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Old Jan 12th, 2023, 11:21 PM
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The sunrises and sunsets in the Algarve have often been very colorful.
Sunrise colors this morning


Sunrise at stone pier


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Old Jan 13th, 2023, 07:11 PM
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Thank you for this fact filled report with so many helpful suggestions.
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Old Jan 13th, 2023, 11:01 PM
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Thanks Happytrvlr I appreciate the compliment.
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Old Jan 13th, 2023, 11:12 PM
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Heads up for anyone traveling with small children or pets that like to touch everything, watch out for very sharp spiny cactus and the castor bean plant, both grow wild in Portugal.


Cactus on walkway by the beach, very sharp needles


Castor bean plant by the sidewalk


Castor bean pod, it becomes red as it ripens. The castor bean contains Ricin - a lethal toxin.
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Old Jan 13th, 2023, 11:38 PM
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The cold and dampness.
Building construction in Portugal is mostly geared towards the hot summer weather, done with cement (walls, floors, ceilings) and no insulation.
In winter buildings became cold and damp ( worse in the north less so in the south).
All the hotels we have used so far had heating.
The rental has a small oil heater and no dehumidifier.

Tip : ask your rental if they have heat or/ dehumidifier


Small oil heater

Tip: if your rental doesn't have heat/dehumidifier, keep clothing in enclosed storage ( closet with wood doors or your luggage) to protect from the dampness. Clothes left out will have a damp feeling.
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Old Jan 15th, 2023, 12:34 AM
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Laundry
Most rentals only have washers and no dryers.
We have used self service laundry facilities in town, that are used by the locals.
They have washers and dryers of different sizes to accommodate different wheight loads.
The payment is made to a pay terminal similar to a an ATM.
Each machine is payed separately and the price depends on the settings chosen ( length of time for washer and dryer).
Settings for type of clothing (ex: cotton), cycle (delicate) and dryer temperature are also available.
Detergent and softener are included and added automatically, no need to add anything.
The pay terminal has multiple languages, choose your language, the machine, the settings, pay, after paying go the machine you have chosen and the press the start button - all the machines we used have digital displays.
We average €10 per wash.


Diferente wheight load washers, 9 kg and 15 kg


Laundry payment machine


Laundry payment machine display with multiple languages available.


Detergent and softener included


Full service laundry are also available in some locations




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Old Jan 15th, 2023, 10:50 PM
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Pharmacies
Pharmacies are identified by a green cross.
Bigger towns that have multiple pharmacies will have one that is open 24hours ( on a rotation amongst the available pharmacies).
The closed pharmacies will have the name of the 24hour pharmacy or a phone number to call for info on the open pharmacy.
In Braga we called the pharmacy info number, the info person spoke English.


Green cross at pharmacy

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Old Jan 17th, 2023, 12:59 AM
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Sesimbra and the castle.
We took an evening trip to Sesimbra, a seaside town south of Lisbon.
It's a relatively small town set on the ocean front hills of Serra da Arrábida.
It has a beach on the flat portion of town and the Arrábida mountain on the hillside.
Sesimbra has a long fishing history and the local restaurants have great grilled fish.

A word about castles in Portugal.
Castles were strictly military installations with stone outer walls, inside stone tower and wooden structures for the knights/soldiers.
Castles are not to be confused with walled cities or palaces.
Some castles have their stone structures preserved/restored in their entirety or just a portion, sometimes just a very small portion of an exterior wall.
I write this explanation because I heard other tourists complain that the castles didn't compare to the grandeur of movie castles or palaces.



Sesimbra castle

West view of Sesimbra from the castle


East view of Sesimbra from the castle

Church inside castle



Inside church

Church tile interior

Sesimbra street

Sesimbra waterfront


Small restaurant that serves great fresh grilled fish. Everyone sits side by side and respectful of each other.




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