Extended trip to Portugal

Old Jan 17th, 2023, 05:58 PM
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Aulop
Thanks for a wonderfully detailed, practical report. I'm looking at Portugal agaon for next year.

Cash - did you need much cash? In some countries you don't need any, but I'm not sure about Portugal.
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Old Jan 17th, 2023, 06:44 PM
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I appreciate your report! So practical and helpful! Thank you!
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 02:06 AM
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Margo_oz
Thanks for the compliment I appreciate it.
Cash - about 80% of the stores accept Multibanco ( look for the MB sign), the other 20% either don't accept it, it's not working or charge a extra fee or don't use it below € 10.
The MB terminals usually also accept credit cards, but best to ask.
I've seen people enter the cafe, show their card and ask if it's accepted.

Last edited by aulop; Jan 18th, 2023 at 02:09 AM.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 02:08 AM
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Virginiafish
Thanks for the compliment I appreciate it.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 02:31 AM
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Electricity and adapters
The electricity in Portugal is 220 volts ( 110 in North America).
The prongs in electrical plugs are round
( flat in North America).
My electronics have dual voltage but require an adapter from the flat to the round prongs.
The adapters do NOT convert or in any way change the voltage - they are simply physical adapters from the flat to the round prongs.
I've only seen them for sale at one store - Worten, which is a chain of electronics stores.
Best to bring your own instead of trying to find them in Portugal.

Electrical outlet 220 volts

Electrical adapters. On the left - flat to round prong. On the right - grounded flat prong (with round ground prong) and adapter that accepts grounded plugs.

Tip: if you use very sensitive electronics, bring a voltage surge protector that works with 220 volts
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 07:23 AM
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aulop- Great tips, I'm returning in a month for my forth trip and am making notes. Thanks for taking the time.

The Castles: wear shoes with good grip. A lot of the castles, you can crawl around them as much as your bravery/stupidity allows. It really is great to come up to some of these old relics, and have it basically to yourself. You're typically on a hill, and when you get up on the walls, some great picture opportunities. Too easy to edge out to far and slip.

Spouse and I enjoyed exploring along the Spanish border exploring the castles, listening to Knights Templar podcasts as we drove along. The Schist Villages of Portugal in the Central region is well worth checking out.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:49 PM
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Bdokeefe
Thanks I appreciate your comments.
For such a relatively small country Portugal has a lot to offer.
One the oldest countries in Europe it has a long history and culture.
The castles, palaces, churches and other monuments, picturesque villages, large cities with museums and vibrant city life, great beaches and mountains, incredible variety of wines and the food...
Everytime I visit Portugal I discover something new.
Did I mention the food...
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Old Jan 19th, 2023, 01:27 AM
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aulop- please do mention the food. I've had good luck with the lunch specials, we have no language skills and take our chances. When I was with two of my daughters, we were brought back to the kitchen so they could show us. Then grandma was peaking around the corner later to make sure we were happy. No language skills needed to feel the care and love. At 8 euros a plate, a bargain.
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Old Jan 20th, 2023, 11:07 PM
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Hotels and third party sites.

We booked a hotel in Braga for several nights using Booking.com.
After the first night we had to leave due to unforeseen circumstances, the front desk staff informed us that they couldn't issue a refund for the unused nights because of the fee that the hotel pays to the third party.
They also informed us that if we had booked directly with the hotel they would have able to issue a refund since no commissions/fees would be paid to a third party.
After this experience we used third party sites for research and booked directly with hotel.
Lesson learned.

When we returned to Braga we booked a different hotel and found that it did not have 24hr front desk, after hours check in / access to the hotel was done through a machine at the hotel front door.
Not only was this inconvenient but there wasn't front desk staff to ask any questions regarding the area / amenities etc.
Another lesson learned.

Tip: book accommodation directly with the property, there is more flexibility from the hotel in case of eventualities.

Tip: check that the hotel has 24hr front desk, it makes check in easier and they can provide local knowledge that a machine can't.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 10:19 AM
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Totally agree with these tips. We had a bad experience with this once with a hotel in Jerusalem that we had booked on booking.com and we have never used that site again, going directly with the hotels.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 12:30 AM
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Public washrooms
Public washrooms in Portugal are marked with the male/female symbols or the letters WC ( water closet).
Most public washrooms are in shopping malls, bus/train terminals, some are on the street in stand alone structures that are sometimes difficult to find.
Some of the public washrooms require payment to use (50 cents) , save your 50 cents coins.

Stand alone washroom on the street. It has both the symbols and WC. On the lower right notice the coin payment slot. Walking from the opposite side it wasn't apparent it's purpose , it was only when I walked around it to take a photo that the it became obvious. Look around, you never know what you're going to find.


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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 09:16 PM
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Braga
Braga is our favorite city in the north.
It has lots of old churches and other religious monuments ( Bom Jesus, Sameiro).
The best Easter celebrations that I've seen have been in Braga.
The pedestrian only area is nice to walk along with the plazas to sit at the cafe or walk to the market.
Braga is also the terminus/start of the Alfa train and it has a bus terminal with buses for the north of Portugal and Spain.


Braga Porta da Cidade

Braga pedestrian only street

Braga Plaza with entrance to the narrowest street at the right

Braga narrowest street

Braga narrowest street different view

Braga Cathedral

This bacony has always fascinated me, because it seems out of place in Braga. This type of balcony covering is Moorish, it allowed the occupants to view the street without them being seen. However the Moors never made it so far north to Braga.

Look up when walking in Braga, some architectural deatails are quite interesting, this one looks Art Deco .

Braga pedestrian only street
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 08:47 AM
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Back in Lisbon for a short time and did a quick visit to the Gulbenkian museum.
The Gulbenkian has a nice collection of Louis 14 furniture, paintings by the masters ( Reuben etc), Greco Roman art, Arabic tapestries and glass vases that are quite interesting, Lalique, etc.


Egyptian gold and enamel mask


Arab glass vases

Greco Roman vase

Chinese panel

Egyptian scarab

Intricate Arab tile

The Gulbenkian has gardens that provide a nice spot to rest after sishtseeing.
There is a cafeteria inside the museum with good food and reasonable prices.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 09:00 AM
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Love, love, love the Gulbenkian. Calouste had absolutely exquisite taste and every object displayed is a jewel. Thanks for the photos!
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 11:02 AM
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While in the Lisbon area, a friend took us to Don Quixote, a tapas restaurant on the western side of Sintra mountain near Cabo da Roca.
It has nice views into the ocean.
We had meat croquetes with humus and imperial, rather than finely ground meat their croquetes have shredded meat ( almost like pulled pork), they are delicious.


View from Don Quixote. Far, far background is Guincho beach. The photo doesn't do justice to the views.


Old wind mill at Don Quixote. The name makes sense if you are familiar with Cervantes book.

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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 09:10 AM
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After Don Quixote we went to Azenhas do Mar, it's claim to fame is that the village in on a cliff edge.
We were surprised at the volume of tourists given that it's winter.
Afterwards we drove to Guincho beach, and again, no parking.


Azenhas do Mar


Guincho beach on the foreground. In the background is Cabo da Roca - the southwestern most point in Europe. On the road to Cabo da Roca is where Don Quixote is located.


The Fortaleza hotel (Guincho beach). Took the photo because the fort is yellow but because of the light conditions it looks orangy.



Last edited by aulop; Jan 29th, 2023 at 10:02 AM.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 09:20 AM
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Great photos of Azehas do Mar, which I want to visit on our next trip, and of Fortaleza do Guincho. In March we caught a very sunny, warm day and walked all the way from Cascais on the bike path/seaside promenade to the Fortaleza for lunch. A beautiful but long walk. Thanks for the memories!
Your ongoing TR is very helpful to Portugal-bound travelers, aulop.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 10:09 AM
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Maribel
Thanks for the compliments, I appreciate it.
You walked all the way from Cascais to Guincho - wow ( you earned my respect/admiration), it's a fairly long walk although beautiful.

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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 05:05 PM
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Speed bumps and flying
My friend was driving us and suddenly we heard a thump and the car went flying - all 4 wheels of the ground, just like in Rally Car Racing, was not on my list.
We hit one of Portugal's enormous speed bump at full speed and the car became airborne.
Apparently my friend confused the markings of the speed bump with the markings of a crosswalk, which is flat.

Tip: learn the different road markings for speed bumps, it may save you from an accident


Markings for a crosswalk. Notice how level flat it is.

Speed bump markings. Notice how high the speed bump is - it is raised to the height of the stone curb
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 06:26 AM
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Cascais
We stopped in Cascais for a quick snack.
The weather was beautiful and not crowded.
Hotel Baía is my favorite in Cascais.
The hotel is across the street from the beach in a nice area although somewhat touristy.


Hotel Baía and beach. Notice the fishing gear in foreground, Cascais still has a number of fisherman.


Cascais view east towards Estoril. The seagull seemed to be interested in my phone, perhaps she thought it is food.


Restaurant area behind Baía hotel. Surprisingly we had a good meal at a reasonable price, given that it's geared towards tourists.


Street leading to hotel Baía

On my last visit to Cascais I had lunch at a cafe on a side street near the hotel.
Before I ordered I noticed that the wine jugs were very short so I ordered two because I though one wasn't enough.
However the jugs were wider than a plate and one liter each.
After lunch my wife helped me to this bench.
When I woke up I noticed another man sleeping it off. His wife and my wife were very happily having a conversation about how the men in theirs lives either couldn't handle wine or judge the volume of liquids.


The bench in front of hotel Baía.

Last edited by aulop; Jan 31st, 2023 at 06:42 AM.
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