Extended trip to Portugal

Old Feb 10th, 2023, 11:48 PM
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excited _confused
I've stayed at the Tivoli in Sintra and found it to be a top hotel ( usually I stay at moderate hotels), but I don't know about the other Tivoli's.
If you have a car both Carvoeiro and Portimão are ok, without a car I would choose Portimão because of the public transit.Portimão also has the iconic Praia da Rocha.

How many days? It depends on the length of your trip and interests.
The Algarve is popular because of the weather and the beaches but it doesn't have the impressive monuments that are in the North.
If you're from North America, think of Florida without the theme parks.

If you're renting a car it's probably best to get it at the airport and keep it for duration of your trip.Buy the insurance.
Get the Via Verde transponder for the highways.
Familiarize yourself with multi lane roundabouts, pedestrian crossings, speed bumps and difficult parking.
Get a good GPS.
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Old Feb 10th, 2023, 11:53 PM
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Outside of Conimbriga we stopped at a restaurant that has a dessert, Pera Bebeda, (drunken pear) that is superb - to my palate.


Pera Bebeda, drunken pear dessert
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Old Feb 11th, 2023, 11:28 PM
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Aveiro
Aveiro has a lagoon and canals where Moliceiro boats used to carry seaweed, now they carry tourists on canal tours. It is sometimes called the Venice of Portugal ( not really)
Aveiro is also known for a dessert called Ovos Moles ( egg yolk with sugar).
We had a frustrating time with the road closures, construction and one way streets.

Tip: contact the hotel before booking and ask about construction and road work around the hotel



Aveiro pedestrian only street

Tile facade

Art deco facade

Main canal

Moliceiro boat

Moliceiro boat

Colorful Moliceiro boats

Waterfront buildings viewed from Moliceiro boat

Colored strips on bridge. Instead of rusty locks the local lovers tie colored strips to the bridge.

The courtyard in our hotel, where we planned to take a relaxing break...

...the reality, construction site, no relaxing break


Last edited by aulop; Feb 12th, 2023 at 12:17 AM.
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 11:17 PM
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Braga Sameiro
Braga's Bom Jesus is the most famous but nearby is Sameiro. It doesn't have the iconic stairs but it's interesting to visit. Besides the church itself, the location offers great views of the city of Braga and the mountains that surround it.

Tip: almost at the back of church ( on exterior) there's a door that allows access to the top of cupola (fee and time restricted)


Sameiro

The guardian angels, the city of Braga and the mountains

Pillar and church

Another view from Sameiro
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Old Feb 13th, 2023, 05:33 AM
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Catching up on your report. I especially love the photos of Aveiro. So colorful!!!! If we return to Portugal, I will put it on my itinerary. And that drunken pear looks soooo delicious!!!
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Old Feb 14th, 2023, 10:25 AM
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KarenWoo
It's truly delicious, I tried to find how they prepare it and all I got is they used Port wine ( it's been my experience that restaurant recipees are different from cook book recipees).
They also make a baked apple dessert that is very good.
The Aveiro Moliceiro boats can be quite colorful and some of them have "risque" motifs .
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Old Feb 15th, 2023, 12:49 AM
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Braga Bom Jesus
Bom Jesus is the most iconic and most visited religious site in Braga, the place was full of tourists when we visited.
A number of convents/monasteries have been converted to hotels, we stayed at one of them which allowed us to see Bom Jesus after the tourists had left for the day.

Tip: walk down the stairway and take the elevator up



The iconic Bom Jesus stairs

Stairway/path (after the iconic stairs) that continues down the mountain to the elevator. Along the way little chapels have depictions of religious scenes

Religious scene inside the chapel

The stairway exit, to the left is the elevator

Elevator

The elevator and the church

Organ detail

The grotto ( man made)

Grotto and church

View of church from grotto

We stayed at one of the converted religious buildings, view from my room

Waterfall on the hill behind church

Lake on the hill behind the church. The fish have a very strong red coloration

This is the last stop on our multiday side trip, we're going back to the Algarve.
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Old Feb 16th, 2023, 11:41 PM
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Café life
Café life is all about taking it easy. Connecting with friends, people watching, enjoying an unhurried coffee.
Not rushing, taking your time is expected at the café.


At the café take your time, enjoy every sip

Cafés have a variety of pastries

They also have sandwiches

Salgados top to bottom, shrimp, meat, codfish

Some also serve light meals at lunchtime, usually Bitoque

It's all about taking it easy
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 04:54 AM
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Wow!!! Bom Jesus in Braga looks so beautiful and amazing! How many nights did you stay in Braga?

Where are the cafe photos from?
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 06:01 AM
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I've had a Bifana supreme, or special, can't remember. They added an egg and cheese. Delicious.

40 days to departure for us. Thanks again for posting all this.
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 11:32 PM
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We stayed in Braga for two days, this was part of a multi day side trip. The purpose of the trip was to see friends but we took in some sightseeing along the way.

The café photos are from the area around Vilamoura, as we stroll along the area we take breaks at the café - perhaps the reason why I'm gaining weight or maybe my clothes are shrinking.

Bdokeefe
You'll have much better weather than we have, making for a more enjoyable trip.
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Old Feb 18th, 2023, 03:28 AM
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This is an alert for anyone that likes to walk in forested areas - it's caterpillar season.
On our morning walk this morning my wife screamed because she thought this was a snake, we almost stepped on them.
Apparently they fall from the trees in a ball and then form conga lines.
A local person told us they are poisonous.



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Old Feb 18th, 2023, 07:12 AM
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That's wild!
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Old Feb 18th, 2023, 02:59 PM
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Continuing to enjoy your posts and finding them very helpful. We leave Feb. 27th!
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 08:42 AM
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Restaurants
Our favorite restaurants are the mom and pop restaurants, they offer the best value and they have the traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Many restaurants will place bread, olives, etc, that have an extra fee, ask.
Prato do dia is plate of the day, usually the fastest plate available.
Diária/ menu completo/ ementa turística/ refeição completa, usually mean a plate of the day with something else included in the price, could be one, some or all of these : drink, dessert, bread, olives, soup, every restaurant is different, ask what's included.
Glovo and Uber are the most popular food delivery services.
Portuguese don't tip at restaurants (because wait staff makes the same salary as the patrons - unlike in North America where tipping is used to supplement lower salaries).
The lowest priced meal ( for two) that we paid so far was €20, the most was €88, and we average €30.
Most restaurante price by the plate, however some price by wheight (kg) making meals expensive, know the difference.


Some restaurants have the fresh fish on display. You can point to the one you want.


Bitoque, the most popular, fastest and cheapest meal at a restaurant. It's a thin cutlet of meat( chicken, pork or beef) with fries, rice and egg

Feijoada, bean stew

Carne de porco á alentejano, pork meat with clams

It's common for restaurants to prepare and present the same dish differently. This is pork meat with clams at a different restaurant

Robalo grelhado, grilled sea bass. Most fish are served whole, heads included. If a fish is big then only a fillet will be served. This one was cut in half and grilled

Robalo assado no forno, oven roasted sea bass

Dourada grelhada, grilled sea bream

Arroz de marisco, seafood rice

Mista de carne, mixed meats

Conquilhas, clams from the Algarve. They have a mild flavor

Lulas a algarvia, squid Algarve style, an acquired taste. Because they are small they aren't cleaned (guts still in), this also happens with some small fish (sardines)

Bacalhau cozido, boiled codfish


Bacalhau com natas, codfish with cream

Cabrito assado no forno, oven roasted goat

Chocos, cuttlefish. In the squid family but thicker meat and different flavor. For those that want to try it, I'll explain. It can be ordered with or without ink. The ink gives it a different flavor profile

Without ink is cleaned, with ink is not cleaned. Notice the head/tentacles (edible) and the back bone

Backbone removed. The mouth in the head is like a parrot's bic and must be discarded.


Cut in half the ink goes everywhere

My plate, fingers, lips, teeth, everything was black. Bring a toothbrush

Cataplana de marisco. Seafood cataplana. This is a regional dish of the Algarve. Cooked in a round pot with a lid.

Sardinhas grelhadas, grilled sardines. They are grilled whole, not cleaned, guts still in. They have many little bones and a very strong smell and flavor. Wash hands several times afterwards


Occasionally I will order something that reminds me of home





Last edited by aulop; Feb 19th, 2023 at 08:46 AM.
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Old Feb 20th, 2023, 02:41 AM
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Virginiafish
I'm glad you're enjoying the post.
Your trip is almost here. The weather is much better now, no rain and warmer temperature.
Hope you have a great trip.
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 12:33 AM
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Faro - storks, bones and unpleasantness.
We took a day trip to Faro, as soon as we arrived we could hear the clack-clack of the storks in their nests. It seemed that any high point had a stork.

Strolled thru the streets until we arrived at the church that has the bone chapel. It's a macabre sight but also a reminder that we all have the same final destination.
The chapel is less impressive than the one in Évora and some of the bones are broken or have desintegrated.

After the chapel we strolled thru the pedestrian only streets. Very few people were around us but I noticed an individual following us, whenever we stopped he stopped, I would stop in front of stores and on the store window reflection I could see him stopped and looking at us. This went on for awhile. Then I decided to stop turn and look at him directly, he stopped looked at me and walked away to another street.

After that experience we went to a different street with restaurants. I stepped away a few meters to look at a restaurant menu, beggar asked my wife for money and she said no, the beggar swore at my wife ( in English) fxxx oxx , I immediately intervened and some unpleasantness ensued ( just verbal , nothing physical).
After that we decided it best to leave Faro.



Storks on churches

Storks on light poles

The church with the bone chapel

Golden altar

Carving detail

Bone chapel

Bone chapel ceiling

Pedestrian only street with few people, this is where we were followed

Pedestrian only street

Restaurant street, the unpleasantness incident

We didn't love Faro



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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 01:28 PM
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Your food photos remind me of why I didn't care for Portuguese food (fish, seafood and eggs).
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Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 11:59 PM
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More practical info
Anyone using the buses in the Algarve can purchase the Vamus bus card.
The card can be purchased at bus terminals and it's a pay as you go card so you load and reload money into it.
We receive about 30% discount on the bus trips. One card can be used by two persons.
The card only works on the Vamus buses.

We used a local hairdresser, €10 for men's cut, €45 for ladies wash and cut.


Vamus prepaid bus card for the Algarve

It was time for a haircut. We went to a different hairdresser but the prices are similar to this one


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Old Feb 24th, 2023, 01:47 AM
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Loule and Mars shopping

We took a day trip to Mars shopping mall and Loulé.
Mars shopping is supposed to be the largest shopping mall in the Algarve. It has a traditional indoor mall and an outside shopping area built to look like a street, in between the two is a mini golf and restaurants.
Interestingly the mall has a display for flights at Faro airport.



Mars shopping mall indoor section

Mars shopping flight info display for Faro airport

Mars shopping outdoor section, built to look like a street

The mini golf between the two sections. As I was talking to my wife about visiting the castle in the distance (zoom in) a local informed us that it was built in the past 20 years and it's a private home, built to look like a castle

Afterwards we went to Loulé.
We strolled in the old town, with the narrow cobblestone streets, visited the castle facade and the market.
The market has an exterior Moorish design that makes it architecturaly interesting.
Unfortunately we arrived too late and the vendors were finished for the day.



Loulé market with Moorish design elements

Market entrance

Empty market stalls, we arrived too late

Old town streets

Old town

Old town

Loulé castle, while it's very old there's not much left except for a portion of the facade wall


We came across some cork trees, the cork provides protection against fires that are common in Portugal.
These trees seem to be abendoned since the last harvest


Cork tree, the dark area is the harvested area of the tree

Cork is harvested every 7 years

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