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Falling For Portugal: A Mai Tai Tom (Trip) Report

Falling For Portugal: A Mai Tai Tom (Trip) Report

Old Apr 17th, 2023, 11:31 AM
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Another wonderful chapter in your Portugal adventure! Wow!!!! That lemon-filled pastry looks absolutely divine! I have really enjoyed your report. Looking forward to your epilogue!
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 06:06 PM
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As always a great trip report that is informative and yet filled with fun adventures!
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Old Apr 24th, 2023, 09:02 AM
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". you got time tickets for the monastery but still had to wait on line? trying to understand that. i'm guessing no separate entrance for ticket holders so you wait with everyone else? did you purchase them on the monastery website (that's what we found).
2. the self guided tour, did you have something downloaded to your phone? Or just follow the signs and there were explanations of what you where looking at?

3. the coach museum, unless i missed that, you can purchase tickets there? is that what you did or do you need advanced tickets."

Just got back from nine fabulous nights in Mexico City. Hopefully, you have the answer.

1) We had the first time slot for monastery. Got in at appointed time. When we exited to visit to the church, (
Santa Maria de Belém) it was still having mass so the line stretched for a long way in scorching heat. We got in 30 minutes later when mass ended.

2) I do a lot of research before we leave on these places from a myriad of websites, and I make a little map (w had planned to walk it all). I'd looked at a website that showed which sculptures were which on The Monument of the Discoveries.. It was really hot that day so Uber was our friend, so the walking map I'd made wasn't needed The walk from the tower to the Monument of the Discoveries is just a straight line. I had other places on my list we could have gone that day, but did not.

3) Just buy tickets at Coach Museum. No line and very little amount of people in there.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Apr 28th, 2023, 07:00 PM
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Epilogue: Thoughts About Portugal`

Anxiously awaiting your thoughts on Portugal.
Next adventure?
Too many places to visit for us with time running out so we are always curious what you and Tracey are planning.
Many thanks to you, the writer, and Tracey"s love of ceilings and flowers!
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Old Apr 28th, 2023, 07:14 PM
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And dang it! Now we are hooked on Gin and Tonics due to your report on Spain!
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Old Apr 30th, 2023, 10:37 AM
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plufmud ... just had one of those last night.
Recently back from Mexico City, so I thought I better get the last installment of Portugal out while I still remember. Today, just some random thoughts on our trip and some of our favorite photos taken of spots we visited. Portugal had been on our radar so long (thanks to Covid) that I worried it might not live up to expectations. It did ... and more! We're already planning another trip in the future if we live that long. With photos in link below...without photos below photos
https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/epi...bout-portugal/






Epilogue: Thoughts About Portugal



I began planning for an autumn 2020 trip to Portugal in 2019. Little did I know that it would be nearly four years until we could make the trip; but I must say it was worth the wait … and the effort.



It took a little bit of time to get into the ebb and flow of Portugal and to appreciate all it has to offer (although it didn’t take me as long as the others, but I’ve been known to fall in love easily … with cities that is!).



Tracy, Mary and Kim were a tad slower than me to get into the Lisbon scene, but I thin k it was Justa case of getting acclimated to the ups and downs.



The amazing sights we explored, the areas we walked (and climbed … and climbed) along with the history facts we learned here and all throughout our trip, were fascinating, and got us off to a good start for our journey.



The people we encountered were nearly unanimously friendly and helpful (especially the guy who called an ambulance for an unbalanced tourist). Everyone from the Uber drivers to the staff working at the restaurants where we dined and hotels where we stayed always maintained a personable and professional demeanor no matter how busy they were, and they were usually plenty busy. Plus, we got a first-hand look at Portugal’s medical system (although not necessarily a recommended way to tour a country), and the kindness its doctors showed me.



Between Lisbon and Sintra, Palácio de Queluz makes for an interesting half day trip from either locale.



Visiting Sintra’s palaces and gardens was as magical as I had envisioned. I highly recommend staying at least a couple of nights in Sintra. A day trip does not do it justice. Yes, it’s crowded, but that has never really been a deterrent for us, and at night strolling through town sans those hordes of tourists is marvelous.



Tomar is a lovely town to explore, and its castle plus the surrounding historical sites we visited on the way to and from Tomar were captivating. I recommend getting the combo Unesco Heritage Monument ticket that includes entrance to Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça, Convento de Cristo and Mosteiro da Batalha.



Palácio de Mafra was another must-see stop between Sintra and Tomar.



Coimbra is a lively college town, which we very much enjoyed, including the great tour of the university.



The Douro Valley is the perfect location to relax and cool your jets (and sip some wine). Because of hotel scheduling issues, I probably gave it too much time. I think two or three nights would have been sufficient, but I’m not one to usually stop and smell the roses (or in this case, the grapes) on vacation. Although, I guess, I always seem to have time to stop and sip a little vinho. If it is hot, be sure to take a cooling and relaxing river cruise or a dip in one of those hotel pools!



Finally Porto. We saved the best for last. Porto had a different vibe than anywhere else we had visited in Portugal. It’s hard to explain, but Porto was infused with energy that made our stay enchanting. It seemed the entire city was in a great mood as we traversed back and forth, and the views back toward Porto from Gaia were just as advertised.



We all agreed if we ever wanted to spend some quality time in Portugal, this would be the city to live.



And the food. My biggest surprise was how much we enjoyed our meals throughout the country. I was wary that it was going to be mostly cod, but as usual I was incorrect, although I’m looking for a place at home that serves Bacalhau.



We consumed so many incredible dishes in our three weeks and coupled with jaw-dropping inexpensive prices, most every dining experience was overwhelmingly delicious. The fruit exploded with flavor on our palates, and I can still taste those melons! As a matter of fact, it’s been difficult going out to dinner since we returned because a comparable meal in Los Angeles is two to three times higher than in Portugal.



We ate a lot of food on this trip (not all of it diet friendly), however thanks to a plentiful amount of walking, Tracy and I each lost a pound.



I knew I should have had a few more pastéis de nata.



A couple of other quick observations. Tracy commented on more than one occasion that the blue skies we encountered in Portugal were a vivid shade of blue unlike any we had ever seen. Gorgeous!



And the street art. Street art had never been much on our radar, but some of the art we saw on the buildings and walls in Portugal made an impression on us, and we now search it out on our travels.



Holy Moses, some of them were so good we didn’t want to part



Speaking of Moses, we did hit a few churches along the way, too.



Oh, and those azulejos!



We even had time for Tracy to find some flowers and gardens.



There was no ceiling on the amount of ceiling photos taken.



And we had no complaints about any of our hotels during the entire trip.



It’s funny. In 2012 when the four of us visited London, the unanimous consensus was that we really didn’t need to ever return. Eleven years later, we have revisited London on three occasions.



And so it is with Portugal. During the trip, Tracy remarked that although she enjoyed Portugal, she didn’t think we needed to come back. Fast forward just a few months, and we have already started talking about a future trip that would involve Portugal and Spain.



It seems Portugal has grown on us more than we had envisioned, and we have a number of wonderful memories (except that whole falling on my head thing). Reliving the trip through this report just makes me want to return sooner than later. And even with a few missteps along the way, we always kept true to our motto:



Enjoy The Journey! Attitude Is Everything!Epilogue: Thoughts About Portugal

I began planning for an autumn 2020 trip to Portugal in 2019. Little did I know that it would be nearly four years until we could make the trip; but I must say it was worth the wait … and the effort.

It took a little bit of time to get into the ebb and flow of Portugal and to appreciate all it has to offer (although it didn’t take me as long as the others, but I’ve been known to fall in love easily … with cities that is!).

Tracy, Mary and Kim were a tad slower than me to get into the Lisbon scene, but I thin k it was Justa case of getting acclimated to the ups and downs.

The amazing sights we explored, the areas we walked (and climbed … and climbed) along with the history facts we learned here and all throughout our trip, were fascinating, and got us off to a good start for our journey.

The people we encountered were nearly unanimously friendly and helpful (especially the guy who called an ambulance for an unbalanced tourist). Everyone from the Uber drivers to the staff working at the restaurants where we dined and hotels where we stayed always maintained a personable and professional demeanor no matter how busy they were, and they were usually plenty busy. Plus, we got a first-hand look at Portugal’s medical system (although not necessarily a recommended way to tour a country), and the kindness its doctors showed me.

Between Lisbon and Sintra, Palácio de Queluz makes for an interesting half day trip from either locale.

Visiting Sintra’s palaces and gardens was as magical as I had envisioned. I highly recommend staying at least a couple of nights in Sintra. A day trip does not do it justice. Yes, it’s crowded, but that has never really been a deterrent for us, and at night strolling through town sans those hordes of tourists is marvelous.

Tomar is a lovely town to explore, and its castle plus the surrounding historical sites we visited on the way to and from Tomar were captivating. I recommend getting the combo Unesco Heritage Monument ticket that includes entrance to Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça, Convento de Cristo and Mosteiro da Batalha.

Palácio de Mafra was another must-see stop between Sintra and Tomar.

Coimbra is a lively college town, which we very much enjoyed, including the great tour of the university.

The Douro Valley is the perfect location to relax and cool your jets (and sip some wine). Because of hotel scheduling issues, I probably gave it too much time. I think two or three nights would have been sufficient, but I’m not one to usually stop and smell the roses (or in this case, the grapes) on vacation. Although, I guess, I always seem to have time to stop and sip a little vinho. If it is hot, be sure to take a cooling and relaxing river cruise or a dip in one of those hotel pools!

Finally Porto. We saved the best for last. Porto had a different vibe than anywhere else we had visited in Portugal. It’s hard to explain, but Porto was infused with energy that made our stay enchanting. It seemed the entire city was in a great mood as we traversed back and forth, and the views back toward Porto from Gaia were just as advertised.

We all agreed if we ever wanted to spend some quality time in Portugal, this would be the city to live.

And the food. My biggest surprise was how much we enjoyed our meals throughout the country. I was wary that it was going to be mostly cod, but as usual I was incorrect, although I’m looking for a place at home that serves Bacalhau.

We consumed so many incredible dishes in our three weeks and coupled with jaw-dropping inexpensive prices, most every dining experience was overwhelmingly delicious. The fruit exploded with flavor on our palates, and I can still taste those melons! As a matter of fact, it’s been difficult going out to dinner since we returned because a comparable meal in Los Angeles is two to three times higher than in Portugal.

We ate a lot of food on this trip (not all of it diet friendly), however thanks to a plentiful amount of walking, Tracy and I each lost a pound.

I knew I should have had a few more pastéis de nata.

A couple of other quick observations. Tracy commented on more than one occasion that the blue skies we encountered in Portugal were a vivid shade of blue unlike any we had ever seen. Gorgeous!

And the street art. Street art had never been much on our radar, but some of the art we saw on the buildings and walls in Portugal made an impression on us, and we now search it out on our travels.

Holy Moses, some of them were so good we didn’t want to part

Speaking of Moses, we did hit a few churches along the way, too.

Oh, and those azulejos!

We even had time for Tracy to find some flowers and gardens.

There was no ceiling on the amount of ceiling photos taken.

And we had no complaints about any of our hotels during the entire trip.

In 2012 when the four of us visited London, the unanimous consensus was that we really didn’t need to ever return. Eleven years later, we have revisited London on three occasions.

And so it is with Portugal. During the trip, Tracy remarked that although she enjoyed Portugal, she didn’t think we needed to come back. Fast forward just a few months, and we have already started talking about a future trip that would involve Portugal and Spain.

It seems Portugal has grown on us more than we had envisioned, and we have a number of wonderful memories (except that whole falling on my head thing). Reliving the trip through this report just makes me want to return sooner than later. And even with a few missteps along the way, we always kept true to our motto:

Enjoy The Journey! Attitude Is Everything!
maitaitom is online now  
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