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Portugal Portugal - Lisbon 2014

Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
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Hi Pauline, thanks so much for fixing my posts. I don't mind at all, I appreciate you making it look better. It's funny but until you mention that the town looked runned down I hadn't thought about it. I guess with the chipped paint and all it does look a bit worn, but as you mentioned I think that's what makes this town interesting.

There is a Posada hotel in the old castle now. I didn't get a chance to look inside but it's in a great location with a wonderful view. I had a delicious dinner in my hotel and my waiter who happened to have graduated with a degree in archeology gave me some interesting historical things about the town walls. As you can see in the photo, the dining room is right next to the wall. He said as other countries came in they built the walls higher and you can tell what country built certain levels. For example when the Romans were here the rocks during their presence are smoother (they are up higher). It was all so interesting.

Another thing he told me was that the minimum wage here is just barely 3 Euro! I was very surprised. I hope that will improve. Still I envy their quality of life here. That is why he has to work a bit before returning to school to further his education. My conversation with him is one of the reasons I really enjoy traveling so much. You can learn a great deal from other people and cultures.
 
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Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
Back in Lisbon and I missed my wonderful apartment, a place I've grown to call my home away from home. Purhased my train tickets for my last day trip of this trip to Porto. I'm very excited.

Here in Lisbon there are these wonderful viewing points that are strategically positioned on the hills of Lisbon. Rain or shine they give visitors some stunning views of the city and river below.

They are also wonderful places to hang out, have a cup of coffee and they also make great places to wait out the occassional downpour. :) I'm trying to hit as many of them as possible.

St. George Castle
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Miradouro da Senhora do Moniz
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Miradouro De Sao Pedro de Alcantara
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Miradouro St Luzia
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Not a Miradouro but a wonderful little street with a stunning view of St George Castle from Barrio Alto.
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I hope to do another post when I return from Porto and then I only have a couple of days left in this beautiful city of Lisbon. One thing I know for sure. I'm definitely leaving a piece of my heart here. The city & country of Portugal is beautiful, so rich in history and the people are so friendly and welcoming. I have loved my time here so much. Thank you to Pauline for allowing me to share my experiences here on the Slow Europe Forum and thank you to everyone for reading my posts.
 

Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
Many thanks to Jonathan for his tip on Landeau chocolate at the LX Factory! And after sampling a slice of their cake, I am in 100% agreement with you. It is the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. The LX Factory is a fun place to stroll through. What a cool place. If I wasn't so worried about the weight of my luggage I would have bought a few things at this cool and funky little shop. They had a nice little Sunday Flea market in one of the buildings and I bought a couple of nice cork wallets. I also stopped in the very cool Ler Devagar bookstore (thanks for this tip too Jonathan) and bought a few cool postcards. As Jonathan reommended the LX Factory is a cool place to visit in Lisbon.

Here are some picks of my morning at the LX Factory. Thanks so much Jonathan.

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jonathan

100+ Posts
I'm so glad you got to eat that chocolate cake! We were there for the Sunday flea market too: great fun. And we had a good light lunch at that café with the bike outside.

And thank you for those photos of Evora and Obidos: 2 places I've wanted to visit for ages, and now higher up my list! @Pauline , the Evora architecture reminded me a lot of Braga (another university town, of course).
 

Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
I'm so glad you got to eat that chocolate cake! We were there for the Sunday flea market too: great fun. And we had a good light lunch at that café with the bike outside.

And thank you for those photos of Evora and Obidos: 2 places I've wanted to visit for ages, and now higher up my list! @Pauline , the Evora architecture reminded me a lot of Braga (another university town, of course).

I loved both Evora and Obidos. Thanks again Jonathan. I'm so glad I went. That cake was worth it alone.
 

Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
I had A wonderful time here in Porto and lucky me the weather was very good.

My hotel is called Ribeira do Porto hotel which is right by the Douro river. My room has a stunning view of the bridge and Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar! Staff is so helpful and very friendly, the rooms are clean, comes with breakfast and the location is great.

Also across the river you can see all the Port Wine Cellars like Taylor, Calem, Ferreira, Coft, etc Across the river. Wow! There's quite a selection.

Yesterday I took the funicular then walked across the bridge for some great views. The sun was just setting and it was very pretty.

Today, I took the City sightseeing bus for 13 euros, hopping off to do a wine tasting tour with Taylor wine cellars. It came with 3 tastings. My favorite was the 10 year vintage port which was a nice red wine. This was the one glass I drank all of it and even wanted more.

The tour bus was an excellent way to see a lot in one day. It even brought us to see the beaches. The second hop off was to see the Se Cathedral which was amazing. Pay the 3 euros to see the cloister . After, I walked back down to my hotel through this famous street called Rua das Flores, which was filled with interesting old architecture.

Porto is a pretty big city, but it feels different than Lisbon. You are in a Port city and it feels like it. After a long day of sightseeing and all that delicious Port wine I had dinner at this small but wonderful restaurant that was recommended by my hotel called Ora Viva and it is located in a small street just next to my hotel. I would recommend it to anyone. I had the grilled prawns and that garlic sauce was so good.

Porto makes an amazing day trip from Lisbon and I would recommend staying at least two nights. I would even say 3 would be better, but for sure at least two.

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Panda

10+ Posts
We had a wonderful couple of days in Porto last year. We stayed up on the main square which meant our legs had a good work out on those hills ! Funny story about the city tour bus : I was listening to the onboard audio guide ( very, very detailed) when the narrator stumbled over a pronunciation. He tried again, then said 'You are going to have to edit this, let's give it another go.....' He did, successfully this time, and continued with the commentary. Clearly, noone from the bus tour company had ever listened to the English language narration all the way through and no passenger had pointed it out either (I thought about it but the bus driver spoke no English).

Lots of quirky little shops to see and some delicious food and wine.
 

Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
That's a funny story Panda. Yes, the hills was a great work out. The one going up from my hotel by the water was a good one. While exploring I had to review my map several times to find my way, but it also doubled as rest stops. :). Pauline, I think Porto is a great place to explore but also relax and take in the views.
 
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Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
Hi, I stopped in again to say that I made it back safely. It's funny because the same driver who my apartment arranged to pick me up from the airport when I first arrived was the same one to take me to the airport and when he saw me he said "wait a minute, you're still in Lisbon, I went on a vacation to Dubai, came back to work and went on another vacation during all this time." I giggled and thought to myself, "hmm, you must not be a slow traveler then." :) He said with their low cost airlines, it is so cheap just to hop on a flight to Venice for only 49 euros for a quick getaway weekend. And then I became green with envy. :D

Anyway, I wanted to stop in and say thank you again to Pauline and to everyone for following my trip, all of your kind likes and comments. Thanks to everyone for the tips and recommendations. Jonathan, I think I'm going to have dreams about that chocolate cake for a few weeks, maybe even months!

I know I'll continue to be inspired by other travelers here and I am so glad that some of you may have gotten ideas from my posts too. This travel community is so wonderful.

Much appreciation and Happy Travels,
Kathy (aka Trekcapri)
 
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Kathy (Trekcapri)

100+ Posts
I meant to add this to my final trip report post. Here is a brief summary of some of my post trip thoughts: I think I did most of the things on my list but not all. Maybe someday I can return to Portugal, because if I could, I would. I would highly recommend Lisbon, Portugal as a wonderful (and as Jonathan mentioned and I agree) and affordable travel destination.

Lisbon is beautiful and there are so many things to see and do here. I tried to post about as many of my experiences as I could. My favorite neighborhood besides where my apartment was in the Chiado district, was the Alfama neighborhood for it's history and charm. Some of the streets are so narrow that you have to step to the side. I found that charming. Don't worry because you can hear when a tram is coming. The people here are so friendly and welcoming. My favorite viewing point was at the Miradouro Porto Dol Sol which has a nice little self service cafe and sitting area. I think my favorite monument is the monument of Discoveries, my favorite church is a tie between the Church of Sao Roque and Cathedral Se. I also enjoyed visiting the National Tile Museum, the Coach Museum and the LX Factory

Sintra - Cabo da Roca - Cascias: I loved Sintra and would have preferred to have spent more time here and even an overnight. I bought my round trip train tickets with the Bus pass combo at the Lisbon Rossio station. I had read somewhere about this three town circuit itinerary, so I followed it. I only had time to visit the Pena Palace which was great, but had to skip other significant places to make my way to Cabo da Roca and Cascais. I liked Cabo da Roca but was a bit meh on Cascais.

Evora - I loved it here for his pretty historic center and Roman Temple. It was a quick day trip but I think it has great potential for an overnight trip too. It is a 1.4 hour train ride away from Lisbon.

Fatima - This beautiful town makes a wonderful day trip and I loved it for both it's historic and religious significance. If you are drawn to this type of experience, this is a must visit. There is a beautiful Sanctuary here.

Obidos - This is a very small little village and I stayed in a hotel located within the historic Castle walls. It is a very beautiful and charming little town and although I really loved it here, I think two nights was too long and I would have loved to have tacked on a day to Porto or made Sintra an overnight stay. You can pretty much see Obidos (only a short one hour bus ride away) in one day. Still, I had a lovely relaxing time and would recommend it as a quick day trip.

Porto - I loved Porto and there is so much to see and do here. I did a nice wine tasting tour which was fun and had fun exploring down by the Douro river and walking across the bridge for some nice photos. It was a really relaxing time here and I think although it is a bit farther away (3 hour day trip) it is a great city to visit. I would rather have spent more time here (3 days) as I felt rushed and did not get to see more due to time constraints.

- Transportation: I used a combination of trains, local buses, trams, the occasional taxi and walked and walked. The trams are very easy to figure out. The stops are labeled and as long as you know the direction and destination of the tram you need. When my itinerary called for it, I did invest in the day pass (they sell them in kiosks and tobacco shops) and come in 24, 48, 72 hours. You need to place the card against this yellow box behind the driver and wait for the green light to go on and do it each time you hop on.

Definitely do ride Tram 28 as it does give you an overall look at some of the neighborhoods, but be extra careful of pick pockets when riding (and even while walking). I used my security neck pouch for all my bills and only carried coins in a little coin purse and I secured my camera bag with a lock/latch especially after I nearly got pick pocketed. Also there are 3 train stations and I used two different bus stations. Depending where you are going will dictate which station you will depart from.

I pretty much bought my tickets the day I left with the exception of Porto which I managed to purchase online using THIS (Comboios de Portugal CP) link. There is an English version of it. I saved the email to my itouch to show the conductor but he didn't even need it. I was able to secure a ticket for each of my other day trips right before departing. Please note, however, that my travel dates are in the slow month of November.

- ATM's are practically on every corner and I had no problems using them. I used the ones that were labeled MB. And they have language options which made it very easy to use.

- Food, loved their seafood dishes and their desserts are the best (next to gelato) that I have had while traveling.

I'm sure that I'm missing some details, but I wanted to write down my post trip thoughts and share them before I forgot them.
 

Anubis

10+ Posts
I'll be traveling to Lisbon, Portugal for most of November 2014. I will base for 3 weeks in an apartment in Lisbon. It is is the Chiado neighborhood in a convenient location with nearby cafes, shops, sights and public transport. The Chiado is a vibrant trendy neighborhood located between lively Barrio Alto and the old and charming neighborhood of the Alfama District where fishermen still live. I will power around on foot, train, bus and those very cool trams. I have two overnight day trips to Porto (home to Port wine) and the small medieval town of Obidos. I'll also venture off to Cascais, Cabo da Roca (to see the western most point in Western Europe) and Sintra (to see the Pena castle). I've had Portugal high up on my must see list for several years and I'm so thankful and excited to be able to visit.

I created a Google Map with some points of interests, dining recommendations, sightseeing attractions and my planned day trips. If anyone is interested, HERE is the link.

I will post again, once I arrive in Lisbon. I'm very excited and I look forward to my new adventures. Thanks so much Pauline, Jonathan and everyone.

Mucho Gracia: They'll have to speak Spanish. How about your real favorite restauran(s) please. Arthur
 

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