Tag Archives: Portugal

Entrance Tickets – The Castle of Guimarães in Portugal

Castle of GuimarãesGuimares Castle Portugal

In 1881 the castle was declared the most important historical monument in this part of Portugal and in the 1900s a lot of work has gone into its restoration. We went inside and were struck by the fact that they hadn’t spent a lot of the renovation budget on basic health and safety.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Shell on a Beach:

Just south of Santa Clara was the beach of Azuraia where we parked the car and walked over the golden sand that had been washed clean by the high tide and went down to the waters edge.  There was a good clear view back to Vila do Conde and the fort that we hadn’t had time to visit. The beach was deserted and instead of people we were outnumbered by the seagulls that stood at the edge of the water but paid little attention to us as we walked along the sand.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Vila do Conde Convent of Santa Clara

Convent of Santa Clara, Vila do Conde, Portugal

Portugal, January Beaches

Now that we were back in real time and had adjusted ourselves accordingly we went down for breakfast today at a more reasonable hour and having given the place time to warm up this morning it was a much more pleasurable experience.  Actually it was warmer anyway because there was no frost today and although the sky was blue again it felt as though the weather was going to change.  When we checked out the man on the reception said that he was glad about that but he still complained that the weather was colder than normal.

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Portugal, Port Wine

All of the port lodges have a museum and guided tour and we choose the first that we came to, which happened to be the Cálem port lodge that had a visit to the museum, a guided tour, port tasting, and all for only €3 each, which was exceptionally good value for money.

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Portugal, Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia

In the morning there was another very sharp frost but the good news was that this meant another blue sky and an impressive sunrise over the River Ave.  The hotel room was warm but the public areas were chilly, inadequate electric heaters were working to full capacity and the staff in the breakfast room were wrapped in woollies and fleeces and looked thoroughly cold and miserable.  The man at reception lamented that it might be all right for us but for him it was painful to be so cold.  I think he must have thought that we had come from the North Pole or something.

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Portugal, Beaches and a Sunset

Apúlia was a small fishing village with all of the gaily coloured boats parked at a safe distance from the rough sea that was pounding in fiercely again over the rocks.  There were a couple of restaurants but they weren’t exactly what we were looking for so we walked along the beach to some windmills that were probably holiday lets during the summer but were all shuttered and abandoned today.

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Portugal, Vila do Conde

When we left Stansted Airport on a six-thirty Ryanair flight to Porto there was a hard frost on the ground and the temperature was minus 3º centigrade and when we arrived less than two hours later in Porto there was a hard frost on the ground and the temperature was also minus 3º centigrade.  It is unusual to get frosts on the west coast of Portugal and this had clearly taken people by surprise and at the airport there were shivering staff on duty to make sure we avoided the untreated icy patches on the short walk to passport control.

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Road Trip – Portugal to Andalusia and Seville


Because there was quite a long way to go we planned for a very early start and it was still dark when we left just after five o’clock in the morning.  Tony had the rough guide to Europe map and had sorted the route and there was a very simple plan, we would take it in turns and drive non stop all the way, it would be tapas in Madrid at lunchtime, Bordeaux in France for evening meal, and a bottle or two of nice red wine, a night in Evreux in Normandy, and a visit to some friends who lived there, and then on to Dieppe in plenty of time for the ferry in just over forty-eight hours time.

So simple it hardly needed a plan at all!

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Road Trip – Portimão, Carvoeiro, Praia Vale de Centianes and Silves

On Wednesday the weather was still excellent so we decided to drive west to the secluded beaches all along the coast on the way to Portimão.

First we drove to the pretty little fishing village of Carvoeiro, which is beautiful, especially when viewed from the hills on either side of the town, so we walked all around it and from the cliffs we admired the village layered with white-washed villas and buildings, which seem to undulate in perfect harmony with the natural rocky landscape.

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