Good to know about Lisbon and Portugal

This is my last post on Portugal, where I provide a few observations that may prove useful to anyone considering a visit. Portugal is a wonderful place, so very much worth planning your trip. Language How disappointed we were to find that speaking Spanish is of so little assistance in Portugal! For people who don’tContinue reading “Good to know about Lisbon and Portugal”

Tile is everywhere in Portugal

We’ve seen a lot of decorative tile in Portugal. It covers many buildings, sometimes as an overall pattern: exterior walls, interior walls, decorative wainscoting, decorative details. Sometimes there are scenes created from tile. The Porto train station is one such place, Here is a church that is completely tiled with religious scenes on the exteriorContinue reading “Tile is everywhere in Portugal”

Empedrada is underfoot in Portugal

Empedrada is a particular kind of square cobblestone surface that is found all over Portugal. The material tends to be a uniform pale color and it covers lots of sidewalk and many public plazas, private patios and even streets. Contrasting designs are made with black stone, and very rarely colors. There are some typical patternsContinue reading “Empedrada is underfoot in Portugal”

A Day in the Algarve

On our last weekend in Portugal, we decided to head south for a day trip to the Algarve, as the south coast is called. In particular, Jonathan wanted to see Cabo Sao Vicente, the southwesternmost point in mainland Europe. We planned to go on Saturday, but rain was forecast, so we opted for Sunday andContinue reading “A Day in the Algarve”

Go to the beach (take your rock hammer?)

The Praia de Foz is a small beach that is easy to find if you’ve already located it on Google Earth and translated that to your phone, or the equivalent. A single sign marks the turnoff onto a graded, graveled road from the main road but there are no other signs. You choose the variousContinue reading “Go to the beach (take your rock hammer?)”

New Architecture Ignores the Old in Portugal

Portugal is full of churches, palaces, fortresses and restored historic houses containing private art collections. Possibly there are more historic sites per capita in Portugal than anywhere in Europe. Older houses, too, are frequently architecturally interesting, with curved roof lines, angled windows, wrought iron balconies, tiled facades and other graceful details. We even see theContinue reading “New Architecture Ignores the Old in Portugal”

Porto on a sunny Sunday

The Douro River divides Porto into the city and the port-tasting zone. There is a long tradition of making port here (Porto, get it?). Whether you like port or not, it is part of the experience to taste some. We didn’t trek across the bridge to the lodges because Jonathan found a place where youContinue reading “Porto on a sunny Sunday”

Flea markets and antiquity shopping elude me in Portugal

After visiting the Thieves Market in Lisbon during a series of downpours, I’ve tried to find other flea markets to visit, with limited success. Not because there aren’t any, Portugal has lots of markets of different kinds daily, weekly and intermittent, as well as a constant parade of festivals. Last weekend we drove about 20Continue reading “Flea markets and antiquity shopping elude me in Portugal”

Two lookouts to the west: Cabo Raso and Cabo Roca.

From Cascais, we drove to the westernmost point of land nearby to look out at the Atlantic. It was a bit gray out, and the waves broke and boomed. The view was impressive–there’s nothing between you and the New World except the Azores, which belong to Portugal, as it turns out. Cabo Raso was windsweptContinue reading “Two lookouts to the west: Cabo Raso and Cabo Roca.”