Destinations

Portugal the land of Discoverers!

Just say No to the month of March!

The Portuguese really know how to handle rough seas as we learned while visiting in March. It poured on us for 8 of the 10 days we were there. Not only torrential rains and 50 mile and hour winds and temperatures from 40-60F, but a huge tornado blew through and closed the Lisbon airport down. All traffic was rerouted to Faro Portugal.

So, travel sometimes is not all blue skies and butterflies. Sometimes it is difficult! Pack a sturdy raincoat and a positive attitude when coming to Portugal. We had a good time, but we are seasoned travelers. We hired a car and a guide and just trudged through all the rain and wind.

During the 15th century Portugal led the age of discovery and established itself as one of the longest maritime empires. I was surprised to see how many countries they conquered and so far, away. Brazil, Africa , India and parts of China.

What we loved about Portugal was the cost of food and drinks were very reasonable. A Superbock beer would cost 2 euros and a six pack of their famous dessert was about 8 euros. They also had some good white wines. We were not fond of the lack of choices in food. Lots of cod and sardines, veal but only processed chicken. We had some excellent meals but just a few.

Portugal is the western most country in Europe. They use the Euro and are on the same longitude as New York. In my opinion Portugal lacks an identity. Yes, they are fantastic seaman and discovered many countries but that was 500 years ago. They are also known for their port wines but that is like drinking sugar water mixed with cough syrup! Other favorites are sardines, cod fish and cork products. Sorry but none of that makes we want to run over there.

We used Uber and Bolt a lot in Porto as well as some green taxis near our hotel. The high speed train from Lisbon to Porto was only $47 euros one way and was quite pleasant. The train does not have many places for big luggage so get on early.

We loved all the tiles on the buildings. Some tiles go back 1000 years.

People were very friendly but not everyone speaks English. get out your google translator.

Yes, go to one Fado concert but one is all you need. Fado is some of the most depressing music you will ever hear.

Education is free in Portugal but a young man with a CPA degree will only make about 18,000 euros a year and a one-bedroom condo can cost 450,000. Most grown children still live with their parents as it is almost impossible for them to buy a home. We heard this story over and over.

We found a better exchange rate at the train stations then we did at ATMs. Most everywhere takes credit cards.

The land of discovers- here is a map of all the countries they discovered 500 years ago- pretty impressive!

The Portuguese were very good at sailing to new worlds. They definitely understand bad weather.

Our hotel in Lisbon

The view from our room

The beautiful lobby

Our fabulous driver and tour guide

Lisbon Skyline

The Thieves market on Tuesday and Saturday – A MUST

The thieves market on Tuesdays and Saturdays such fun!
The Thieves market has some very interesting displays!

How to survive torrential rain and wind.

What got me through eight days of pouring rain!
  1. A cute and sturdy raincoat. Not a poncho not a thin raincoat. A thick plastic one that must be waterproof not water resistant. The hood must have a tie . You cannot sit and hold the hoodie on in 50 mile an hour winds. You have to batten down the hatches. Why wear black on a miserable day. I loved this raincoat because it was cheery and my husband could always locate me in a sea of black puffers. A small puffer coat or my long jean jacket underneath this rain coat.
  2. A pocket size umbrella by Totes worked great until it did not. I also had to buy a slightly larger umbrella that did not fit in my purse. The tote umbrella stayed strong and never went inside out like cheap umbrellas. At the end of the day the Tote umbrella did not keep my bottom dry. Still very useful as I could always carry it on me.
  3. My Baggallini purse. It also got soaked repeatedly but dried out quickly and kept my items dry on the inside.
  4. Skinny jeans. Right now big legged pants are in style along with bell bottoms but in a downpour they only get longer and wetter. Skinny jeans stayed drier for me on the bad days.
  5. You cannot control the weather but you can control your reaction to it. We rented a driver for all 4 days that made it much easier and dryer for all our sight seeing. Just bring a positive attitude and a can do attitude and you will not miss many sights.
The tornado that shut down the Lisbon airport.

Great Viewpoint in Lisbon

Pena Palace our favorite destination

Pena Palace was our favorite place even in the rain!
In a sea of black coats you can always find me in this colorful raincoat.
Street artist that paints with coffee! I love his dedication to style!

Baby steps on these streets

All the streets are on hills and made of slippery tile cobblestone. All the streets are on hills! We had to walk like old people and do baby steps. Sometimes young tourists would run around us and bust their bums. No running on these streets.

The famous pastry

The most famous baker in Lisbon sells 500,000 pastries a day in summer time.

Street artist Arturo Bordalo turns trash into art

He has 7 murals around Lisbon. All made up of recycled trash like tires and metal scraps. Beautiful.

The time out market with good friends!

Maritime museum is a real treat!

My long jean jacket that kept me warm under my raincoat.

The famous trolley cars

Our Hotel in Porto-fabulous

We absolutely loved this hotel or should I say we loved the river view from our room. We could sit on our balcony and listen to the Spanish guitar players and singers below our window. At night time our sky exploded with hundreds of seafulls all circling over us. We stayed an extra day at his hotel because of the view and being right in the middle of all the action. Yes we coud have stayed for free in a Holiday Inn outside of town in an industrial area. But we would have missed so much. Sometimes you need to feel the city in an old hotel right in the middle of everything. Loved this hotel.

This is view from room 410

Room 410- I could sit out here all week!

Our sunset cruise for two- only $250

We rented a sunset cruise with this company. it was a mother and her 27 year old son. He was very open about th economic situation in Portugal. All college is free in Portugal. Our 27 year old boat captain got a CPA degree. He only makes 18,000 euros a year.. The cost of a one bedroom condo is $450,000. There is no way a young adult can buy a home. He still lives with his parents and hopes to inherit the family farm. It was just an hour and a hall ride with snacks and drinks.

Porto Cruz rooftop bar across river from our hotel

1881 Porto library

Very cool place to visit. You have to have a ticket and a timed entrance. We selected the upgraded ticket and got in before 50 other people. its crowded and crazy but well worth seeing this 140 year old library.

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