October 27, 2010

Cruising Through Portugal

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Portugal.

Betty in Viana
IMG_1816: Betty
Bruce and Rety Fuller
IMG_1837: Bruce and Rety Fuller
Castle in Obidos
IMG_1877: Castle
Rooftops of Tavira
IMG_1905: Rooftops

On Monday, 18 of October, we drove south into Portugal. We were headed toward Porto. We first stopped in the town of Viana do Castelo, where we spent a few hours looking around and eating lunch. Then we continued south to Povoa de Varzim, where we found rest and friendship with our couch-surfing hosts, Bruce and Rety.

Visiting Bruce and Rety Fuller was a real joy. Betty and Rety really clicked with similar slants on life and politics. We had a great evening getting to know them. On Tuesday they accompanied us into Porto. Porto is the home of the famous Port Wine. The best Port wine makers in the world have vineyards in the nearby Douro River valley, where the rocky soil and 120 degree summer days produce grapes for Port wine. We visited many monuments in the city. We walked along the Douro River. We had a light lunch and we visited two wineries to taste their port. Betty and I liked the Port wine. We finally returned on the train to Povoa.

On Wednesday, we spent all the day driving south. We had so much ground to cover that we used the toll roads for much of the journey. The total cost for less than 300 miles of road travel was more than $50. Along the way we stopped in a couple of interesting towns. First there was Obidos. Obidos is a lovely, walled, medieval town with a castle and everything else one might expect. After a couple of hours, we passed through Sintra. This is an even more fantastic city. Unfortunately, we only explored the city by car. We drove onto Lisbon. We wanted to see the waterfront and some of the old city. Again we only saw it by car. There was no parking, even in the city lots - which were full. In the late afternoon, we again proceded south to our ultimate destination, Vilamoura, which is near Faro. Our couchsurfing host Miguel was by far the most generous of our hosts. We could not pay for anything. His condo was in the middle of a golf course that is surrounded by other golf courses. We do not play, so it was not quite paradise for us. Still, it was a beautiful area. Southern Portugal is a favorite vacation spot for tourists, especially the Brits. Even at this time of year, we found tourist throughout this region.

On Thursday we traveled to the two seaside resort towns of Lagos and Sagres. Sagres was nearly a complete waste of time. Lagos is a lovely old town with all of its commerce based on the hundreds of tourists that walk through its streets everyday.

On Friday we traveled to Tivera, the loveliest town that we have seen in the south. We tried to see the main monuments and churches. We tried to visit Faro, which was much larger than I had imagined. We decided to skip the visit when we could not find parking. Some sort of fair had taken over the major parking area for the city. Instead we went to Vilamoura to enjoy an afternoon of drinking beer at the marina.

On Saturday we set off for Seville, and within a couple of hours we were back in Spain.

Sunset on the Beach at Povoa de Varzim
IMG_1819: Sunset in Prova

Posted by bill at October 27, 2010 01:12 PM