Just came back from a week’s holiday in Portugal. It has been a habit for the past few years to go and visit different places at the beginning of September. This year Portugal was on the cards.
Day 1 – Travel to Porto
Fortunately there is a direct flight to Porto from home (Carcassonne). Unfortunately it is with Ryanair although I must say in this case there was nothing to moan about and we arrived on time at our destination.
I use to travel for business to Porto regularly 30 years ago till about 15 years ago. Never had the real opportunity to really visit the place though. In any case the airport certainly has changed and grown and appeared to be working efficiently. Getting the reserved in advance car hire went fairly quickly.
Drop our luggage at the hotel and started exploring the town. You need to be fairly fit as it is going up and down.
Not a bad central train station
Walking down to the Douro river to find a place to drink and eat
Day 2 – Porto
Over the years, we have found that taking one of those “hop on – hop off” sight seeing bus tours is an ideal way to get your bearings in a new city. And indeed this is what we did.
We left the bus when we reached the ocean and walked all the way back to the town centre. The coast is still pretty wild.
There is a good old tram system with a couple of very famous lines. So famous you will be lucky to get a sit on one of them.
In the evening and as planned I was really pleased to meet up with my friend Cristina. We had not seen each other for over 10 years. Dinis (her husband) and her took us out out and treated us to a superb fish restaurant.
Day 3 – Porto to Nazaré
The drive to Nazaré, just over 200 kms, is not long although in this case, the motorway was closed half way there with the ensuing traffic jam in which we were stuck almost 1 hour.. This was due to major forest fires further down the road. One could see major smoke rising in the distance and one coud smell it miles away. Once on the alternative road it took no time to reach our destination.
Nazaré is well known for the big waves and surfing which is why it was decided to spend half a day there as well as overnight.
It is a typical seaside town with a long seafront with shops, restaurants and hotels.The sea was on this occasion extremely calm and flat despite a very strong wind. That did not stop us spending a couple of hours at the beach.
Day 4 – Nazaré to Lisbon
Quite a short drive which meant we arrived in Lisbon late morning. First impressions of the town are very positive, it feels like a capital city with nice avenues, monuments, old and beautiful buildings.
And of course parking difficulties. We find an underground car park, which we discovered charged an arm and a leg for an overnight stay, a few minutes away from the hotel where we went to drop our luggage before we could check in.
Time for a coffee on the Grand Place
Day 5 & Day 6 – Lisbon & area
Day 7 – Lisbon to Porto
Started the 3 hours journey after breakfast. We drove through where the fires had been a couple of days ago. What a sad sight. Kilometers and kilometers of burnt trees.
In Porto, straight to the hotel Boa Vista on the ocean front. This is where I used to stay many years ago when I was coming here regularly for business. It certainly brought some memories back. I do not think the hotel has changed a bit in all those years. Anyway the room is ready and we can drop our luggage before heading out to find a place for lunch.
Day 8 – Travel home