|Subject: Travelogue of Portugal trip|
Thought I would add to the data files about our trip to Portugal - almost a whole month this April 2005 - particularly of interest to those going on a tight budget.
We flew to Porto, took the Aerobus into town (dropped us right across from our hotel), stayed a couple of nights at Hotel America on Rua de Santa Catarina 1018. Inexpensive, comfortable (we moved from noisy street rooms to quiet rooms at the back), well located and a great buffet breakfast.
We walked everywhere in town hitting most of the places described in guide books and experienced for the first time port in a number of port houses across the river. Ate in good restaurants - a favorite was one recommended by Don and Linda (grilled chicken) in their travelogues. Much to see.
From there we took the high speed train to Coimbra - easy to use, fast, inexpensive too. In Coimbra we stayed at Residencial Pensao Alentejana on Rua Dr. Antonio Henriques Seco 1 - 60 E with breakfast for triple room. Attractive, clean, quiet place within walking distance of central town (except with our bags and uncertainty of where it was when we first got there we took a local bus to there first).
Walked to the University, toured the sights there, then the castle and walked downhill stopping of course in many of the pottery shops lining the street. Left the next day via a rental car (picked up at the train station)and drove to Obidos via a stop at Batalha (to look at the monastery), then Alcobaca (another monastery) before arriving at Obidos.
The monasteries were fabulous - awesome architecture and all doable in the one day. Obidos is a small walled town which we enjoyed walking around. Saw a filming of a scene from Romeo and Juliet. Interesting. Stayed at Casa do Relogion in town on Rua da Graca 12. Parking included in room rate of 60 E for a triple (which was actually two rooms) including breakfast. Attractive place.
Headed out the next day after a morning walk about (with church bells ringing to signal the Pope's funeral). Drove to Evora and stayed at Albergaria Solar de Monfalim in town - another nice place. This walled town is larger than Obidos so more to see.
The next day after a walkabout and checking out the markets headed south to Luz in the Algarve where we had rented a townhouse. Great spot and townhouse was had all you have at home. Rented through holiday-rentals.com from an agent in England for 225 pounds for the week. It was a convenient spot to stay allowing for easy touring of the Algarve, easy walking around town, and great cliffside hiking.
Driving for the whole trip worked very well - traffic light, roads good, just the odd time when we missed our turn but we readily adjusted. Then the unexpected happened - appendicitis hit. So for those of you wondering about health care crisis in foreign countries I can tell you mine worked out very well.
We found an excellent English speaking physician in town who arranged my ambulance and contacted a surgeon in the next town's hospital where I had emergency surgery. The surgery went well and the care was good. Absolutely nothing to complain about and comparable to care here (it was a private hospital in Alvor).
This of course necessitated an extended stay in the Algarve so an apt was found easily in Alvor which I would highly recommend as well. My recuperation was spent checking out the various beaches and excellent restaurants (tips from the nurses looking after me).
We flew home from Faro, Lisbon, Amsterdam on an uneventful flight. In all it was a great trip - only one morning of drizzle for the whole month. I am looking forward to going back to see more. Thanks to those Ziners who assisted us in planning our trip.
Regards, Kris from Toronto