Coimbra, Lisbon, Sintra, Portugal
(4.8) (14 Votes)
April 18th, 2001
A spectacular train ride along the banks of the Douro river took
us to Regua and Amarante in Nothern Portugal where we spent a few
days camping; Just sitting around, taking walks along the river
and through the vinyards. A perfect break from visiting cities.
This is the area where Port is produced; so, naturally we had to
sample the local speciality. Not many tourist make it up here and
it was refeshing to find people couldn´t speak English.
As is becoming our ritual Tonya sought out the highest point to
get a view of the city. We climbed to the top of Torre dos Clerigos
and were faced with a view of one enormous construction site (it
may be nice when it´s finished). Apparently Porto is laying
a subway system. Niether of us were impressed with Porto, as besides
the river, which is fairly attractive, there is not much else to
On our way to Lisbon we stopped at Coimbra. Paul sat in a park with
a book while Tonya went off to explore. The 16th century university
was worth a visit if only to see the statue of Joao III which looks
exactly like Henry VIII (I wonder if they were brothers?).
After getting lost in the Alfama district (the old part of Lisbon)
we took the first Pension we came across, dumped our bags and went
for something to eat. Since today was Easter day Paul had a traditional
Easter meal - veal drowned in olive oil with potatoes thrown in
as life rafts!
Once again Tonya sought out the highest point in the city. Thankfully
this was the Santa Justa Elevator and didn´t involve climbing
hundreds of steps. However we got our cardio workout climbing up
to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. From here we could see what looked
like the Golden Gate Bridge and a statue of Christ the Redeemer
just like the one in Rio. This combined with the trams made us think
that this city was a little confused or lacked originality.
This is a wonderful place to get away from the city. It was the
summer residence of the Kings of Portugal and is green, lush and
mountaineous. The Pena Palace was the highlight of Portugal for
Tonya. The multicoloured towers and domes reminded Paul of Disney
World. Inside was a completely wacko collection of rooms, each with
their own style. This has to be seen to be believed!