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Last updated : Nov 2009
Porto, Coimbra, Lisbon, Sintra, Portugal
Rating: (4.8) (14 Votes)

April 18th, 2001

Pros: None
Cons: None

Northern Portugal

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 see.


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!