Portugal is a great place to visit: interesting, full of attractions and cheap. We spent an enjoyable week there. Our two major stops were Lisbon and Porto, (plus the beautiful countryside in between), and both are well worth a visit.
Porto in particular is off the radar for most tourists but it’s a beautiful city and a really great place to walk around or simply chill out with a wine or a coffee, (or a port!!??) and watch the world go by.
In Lisbon, head for the main city square and for Belem and in Porto, go across the upper level of the 2-level bridge to the monastery on the other side for spectacular views. Also check out along the river.
Some random reflections on Portugal:
* Every café is also a pub.
* Sections of Lisbon are in severe need of renovation.
* Porto is a beautiful city.
* Porto is famous for its port (the drinking variety) and you should drink some port in Porto.
* The local specialty dish, Francesinha, with layers of meat, cheese and sausage in a beery sauce, is delicious heart attack material.
* The bookstore that inspired the stairs in Harry Potter, in Porto, is stunning, ranked 2nd in the world apparently.
* No wonder Vasco da Gama prayed all night before his famous voyage: it’s a big ocean out there!
* The Catholic church has always had plenty of money.
* Superbock is Portuguese for beer.
* Cork is a major industry in Portugal so they still use corks in all their wine bottles. But Cork is in Ireland. Go figure.
* If a beer costs 1 euro in a bar, you can’t afford NOT to drink.
* There is no shortage of places to sit down to eat or drink.
* The queue for the local pastries in Belem is longer than it deserves to be.
* When the Portuguese speak English they sound like Russians.
* They use a lot of tiling on their buildings, even through one entire Metro station.
* If a can of beer costs 35 cents including the 23% government tax, I wonder how much the brewer makes?
* The Portuguese are not afraid to hang out their washing on their balconies.
* Pastries are popular in Portugal.
* There is still evidence that Portugal was once one of the greatest nations on Earth.