Portugal · 18 Days · 66 Moments · July 2018

Aventuras em Portugal

11 August 2018

10 August 2018

Lovely final dinner in Portugal, at Restaurante Dos Artistes. I was almost moved to tears when I was guided towards my table underneath a copy of Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey—the same print that’s been hanging in my apartment for years.
Final day in Portugal— spent some quality time lounging and reading on Praia Dona Ana.

9 August 2018

Delicious dinner at O Camilo, located in a beautiful setting overlooking Praia do Camilo. Forgot to take a photo of the octopus before I dug in!
A few more shots from the day spent in downtown Lagos, including: a delicious meal of mussels at Cervejaria Dos Irmaos; the world’s ugliest statue (of the forever-missing King Sebastian); and an intriguing mural.
Scenes from my wandering along the waterfront in Lagos, and through the town center.

8 August 2018

Dinner tonight was at the charming (and popular!) Tasca Jota, where I was able to try seafood cataplana for the first time!
Just a few more shots from this afternoon, overlooking Ponta da Piedade, Praia do Camilo and Praia Porto de Mos.
Spent the afternoon exploring various footpaths overlooking Ponta da Piedade (Point of Piety) and Praia do Camilo (Camilo Beach.) Photos just can’t do justice to the beauty of the landscape.
Checked into Costa D’Oiro Ambiance Village for the last leg of my journey, a few days in Lagos on the Algarve Coast.

7 August 2018

Dinner at Chapito a Mesa— a former circus school turned into a restaurant, with spectacular views, especially at sunset.
Concluded the last afternoon in Lisbon with a visit to the Feira de Ladra (fleamarket) and the National Pantheon.
Back in Lisbon, I paid a visit to the National Azulejo Museum, a restored old mansion with displays of tile work by historical and contemporary artists.

6 August 2018

Had one final night in Porto before transitioning through Lisbon on the way to the Algarve. Decided to ride the tram out to Foz, where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoyed a beautiful seaside walk before dinner.
Stopped off along the train ride back to Porto for a tour, tasting and lunch at Quinta da Pacheca, where they still maintain the old tradition of stomping the wines by foot. They produce both port and wine—including Sauvignon Blanc—as well as olive oil. The highlight was the spectacular three-course meal in their restaurant. All of this for just 40 euros!

5 August 2018

Toured two additional vineyards: Quinta do Bomfim, which produces for Dow (part of the Symington family of wine producers) and Quinta da Roeda (which produces for Croft.) The Bomfim tour was quite informative, but both of these were more focused on the process of wine production, and not as much on viniculture itself.
Tour and tasting at Quinta das Carvalhas, which produces wine and port under its own label as well as for Real Companhia Velha. This is one of the oldest port producers in the Douro Valley, and also one of the only ones still under Portuguese ownership. Our tour guide, Andrea, drove us all over the property and provided a very engaging tutorial on how the grapes are produced. (They also raise olives for olive oil, and lavender and rosemary for insect control, and so that the flavors seep into the soil and the grapes.)
Checked into the swanky Vintage House hotel, within walking/ taxi distance of several nearby vineyards.

4 August 2018

Took the train first all the way to Pocinho, then turned around and returned to Pinhao—all because the end of the Douro line is a reputed to be the most scenic train ride in the world. Happy to say it did not disappoint; plus it concluded at an unbelievably quaint station.
Long train ride to the Douro Valley today...looking ahead with trepidation to the weather forecast!

3 August 2018

Late afternoon cruise along the Douro River—was excited to catch a view of my lovely guesthouse from the water!
Lunch & guided tour of Graham’s port lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia. Enjoyed this tour even more, mostly due to the very knowledgeable (live) tour guide. Unfortunately, the port I liked the best from my tasting (Graham’s Crusted) is only available in Porto, and they don’t ship to the U.S.
Very informative tour and tasting at Taylor’s port lodge (with an audio guide). The exhibits covered the process of making port as well as what differentiates the various types.
Morning walk across the top level of the Dom Luis Bridge, then took to Teleferico (cable car) down to the riverside in Vila Nova da Gaia. More extraordinary views!

2 August 2018

Scenes from my self-guided tour through the downtown of Porto on this hot, hot day. Including a few pics taken inside Livraria Lello, the bookstore which may have inspired J.K. Rowling’s imagination.
Delicious cheese plate and vinho verde at All in Porto’s wine shop.

1 August 2018

Tonight’s (absolutely scrumptious) dinner was courtesy of Jimao Tapas and Vinhos. Plus I had a little feline companionship!
Enjoyed a drink at Wine Quay bar before making my way to dinner. The owl was meant to scare away the seagulls, but it wasn’t exactly foolproof.
Checked into my home away from home in Porto for the next few days...1872 River House, right on the Ribeira. The views from my room are breathtaking.
Lunch at the adorable Rota do Cha (the dozens of tea options on the menu were overwhelming, so I settled on an iced matcha latte) then some shopping before checking into the hotel.
After returning from Serralves, I walked around the Jardim do Palacio do Cristal (Garden of the Crystal Palace) and took in the breathtaking views of Porto and its Douro River setting. (Also saw a mama peahen tending her chicks.)
Arrived in Porto on an early train, so I stored my luggage at the station and set out for Serralves, a contemporary art museum, park and sculpture garden located just outside the city.

31 July 2018

Birthday dinner at the charming A Raposa restaurant. My table wasn’t quite ready when I arrived, so they set me up at a little table outside with complementary wine and appetizer (and a view of the castle in the distance.) Then, later on, the waiters all sang Happy Birthday to me while bringing out my dessert. And it wasn’t as mortifying as I would’ve expected!
Visited Quinta da Regaleira this afternoon, including its mysterious grounds. The best part was the underground labyrinth connecting two “initiation wells” that were apparently connected to Masonic symbology. I’m not sure I completely understood exactly what I was seeing, but it was a cool experience nonetheless.
Another highlight of the trip thus far: traipsing around the beautiful Moorish castle ruins overlooking Sintra.
It was a misty morning visiting Palacio da Pena, but I kinda liked it— there was a mystical quality to everything that enhanced the romanticism if the place.
Private breakfast delivered to my room to kick off my 40th birthday! And later in the day, the owner, Karen, surprised me with a lovely gift of a bottle of Portuguese wine!

30 July 2018

Exquisite dinner at Restaurante Tulhas, just two doors down from the guesthouse. I was even treated to an impromptu tasting session and tutorial on types of port, as I was trying to decide which one to pair with my dessert. (Answer: late bottled vintage is the mellowest, so it pairs best with a rich chocolatey dessert.) Oh, and the tentacles on the octopus were longer when it arrived— I was so excited to dig in that I forgot to take a picture first!
Lovely afternoon exploring the palace and gardens of Monserrate— the country estate of an English family in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Possibly my favorite site in Portugal so far— beautiful, peaceful and surprisingly devoid of tourists.
The National Palace of Sintra, home of the Portuguese nobility from the 15th century through 1910. Including a room that served as the prison chamber of Afonso I, who was dethroned by his brother due to mental instability. In addition to taking his crown, the brother (who became Pedro II) also married his wife.
Arrived in Sintra and checked in to Sintra 1012, an adorable B&B. My enormous room features its own private terrace and breakfast nook!

29 July 2018

Last afternoon in Lisbon (for now). Took a stroll through the Baixa, then took the Lavra Funicular to the Jardim do Torel. Lovely, quiet place to relax pre-dinner. There’s a cafe nearby, and even a swimming pool and playground for those with kids.
Tuk-tuk ride from Belém to the LX Factory, a converted set of warehouses that’s now artist space, restaurants and shopping. Plus it’s Sunday, when they have an open-air fleamarket. For lunch, I had the most delicious Bacalau a bras at the beautifully decorated 1300 Taberna.
Spent the morning in Belém, a good part of it waiting in line to enter the Jeronimos Monastery, possibly the most lavishly decorated monastery ever. While there, I spent most of the time enjoying the sunny day in the cloisters. Then stood in line again to see Vasco da Gama’s tomb inside the church (Mass was going on, so understandably, they only allowed a few folks in at a time.) Finally, I took a sunny stroll to the Belém Tower and on to the Monument of Discoveries, with stunning views from the top (and thankfully, a much shorter line.)

28 July 2018

Tonight’s dinner is at Pharmacia, a surprisingly beautiful restaurant connected to the Museum of Pharmacy, and based on that theme. On the menu: a codfish and mashed potato dish that reminded me of a cross between a Shepherd’s Pie and a gratin.
Final photos from today: this morning’s ride on the Acensor da Gloria, some street kittens that nearly broke my heart, Fernando Pessoa, Bertrand (the world’s oldest bookstore, where I bought some illustrated Pessoa books) and a late afternoon cheese plate (including the deliciously buttery Serra de Estrella) at Noobai, the cafe on the Miradouro Santa Catarina.
Bairro Alto and Chiado part 2: Convento do Carmo and Elevador de Santa Justa.
Part one of today’s long ramble through Bairro Alto and Chiado, including Sao Roque Church.
Spent the morning in Principe Real, including the weekly market and botanical garden.
Another funky lunch spot with a view (Lost In Cafe).

27 July 2018

Scenes from the walk home, and a quiet dinner at the hotel.
Time Out Market, a.k.a. Mercado da Ribeira.
Afternoon saunter along the sea wall, from Cascais to Estoril.
Day trip to lovely seaside Cascais- just a 40 minute train ride from Lisbon.
Lunch at the funky, bohemian House of Wonders in Cascais.

26 July 2018

Dinner at Casa de Linhares— a 17th c palace converted into a restaurant and fado venue. Spectacular performances and delicious food. Surprise of the night— I actually love sardine paste!
Further wanderings in the Alfama.
Castelo de Sao Jorge: dates back to Moorish times and later became the medieval residence of the Portuguese royalty.
Lunch at Cantinho do Aziz, tucked away in the Mouraria neighborhood of Lisbon. Delicious Mozambican food, including seafood stew, coconut rice, and a mango cocktail.
Morning wander through the neighborhoods of Graca and Mouraria, including the Miradouros (viewpoints) of Senhora do Monte and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen.
Stopped into the church and monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora to say a prayer and light a candle for my dear friend Margaret O’Brien and the entire O’Brien family.

25 July 2018

First dinner in Portugal: a seafood risotto curry at a Mozambican/ Portuguese fusion restaurant (Zambeze.) And of course, a panoramic view from the terrace.
Checked into Hotel Solar dos Mouros in the Castelo/ Alfama neighborhood. Gorgeous views from my room and the hotel terrace, where one can enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine.
Lunch with a view! A selection of Portuguese cheeses, spiced olives, and (of course) vinho verde. You can’t beat 2.50 euros per glass!
On a whim, ducked into the Museu do Aljube, built on the site of a former political prison. All the exhibits center around the theme of resistance and liberty— be it resistance against the Salazar dictatorship, or anti-colonial movements in Portugal’s African colonies. And there are ruins in the basement from the time of the Roman Empire!
Cloudy first day in Lisbon, but got quite a workout hiking up and down the hilly streets of Alfama.