Europe · 23 Days · 273 Moments · October 2017

Portugal Spain Greece 2017


27 October 2017

All over, Red Rover.....On the way home!
Temple of Hephaistos 5th C BC. Best preserved in the Greek world. Has been in continual use until 1930's.
Finds from woman's burial about 850 BC. The sophistication of of these ancient societies, amazes me.
Spouted casserole on a brazier. 6th - 4 century BC. The people of these times, lived lives very similar to ours...without electricity.
Bronze shield 425 AD...about 1 metre across. The Ancient Agora or Market Place. The heart of the ancient city. Begun in the 6th century B C. The Athenian Agora, was first destroyed in 480 BC and subsequently, trampled and built upon many times. The Agora was the Centre of Athenian democracy. On the site, clay public measures, official bronze weights, part of a marble ballot box, juror's ballots, a water clock for time speeches, have been found.The word ostracise...
These pottery shards were part of a voting system to get rid of aspiring despots. The word ostracise comes from this system. At least 6000 members had to write the name of the person they thought was a problem on a shard. The names were counted. If your name came up the most times you were ostracised. I.e.Leave Athens for a period of 10 years.
Hot, smokey, buttery, corn.
Smoko, Athens. Athens has the most graffiti of any place we have been. Every available surface is covered. No one seems to care.

26 October 2017

Outside one of many second hand shops, in the old town, near the Acropolis.
Pomegranite Watecolour, perhaps?
Meat market, Athens. Undercover, but many open air stalls....no flies. Rabbits sold with fur attached...some black, some white. Perhaps differnt colours, indicate a different taste.
Move to Athens, for cheap "nucklets"
Open air chopping block, Athens.
The old (circa 1000 AD) and the new, Athens.
The Acropolis, at sunset from our hotel room, Electra Palace.

25 October 2017

Athens, Greece. The Acropolis..Athena's Temple and Parthenon.
A green island in a sea of houses, Athens.
Marble has been in this spot since creation. The old and the new.
Bouzouki player, Athens.
Shady place for lunch, Plaka, Athens.
The Joys of Travel One of the great joys of travel is the people you meet.We met a young waiter, Joseph in the local restaurant this morning at breakfast. So personable and fun. Tonight we learned, from him that we know his brother, Frankie, who works at Dana Villas, as a chef. Both lovely, fun, young men, who are cheerful, funny and personable, despite working 12 hour days, 7 months of the year. Their mother must be so proud of them.

24 October 2017

Thera, is the vilage on Santorini that is featured in advertisements....white buildings tumbling down into the sea. However, you can only see that sight from a boat. Thera has magical views across to islands (formed after a vocanic eruption) and across the Mediteranean sea. However, apart from the archealogical sites , there is nothing much here. The landscape is rocky, arid and barren and incredibly windy. Bottled water has to be drunk, as the tap water is unsafe. BUT the worst thing is thing is that humans are used like donkeys. The young fellow who took our bags to our room carried 45 kilos down 180 steps. Then he will have to carry them up again. I asked the reception if we could have 2 fellows to carry our bags...they were horrified..of course not...only one. Greece is a very poor country, especially after the GFC....people do anything to earn a living. Young and not so young, come from the mainland to work, 12 hrs, 7 days a week, no days off for 7 months, just to have a job.
Thera, Fira, Santorini. The city of Arotiri was at its zenith in 17 C BC, when it was buried under pumice from a volcanic eruption. Evidence of writing, metrical system and divisions of labour have been found. Working along side farmers and stock raisers, were guilds of potters, artists/ painters, weavers, carpenters, ship builders, basket makers, mariners and merchants. Evidence also suggests that the people of Arotiri developed sewergae systems and used money. They traded with other regions in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. Only 3% of this city has been uncovered and it is believed that there is another town built beneath Arotiri.
Some of the 200 steps in Dana Villas.
Decoration on wal in restaurant.
Blowing a gale today.
Gold animal 17 C BC...superb craftmanship.
Highly decortated storage containers, up to a metre high.
Walls were decorated with stunning murals.
Weights from 3700 BC
Portable clay oven 1700 B C
Bath tub 3700 years old excavared at Akrotiri. It is about half the length of a modern bath but deeper.
Bronze hydra 1700 BC
Plaster cast of an intricately carved wooden table, 3700 years old. The wood rotted away leaving hollows in the solid pumice, that can be filled with plaster to reproduce things as they looked originally.
4000 year old jug.
5300 years old
Same mugs we use today. 4200 years old.
Santorini is famous for sunsets. We were treated to a tumultuous sky instead. Stormed later.

23 October 2017

Something lovely.
Beauty in decay
Washing day, Monday.
Bell tower, Santorini.
White houses, blue doors, mandatory on Santorini.
Greek sausages...feed an army.
A Big Fat Greek Salad.
Guess who?...Shall I bring him home with me?. No.......it is not snot on his mo...beer froth.
Where's Shirley Valentine? The beach here is black gravel.
Santorini...beautiful day.
The red beach.
Archealogical dig, Arotiri, Santorini. These ruins were found under layers of pumice stone. The pumice belched from a volcano and covered everything to a depth of up to 80 feet. These remains are estimated to be nearly 4000 years old. The people were small, as demonstrated by the plaster casts of beds. It is believed that the people left the city, after being warned of volcanic action by an earthquake. The eruption caused significant climate change, loss of crops, acid rain and darkness.
Having breakfast. Making the most of a little sun. Rain coming.
Santorini in the evening.

22 October 2017

Nougat has been made in Bacelona for nearly 150 years...chewy, nutty, not too sweet, many flavour combos.
Barcelona- Athens- Santorini. Will never complain about airport queues in Australia again. 1 1/2 hours to check in and go through security at Barcelona aeroport.
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes sin e 1970. World class Flamenco dancers, Barcelona
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes since 1970. World class Flamenco dancers, Barcelona Performance was fantastic...meal not so good. Loved the show...such passion and energy. Fabulous guitar players. Great finale to Barcelona visit.
Police were out in force tonight, bikes riding in pedestrian area of La Rambla. Warning in hotel of protests in certain areas.
Flamenco group of singers and guitarists.
This guy brought the house down.Juan Jose Villar.
Fantastic, amazing foot work. Guitarists playing , drumming on the guitar and facial expressions were priceless.
Amazed that she didn't trip over her skirt. Karime Amaya.
Stunning, facial expression, foot work. Ana Perez. Singers, echoed something very Arabic in the way they vocalised.
Barcelona is a beautiful city of wide,tree shaded streets. Old Gothic area and narrow back streets. Crowded, don't try and get food at 2.00pm in tourist areas...impossible. Heavy, subtle police prescence due to Catalonias bid to become independent.

21 October 2017

Behind the scenes, Las Ramblas...from Olivia Plaza hotel window.
Street musos, Barcelona.
Sangria, eggplant in batter (not butter as menu suggested) and me, Barcelona. Big beers here...1 LITRE.
Are colons edible?
Snails for lunch....... Snail, before lunch. Spaniards love snails. After it rains, they collect them from the fields.
Some strange foods on the menu, here. This might be expected, in a bar called, Colon. Bags of blood sausage, octopuses (are they green?) fried squid's legs, crab thigs, (their spelling, not mine) cod fish donuts, kentucky chicken and highlies in wine sauce?????? Bars in Spain serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sangria, on a hot day.
Rambling in Las Ramblas.
Gaudy, Gaudi. We forgot to book tickets....had to peer through fence....reminiscent of a Tasmanian theme park 30 odd years ago.
On lookers, Sagrada Familia, Gaudi, Barcelona.
The 3 amigo bakers, and helper, Barcelona.

20 October 2017

Ode to Spanish Detours. AKA .....A Corny Poem Take a Spanish Detour On your way to anywhere. Stop in at Riogordo, To taste the country air. Jess and Shane will show you Spain, You will not have a care. In just a wink, No need to think, You'll soon be everywhere. Your eyes will pop, Your jaw will drop, Your heart will miss a beat. All these wondrous sights, Will have you springing from your seat. From Malaga to Gibralter, From Ronda to Comares, Alhambra to Cordoba, Each show their special wares. The history and the culture, The mountains and the sea. All make Spanish Detours, The perfect place to be. Written by Someone With Too Much Time on Their Hands We have been travelling with Spanish Detours.
Last day in Riogordo, Andalucia. Went to Seville. By the way, did I mention the Spanish are very loud? Every conversation is carried out at top volume, morning, noon and night. I am sure there are no secrets in Riogordo.

19 October 2017

Behind the cart you can see the tiled parts of the Spanish expo building that depict the various provines of Spain Last hurrah... Seville....cart ride around the Parque Maria Louisa
Ceramic bridge
Each province in Spain had a tiled niche around the edges of the building. This one is from Madrid.
Spanish Pavillion 1929 World Expo....makes Brisbane 1988 look a bit poor. The bridge railings etc are made of ceramics with patterns on them. All countries participating in the 1929 World Expo, built magnificent pavillions, though not quite the same size as Spain's Pavillion. Many of them still stand and are used by governments or as Consulates.
Main altar and ceiling in the cathedral. Jesus looks rather insignificant amid such opulence. Very telling.
Stained glass in the Cathedral of Seville. The cathedral was built after demolishing the mosque.
Won't forget where I was today.
Luscious gardens.
Tiling in the King's Rooms. Note the date....1598.
The king of Spain stays in the Alcazar when he is in town. This is part of many enormous tapestries depicting victorious Spanish battles.
Courtyard Alcazar.
Exquisite detail, Alcazar.
Intricate, plaster work, carved and painted doors, tiling. Tile patterns are based on multiples of 8.
Gold leaf and painted plaster work, Alcazar Palace. Plaster was mixed with marble dust, making it very durable.
The Gate into the Alcazar. Alcazar, Seville. Similar features to the Alhambra but different history. This time, the crusadors demolished the mosque and built the third largest cathedral in Europe in its place. The Moors arrived in 712. There has been some sort of palace here since then. In 12 th century, the palace was established along the lines we see today. Arabic elements include arabesques, calligraphy and geometric patterns based on the number 8. In the 13 Century, the palaces were claimed by the Catholic kings of Spain. Gothic, Rennaisance and Romanesque elements were added. This style is called Mude`jar. Original parts of the palace remain. Other buildings were added or rebuilt in the Middle Ages
Restoration work being carried out using fine drills, piecing together an amphora and cleaning an ancient tank.
Stunning tree from Argentina.
El Chorro Today we walked the El Caminito del Rey. The King's Walk.7.7km We started off in a thunderstorm in Riogordo. Would the walk be open, due to slippery steps and the danger of falling rocks? Undaunted, we arrived in drizzly rain, walked through a dark tunnel, joined a 1.5 km path to the beginning of the walk. After donning hair nets and hard hats we set off in showery rain. 2 1/2 hours later, sogging and chilled we climbed onto a bus that dropped us outside a restaurant. Then the sun came, just in time for photos of the lake After lunch, we noticed a sign saying that the walk was now closed. We were some of the last people through. As we reached the car, it started to pour, again. Talk about miraculous timing. The original walk way, hung capriciously to the sides of the gorge and was only a couple of feet wide. It ws used to transport construction materials to build a reservoir. For years after, walkers used the trail, even though it was in disrepair and considered dangerous.

18 October 2017

Across the lake, lunch time.
A good long walk deserves a good, apple cake.
Stunning water colour, from limestone.
Guess what? Imported into Portugal and Spain because of quick growth and pulping quailities. They have "gone Feral" ..not good in a dry, stinking hot climate.
Nearing the home trail.
Gorge...ous!
Natures canvas, shapes and colours.
Steve and Shane, swaying in the breeze.
Crossing the gorge.
Long way down. Colours are spectacular.
On the edge. See the peeps?
The only way is up, Shane and Steve.
The track has two gorge sections. They are separated by a track through woodland.
Yester year, along the track.
Oleanders are feral, too.
Love the colours...rock, water.
Finally, on the way, start of walk.
Setting out! El Caminito del Rey. No... Steve hasn't shrunk....Shane is a giant.
Riogordo is a very hilly village.
The good, the bad and the ugly, Riogordo.
Chestnuts roasting.

17 October 2017

Steve and Shane, sherry in oldest bar in Malaga. Drinking Malaga Wine, a sherry type drink.
Malaga market...stained glass window peeping through.
Lunch bar Malaga
Sherry, dry, medium, sweet. The bill is chalked onto the wooden bar.
Tapas. These come in Rations..the biggest , 1/2 rations and tapas. This is a tapas size. Crispy fried potato with a hint of chilli. Tapas size can be as litle as 2 euros.
Tapas dish...Spanirads eat relatively plain food and lots of potatoes...a reflection of the poverty. Tasty stew, with potatoes.
Delicious lambs head, heart, pig's trotters and tripe. Malaga market.
Pork preserved in lard.
Pickled baby eggplants.
These clams were so fresh, they kept opening and shutting their mouths.
Weird Spanish seafood.
Another bar Malaga.
Colourful tiled scenes abound in Malaga.
Anyone for a farton?
Cathedral, Malaga
Almond seller, Malaga. Almonds are grown locally and are yum.
Fatima's hands....protect the house....apparently.
Medieval and Roman ruins, Malaga
The church is very wealthy in Spain. Which church?
El Torcal.
Farmacia, a la Spain Firstly, there is very little on the shelves so there is nothing to look at while you wait. And wait you do. Get out of line to read a few labels, at your peril. Serving in a Farmacia is intricate business. First you must chat to the customer. Then, when the order has been taken, the Farmacist disappears out the back and returns with the stock. Next, she uses a Stanley knife to slice the bar code from the packet.... 4 neat little slices. Next, she neatly sticky tapes the bar code to a piece of paper opposite a copy of the said bar code. Then she places the paper in a neat pile. This procedure can be repeated 3, even four times. Next there is another chat while customer is delving into her purse for the exact amount required. Meanwhile, "the line" grows steadily longer.
Lines Older Spaniards have a well defined sense of "the line". Arriving at the Farmacia for cheap drug run, ( Panadol and Ibrufen for less than 3 Euros) there was no line. One customer was being served, an older man in a straw boater and a grandma, were lounging in a loose clump. I hung loose near them. Next minute, a buxom young women, who had been outside admiring a baby, burst in and rushed up to the counter waving a piece of paper wildly about. Words were exchanged between buxom and Grandma. Buxom held her ground and waited to be served. Grandma, then set about organising the line. First, she advised boater hat, in a few words of Spanish, that he was after her. Next, she pointed at me and started patting her green back. Clearly, I was next after boater. To her credit, Grandma managed to organise all new comers into "the line". Buxom, being young, obviously had no idea of line ettiquette...she thought it perfectly fine to wait in line, out in the street admiring babies.

16 October 2017

Spanish Lines Australians are the most polite people in the world. I know this, because of all the pushing, shoving and attacks from the side, when waiting in line, or merely standing aside for some one else to get by. Do this at your peril. Someone will push in front of you. This may have something to do with long waiting lines and an inefficient Spanish ticket checking system. We Aussies, polite creatures that we are, make a conscious effort not to photo bomb. Not the Europeans or Asians. They seem to be completely unaware of anyone but themselves and the perfect shot they are trying to achieve. Preferably a selfie, in front of an ancient ruin or architectural delight. Then, to add insult to injury, they stand right where they are, admiring their latest master piece.(themselves) .oblivious to the fact that there are 10 people waiting for them to move. Beware of a certain ageing Australian woman who is about to strangle someone.
Alhambra gardens.
Internal courtyard.. Comares Palace. This my favourite photo. Courtyards are called patios in Spain.
Cyprus archways, stunning gardens.
Just a pile of pots.
Generalife Reflective pools.
Amazing craftmanship and architectural design. The Courtyard of the Lions.
Ornate ceiling, The Courtyard of the Lions.
Another example of stunning tiles and intricate craftmanship.
Different patterns and colours.
The Palace Courtyard of the Lions. Internal courtyard with elaborate plaster work and lion fountain.
Palace of Comares. Reflective pool, named for obvious reasons.
Tiled atches.
Example of intricate plaster work on walls throughout the palace.
Ornate plaster details. These would all have been brightly painted.
Colourful tiles
The royal city of the Alhambra ( built over 3 centuries from 889 ..the Alcazaba begins, to the mid 1300's) is one of the most important architectural structures of the Middle Ages and the finest example of Islamic art left in the western world. It comprises Alcazaba an old ctadel, The Nastrid Palaces and the Generalife ( Private retreat for monarchs but near to the Sultan) The photo above is in Palace Comares
Weird Things in Spain. I can buy Maxalt for migraine, over the counter with no prescription. Apparently you can buy blood pressue pills etc with no prescription, but not codeine products that we buy otc.. Weird Fact 2 Farmacia's in small towns have nothing on the shelves. If you want something, they head to a back room, forage around and eventually emerge with the goods. Saves on staff costs, so they say. Weird thing number 3 Spanish don't drink fresh milk...long life, ......• 59 euros for 1 litre. Weird 4 Spanish men are very protective of their masculinity. Hence, it would be an assault on their manhood if dogs and cats were castrated. The result is that cats inhabit every nook and cranny and dogs roam freely through the streets, leaving calling cards, large and small.. Weird 4. Found a new use for panty liners. Good for holding hot coffee in glasses with no handle. Weird 5 The shortness of my skirt is directly proportional to the size of my behind. My skirt is getting shorter.
Shane a bit peeved today. Riogordo lost their football match 4 nil. At least they were not banned for 2 seasons for fighting, like last year.

15 October 2017

Comares...2,300 ft above sea level. Spectacular views of rugged mountains and farms. Here they grow avocadoes and citrus. Lower down beans, tomatoes, peppers and artichokes flourish.
Plenty of Sun, no surf, no sand,....just rough grey gravel.
Sangria drinks are enormous...very sweet...need extra water.
Sangria, Spanish do not drink sangria...only sun burnt Brits.
Looking good.
Almost ready to cook.
Seafood BBQ, Terre de Lagos...on Mediterranean coast
Frigiliana. Bouganvillea abounds.
Frigiliana.
Frigiliana
Frigiliana
Morning tea...Frigliana salted chocolate. No wonder my skirt gets shorter as I get wider.
Frigiliana....impossibly beautiful town....white washed...wealthy...perched as always on a hill. About 15 minute drive to the beach.
Bull in a china shop..Frigiliana.
Octopus, fish BBQ on beach
Shane and Jees own the house where we stayed in Riogordo.View from upstairs lounge.
Fountain opposite the house...note the underground garbage disposal system.
.Riogorda is surrounded by massive rocky out crops.
Chestnut cooker....Saturday night, main square, Riogordo.
Clay storage vats used in the past in Spanish homes.
Ancient house museum in Riogordo. Olive pressing mill in house.
"Our" house and church next door Riogordo.

14 October 2017

Ronda....old and new town separated by a magnificent gorge.
Ronda gorge.
Steps leading to upper ring level...decorated with bull fighting s enes on tiles.
Oldest bull ring in Spain...Ronda.
Originally, bull fighting was under taken on horse back. Bull fighting is a grisly business. The bulls head hangs forward because the tendons have been severed in its neck, before the actual fight.
Churros.....morning tea in Ronda
Andulusia has a rugged mountainous landscape...this is a small rocky out crop. ..One road to Ronda. Seas of olive groves cover vast areas around here.
On road to Ronda.
Over the road from our house is a water fountain. It bubbles and burbles day and night ....very soothing. Another view from the terrace.....very dry hear...the yellow fields are the remains of the summer wheat crop.
Adopting Spanish life...dinner not till 9.30pm last night. Friday night.....kids still up at 11.00pm racing around laughing and playing. The reason for narrow streets, white washed houses and internal courtyards, here in Spain,all revolve around keeping cool in a hot cliimate. Narrow streets are constantly in shade and form a wind tunnel. Same for internal courtyayds, cooled with water and foliage. The white white houses were painted with lime wash that was cheap and reflects the heat. Also, the Muslims did not show their wealth externally,so small and large houses blended together when painted white.
Cordoba...amazing . My ignorance knows no bounds. The Muslims occupied Spain from 711 until 1492. Christians, Muslims and Jews lived togethr in harmony for most of this time. Mesquite means mosque. It was built in Cordoba between 700 and 1000. Huge, simple structure...gob smacking. After Muslims were expelled, the Catholics tore down the middle of the mosque and built a cathedral. I spent most of the afternoon with my mouth open in astonishment. The Catholics have so much to answer for. Obscene opulence and The Inquisition. Look it up on google....disgusting. Muslim history is astonishing...and we are never told about it. Jews produced silver fillagree jewellery and Muslims specialised in leather goods. There are still artisan shops in the old town of Cordoba, selling handmade bags, earings etc.

13 October 2017

This is amazing. Jewish synagoge, built by the muslims,inscribed in Hebrew. Catholics consecrated the building and added a cross.
Spanish house have internal courtyards with gardens and water features to keep cool. Every May there is a "patio" competition. Courtyards like these are filled with flowers in pots.....very pretty, and draws heaps of tourists.
Half cathedral, half mosque.
Alter in the cathedral that was built in the middle of the mosque.
Organ in cathedral section.
Ceiling in the main part of mosque...made up of tiny mosaics.
The Cathloics consecrated the mosque when they took over. Here is Jesus in a Muslim mosque.
The Muslim part of the Mesquite....marble columns and arches supporting the roof.
Cordoba history in posters.
Internal courtyard, Cordoba.
Streets and plazas of Cordoba are lined with Seville orange trees. The fruit ripens at Christmas.....orange Christmas baubles.
Riogordo Being in a village allows much observation of local life. Spaniards talk really loudly, even in the middle of the night. Many family gatherings in the evenings....women and girls, gossiping, old men sauntering about. Fruit and veg are not big in the diet...lots of fried things, including pastries. Spain was and is a very poor country. Reflects in the simple food eaten. 18 % unemployment, but crime rates are low. Great health and education systems and good roads, thanks to EU money. Eating out is inexpensive....glass wine 1 euro. There are no household outdoor garbage bins. Waste is dumped in bins at strategic spots, goes underground and is collected from there, Riogordo has 3 mercatos, about 6 bars/ restaurants, 4 butcher shops, a museum, bank, chemist ,doctor, dentist...everything the locals need...also dog poo. No wonder Spaniards have brown skin, brown eyes and black hair..so many centuries of Arab occupation.
Riogordo...our "local"....rose` ...1 euro a glass.
Flerd herder.
They goats wear bells around their necks, so when they are on the move there is a lovely tinkling sound. The goat dogs are funny, scruffy little things. Flerd jam, Riogordo. ....Shane recckons sheep and goats make flerd.
Upmarket house, Riogordo.
Mules are still used to transport goods to and from fields. Also, to take building supplies to houses in narrow streets. RIOGORDO. Rugged countryside.

12 October 2017

Battle of Trafalgar took place near here.
Road to Gibralter crosses airport runway.
All alone am I.
Boss..... Barbary Ape.
Which one is the ape?
Road up the Rock.
Rock of Gibralter....9 miles from Morocco.
Still pitch dark at 7.30am in Riogordo.
RIOGORDO SPAIN. How many more beautiful places are there in the world? Riogordo is a white washed village of 3,000 people about 40 minutes from Malaga. Shane met us at the airport and drove us to our new home, 2 bedroom spanish house in the heart of the village. Home for next 10 nights Lunched at the local bar with Shane and Jess...lentil soup, pork chop and rice piudding...had to have a sleep this arvo...full as a tick.
Part of the kitchen and front door.
Terrace scene.
East from the terrace.

11 October 2017

Cascais to Malaga, Spain. Easy trip to airport at 5.45am. Little traffic. Huge line at TAP check in, but easily made flight on time.
After the Christians expelled the Moors from Portugal, they forced the Jewish people to convert to Christianity. They were called new Christians. One day someone had a vision of Christ in church, as did all the congregation. A new Christian said " Aw...it's only the reflection from the stained glass" They took the Jew outside and beat him to death. Then they killed untold numbers of Jews because they believed they were the cause of the plague, earthquakes and other miseries. Then they turned their attention to people with defects and mental problems.........some things never change.
Food Tour Today..Campo de Ourique. Madalana , guide plus couple from Hamburg. Ate sardines, fish roe, cod fritters, mussels, chocolate cake, sponge cake, pork balls and bruschetta served on a big piece of pork crackle. Great excitement this arvo when Portugal soccer team was leaving hotel for their game against Switzerland in Lisbon.
Gardens outside our hotel.
Archetectural plantings, Miragem, Caiscais.

10 October 2017

Suburban street scene Lisbon
Green wine made from immature grapes, to be drunk only weeks after bottling....crisp and slightly spritz.
Mussels in oil, garlic, white wine and coriander.
Pork tasting, balls, crackle biscuit, pulled pork bun.
Lisbon characterised by white washed houses and red tiled roofs. These are apartments in suburban Lisbon.
Colourful tinned sardines.
Whole Suckling pig....pork is very popular in Portugal.
Fish market goodies.
Fish market Lisbon. Portugals national dish, sardines.
Ghandi Palace Cascais...best dahl ever.
Ghandi Palace..tamarind, mint and yoghurt, mango and green chillies....oh so hot!
Tips For Visiting Portugal Don't go in summer......hot now and the sites are still crowded. Set out early to beat the crowds. Allow more time to get there than you think you need. Despite having 2 GPS systems we managed to take an hour to travel 16 kms....via beautiful country side and villages, fortunately. Buy tickets on line to avoid huge line ups. Sit on right when going on train to Lisbon from Cascais (Cashaish). Buy a pass at the station. Trips are 2.20 euros but you can load the card with as much money as you like. A week in Cascais is not near enough .....so much to see and do in Lisbon and surrounding areas. I think I feel a 70th birthday present coming on....a return trip to Portugal.
MY BRUSH WITH FAME I put on my best perplexed Grandma look and siddled up to a bloke in the lobby and said winsomely " Are you a soccer player? He looked up, rather perplexed, and said "yes" ( Jenny........you may cringe now, it was worse than Red Symons in Bunnings) Then, most originally and wittily I said " I hope you win tomorrow" . I was rewarded with a nod of assent. Now Who Was He? ...no not Ronaldo but the next best thing. Andre Silva, who has just been signed by ACMilan from Portugal for 38 million Euros. He apparently is heir to Ronaldo. I am sorry I don't have a photo of the occasion, but the moment will be seared in my heart for ever. The lobby is crawly with Portugal soccer players and I had a lovely chat in the lift with another player. Portugal is playing Switzerland tomorrow. Please don't tell James Ranwell, I am sure he will die of jealousy.

9 October 2017

The toasted sandwiches are yum...and enormous.
Sintra is a small town about 16 kms from Cascais. It is snuggled up against a mountain.The mountain has an old Moorish palace ruin From the 10-12 th century. The road up the mountain is narrow and tortuous, through ancient shady forest and squeezed between enormous boulders and high stone walls. Stunning forest and shady glens. Skipped the castle because lines were so long.
Bronze age artifacts from Castle site.
Walk up to the Moorish Castle....leaves are on the turn.
Posh scotch and soda.
Now who is a happy chappy?
Obidos...small walled village about 1 1/2 drive from Cascais. ....very similar to San Gimingno Italy

8 October 2017

Put your feet up and rest awhile.
Could be in Spain, Southrn California or Mexico...Obidos.
Countryside seen from town wall Obidos....little white station.
Church Obidos.
Artistic street addition, Obidos.
Portugal must buy...... cork bag....and I did.
Playing up a storm in Obidos.
Gate leading into Obidos
We haven't actually left Brisbane...we have been driving up and down the Bruce Highway for 2 months.
Lisbon has an interesting history. They have been a world power, after large scale exploration and imperialism. They have been connquered by the Muslims, conquered by the Catholics, been subject to a dictator for 40 years until 1974. Salizan was his name and he wanted to keep Portugal in a time warp.....peasant people and no Coca Cola or anything modern. The Muslims brought the colourful tiles to Portugal and Spain in 13th Century.
One for Eli and Matte.....Portuguese scouts at Maccas.

7 October 2017

Graffiti is everywhere....everyone seems to ignore it. Railway stations (As usual) are great canvases for the budding artist.
Chips....Lisbon style.
Artisan, Lisbon
Lisbon has been ravaged by an earthquake in 1755. It was a Sunday and everyone was in church. Thousands of candles were burning during the services. The earthqauke destryed most of the buildings. Fires caused by the burning candles increased the devastation. Next an enormous tsunami swept through Lisbon destroying what was left. Atheism became popular as people. came to doubt how their benevolent God could allow so much destruction to occur.
Lisbon has seven hills. We walked one of them. Trolley cars are used to ferry people around.
For Larah!!!!!! Proper Portuguese tarts are wonderful..dark brown crisp and brim full of delicious custard.
Saturday morning relaxation, Lisbon This little chap is sporting a large diamond studded earing.
Grandpa, enjoying pastries...or not!!!!

6 October 2017

They are every where.....oleanders and lantana.
Is that a grater and a knife he is using as an instrument? Part of a band performing in the square when we stopped for a drink.
Tiles.....some house exteriors are completely tiled. Tiled scenes are everywhere.
Impressions of Portugal Warm, friendly people....most speak English. Cascais is a suburb of Lisbon right on the coast. ......magnificent walks along the coast in either direction. Cascais reminds me of southern California and Nice, although it is nicer than Nice. Nice, nicer, Nice. Everything is very clean....lots of trees and gardens....very Mediterranean. Yesterday we walked for hours to the laundromat,. It was very hot....rescusitated by a Portuguese tart. Next door to the hotel (Cascais Miragem if you want to check it out) is a gym, Holmes Place, with spa, indoor pool and cafe. Great for breakfast...view over the ocean. The Atlantic Ocean is colder than the Adriatic...did not stop the swimmers on yesterdays public holiday, though. So far, I really like Portugal....looking forward to a walking tour of Lisbon tomorrow and a food tour on Monday. The train station is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Takes 30 - 40 minutes into Lisbon and costs only a couple of Euros.
Huge moon rising over Estoril
Board walk along ocean from Cascais to Estoril
Beach, Cascais style.

5 October 2017

Portugal famous for tiles. Road signs are few and far between but are very pretty.
Morning has broken.
Just arrived in Cascais via Rome. Long day...hotel is beautiful. Took a bit of time to get used to driving in Lisbon traffic..very congested this afternoon. Lanes often not clearly marked. Portuguese drivers are maniacs.