Category: Destinations

Cheltenham and the Cotswolds of England

 

 

 

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As part of our 2018 UK tour, we spent a couple of days in Cheltenham, England and surrounding area. As the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup is the main event of the Cheltenham Festival, held every March.

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Fortunately, we missed all that hooplah, and it was a quaint, peaceful, cozy town, or borough, as they call them in England.

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We stayed at the most adorable bed & breakfast you ever saw (above). In all honesty, they sold themselves as a hotel (The Beaumont House Hotel), but it had a very B & B feel to it.

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Checkout the view from our bedroom window. That’s Jana relaxing out back at the table.

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As part of our time here, we took an excursion out into the beautiful Cotswolds. The Cotswolds is a rural area of south central England covering 2,038 km2 (504,000 acres). It’s roughly 25 miles (40 km) across and 90 miles (140 km) long. The area of the Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England (second to the Lake District).

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When you close your eyes and think of the rolling hills of rural England, this is it! Grassland harbour thatched medieval villages, churches and stately homes built of distinctive local yellow limestone. Time seems to stand still here.

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I half expected to see Frodo and Gandalf emerge from this house (above).

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Some of you may actually recognize this house, above. Try and picture the scene covered in snow. This was Bridget Jone’s parent’s house in Bridget Jone’s Diary. Parts of Braveheart were also filmed near here.

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But be sure to book a professional tour guide if you want to find all the most beautiful and interesting spots. We really enjoyed our time here.

 

Bath, England

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Beautiful and historic Bath. Known for it’s 18th century Georgian architecture, hot springs, and of course Roman-built baths. It’s located about a hundred miles west of London and is situated in the valley of the River Avon.

The Baths of Bath

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These extremely well preserved baths were built around 70 A.D. and are a must see attraction. The presentation goes well beyond just the main bath area itself.

All of the ancient artifacts that were uncovered are also displayed here. Wander through caves where the springs and private bath areas were.

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You also need to swing by the Royal Crescent. Amazing architecture by John Wood built in the 18th century. Oh yeah, that grass is supposed to be green this time of year. It’s been an unusually hot, dry summer in Europe.

 

The No.1 Royal Cresscent (above) is the very first one that was completed and it’s open to the public. It is decorated in the style of the time to give you an idea how the wealthy lived in downtown style back then. Definitely worth an hour or so to visit.

The city of Bath just seems to have a natural, inherent beauty:

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And of course, being on the River Avon is a big help:

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With all this, plus great restaurants and shopping, this is a no-brainer if you’re ever looking to escape London for a day or two.

Spend some time just wandering around this beautiful, relaxing town as you take in all the sites and shops. This was our second visit to Bath, and we wouldn’t hesitate to go again.

 

 

 

Kew Gardens

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The Royal Botanical Gardens, located in Kew Park are the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world”. Founded in 1840, the exotic garden at Kew Park in Middlesex, London, is a beautiful 300 sprawling acres of greenhouses and gardens.

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Each of the greenhouses is meticulously maintained and elegantly presented. There are a dozen plant houses in total.

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Unbelievably beautiful and immaculate interior gardens. And well documented with detailed descriptions of each presentation. But who reads that crap anyway? Oh wait, is that Bryan down there reading the plaque?

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And is that Melissa photo bombing me?! You see her there? What a punk!

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And speaking of photo bombing, if you look closely in these great pics, above, you should be able to see the giant koi fish.

And it’s not just the greenhouses that are beautiful. The entire 300 acre park is absolutely amazing. It takes 750 employees to maintain it all.

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That’s the pagoda tower in the backdrop, above. We didn’t go to it, but supposedly you can climb up it and get a great view of the surrounding area. But the Treetop Walkway also offers a great view, and we did go up there:

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The pictures kind of speak for themselves. And the view was just incredible!

In addition to the dozen or so greenhouses, there were also another dozen buildings that weren’t greenhouses. The pagoda tower, restaurants, museums… you could easily spend an entire day here. We really enjoyed it.

 

St Albans, England

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The Cathedral

St Albans is a small town in  the commuter belt north of London. It is also the sight of a famous cathedral, you guessed it, St Albans Cathedral. St Albans, the man, was executed on this site about 1700 years ago for proudly standing up in the name of Christianity.

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Let me start by saying this place is a photographers dream. The cathedral is probably the most photogenic place I have ever been to. The cathedral  and grounds are absolutely beautiful.

Inside are breathtaking art presentations and architectural wonders.

 

The Roman Theatre of Verulamium

 

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Not far from the cathedral is the amazing ruins of the 2nd century Roman theatre.

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You can see in the artists rendition, above, how the theatre would have looked back then.

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You can still hear the ancient clapping and feel the ghosts wandering around this rare excavation. In addition to theatre, it is believed the site was also used for sporting events and public executions.

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Right behind the ruins is a huge park. Within the park are remnants of the old Roman city wall, a museum displaying ancient artifacts uncovered at the site, and a beautiful lake. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

 

 

Wimbledon, England

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The Town

We stayed in the quaint town of Wimbledon for our first six days in the London area. We found a very nice condo via Airbnb. The town of Wimbledon is small and cozy. There was a grocery store and a couple of typical British pubs within walking distance of our condo.

We rode the bus and metro to all the places we went. The bus stop was very convenient to our condo, although the ride into London was around 45 minutes.

The Club

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I am not a big tennis fan. Seriously, John McEnroe was the last tennis player I ever watched. I remember seeing him throwing his tennis racket around and yelling at the judges all the time.

 

But even so, you cannot deny the historical significance of Wimbledon. We took the grounds tour of the club, and even though I am not a big fan, it was really fascinating to see all the behind the scenes stuff.

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I enjoyed our tour. The court, above, needs a little love to get it back in shape. It has been record-breaking hot and dry in London this summer (all of Europe). But rest assured, it will be pristine by the time the next championships come next year.

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Of course if you are a fan, like our friend Melissa (above), then this place is even more special. Sorry about the blurry picture, but we didn’t take it, the tour guide did. It’s so hard to get good pictures of celebrities.

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And here’s a nice view of London from Wimbledon (above).

Saint Petersburg, Russia

 

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Travel

For us, getting to  Saint Petersburg really was half the fun. We took an overnight cruise ship from Stockholm to Helsinki. We spent the day in Helsinki, including a five hour bike tour, then took a different overnight cruise from there to Saint Petersburg.

We stayed in Saint Petersburg for a couple of days. Jana’s ability to adapt, linguistically, to most everywhere we go is phenomenal. But she felt the Russian language was just too complicated for an independent tour on our first trip. To offset this, we hired a guide to take us around and show us the sights. This turned out to be a good decision for us. But there were a lot more people that spoke English than we would have thought, so next time, we could opt to go independent if we wanted to.

Saint Petersburg

This is the first Russian town (that Russia still holds) that I have ever been to. It is the second largest city in Russia (with only Moscow being bigger). It was the capital of Russia until 1918.  The capital was moved further inland to Moscow due to the looming German forces.

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As with other European cities, Saint Petersburg’s history is a long, bloody tale of wars, politics, and assassinations. What I found intriguing about Saint Petersburg was the history of its name. Most people don’t realize that it used to be named Leningrad.

So let’s back up a second. It was originally named Saint Petersburg. But in 1914, after the outbreak of WWI, it was renamed Petrograd in order to expunge the German-sounding words from the name. In 1924, following Lenin’s death, it was renamed to Leningrad, which translates to “Lenin’s city”. Then, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was renamed back to Saint Petersburg.

Another interesting tidbit on Saint Petersburg is that during WWII, the city remained under siege by German forces for two and a half years. This proved to be one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of a major city in modern history.

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Above is the Winter Palace. This was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs.

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Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, above, is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city. It is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest cathedral in the world. During WWII, the dome (plated with pure gold) was painted grey to avoid attention from enemy aircraft.

 

Absolutely fascinating story of the construction, and of the breathtaking art presented inside. Some time after the completion, much of the artwork began to rapidly deteriorate due to the moisture in the air from being so close to the ocean. So they began the absolutely painstaking process of converting all of the artwork to mosaics, which would last infinitely longer. The effort was never completed.

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The breathtaking Church of the Savior on Blood. Taking the lessons learned from Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, all of the artwork was originated in mosaic. If you have been following The Travelin’ Man, then perhaps recall from our travels in Helsinki where I discussed how much they loved Alexander II there and all the work he did to raise that city to greatness. Not everyone was happy with his philosophy of modernizing Russia. This church was built on the site where poor old Alexander II was fatally wounded by an assassin’s bomb. He was whisked away to the Winter Palace, where he died a few hours later.

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If you zoom in closely, you can see the millions of individual tiles used to complete the artwork.

Peterhof Palace

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There were a lot of famous people tied to the history of Saint Petersburg, and it would take years to study and document them all (or you could just go read Wikipedia). But there were a couple of exceptional importance that left a considerable mark on the city, and in fact, the country and even beyond. One was, of course, Peter the Great. I mean, they did name the city after him! So you should definitely stop by his old digs while you’re in town.

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We spent the good part of a day here, and still didn’t see everything. As with all great palaces, it’s not just the breathtaking beauty, or draw dropping excessive over the top expensive construction and decorating that you want to see; it’s also about the surrounding grounds and gardens:

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Catherine Palace

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Catherine I of Russia was married to our friend, Peter the Great. The original structure was built in 1717 as a summer palace. You know….. just a little summer palace to hang out with your girlfriends while Peter is out conquering the world.

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Then came Empress Elizabeth, one of twelve children to Catherine and Peter. When she became Empress of Russia, she felt the old summer palace was just too outdated and small. So in 1752 she had it torn down and rebuilt on a much grander edifice in a flamboyant Rococo style.

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Next was the Empress Catherine II of Russia (no relation to Elizabeth…. long story). She disliked the flamboyant gold plating and extravagant styles of Elizabeth. So she remade the palace in a more modest vision, if that word can even be used in this context.

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But after Catherine the Great passed away in 1796, the palace was not used by subsequent monarchs, who preferred the nearby Alexander Palace as a residence. After the Great Fire of 1820, Catherine’s grandson, Emperor Alexander I decided to refurbish the place to restore it back to the condition it was in while he was growing up there (Alexander I was raised by his grandmother, Catherine the Great… also a long story).

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The palace was targeted and gutted by the Nazi’s during their retreat in WWII. Fortunately, the Soviets had documented the place in great detail, which was very useful during the restoration. Although the largest part of the reconstruction was completed by 2003, much work is still required to restore the palace to its former glory. This effort is still ongoing today.

Hermitage Museum

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This is an interesting place. It consists of six buildings total. Five of these buildings are open to the public, namely the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and the Hermitage Theatre.

I cannot convey to you how big this place is. It comprises over three million items! This includes the largest single collection of paintings in the world. And it is, overall, the second largest museum in the world.

As you wonder around in this vast museum and encounter room upon room upon building after building, it is truly information overload.

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You could literally spend several weeks exploring all the displays. Here’s an image I copied from google that will hopefully put this into perspective:

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It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great initially to house the impressive collection of paintings she had acquired from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky (yup, another long story).

 

But the museum wasn’t opened to the public for nearly another one hundred years, in 1852. Hence the name “Hermitage” – it was given this name because of its exclusivity – in its early days, only very few people were allowed to visit.

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Now, having said all that, how I cannot possibly even begin to show you any pictures that would scratch the surface of what is observed in this museum city!

Just look at this magnificent painting of the coronation of Alexander III:

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Collections include inspiring works from renowned artists. See above, Michaelangelo and Van Gogh. This entire floor is mosaic:

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While you will never cover it all in a single visit, you should definitely set aside some time to visit this incredible place. Everywhere you look, from floor to ceiling, is art and beauty, not just the displayed items.

 

In Summary

We enjoyed our stay in Saint Petersburg and would definitely come back again. Tons of things to see and do. We barely scratched the surface. While I had never really considered Russian food before, I must say it was quite delicious. Saint Petersburg is loaded with great bars, restaurants, and parks. I will say, it felt a little weird knowing we were in Russia….

 

Helsinki, Finland

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Helsinki was originally established as a Swedish trading town in 1550. It existed as a small and inconsequential town plagued by wars, poverty, and diseases for the next 200 years. The Swedes built the Sveaborg sea fortress (which we visited, see further below) in the 18th century. While this helped improve the city a little, it wasn’t until the Russians defeated Sweden in the Finnish war in 1809 that things began to turn around. Russia annexed Finland as the Grand Dutch of Finland. The Russians used Finland as sandbox for testing neo-political and financial concepts in hopes of eventually upgrading their own outdated ways. Thus, the Russians invested heavily in the infrastructure of the city. That is why most of the city has Russian architecture.

Bicycle Tour of the City

We took the overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki. We met our tour guide at the main square and did a five hour bike tour of the city. It’s a great way to learn your way around and get to know the city. Funny thing about the square. If you look closely at the picture (above), there is a restaurant on the left called Memphis! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to try it out. Maybe next time….

The Three Magnificent Churches of Helsinki

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There are three must see churches in Helsinki. This (above) is the Uspenski Eastern Orthodox cathedral. It was finished in 1868. Note the Russian architecture.

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This one (above) is officially the Temppeliaukio Lutheran church. But it is commonly known as the Rock Church. Inhibited by the high costs of building on such rocky terrain, the architects decided to go with the natural flow of the rocks. At the time, it was highly controversial and many frowned on the idea of a church built in a rock. But the architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen did not back down and completed construction in 1969. Once people saw the end result and went inside, they loved it!

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This (above) is the Helsinki Cathedral. It is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki. While it has undergone several “facelifts” over the years, the original church was built from 1830-1852.

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And here it is again from the direct front. The fellow with the bird on his head is Alexander II. He was the Emperor of Russia at the time and was largely responsible for building up Finland. Incidentally, he met his demise in St. Petersburg, Russia, where an assassin blew him up. We visited that site later in our trip.

All the Rest

Great restaurants and pubs, beautiful parks, and amazing artwork abound throughout this city.

 

Suomenlinna Island

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This is the island I previously referred to as the Sveaborg fortress. It was constructed during the Swedish occupation in the second half of the 18th century to defend against the ongoing war between Russia and Sweden. But it ultimately surrendered to the Russians in 1808, ending some seven centuries of Swedish occupation of Finland. Over the next 109 years, the Russians occupied and improved upon the fortress as it became a significant defensive resource for the protection of the then capital of Russia, St. Petersburg. As late as 1917, it was fortified with massive artillary units and anti-aircraft defenses and used as a small submarine base.

 

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There is actually a submarine on display on the island. But not a Russian sub. This sub was built in 1933, so it pre-dates even the u-boats. In fact, it was ordered by the Germans and built by a Dutch engineering firm.

Now I’m not saying the Germans copied this model for their earlier u-boats, but she does bear a striking resemblance.

she was used by the German Navy as CV-707 for about a year, but then purchased by the Finnish state in 1936 and christened Vesikko. She served in the Finnish navy, including during the Continuation War through 1944.

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She began her life as a museum exhibit in 1973 and has since entertained around one million visitors.

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But the island was not only a substantial fortress of the time, it was also a city within the city. Even today, there are nearly 900 people that live on the island.

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We spent well over half of a day walking around and taking in the beauty and history of this amazing fortress. Many of the ammo bunkers and caves are open. And no, that’s not a hobbit house!

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

Ageless City

There is something eternally young about Krakow. The city literally dates back to the stone ages, and it wasn’t bombed during WWII (a little bit, very minor damage). It was rebuilt after the Mongol invasion razed it in the thirteenth century and has, for the most part, remained intact.

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Thus, it is technically a very old city. But there is just something about it as you are wondering around, admiring its many historic styles of architecture, beautifully landscaped parks, and its eloquent and distinctive old town. It just feels young, vibrant, and thriving. Would that any of us could age as well as Krakow!

 

So many things to see and do in this great town. Just walking around, you will experience the beauty and art that is everywhere. Around almost every corner is a shady park with some music or dance festival underway.

 

 

St. Mary’s Basilica

As with most European cities, it also has some of the most beautiful, old churches.

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One of the churches here is particularly famous. It is called St. Mary’s Basilica.

 

 

We went inside this one and it is chock full of amazing sculptures, paintings, and lots of gold.

Wawel Castle

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On the south side of the old town, the Wawel Royal Castle presides over the city. We walked up to it and toured the gardens, but didn’t go inside.

 

Polish Food!

 

And then, of course, there is the food! Polish sausage, pierogi dumplings, potato pancakes (and with pork goulash), yum yum yum!

 

We even tried some Polish craft beer. And as you can read, above, it was the BEST beer in the world!

 

Wieliczka Salt Mine

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We took a tour bus out to see the Wieliczka salt mines. This is one of the oldest and largest salt mines in history. It began commercial mining in the thirteenth century. It halted production in 1996 because the price of salt fell too low to continue mining it.

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It is 287 kilometres (178 mi) long! There are nine levels. We only went down to the third level, which put us 135m (442 ft) underneath the surface.

 

 

It was extremely interesting to see whole caves, walls, statues, and steps all carved directly out of the salt down there.

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They even had a salt statue of Pope John Paul II (in case you didn’t know, he is from the Krakow area).

 

There is even a full chapel, made completely from salt.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

 

We also visited the concentration camp. This is a very emotional topic and locale, so I won’t dwell on it, other than to say it is definitely worth seeing. It is important to remember our past in hopes that it will never be repeated. It is presented as a museum and was extremely well done and educational.

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We also went by Schindler’s factory as part of a bicycle tour, but we didn’t go inside. The tour went by each of the places that were used in the movie.

We Love Krakow!

 

There is so much to see and do and love in Krakow. We had a really good time and would absolutely come back here.

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And….we were so honored that they named a street after Jana!

 

 

More Portugal

More Portugal

When we visited Portugal with our friend, Marie, we did a lot of things there. So many, in fact, that The Travelin’ Man almost couldn’t keep up. I KNOW, right? It’s true. I did publish articles on our experiences with Lisbon, Porto, Belém, and Sintra. In case you missed those or want to see them again, click on these links:

  • Lisbon, capital city of Portugal
  • Porto, city on the river Douro
  • Belém, Royal retreat
  • Sintra, magnificent castle and palace

We also explored some other areas that I am not going to do a full article on. But they were special and fun, and I got some great photos that I wanted to share. So here is the final submission for Portugal…

The Vineyards of Pinhão and Alijó

We hired a van to take us out into the Pinhão and Alijó areas. This is deep into the vineyards of Portugal where much of the port wines originate, as well as other Portuguese wines.

 

We took a rabelo boat up the Douro river, which cuts right through the middle of the amazing vineyards. The area is absolutely breathtaking. Magnificent rolling hills that fold into the Douro river. Enjoy:

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Venturing Out

We hired a driver from Choice Car to take us from Porto to Guimarães. Then we went from there to Braga.

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Our driver was Miguel Carvalho. He was friendly, professional, and knowledgeable of the area. Thank you, Miguel!

Guimarães

 

Here, we visited the very distinctive medieval Castelo do Guimarães:

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Braga

 

The beautiful and divine Bom Jesus:

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On our way back in, we stopped and walked along the beach:

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This is on the Atlantic side; we were waving to all our friends in the US.

 

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

We met up with our friend, Marie, in Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. Our time in Lisbon, including a fantastic day-trip out to the Sintra mountains is documented in previous articles.

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After touring in and around Lisbon for a couple of days, we relocated to Porto via a three hour train ride. The above picture was some of the tiled artwork inside the train station at Porto. Just amazing. A small example of the culture of Porto.

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While in Porto, we ate at some great restaurants, took a magnificent food tour, and took in the beautiful city. We even went to a Port wine tasting. While we really enjoyed our stay in Lisbon, there was something about Porto that appealed to us more.

 

We also did two separate day-trips. One was out into the unbelievably beautiful vineyards deep in the foothills of Portugal, and the other was out into the less traveled towns of Guimarães and Braga. Both of these excursions are documented in a separate article (or will be soon).

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Porto sits literally right on the banks of the Douro river. Like Lisbon, it is a very hilly town, so you may want to hit that stair master a few times before coming out!

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The food in Porto, very much like Lisbon, is excellent. We did splurge on one really fancy restaurant while we were there. It was on the top tier, overlooking the city (see above). It was called Yeatman’s. Spectacular views from up there! Great food and drinks as well.

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While we’re on the subject, there is a drink they make here that is named after the town itself called Porto Tónico. We noticed that each bar or restaurant had their own version of the drink, and some were better than others. It’s a cocktail made with white port (a fortified wine made from white Douro Valley grapes), tonic water, and usually a citrus garnish, most often a dehydrated orange slice, but this varies by bar. The porto tónico tastes like a cousin of the gin and tonic, but refreshing like an aperol spritzer. Simply delicious and low in alcohol.

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There is artwork scattered throughout this creative city. We encountered this giant rabbit during our travels here. I had no idea why it was here, so I looked it up online. It was done by a man who goes by Bordalo II. You can see his signature there on the bottom right. He made this completely out of things he found in the city. And as it turns out, the guy is actually pretty famous. He has also done similar artwork in Paris, Dublin, San Nicolas (Aruba), Tallin (Estonia), and Hamburg. It makes me mad because I have been to some of those places and had no idea. If I had known I would have sought them out. Oh well. But we are planning a tour in Ireland later this year. Maybe we’ll swing by Dublin for a quick photo op!

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Check these boats out (above). These are called “rabelo” boats. They were used way back in the day before railways to transport the port wine (and people) from vineyards in the Douro Valley. They are unique to Portugal. We rode on one that is similar, but bigger when we visited the Douro Valley. That article will be coming soon.

The Great Porto Food Tour

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One of the highlights of our stay in Porto was the walking food (and wine) tour. Jana always says there is no better way to get to know a city than to take a guided walking tour. And the food, she says, is part of the adventure. With a walking food tour, you get to do both of those things at the same time. And if you are lucky enough to get a really good, local guide, as we did, you will not only experience the food, but you will go where the locals go to get it. We enlisted Porto Walkers as our expert local guide to show us around. Our guide, Alex, not only showed us these great food treasures, but also briefed us on the history of the area and of the food itself. It was very enjoyable and educational.

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Our first spot was the local marketplace. All manner of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and breads. Alex took us to several different places within the marketplace where we got to taste some of the loacal snacks, breads, and cheeses.

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There is a restaurant within the marketplace that specializes in sausage. They bring it out on this special plate-grill. Unfortunately, the flames didn’t come out well on the iPhone picture, above, but if you look closely you can see them. The fire is coming from the special plate-grill. You turn the sausages yourself, cooking them the way you want them. The one in front isn’t burned, it’s a blood sausage. I’ve never been a big fan of blood sausage, but Alex convinced me to try it, and man it was awesome! It was paired with some great vinho verde. We all enjoyed this so much that we vowed to come back on our own for a sit-down meal here.

 

When Alex brought us to this place (above), he asked if this was a place we would have come on our own. Well, we probably wouldn’t have gone in, even if we had been able to find it. Once you step inside, your nostrils are rewarded with the smell of great cooking, and the place was packed with locals. We got some very traditional Portuguese dishes here and some refreshing vinho verde.

 

They love the pork in Porto. I should say they love the pig, all of it; that plate on the left has two treats on it. One is pig’s ear, the other is pig’s intestines! Um, ok, a little too fancy for my palate, but no one leaves this place hungry…

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They also brought out the traditional ham and cheese sandwiches, YUM, and some fish sandwiches. And a nice glass of espadal to top it off – fantastic. And uh, for the record, Jana did eat some of the pig’s ear which she said was great, but she passed on the intestines. I find that surprising, considering she ate some haggis while we were in Scotland.

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We stopped at a cute little side cafe for some espresso. I am a big fan of espresso, I just love the flavor of it. In Porto (and Lisbon), they add just a spot of milk to the top of the espresso. It’s called ‘uma bica’, and even though it’s just a drop of milk, it really smoothes out the espresso. I drank it that way the rest of our stay.

 

Every place we went on this tour was delicious and entertaining. The food was the very best of Porto. The cod cakes (above) literally just melt in your mouth. And there were three or four places where we got to try out some of the port wines.

There was this one place we went to where we all just sitting there, enjoying our food and drink when, suddenly, one of the waitresses just busted out into song! It was fabulous and completely unexpected.

 

And of course, what food tour anywhere in the country would be complete without a taste of Pastel de Nata!? We watched as they made them right in front of us got ours right out of the oven. Exquisite!

I could just go on and on about all the things we did in Porto. Be sure to check for ‘Portugal’ under the ‘Destinations’ button on the web site to see other places we went while in Portugal. I do still have a couple of more articles coming in for Portugal, so be sure to follow me on the site so that you will get notified when these stories are published. It was a wonderful, magical place to be. We really enjoyed our stay and will probably be going back with some other friends as part of a riverboat wine tour that begins and ends in Porto. That’s gonna be awesome!!