Driving through Portugal
“Wet or fine the air in Portugal has a natural happiness in it, and the people of the country should be as happy and prosperous as any people in the world.” H.G.Wells
I love Lisbon and Porto but in addition Portugal has some of the most beautiful towns, and villages in all of Europe On my last trip I was lucky to include Sintra, Cascais and Estoril.
This time we have our wonderful tour guide Tiago who took us through these lovely towns. I googled guide to drive from Porto to Lisbon. Sometimes the internet connects you to just the right person. Tiago was interesting, kind and very knowledgeable about his country. He could change plans in a minute if necessary and made it the perfect itinerary for us. It is a local company which I always prefer and dealing with them online is easy. I highly recommend him if you are in Porto. https://www.4u2enjoy.pt/
Amarante is a settlement since the fourth century BC and municipality halfway between Porto and the Douro Valley.
A church and monastery sit theatrically beside a rebuilt medieval bridge over the Rio Tamega.
The scene is spectacular.
The town enjoys some small degree of fame for being the hometown of São Gonçalo.
He is Portugal’s St Valentine and is the target for lonely hearts who make pilgrimages here in the hope of finding true love.
it is located on one of the original Portuguese routes of the Camino Del Santiago.
Coimbre is a pretty riverside city with a Unesco World Heritage University that dates back to Roman times.
The oldest part of Coimbra University occupies the former Royal Palace on top of the city’s highest hill.
Coimbra’s university, founded in 1290, is Portugal’s oldest and most distinguished, and a third of the city’s 35,000-strong population are students.
The Baroque library is quite impressive and a colony of bats is nurtured within it to keep the insect population down.
St Michael’s Chapel is a blend of decorative tiles and sea themed ceiling paintings with a 3,000 pipe organ protruding from the wall.
The large Room of Acts once a throne room with its unique silver and gold paneling and portraits of Portuguese monarchs is where the PHD students take their exams.
Obidos is a small town in central Portugal. Hiding on a hill behind its medieval fortifications, it forces the modern world to wait outside.
Inside are quaint cobblestone streets, historic houses with yellow and blue stripes and whitewashed bougainvillea-draped houses. It is easy to wander on the stairs and alleys when you go off the main streets filled with souvenir shops.
Thought it dates back to the Romans, the fortifications and colors come from the Moors.
When you visit the St James Church you see a bookstore inside because of Obidos commitment to culture and literature.
There are a number of bookshops in unconventional settings like an organic market and in a wine cellar.
There’s one local custom worth trying in Obidos. It’s a shot of the local ginja which is a Portuguese cherry liquor.
The ginja comes in an edible chocolate cup.
.Obidos is actually surrounded by a lot of cherry trees so I believe so the ginja is locally made.
At sunset, we stop in Mafra.
Tiago has arranged for us to meet a luthier who makes Portuguese guitars.
His home overlooks a beautiful beach and a fado singer drops by.
It is a perfect end to the day.