Before having this website I had done an interesting travel around Portugal and I believe it is worthwhile keeping record of what I did best. It has been 10 years, the currency was escudo, but the places remain there and deserve to be visited.
I escorted my grandma, who was 78 at the time, with a group of Catholic elder ladies and an Italian priest on an excursion to Fátima. It was quite odd, I only recommend it for the really devoted ones. But it was fine, for after 5 days the group came back to Brazil, we paid a fine and spent a couple more days traveling around other cities. Eventually, grandma confessed she had her dream come true, but that the following days had been the most fun.
It is a small country, fast to know it all. We spent some days in LISBON visiting museums and touristic points – there is a lot to do, I loved it. I particularly enjoyed the view from SAINT GEORGE CASTLE; inside JERÓNIMOS MONASTERY; walking along TEJO with the BELÉM TOWER and several other monuments. I found the Museum of Design at BELÉM CULTURAL CENTER.
We had an acquaintance in Aveiro who invited us to drive around the country, together with him and his mother. It was perfect, we met them in Aveiro and there was our base. Every day we took a different direction, going to some cities and came back to sleep.
The coolest ride was to PORTO, a lot of wineries, architecture and history. We went along DOURO RIVER until the border of Spain. Great view, cliffs, grapevines and fine restaurants. I had lots of good wine and ate pretty well.
I visited one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, BUÇACO PALACE HOTEL, on the Buçaco Woods in Aveiro. I had the time of my life walking in the gardens with labyrinths designed by the woods.
I told my friend I was from Pelotas (RS-Brazil), Home of Handmade Sweets, and that the recipes were Portuguese. He drove me to the city of Portuguese sweet – AROUCA. Go ahead and let your mouth water, because the variety is much bigger. It is a small town near Lamêgo, Viseu.
About FÁTIMA, all you can do is go to the mass, visit churches, pray and visit touristic points about the three shepherd children. I enjoyed the last part and a Russian church, a lot different from the others. My apologies to the Catholics, but the mass is unbearable, it starts at 6am and finishes at midnight, being held by different priests speaking different languages. To run away from it all I had to walk in the surroundings of town, for there were speakers on every corner, with live mass. Nowhere to spend money, only religious art for sale.
It is located in LEIRA, where I found caverns with interesting stalactite, footprints of prehistoric animals and views. The monasteries and beaches are worth the visit. I recommend MOSTEIRO DE SANTA MARIA DE ALCOBAÇA and MOSTEIRO DA BATALHA. And NAZARÉ Beach, a small village with nice view from the top of a cliff.
Get in any Candy Shop around the country and enjoy the Portuguese sweets.
Translated by Lúcia Maciel
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