A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: fredgailmiller

Getting ready for the trip

Where did I put that passport......

semi-overcast 16 °C

We are leaving on May 11th for Portugal & Madeira. Fred’s daughter & family (Sasha Pishalski, husband Dave Nobrega and son Lucas) are already there and we will join them in Porto in Northern Portugal. Dave is equal parts Portuguese and Italian. Sasha & Dave are both special needs teachers in Toronto and get their summers off. Last year they spent a month in Italy.


From Sasha: After a long overnight flight we arrived in Lisbon and immediately drove to Évora. Sooooo happy to be sitting here at the start of another family adventure. It’s a return for Dave and I who back-packed our way across Portugal in 2002.

We will be traveling into the Douro Valley which is home to one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto. The area is also famous for growing grapes and Port wine. Our next stop is Lisbon which is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. With an estimated population of around 2.8 million people, it is the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union.

Dave’s family is from the island of Madeira, one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. It is an archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal. Its total population was estimated in 2016 at 289,000. The capital of Madeira is Funchal, which is located on the main island's south coast. The extended family still lives on the island and we will be staying in a family home.

If you wish you can subscribe to our blog on the right side of the home page and receive an email notice every time we publish or just check the web site on your own. https://fredgailmiller.travellerspoint.com/

Take care,
Gail & Fred

Posted by fredgailmiller 11:22 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

From Sasha & Dave

The old town of Évora

Évora, medieval town in the Alentejo. Our balcony overlooked the main square. Roman ruins at night.


Chapela dos Ossos (chapel of bones) 16th century chapel made of thousands of skeletons. “We, the bones that are here await yours”. Évora, Portugal


Posted by fredgailmiller 15:16 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Porto at last.......

A very long travel day and flight

semi-overcast 24 °C

Day 1 July 12th

Our flight out of Victoria took us to Vancouver, then 9 hours to Frankfurt and finally into Porto Portugal. We arrived in Porto around 11:30 a.m. local time but 2:30 a.m. home time. We almost missed our flight into Porto because the Frankfurt airport was crowded everything ran very slowly, maybe because of German bureaucracy not efficiency. We had to clear EU immigration and they only had three windows staffed for the whole airport. Two for travelers with mega lines and one for air crews, families and disabled where there was no line up. Fred was traveling using a cane because of his bad knee so asked if he could go into the crew window and was given the ok. We then ran into the most troublesome security check. Although Fred supports being thorough, he had everything dumped out of his backpack because, in Germany, they consider toothpaste and stick deodorant to be liquids when traveling and they have to be in their own special little plastic pouches. After running/hobbling for what seemed to be several kilometers to our gate, we made it just as they were closing the doors.


We were fortunate to find a very friendly and helpful cab driver at the airport to take us to our lodgings. Sasha, Dave, and Lucas will be joining us tomorrow so Sasha booked us an apartment close to the old town. It’s small and quaint but a great location very much part of the city life. We were very tired most od today.


Portugal it seems has a different plug than the rest of Europe so despite Fred’s research our power cords wouldn’t work. We headed off up the street in search of an electronics store. Up the street was the main drag of the historic district, a pedestrian mall busy with tourists from all over the world and all the fridge magnets one could possibly want. Lots of sales on summer clothes, baked goods to tempt, and sidewalk cafes that were serenaded by a variety of street music. The need for sleep to was too great so back to the apartment for a short nap and then out for pizza and beer and a stroll across the bridge that spans the Duoro River.


Posted by fredgailmiller 13:29 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Sasha/Dave/Lucas join us

Can we keep up with an 8 year old.......

semi-overcast 25 °C

Portugal Day 2 July 13/19

After a bit of sleep in, it was off to find some breakfast. Across the street from us are stairs that wind down about 2 blocks to the river, edged on both sides by historic apartments in a variety of states of repair. We settled on a small cafe overlooking the river with fresh squeezed orange juice and excellent coffee.

Following the Frommer,s guide walking tour we headed along the waterfront stroll, probably the only flat part of Porto, and then headed uphill to our first church of the day, a huge Gothic one built in the late 1300’s. Under the church is huge catacomb where thousands of people were buried until the mid 1600’s when burials in churches was banned..

Continuing up the hill we came across a body painting exhibition and then headed up to Rue de Flores, another pedestrian mall. Lots of tourist shops interspersed with local craft shops lined the street now getting busy with tourists. Off the main streets of Porto are very narrow side alleys that wind up the hill with apartments and shops on both sides.

Sasha, Dave and Lucas arrived mid-afternoon with tales of their adventures over the past week in Portugal. We left Fred behind and headed out for a visit to another huge church just down the street and then for a wander through the narrow winding streets and up and down the stairways Since the morning walk, the waterfront had filled with tourists, vendors, and buskers. Quite a different feel from the quiet breakfast we’d had earlier.

Dave and Sasha found a Portuguese restaurant for us for dinner. Out of the 8 dishes we tried, only the salad was anything we would find at home Once dinner was happily gobbled up we headed off again through the alleys and streets back to our apartment.


Posted by fredgailmiller 14:09 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Walking over to the other side

Still missing sleep......

semi-overcast 26 °C

Sunday, July 14/19 Day 3

First challenge of the day, find breakfast. Sunday a.m. and most places were closed but fortunately not the bakery up the street that had a large variety of baked goods to choose from. Many of the goods here are yellow, probably because of corn flour in the mix of ingredients.

Today was a wandering day, up to the top of the hill on the north side of the river to a church that towers over the town and then back down through the alleys and across the river and up the hill to the monastery on the south side of the river. So many tourists, mostly from Europe, we heard a lot of Italian where ever we walk. Americans are easy to pick out as most Europeans have a sense of style that is so je ne sais quio and is very attractive. Fred's jet lag was pretty bad today, a long nap in the afternoon may help.

[/i]Dinner was in a small, intimate restaurant with seats out into a narrow pedestrian street. The menu was interesting, partly because we weren’t sure what we were ordering, and delicious. Pastry shells filled with pork, collard greens, with a partially cooked egg on top. Yum….


Posted by fredgailmiller 14:07 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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