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micheledunlop’s Travel Diary

Monday, 23 Apr 2007

Location: Portugal, Portugal


Long flight to get here in Portugal, through San Francisco, and for the first time in my life had to unpack and answer lots of questions. San fran was freezing, I had 8 hours there so left the terminal and rode the tram circuit. Huge wait at the other end, good fun though but would recommend a one way ride and go back on the train or bus. (and less expensive) loved it when the driver shouts all on left side donít lean out.

Flying into unMich looks a bit like flying into Perth, but only there long enough to get to the next flight as also had to go though a bit of question time. Got a cab to Lisbon Easy hostel, it is right down town, close to anything and everything and also any transport.

I just love the city and it paving.
Have done lots of seeing this time and recommend
No.28 tram ride ' thorough streets so narrow that once a women turned sideways to let the tram through - actually donít do San Fran tram, do this one.
Tile Museum - cleverly incorporated into Church.
Visiting the Pavilion and Vasco de Gama Shopping area (like space town, fabulous tree planting, definitely hire a bike there. Cable car ok but long walks to get around.
Guess one has to attend a Fado (bit like the tiles) but check the price of the dinner and the port (cheapest E7.50 per glass)
Art Deco exhibition was here and it is sublime as was the Sintra that I wandered through. If I was doing this again I would stay in Lisbon for 7-10 days and then go over and stay in Sintra for a day or two.

On the way up the country - Evora is rated as must see in the books.. I stayed in a pre-hostel, not sure if the guy is a con man or just nuts, but the hostel was dirty (bathroom very dirty) and undersupplied in the kitchen department. He bedrooms and linen were clean which is a departure from previous comments re his options of residences. (Yes the Youth Hostel and the Evora residential, whether you stay in Rua Frio or Rua de Mour???? It is one and the same. However he gave good information re local foods, places to go and things to see. The tourist department was a waste of time and space. This is a place to defiantly do you homework about what you are going to do and see before you get there as well as get accommodation sorted. It is worth a visit or stay in on towns close by. Apart from all the stuff right in town, there is an old but working windmill, the megaliths, bicycle paths, and so on. Itís yet another place in Portugal where the tourist walk is a workout.

Got the bus to Averio. As we stopped in Fatima (freezing rain) I saw 2 processions and the white wooden crosses.

Averio - this is a beautiful canal town. Lots of modern tiles, modern shopping and old churches as well.

In Averio my first stop was at the Youth Hostel from Hi Hostels. E9 per night with breakfast included. Once again a converted university hostel, and basic, i.e. internet same building but round the corner, is free but lots of locals I think are using it as well (indignant small boys being moved off) and closes as 8.30 p.m. The hostel is closed between 12 and 6 (for the cleaning I think) Itís about a 10 minute walk from this amazing canal town and would well recommend it.
The next hostel was over at Costa Nova (beach of Averio) I stayed in a hotel that are using hostel bookers over the winter, which is innovative and will work as they get into it. Once again the tariff included breakfast and there is heaps to do there - it is between the river and beach. I walked in the morning but later on the day was cold. I saw the fastest kite surfing I have ever seen. You can hire kayaks, catamarans bicycles and whatever, take ferries to other villages, walk the dunes and lots of beachy winter stuff.