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trish & pat’s Travel Diary

Friday, 03 Aug 2007

Location: St Jean de Luz, France

MapBefore leaving Portugal we visited two more spots, Sintra and Porto. Sintra is regarded as one of the prettiest villages in Portugal and the landscape reminded us of the Dandenong Ranges and/or England. It was full of Chateaus and Palaces to visit, and also teaming with tourists. Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, and where the country derived its name. It is also the home of Port (Cellars everywhere!).

A couple of stories to share from these visits:

1. As evidence of our extreme relaxed holiday state we discovered after being in Portugal for a week that we had been living in the wrong time zone. We were completely unaware that it was one hour behind Spain and wondered why places had not adjusted their clocks and why we always seem to be the first at restaurants for dinner.

2. After a night wining and dining in Porto we decided to catch a taxi back to our hotel (it was an all uphill walk otherwise). Having negotiated a price with the taxi driver, and then him telling us that it was a metered ride we still got in. The ride was like a wild car chase except we were the only ones in the chase apart from one poor kid on a pizza delivery bike who the taxi driver took a dislike to at every set of traffic lights – slap on the forehead when he reached the red light, a few words in Portuguese until the lights changed and then off again at Mach 3 speed. Holding on for dear life without a chance to belt up he proceeded to overtake anything and everything, particularly in a one way street (how he got passed, we don’t know). We made it back alive, white knuckled and within budget by 25 cents!

We said goodbye to Portugal and headed back into Spain to the north west coast, Basque country, and to a place called Santillana del Mar – very pretty and well preserved medieval town surrounded by dairy pastures. We also made a quick stop visit to San Sebastian which has a fantastic beach right on the edge of the City centre. It is a very picturesque city.

Adios to Portugal and Spain and Bonjour France!

We have just spent a few days at St Jean de Luz, a coastal resort town just over the Spanish/French border and on the Atlantic. A beautiful town, and as we are now in August, it was full to the brim with European holiday makers (took us an hour to find a car park). This would be a delightful spot out of high season.

We are now heading north to the Dordogne region where we will be spending a week in a cottage owned (1 of 7) by a couple in Emerald. We are looking forward to some milder weather in France – the heat in Portugal & Spain was extreme (beats the cold though!).