Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Long weekend in Portugal

Alright folks... It has been awhile since I last posted a review of the places visited and thought I'd better get back on that wagon. First one on the list is Portugal.

After hearing so many good things about Portugal, September last year we hop on a plane and decided to visit Portugal, specifically to both Oporto and Lisbon. Our flight arrived at the Aeroporto Internacional Dr. Francisco de Sá Carneiro around mid morning and we got into the central area via Metro do Porto in little less than 30 mins.

Our first stop was Jardim do Morro which is located in the parish of Santa Marinha (Vila Nova de Gaia). We walked up to the Monastery of Serra do Pilar where you can get a spectacular view of the River Duoro along with the Luis I Bridge and Oporto Ribeira.

View of the River Duoro along with the Luis I Bridge and Oporto Ribeira

It just happened that a local was getting her wedding pictures taken there and after spending a few moments taking pictures of the cityscape and lunch we decided to cross the Luis I Bridge by foot and venture around abit more.

View of the River Duoro along with Vila Nova de Gaia on the left and Oporto Ribeira on the right

What we saw when we were crossing the bridge was a lot of the local residential buildings along the Ribeira was severely damaged. There were buildings without roofs, holes in walls etc that it’s just a shame that these buildings in such prime locations are not being looked after. Anyway not long after we decided to leave the remaining sights till another day and hop on a train from the São Bento Train Station to Lisbon.

The train from Oporto to Lisbon took around 3 hours to get there as it travelled down along the coast lines. We were excited as there are just so many sights to check out. There are even two UNESCO World Heritage sites listed in this city! Awesome! For the remaining of the day we decided to take it easy and so we checked out some of the sights around where we were staying around the Baixa District and walked along to Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) where we saw the statue of King Joseph I of Portugal.

Statue of King Joseph I of Portugal (King José I) at the Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio)

Along the square also you can see the Arco da Rua Augusta arch, linking the Commerce Square and Augusta Street. And along Augusta Street there were street vendors selling post cards and miscellaneous ornaments, various cafés and shops selling local Portuguese snacks. The street itself is amazing as it is all paved using the traditional Calçada Portuguesa techniques to form art.

Image of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal (Coimbra)

As the evening was coming to a close, we decided to rest early for the next day as it was going to be a big day visiting the rest of the sights.

Stay tuned for day 2 of Portugal...

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