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January 30, 2016

Portugal: Elvas


The aqueduct in Elvas

The aqueduct in Elvas

About 12 kilometers to the east of the Spanish border is the fortified Portuguese town of Elvas. Elvas was Portugal’s chief frontier fortress south of the Tagus during the Portuguese Restoration War. From the 17th to the 19th Centuries the area was heavily fortified to protect against Spanish invasion. When construction was completed, two forts and several fortified hilltops formed a defensive perimeter around the walled town. (more…)

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January 18, 2016

Portugal: Lisbon, Trams and Elevators

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Photography, Portugal, Travel, Travel, Writing — anotherheader @ 1:02 am

Elevador da Bica, a funicular in Lisbon

Elevador da Bica, a funicular in Lisbon

Lisbon lives up to its nickname, the City of Seven Hills. It is hilly. It seems that everywhere you want to go is directly up a steep hill. Fortunately there are ways that those on foot can avoid the endless climbing. (more…)

Portugal: Lisbon, Tricana


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It is said that Portugal has a love affair with canned fish. It is true. Canned fish is an art form in Lisbon. Numerous shops offer colorful tins of conserved seafood. We found canned fish at the Conserveira de Lisboa stall located at the excellent food court, Time Out Mercardo de Ribeira. (more…)

January 11, 2016

Portugal: Lisbon’s Street Art

Filed under: Europe, Photography, Portugal, Street Art, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , — anotherheader @ 5:35 am

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Street art thrives at the edges of modern society. Generally poorer areas get more their share of volunteer art. Undoubtedly some of this is inadvertent editing; the richer areas can afford the cost of cleaning every mark off of a wall as soon as they appear. There’s also the motivation of a larger pool of the young and disenfranchised that use the walls of a city to express themselves. Portugal is and has been one of the poorest countries in Western Europe for decades. Not surprisingly, its capitol Lisbon is a hot bed of street art. (more…)

Portugal: Lisbon, Praça do Comércio


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At the edge of Lisbon’s Baixa district is Praça do Comércio. The expansive plaza is bordered to the south by Tagus estuary. Praça do Comércio was the location of a significant moment in Portuguese history. On 1 February 1908, the square was the scene of the assassination of Carlos I, the penultimate King of Portugal, and his heir Luís Filipe. The assassins were members of the Republican Party that two years later overthrew the Portuguese monarchy. (more…)

December 31, 2015

Portugal: Lisbon, Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém


Torre de Belém

Torre de Belém

Along the north side of the Tagus River estuary at the edge of the municipality of Lisbon Portugal is Belém. This civil parish is the location of the UNESCO World Heritage designated “Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon,” two of Lisbon’s top tourist attractions. (more…)

December 26, 2015

Portugal: Sintra, Pena National Palace


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Pena National Palace’s story begins in the Middle Ages with the construction of a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena on a hilltop above the Portuguese town of Sintra. Later, in 1493, King Manuel I ordered the construction of a monastery to house eighteen monks at the site. In 1755 the catastrophic Lisbon earthquake heavily damaged the structure leaving it in ruins. The monastery remained unused for decades until in 1838 King consort Ferdinand II acquired the ruins, the surrounding land, and the nearby Castle of the Moors. (more…)

Portugal: Sintra National Palace


Sintra National Palace

Sintra National Palace

Considered to be the best-preserved medieval Royal Palace in Portugal, the Sintra National Palace is located centrally in the town of Sintra Portugal. As a consequence of its prominent location, Palácio da Vila or “Town Palace”, as the National Palace is called, is the first of Sintra’s numerous attractions that many visitors encounter. (more…)

Portugal: Sintra, Castle of the Moors


Tourists climb the ramparts of Castelo dos Mouros.

Tourists climb the ramparts of Castelo dos Mouros.

A popular day trip from Lisbon Portugal is the Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sintra is known for its 19th-century Romantic architecture. In the woody hills surrounding the old town center are numerous fanciful villas, royal retreats, estates, and castles. Though Sintra is celebrated as the 19th Century playground of the aristocracy, human history in the area dates to much earlier times. Indeed, one of the more popular tourist attractions in the area, the Castle of the Moors, dates to Moors rule in the 8th Century. (more…)

December 23, 2012

Portugal: Alto Douro


Heading to the Douro River

Heading to the Douro River

Where do the grapes come from?

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