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Portugal was our only trip outside of France in 2018, except for Christmas Markets.

2018 was a year we planned on visiting several areas in France we did not know. So the only trip outside the country was to Lisbon and Porto. Each was distinctfully different and enjoyable. Flying from Bordeaux within the EU is really easy so a TAP flight to Lisbon began our journey. I have not mentioned this before, but most of the cities we visit are over a few hundred years old, so airports tend to be quite a ways out of town. Be prepared to bus, tram, or cab it in. We almost always use a cab in that I really do not want to haul luggage onto a tram or bus.

We really liked both Lisbon and Porto. So lots of photos to share. We stayed in a hotel on the Price da Figueira near the center of the old town. Lisbon was nearly destroyed by an earthquake over 100 years ago, this section was spared. So it is a large city much of the newer section is where the damage was done. We did the Hop On Hop Off bus once again and it gives one a really nice opportunity to get a general overview of the city. There are more than one service so make sure when boarding the bus, it is the line taking you where you want to visit. They all stop in the Praca daV Figueira.

View of Praca da Figueira from our room. Notice all the tuk-tuks. Buses at the top.
Statue in the Price do Comercio
Arc de Rua Augustav back side
From the Praca Comercia All important dignitaries landed here to meet the Royal family upon arrival on the Rio Tejo.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is part of a complex that also house the Nautical Museum and the Archeological museum.
Entrance to the Nautical Museum with Mosteiro in the background
Jan in front of one of the many anchors on display in the gardens in front of the building.
The multi-colored patina on the anchors from years doing service in the salt water was really interesting.
The Trams were of two types, the old style like this and the newer more sleek. The old style trams are used into the twisting hills of the Alfama district where we visited the Castela de Saint Jorge.
The views over the city from the Castle are very dramatic. the Christ statue can be seen middle rear, the Ponte 25 de Abril resembles the Golden Gate.
Castle of S. Jorge from the Plaza
Main Entrance to Castelode S. Jorge. Originally built by the Moors in the 11thC AD to house the elite. It became a Spanish stronghold on Oct. 25th 1147. Became the Royal Palace in the 13th C. Functioned as such till the 16th C. Became more of a military place until the 20th C. Barracks covered the whole area. It was only in 1938 that the historic buildings were rediscovered and rescued.
One of the existing walls and corner watch tower
In addition to the main entrance on a street coming up thru the Alfama area there was a set of stairs inside these walls that gave direct access to the city below.
The castle is home to many peacocks.
Not as adventurous. This one stayed on the ground.
Church of St. Mary Magdalene in the Alfama area
We had really great meals at every place, but this display really needed to be documented. Mara do Carmo in the Baixa area. We did this wrong, walked up the hill, tough, then took the ancient Elevator de Santa Justa down.

Both Lisbon and Porto have many houses decorated with tiles. These caught my eye.
All these tiles made it a very colorful city.

So the train ride to Porto was a bit longer than planned in that we took the local with several stops. My mistake, there was a faster train. Still quicker than getting to the airport an hour early, then the taxi in. To be honest not particularly pretty country in this area. The station in Porto was on the outskirts of town, and for several blocks I was concerned about the city. Many buildings boarded shut, and those that were open did not look inviting. Good news, center of town is great. The street with our hotel was loaded with places to eat, each one was superb. One of the most impressive places we saw was the Estacao de Sao Bento. The old train station in the middle of town. It is really difficult to understand the amount of work required to create the tile work on the walls.

I may post multiple photos of the same wall in order to show the complete works.
Every wall of the entrance to the station was covered like this.
Only two tracks in this old station. Look how clean it is, not like Grand Central in NYC.
Like I stated, every wall is covered.

Walking down the hill from the hotel, we discovered the Cathedral. It is really quite impressive.

Virtually on of the largest cathedrals we have seen. It is massive.
Looking out over the city from the cathedral grounds.

One of our goals was to visit some of the port wine facilities to learn about this regional product. So from the cathedral further down the hill to the Rio Douro. The houses along the riverfront are very colorful and the Ponte Dom Luis is really impressive.

Many of the fronts are covered by tile. Notice the Embassy plaque and flag on the left. Plus TV Discs are numerous.
The Pont dom Luis has two levels due to the hillside. We crossed on the lower level.
We had been advised to visit Calem for a tour. The replica boats in the front are the type originally used to bring the port barrels down from the vineyards. The grapes are crushed in the field areas, then bottled and stored in the warehouse.
The tour begins with this interactive map and then proceeds along the process of making port wine.
Calem makes several varieties of port wine
When in Rome, or Porto for that matter. Port tasting along with chocolates.

So, our only mistake was not planning enough days here in Porto. We need a second trip to discover all the other sites we missed. By the way, we walked down the hill, but took a taxi back to the hotel. If interested see my posts on Trip Advisor. MitchW

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