A Travellerspoint blog

Day Twenty Eight - Loule & Surrounds

19 °C
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Jean & Ian took us around a few of their friend's houses - Jacqui (who collected us from the airport) & Arthur are doing a huge build with their daughter & son in law - going to be fantastic when finished. Headed into Loule & the markets, full of internationals & really busy area - lots of restoration has been done in this area. Each Saturday the local farmers bring in their produce to sell, they set up outside the market, the permanent market is open most days of the week, selling produce & products.

Portugal is a huge cork exporter & given many wines no longer use corks they have had to diversify - they now produce cork hats, belts, wallets, handbags & many other items - some of them are quite unique & beautiful.

From here we went up to Jean & Ian's previous home which is now owned by Ian's daughter & leased out mainly during summer. She has done extensive renovations & it is stunning, sleeps 14 at ease & has absolutely everything, pool, tennis court, billiards room & heaps more - this is where Matt & Braden stayed in January 2014.

Returned home around 3pm to have lunch & watch the rugby at 4pm - not the result we wanted but good second half.

Posted by pitchersontour 11:41 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Day Twenty Seven - Faro

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Woke with a slight headache from the champagne & red wine consumed last night, Ian was fine as far more seasoned than myself!!

Had breakfast with Jean & Ian & then Ian showed us their backyard & the plans they have for it - their backyard is basically straight up the hill, so just beautiful natural vegetation. They then dropped us into Faro (about 20min away) around 11am.

Faro is located on the coast & today the tide was way out (which is normal) leaving some boats stranded. Portugal is quite a poor country with many international people (especially from the UK, France, Germany & Holland) purchasing holiday homes or residing here. In Faro we visited the Old Town & the newer section, nearly all buildings require repairs & although there is a nicer section of shops & paved areas for pedestrians you can still see repairs are needed. So very different to the other places we have been but really interesting to see. We wandered around for five hours, claimed up the stairs at the Cathedral & got some good shots.

Jean picked us up at 4pm & took us home via Estoi where we stopped & looked through what used to be the Palace of Estoi & has now been renovated as a hotel - quite impressive. Got home, showered & changed & headed out for a quiz night - to raise monies to purchase milk for families in Estoi - good fun evening with some of Jean's friends.

PS - our hottest day to date - a beautiful 22 degrees.

Posted by pitchersontour 07:39 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Day Twenty Six - Madrid to Portugal

sunny 21 °C
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Today was a day of travelling, farewelled Madrid & caught a flight to Lisbon (Portugal) with a few hours stop over, then onto Faro (Portugal) - arrived just after 4pm. We had friends Jacqui & Ian collect us at the airport & take us to Ian & Jean's (Jean due back from the UK tonight) beautiful home in Alcaria Cova (Estoi) - high up in the hills with magnificent views - our best accommodation on this trip by a mile.

Welcomed with a nice bottle of champagne & treated to a home cooked Portugal meal - pork, chorizo & white beans - beautiful.

Posted by pitchersontour 02:45 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Day Twenty Five - Final Full Day In Madrid

semi-overcast 17 °C
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We had thought about spending the day in Toleda, however decided too view other parts of Madrid we had not seen.

Made our way to Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia (art museum) - quite a remarkable building with lots of different artworks, quite a few of Pablo Picasso pieces. I don't mind going to museums but have generally had enough after an hour, Ian could spent all day - so we only stayed for about 1.5 hours. On the way to the museum we passed some beautiful streets (see photos). From here we saw Atocha Renfe (regional & metro train station), beautiful building.

Walked along the edge of Real Jardin Botanica (botanical gardens) to our next stop 'Vertical Garden' - probably the biggest vertical garden I have seen. We stopped & had lunch here watching all who passed taking photos. Wandered through Parque Del Buen Retiro (large city garden, much bigger than the Real Jardin Botanica) - really beautiful & peaceful to walk through, has got a lake in the middle located in front of Monumento a Alfonso XII where you can hire small row boats. Continued through the park and made our way to Puerta de Alcala (old gateway to the city) - Ian taking photos whilst ducking out on five lanes of traffic!!

Caught the train back home to have a siesta before meeting Christina for dinner & to start & pack.

Met Christina & her mum (Marisol) just after 8pm & they took us to a tiny bar for some tapas, we then walked to another bar for a drink & arrived at our last stop at 11.30pm for more tapas - awesome evening & got home at 1am.

Posted by pitchersontour 23:55 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day Twenty Four - Madrid Tourist Sites

rain 16 °C
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Headed out at 10am to make our way around various tourist sites. First stop was the oldest restaurant in the world - Restaurante Sobrino de Botin Hoano de Asam, it has been operating as a restaurant since 1725. Next stop was Mecado De San Miguel (market), where we went yesterday.

From here we walked to:

  • Palacio Real De Madrid (palace) - did a tour inside. First was the 'Royal Armoury' - unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photo's inside, the armoury section was truly amazing, so much to view. Next was a temporary art exhibition 'Arte Contemporaneo en Palacio' - some really beautiful pieces on display. Then into 23 rooms of the palace (which was only a small section of the whole complex) - wow, extravagant in every detail. Each room different & the dining room (where they still host state dinners) was all set up with nothing out of line. The King & Queen do not reside at these premises, just used for formal events.
  • Museum Cathedral of the Almundena - located opposite the palace we also toured the museum & cathedral. You are able to walk up to the top & get city shots of Madrid. The inside is not extravagant but has a lot of detail in the structure, we were lucky that an orchestra of young people were playing, so got to sit & listen.
  • San Francisco El Grande - made our way along a scenic path to this lovely church - unfortunately it wasn't open so we could only take a photo from the outside. There is some sort of garden next door which was quite unique.
  • Glorieta Puerta de Toledo - next stop was an old gateway to the city, it has 7 roads leading to this - traffic is quite chaotic.

Stopped at a pub on our way back for another very much needed drink, had been on our feet for over 5 hours. Got home and rested for an hour before making our way to Rosaleda (park which is renown for its sunset views) to watch the sunset, there was some cloud but still really special. Found another pub / cafe (they are everywhere) & had some churros & a drink, they also gave us a mini paella. Feeling pretty tired so dinner at home tonight.

Posted by pitchersontour 00:34 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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