Thursday, September 22, 2016

Portugal - Heated days / Heisse Tage

This year's summer vacation has led us into Portugal. During many days, we encountered +45° C daytime dry heat as an unusual heat spell has hit this country this year. Nevertheless, with the help of air conditioning running in the rental car and most accomodations, one gets by without getting into the "well done" state.

Water. A fundamental need. Tavira

A speciality of Portugal are the use of colored glazed tiles as outer and inner coverage of houses

This orchard won't yield fruits this year.

Another absolute necessity: The local firefighters station

The refreshing, cooler west coast with its dramatic rock formations facing the atlantic waves.
A good place to cool down and relax. Suited a short walk away from our house accomodation in the Monte Carvalhal da Roche Camping site, the scenery was well worth the trip there.

Battled by full tide

and at ebb

Using Sony Smoothening app, recording 100 shots and then processing them automatically

Through this dark tunnel something will come.

Back in the inner country, higher temperatures greet one back.

Castle of Beja

Alternating between 45°C during walks, air-conditioned 5-Star hotel room and the pool, living is not bad :-). Having a Hotel situated within the mediveal city wall allowed to make frequent explorations of the old town on foot.

The big refresher - taking a dip

 On the road again - Villa Vicosa
Sommer residence of Portugese Monarchy


Portugese beer is well-drinkable, even when applying german standards. It is also available in so-called minis, which are bottles sized at 0.25 or 0.33 litres. A good size to avoid getting knocked out after refilling when coming in from the heat.


A very special place is the small mediveal city of Marvao, located within "spitting"distance of Spain, the former archenemy. Waking up way above the valley floor to the rising sun, staying some relaxing days there left a good memory. Like in Spain with its Hotel chain of Pasaderos where historic and scenic sites have been made into interesting Hotels, in Portugal there are the Pousadas. The one in Marvao is charming with its many viewpoints of the far below valley and Spain in the distance from the dining room, the hotel rooms themselves and other places.

Mountain castle and city of Marvao

Castelo de Vide

And then Lisboa - Lissabon. It can't really compete with its big brother Barcelona splendidness, but it has still some interesting and charming corners and vistas.
The big elevator

View down the Tejo river

Historic architecture
A stepvisit to the nearby Sintra town put my perspective of Disneyworld into a new dimension. This rebuilding and remodelling done here at the late end of the 19th century outdoes Cinderella castle by far.

Central Station of Lisboa

Eden Theatre, nowadays a Hotel

Summer break
Some last words: Portugal is a friendly country and its people seem to be more open than their Spanish cousins. There are only two things that can be somewhat bothersome:

One is the toll system on some of their highways: Part of it is electronically done without prewarning and without any option to pay manually - except after two weeks at one of the local post offices where you have to inquire the charges and pay there. Bad luck to you if you have already left the country at that time. This system is incredibly stupid in my view, which is shared by many Portuguese I have talked about. Therefore get the toll machine for your rental car and have it done by the rental company.

The second thing is more delicate: A certain part of the male population simply can't be bothered and seem to take a leak anywhere convenient. This results in some few alleys and streets etching your nostrils off. I haven't encountered anything like that in any other mediterranean country up to now. This may be however due to illegal immigrants, with the lack of rain not washing anything away exacerbating things, what do I know.

In any case, Portugal is worth a trip and may prove to be more relaxing and affordable than other well-trodden holiday destinations.