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Mourão, Portugal, 10/13

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Our final stop in Portugal was really more of a surprise. We were just looking for a place to stop for lunch when saw the fortress and church of Mourão on top of the hill inviting us. Turned out the route we chose was a little too narrow to be comfortable so we parked and walked.
On the way up…

Monsaraz, Portugal 10/13

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Following our difficult decision to bypass some of the more beautiful places in southern Portugal and head towards Spain, we were making better time now. There were still a couple locations on our route towards the Spanish border that our friend Soares insisted we must stop and see. The first was Monsaraz.
Due to its geographic location, the hilltop of…

Azaruja, Portugal 10/13

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There was a time when good wine came in a gallon jug with a screw cap. Perhaps we can all remember Carlo Rossi, “No wine is sold before its time”, or good old Red Mountain Burgundy. As our tastes and perhaps our budget improved, we graduated to better wines that were preserved with these little things called corks. I had…

Menhir of Almendres, Portugal 10/3

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Leaving the narrow streets of Évora, we looked on the map for someplace a little quieter to camp and saw that we were near the historic site of the largest single megalithic monument on the Iberian Peninsula, dating back some 7000 years. Located in a relatively remote area away from civilization on a dirt track, we figured it might be…

Azeitão – Friends on the Road, Portugal 9/13

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After a final look at Lisbon from the viewing area at the Christ monument, we headed south to the small community of Azeitão. Soares Periquito had seen my name in Overlander’s Handbook I had contributed to and had been following our blogs for over a year. He had repeatedly invited us to visit when we reached Portugal. It would be hard to…

Lisbon #2, Portugal 9/13

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I guess there’s no rest for the weary tourist. Our campsite on the dock near the Belém Ferry Terminal was only a few blocks from the National Carriage Museum. Our friend, Rod Hall, the notorious Class 4 Off-Road and now Production Class Race Driver, had recommended it. The Carriage Museum was an astounding collection of dozens of elaborate coaches and…

Lisbon #1, Portugal 9/13

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Leaving Cabo da Roca, we headed west to Lisbon, the Capital of Portugal. With a population of 580,000, this City has endured numerous Kings & Rulers battling it out over whose God or Prophet or Savior was the best. The kings were raking in the gold and other treasures from the many Portuguese colonies around the world and building fortresses,…

Cabo da Roca, Portugal – Sept. 10, 2013

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So here we are at the most western point in continental Europe and in fact, the most western point of the Eurasian landmass. If you have been following our blogs for the last few months, you know that we have shipped our expedition camper and truck, The Turtle V, to Europe, and we have wandered down through Belgium, Germany, Switzerland,…

Carvalhal and Mafra, Portugal 10/13

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Just as we were leaving Óbidos a few days earlier, Monika briefly met Patrick Cipriano, a young Portuguese who had been born in Switzerland. He was a tour guide and stopped his van, telling his clients he just had to take a picture of our truck.
After our restless night in Sintra, he found us again and spontaneously invited us…

Sintra, Portugal 9/13

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Everyone insisted we had to see Sintra and the magnificent Pena National Palace along with the Moorish Castle nearby.
In the 19th century Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the…

Óbidos, Portugal 9/13

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First occupied by the Romans but abandoned in the 5th century, in 713 the Moors established a fortification on this mountain. In 1148, Obidos was retaken by the first King of Portugal, Alfonso Henriques, and it was one of the last battles in the final stage of the conquest of the Extremadura region.
In 1210, King Afonso II gave the title…

Praia da Vagueira #2, Portugal 10/13

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During our short stay at Praia da Vagueira we had the opportunity to watch the fishermen who still use traditional methods to set their nets. Each morning around 6:30 we could hear the rusted-out diesel tractors come to life and we would grab our cameras and head to the beach. The fishermen use traditional wooden flat bottom boats. Originally these…

Ofir, Portugal 9/13

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We wanted to explore a little further north of Porto. The first interesting beach we came to that evening was a small resort town called Ofir. The sun was setting over the ocean and we stopped in an empty parking lot near the “praia” (beach). Everything was fine until about 2AM when the parties began. Young people with blaring car…

Porto #2, Portugal, 9/13

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In the afternoon we did have a chance to visit the cellars of the Cockburn’s winery, one of the many producers of the famous Port Wines that this country is famous for. After an interesting tour we were allowed to taste a few. We now have a better idea of where this unique wine comes from and how it’s made,…

Porto #1, Portugal 9/13

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Arriving in Porto, we followed the narrow backstreets that our trusted Garmin GPS seems to prefer and found our way to a dusty dirt bag of a campground in an eucalyptus grove. Its sole redeeming point was its proximity to a bus stop that would take us into the center of the city. Apparently training for the Monaco Grand Prix,…

Peso da Régua, Portugal 8/13

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Finally, we were in Portugal and ready to experience a new culture. Our Spanish was allowing us to get by. Since one of the famous things in Portugal is Port wine, which comes from the Douro Valley and takes its name from the Douro River, it was recommended that we follow the scenic secondary road through the wine region. This…

Bragança, Portugal 8/13

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Still following windy secondary roads over the mountains and passing through small villages, we finally came to the Portuguese border. The old Customs House was abandoned so we stopped for a picture and continued on to Bragança. Again it seems strange to cross these international borders without even slowing down. Gary keeps waiting and hoping someone will ask him to…

Day 85… Barcelona- Peri-Peri Chicken and Cana+Tapas

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Ola,
My route over the last few days.

I left Lagos with a farewell breakfast with my new friends Petra and Hartmut. They are from Germany and travelled to Lagos with a VW 4X4 truck. They unfortunately are only on holiday and were also leaving the same day for Germany and home.
I had a superb time in Lagos, meeting…

Portugal

PORTUGAL
Viana do Castelo  30th June
Our first stop off is the coastal city of Viana do Castelo. The city is spilt by the river; on one side sandy beaches and surf, on the other a sculptured rocky coastline, overlooked by a towering church on the hillside. As we arrive the winds are very strong, the waves crashing over the…