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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Saturday, May 09, 2015 22:22:56

ANTARCTICA & IBERIA 2015: 10 Lisbon & Porto, Portugal

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We arrived in Lisbon at 6AM from the Cape Verde Islands, and once through a long immigration line took a taxi to the Corinthia Hotel, where we were surprised to see hey had a room ready for us in spite of the early arrival. After sleeping through the morning we took a walk around the neighbourhood, and ended with an excellent seafood dinner at Restaurant Sete Mares, located across the street from the hotel. We selected dinner by browsing among the tanks of live creatures of the sea

The Corinthia is a touch pricy, but excellent value. It is well located only a few minutes walk from metro (subway) and train stations, had a selection of restaurants within a block or so, and is a 20 euro cab ride from the airport

Thursday, April 30, 2015

After a great (but expensive - 18 euros each) breakfast at the hotel we walked half a block to the metro (subway) station, where we bought a 3 day pass. The metro gives excellent access to all areas of the city. It is quick, efficient and clean. The cost works out to about $6 per day for unlimited access to subway, buses and trams (streetcars). We walked a lot of the town, rode the trams and took a tour of the old part of the city in a tuk tuk, which stopped at a tiny bar where we tried the local liquor, called jinja. It was delicious, so we had a couple, the last served in edible chocolate shooter containers

Shopping turned out to be relatively painless as all up the centre of the main street in Lisbon were tables and chairs from various restaurants, so Marilynn worked her way along shop to shop, and I stayed a bit ahead of her making beer stops. Once Marilynn was shopped out we had dinner at one of the restaurants before taking the metro back to the hotel

Friday, May 1, 2015

More shopping today. We took the metro to Colombo mall, an enormous multi-floor shopping centre that soon has us both suffering from sore feet. Prices in most of Portugal were excellent, so I bought a pair of jeans for about $13 to replace a pair of my pants with blue paint all over the back from sitting on a locker on the deck of the ship. We soon tired of all the walking in the mall, so went by metro to the airport where we stood in line for 2 hours to be told they wouldn't know if Marilynn's flight would go until 1 hr 15 minutes before it left - TAP airlines pilots started a 10 day strike today, but not all agree with the strike so some will be working. We then returned to the hotel where we went to the pool, but gave that up when we found it was necessary to buy bathing caps at 5 euros each. We had a good dinner at a Portuguese restaurant close to the hotel

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Back downtown on the metro for more shopping - we walked for miles. Our final dinner together for this trip was at the Restaurant Sete Mares once again

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I went with Marilynn to the airport by Metro and waited until her flight was in the air to be sure it was not cancelled. There was a room with staff for business class passengers, where they allowed me to wait. We had agreed Marilynn would meet me there if the flight was canceled, however it went only half and hour late. I had dinner at a sidewalk cafe on my way back to the hotel

Monday, May 4, 2015

Today it was by Metro to Oriente station to catch a train in pouring rain to Evera to see St. Francis Church, which is made of human bones from over 5 thousand people. Graveyards were emptied to collect enough bones. Fortunately the rain stopped in time to walk around. It is a beautiful 2,000 year old town with 2nd century Roman columns, narrow streets and friendly people. It specializes in products made of cork. There are purses, jackets, hats, and a mass of other things all made from cork for sale everywhere. I had a good lunch at the Posada, a remodeled historic monetary, before taking the train back. The train stopped above the metro station half a block from the hotel, so I got off there. It hadn't stopped there on the way out

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I went to the station near the hotel where I left the train yesterday, bought a ticket to Porto and found the correct track number, however no train came at the time on the ticket, even though trains here run exactly on time. I went back to the ticket seller, who shook his head and said the time on the ticket was from Oriente station - I was supposed to take a local train first to Oriente but did not understand. For a fee of 4 euros he redid the ticket and I went to Oriente were I had to wait another two hours for the train which finally got me to a station across the river from Porto. Snacks and drinks, including wine and beer, were sold on the train, which even in second class was very comfortable while it ate up the distance at 160 kpm (100 mph)

A young lady who had helped me find the right car on the train came to tell me that there was a fabulous hotel near the train station called the Yeatman, and that even if I didn't stay there I should at least have a drink as the hotel is on a hill overlooking the river and the entire City of Porto. It was late in the day when I took the short taxi ride to find that the hotel was indeed amazing, but super pricy. I was going to find somewhere else, but finally decided to splurge due to the late hour

The room had a patio in front with a fabulous view, and the hotel restaurant was superb. It was also pricey, so I only ordered an appetizer and desert, but they included half a dozen other courses that they called "surprises" with some of the most amazing flavour combinations I have experienced. Their wines were also superb

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

After the included breakfast I got on internet and booked another hotel on the Porto side of the Douro river which was a quarter of the cost. The Vincci Porto Hotel proved to be a great find, with good location, a 24 hour bar, nice rooms and a good restaurant. Bus, tram and the hop on hop off bus all stop right in front of the hotel. When one of the yellow buses came along I bought a two day pass for 13 euros so I could use the two bus routes for transportation around the city at no extra cost

I rode some of both routes for the rest of the day. It is a beautiful, clean city with a big historic centre full of ancient churches and other old, well looked after buildings. I ended in the hotel bar before a great dinner in the hotel restaurant. Portuguese staff have everywhere been incredibly friendly and helpful, as have anyone else I've asked for directions or help It is interesting that the Portuguese do not like to speak Spanish - I always gave people the option of English and Spanish, but even people with only a few words of English would choose that language

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The start was an accidental tour of the Yeatman hotel side of the river as I took the yellow bus to the historic downtown Porto train station. The station has floor to ceiling blue tile landscapes and other pictures. Blue tiles are seen on the sides of many buildings churches and apartments. Houses also use tiles a lot, in a great variety of colours and patterns. After the station I walked the old town of Porto, stopping for lunch at a sidewalk cafe by the river near the hotel

The tram in front of the hotel took me up the hill for 2.50 euros into the centre of town, a short walk from the train station where friendly, helpful staff got me organized with tickets to Vigo, in Spain, and then on to Santiago de Campostela in Galacia, Spain. Trains are amazingly inexpensive and excellent - it was about 15 euros from Lisbon to Porto, and 20 euros for the 4 ½ hour trip I just purchased. Dinner was a sandwich in the hotel bar

Friday, May 8, 2015

A taxi got me to the nearby botanical gardens. When I couldn't find a taxi I decided to walk back to the hotel, navigating by dead reckoning and stopping for a beer at a couple of sidewalk cafes. One thing about Portugal, one is never far from beer and wine! My route took me to the university, where at a cafeteria with outdoor seating I got talking to some students, who had also paused between classes for a beer. They directed me to a narrow, steep walkway between old buildings that eventually came out right next to the hotel. I spent the afternoon catching up on writing, emails and having dinner

Tomorrow I head for Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, Spain