Autumn, preparations for Christmas and beach
From the Spanish border we descend from the Iberian plateau in the direction of Coimbra. We drive along and partly through the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, beautiful, unspoilt, foggy and rainy. We are so impressed that we don’t take photos … But as my brother Bart sais: “the photos are in our head“.
The weather is cold and rainy, I long for the sun and can’t wait for it to get warmer.
We spend the night at a motorhome spot in Vila Nova de Poiares, it drizzles and we stay inside. We are alone in the camper parking lot and even at night it is quiet, despite the location in the town.
In the morning we are awakened by market vendors setting up their tents, in the parking lot next to the camper place there is a weekly market. We walk around the market, some vegetables, cheeses, a chicken farmer with live chickens and eggs and some clothing, and drive on.
My wish for better weather comes true when we arrive in Coimbra, we find a place on the free camper place along the river and walk through the pedestrian bridge into the city with our winter vests on and the umbrella raised. Halfway we walk back because the clothing is really too warm, the sun shows, we have left the cold of the plateau.
… is a beautiful old town that revolves almost entirely around the university, the oldest in Europe, we are told. After we have been sent back and forth in search of the Tourist Office, we find our way around the city with the map we received.
We climb up towards the old town, a very steep staircase with high steps leads directly from the river bank to a narrow road that brings us close to the university.
By the way, there are cars everywhere that go down to the smallest streets, sometimes they are so narrow that the exterior mirrors have to be folded.
We enter the Igreja de Santa Cruz and admire the wall tiles, the entire agony is shown on tiles on the walls of this church, very special, very Portuguese.
Later we visit the university and the university library, unfortunately no pictures may be taken in the library, but it is impressive how beautiful the old books from the time of the great voyages of discovery are kept, a must if you visit the city.
At the end of the afternoon we meet Gui Passos at his restaurant Passeite , his wife Marije approached us via Facebook and referred us to the restaurant. Guy is Portuguese and Marije is Dutch, together they have a restaurant and an olive garden, Passeite where they grow olives and make olive oil. Great for salad or for a sandwich.
The next day we leave Coimbra again and visit Gui in Condeixa-a-Nova where he and Marije live with their two children and where they grow the olives. We get a tour through the olive groves at the house and a little further away in the area. A nice company in development with a lot of potential.
We drive on to Peniche, the weather improves as the day progresses and in the evening we can see the sun go down from our camp site on the cliff.
The coast is rough with every now and then beautiful beaches where you can surf, beautiful.
Our next stop is Lisbon, we can spend the night in the parking lot in Seixal on the south bank of the river. From there there is a ferry that transports us to the city center.
For the first impression of the city we use the Gray Line Hop On-Hop Off bus. We think it is ideal that we can reach all the attractive places in the city with the ticket that is valid for 48 hours, so we make extensive use of it.
We visit the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos where the great Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama is buried and see that the Christmas tree is being built on the Praça do Comércio.
The impressive bridge over the Tagus (Tejo) with the statue of Christ placed on the south bank often dominate the horizon as the many bicycles determine the street scene.
On November 29 we walk to the large square on which the Christmas tree stands at the end of the afternoon, early in the evening, and notice that a huge crowd has gathered, all focused on the unlit Christmas tree. When the lights go on at 6:30 pm, there is a cheer and applause, Christmas has begun in Lisbon.
We spend almost all of our last day in Lisbon in the Museu Galouste Gulbenkian , an impressive collection of historical and contemporary art from around the world that this Turkish-British-Portuguese oil magnate has collected and left to the city.
Bye Lisbon with the characteristic trams …
We make an unexpectedly beautiful stopover in Évora, from the various eras in which this city flourished, many old buildings have been preserved, sometimes integrated into newer buildings.
The cathedral with cloister is beautiful on the inside, but it is special that one can take a walk on the roof.
Coast and beach
We travel further and further south and enjoy the beautiful coast and camping spots at quiet beaches.
From the Algarve we mainly enjoy the beautiful authentic village centers (which are almost swallowed by tourist accommodations) of Vau, Albufeira and Fuseta, and furthermore just nice weather and beach.