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Portugal

August 2006

Celebrating Jane's and
Mary-Carter's 60th Birthdays



71

Soajo
Rich and Randy at cribbage in Casa João Fidalgo living room.

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  1. Order of travel:
    Lisbon, Coimbra, Ponte de Lima, Soajo, Carminha, Guimares, Porto,
    Parque Natural das Serras de Aire Candeeiros, Lisbon
  2. Lisbon
    Bairro Alta district. Jane and Randy on Calcado do Duque.
    Notice behind us the diners in the middle of the street.
  3. Lisbon
    Alfama district. São Jorge Castelo terrace. The castle site has been
    occupied by Romans, Visigoths, and Moors and was the royal
    residence until the late-15th century.
  4. Lisbon
    View from São Jorge Castelo. Arrow points to our (blue) hotel in the
    Baixa district next to Praça da Figueira (the square).
  5. Lisbon
    View of Tejo River waterfront in the lower Baixa district from São Jorge Castelo.
    Highlights include, on the left, the Praça do Comercio arch and,
    to the right in the distance, the 92-foot-high Cristo Rei statue
    erected in 1959 (a replica of one in Brazil) and the April 25th Bridge
  6. Lisbon
    Randy and Jane at São Jorge Castelo overlook.
  7. Lisbon
    Linda at São Jorge Castelo overlook
  8. Lisbon
    Linda, Jane and Randy at the Jerónimos Monastery in the
    Belem district 3 miles west of downtown. Built around 1500 by King Manuel I.
    Note the ornate Manueline decoration on the monastery. This and other
    Belem buildings survived the devastating 1755 earthquake.
  9. Lisbon
    Linda and Randy enjoy gelado in Rossio Square next to one
    of many cow art pieces around the downtown.
  10. Lisbon
    Randy and Jane in Baixa district with
    São Jorge Castelo in the background above
  11. Lisbon
    Randy and Linda in front of our hotel, the Hotel Lisboa Tejo
  12. Lisbon
    Randy walking down Rua Augusta, a major
    shopping street in the Baixa district. Note the
    arch at the end at Praço do Comercio,
    a waterfront square.
  13. Coimbra
    Jane and Randy in café at the old university.
  14. Coimbra
    Linda in front of Se Velha, a 12th century
    Romanesque, fortress-like cathedral built under
    King Afonso Henriques on the site of a razed mosque
  15. Coimbra
    Famous 18th century Coimbra University library. Postcard.
  16. Near Ponte de Lima
    View up to the Paço de Calheiros manor house where we stayed four nights.
  17. Near Ponte de Lima
    Upon arriving at the Paço de Calheiros manor house,
    the group surveys the premises
  18. Near Ponte de Lima
    The night of our arrival at the Paço de Calheiros manor house,
    we had dinner at the Little Pigeon restaurant nearby.
  19. Near Ponte de Lima
    Susannah leaving after dinner at Little Pigeon restaurant
  20. Near Ponte de Lima
    Great breakfasts in the Paço de Calheiros manor house dining room
  21. Ponte de Lima
    Rich, Celia and Cameron downtown.
  22. Ponte de Lima
    Linda downtown.
  23. Ponte de Lima
    Cam and Celia in front of 14th century Parish Church.
  24. Ponte de Lima
    Cam and Celia closeup at church.
  25. Ponte de Lima
    Cam and Jane in front of church.
  26. Ponte de Lima
    Walking on the Roman-medieval bridge that crosses the River Lima.
  27. Ponte de Lima
    Mary-Carter at the Roman section of city gardens.
  28. Ponte de Lima
    The famous Roman-medieval bridge for which the town is named.
    This is the medieval part of the bridge.
  29. Ponte de Lima
    Picture of the town from across the river.
  30. Ponte de Lima
    Along a street, a public water faucet dating to 1617.
  31. Ponte de Lima
    The two Birthday Queens reign at the dinner at the Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  32. Day Trip from Ponte de Lima
    Looking down the famous Baroque steps
    of the Bom Jesus de Monte church near Braga.
  33. Day Trip from Ponte de Lima
    Part of the gang - no Bard-Congdons - at Bom Jesus church.
    Back row from left: Jim, Kerry, Linda, Randy, Jane, Bill, Mary-Carter.
    Front row from left: Lysbeth, Sarah, Hope.
  34. Near Ponte de Lima
    View from the swimming pool at the Paço de Calheiros manor house,
    where we stayed four nights.
  35. Near Ponte de Lima
    Mary-Carter poolside.
  36. Near Ponte de Lima
    Kerry and Sarah poolside.
  37. Near Ponte de Lima
    Susannah and Celia poolside.
  38. Near Ponte de Lima
    Swimming pool and tennis court at Paço de Calheiros
  39. Near Ponte de Lima
    Kerry, Sarah and Jane poolside. Jane eventually
    did get into a swimsuit and into the pool!
  40. Near Ponte de Lima
    Fields and vinyards of the Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  41. Near Ponte de Lima
    Individual apartments at the Paço de Calheiros manor house.
    Each one had a bathroom, kitchenette and upstairs loft.
    Most of our friends stayed in these apartments.
    We guessed that these were once stables.
  42. Near Ponte de Lima
    Courtyard at the Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  43. Near Ponte de Lima
    Front of the 17th century Paço de Calheiros manor house.
    The family crest is above doors to chapel (center).
    Randy and I stayed in an apartment in this house.
    The Calheiros family has owned the estate since 1336.
  44. Near Ponte de Lima
    Outside door to Randy's and my apartment
    at the Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  45. Near Ponte de Lima
    Living room in the same wing as Randy's and my apartment
    at the Paço de Calheiros manor house. Count Francisco Calheiros
    gathered guests here for drinks before dinner one night.
    A lot of the wood in the house is chestnut.
  46. Near Ponte de Lima
    Hallway to Randy's and my apartment
    at the Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  47. Near Ponte de Lima
    View from the Paço de Calheiros manor house of the town of Ponte de Lima and of
    two bridges across the Lima River, including the famous medieval one.
  48. Near Ponte de Lima
    Kerry relaxes on the Paço de Calheiros grounds before dinner.
  49. Near Ponte de Lima
    Sarah and Jim confer on itinerary
    outside their Paço de Calheiros apartment.
    Susannah finds a pan for dinner.
  50. Near Ponte de Lima
    Cam waiting for dinner in a common area reserved for
    our group at Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  51. Near Ponte de Lima
    Susannah relaxes in a common area reserved for
    our group at Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  52. Near Ponte de Lima
    Rich and Bill do the dishes after dinner in the common area
    reserved for our group at Paço de Calheiros manor house.
  53. Near Ponte de Lima
    Count Francisco Calheiros.
    Some opined that Randy,
    with a few tweaks to his hair,
    would closely resemble the count.
  54. Near Ponte de Lima
    Most of the gang in front of Paço de Calheiros manor house.
    No Sarah, no Linda, no Jane, no Lysbeth or Hope.
    Count Francisco Calheiros is bottom left.
  55. Near Ponte de Lima
    Most of the gang in front of Paço de Calheiros manor house.
    No Sarah, no Linda, no Celia, no Lysbeth or Hope.
    Count Francisco Calheiros is bottom left.
  56. Near Ponte de Lima
    Jim, Sarah and Hope at Paço de Calheiros manor house fountain.
  57. Near Ponte de Lima
    Jim and Sarah at Paço de Calheiros manor house fountain.
  58. Near Ponte de Lima
    The two Birthday Queens, Jane and Mary-Carter.
  59. Ponte de Barca
    Randy and I ran into Bill, Mary-Carter and Kerry at a
    restaurant in this Lima River town and had a tasty lunch together.
  60. Soajo
    The town name is pronounced So-AH-jzhoo. Everything
    in Soajo is made of granite, the locally available material.
    The rural town is in the Peneda-Geres mountains near Spain.
    Note the long narrow structure with a cross on the roof on the
    left side of the street. This is for storing grain, usually corn.
  61. Soajo
    Two houses share this courtyard. Casa João Fidalgo, on the right,
    where some of our group stayed, accommodated eight.
    Each of the four bedrooms had a bath.
  62. Soajo
    Casa do Eirò, where Randy and I,
    Bill and Mary Carter, and Kerry stayed three nights.
    There were three bedrooms and two baths. The granite houses
    in this town are very dark inside and lighting is dim.
  63. Soajo
    Kitchen, dining and living room of Casa do Eirò. The friendly, eager-to-please owners
    brought us a delicious breakfast each morning at whatever hour we requested.
    The freshly baked bread was still warm. Also included were homemade jams,
    coffee, ham, cheese, eggs, a guava gelatin, yogurt and fruit.
  64. Soajo
    The main square, Eirò Plaza, near Casa do Eirò,
    where Randy and I (and three others) stayed.
    The statue, a pillory, dates possibly to the 17th century.
    It is a national monument and represents a piece of bread
    on the tip of a spear. In the 13th century, the king Dom Dinis
    granted special privileges to the local inhabitants forbidding the nobility
    to remain here any longer than the time needed to cool their bread
    on the tip of their lances. Bill and Randy, consorts to Queens Mary-Carter
    and Jane, financed lodging for our group in Soajo and Ponte de Lima.
  65. Soajo
    Water ran through the town in many places.
  66. Soajo
    Newer houses, some built by emigrants. We met
    several people who live in Boston or New Jersey or
    Rhode Island and return annually to Soajo. Corn is
    everywhere, used mainly as livestock feed. It doesn't
    show up much in the human diet.
  67. Soajo
    Famous community granary. These historic structures, built of granite
    slats, sitting on stilts and topped with crosses, have for centuries
    been used to store corn, keeping it dry and protecting it from rodents.
  68. Soajo
    Sheep on Main Street in downtown Soajo.
  69. Soajo
    The environs are hilly and many houses are built on terraced hillsides.
  70. Soajo
    Our chief hangout spot was the front steps of Casa João Fidalgo.
  71. Soajo
    Rich and Randy at cribbage in Casa João Fidalgo living room.
  72. Soajo
    We had a great dinner in the kitchen of Casa João Fidalgo.
  73. South of Soajo
    A lovely morning hike out of the town of Ermida. We encountered
    lots of cows. Note the one on left side of the road.
  74. South of Soajo
    Corn seems to be the main crop in these parts and there's plenty of livestock to eat it.
  75. South of Soajo
    The rock pathway that we hiked has been trod by livestock and
    Ermida residents for centuries. They moved between lower and
    higher elevations with the changing of the seasons.
  76. South of Soajo
    Jane and Kerry pause for a picture along the path.
  77. South of Soajo
    Typical countryside on our hike.
  78. South of Soajo
    Rich in front of a hovel in a largely abandoned
    summer village in the hills above Ermida.
  79. South of Soajo
    View of Lima River valley below. Notice the summer village in lower right corner of picture.
  80. Soajo
    Another morning hike, this time right out of Soajo.
  81. Soajo
    View back to the town as we ascend into the surrounding hills.
  82. Soajo
    Another view of the town from higher up.
  83. Soajo
    Pastoral scene during our hike.
  84. Soajo
    Another view of the town and environs from further up.
  85. Peneda-Geres National Park
    On a scenic drive through the park.
  86. Peneda-Geres National Park
    Senhora da Peneda church is practically
    built into the Peneda granite mountains.
  87. Peneda-Geres National Park
    We were puzzled by this new construction in the town of
    Castro Laboreiro, which is in a very remote area. We couldn't tell
    what the economy would be based on. We could see no ski
    facilities. There were some tourists but not that many.
  88. Peneda-Geres National Park
    Sarah, Mary-Carter and I climbed up to the ruins of the
    Castle of Castro Laboreiro, which dates back to the 11th century.
    It's perched on a razor-thin mountain ridge at about
    3,400 feet and can be rather scary to walk around.
  89. Peneda-Geres National Park
    Sarah at 11th century Castro Laboreiro Castle door.
  90. Peneda-Geres National Park
    View down to the town of Castro Laboreiro from inside the castle.
  91. Peneda-Geres National Park
    View of castle wall and surrounding mountains.
  92. Peneda-Geres National Park
    This is the skinny mountain ridge on which the
    11th century castle of Castro Laboreiro is perched.
  93. Caminha
    The tide is out at this pleasant town where the Minho River
    meets the Atlantic Ocean. We stayed the night here.
  94. Caminha
    This Renaissance clock tower borders a very charming town square
    with a fountain and many restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating.
    We bought day-old International Herald Tribunes at a news shop here.
  95. Atlantic Coast north of Viana do Castelo
  96. Guimares
    We spent six or so hours in this medieval town,
    the first capital of Portugal in the 12th century.
    Notice Randy reading the Herald Tribune at a café
    in Largo da Oliveira. Largo means plaza. Also note
    the 14th century Gothic canopy in front of the church.
  97. Guimares
    Praça de São Tiago or Santiago Square.
  98. Guimares
    We got our own personal guide at the Museu Martins Sarmento,
    an archaeological museum in a 14th century convent that holds
    fragments of pottery, jewelry, weapons, etc. uncovered by
    archaeologist Martins Sarmento in the 19th century from Citânia
    de Briteiros and other prehistoric Celtic-Iberian sites in the
    area. We had earlier visited the spectacular Citânia site, an iron-age
    settlement probably established about 500 B.C. and occupied until
    Roman times. Unfortunately, our museum guide spoke only Portuguese.
  99. Citânia de Briteiros
    Postcard of a family compound at Citânia de Briteiros, an Iron-Age
    settlement that we visited on a day trip from Ponte de Lima. Artifacts
    uncovered here are kept at the Museu Martins Sarmento in Guimares.
  100. Guimares
    Decorated door jambs and lintels uncovered at Citânia de Briteiros
    that are kept at the Museu Martins Sarmento in Guimares.
    I don't know the age of these though.
  101. Porto
    Community laundry. It seemed to us that automatic
    clothes washers are uncommon in Portugal.
  102. Porto
    Street.
  103. Porto
    The center of the world's port wine industry. View across the Douro River
    to all of the warehouses holding port wine. Notice the huge brand names
    on the buildings: Sandeman, Warre, Burmester, Dow.
  104. Porto
    The waterfont promenade known as the Ribeira.
    Ponte Luis I, one of six bridges crossing the Douro River.
  105. Porto
    Randy on the waterfront promenade known as the Ribeira.
    Note the light rail train on the Ponte Luis I bridge.
  106. Porto
    Looking up streets from the waterfront promenade
    along the Douro River known as the Ribeira.
  107. Porto
    View of the town and the remains of its old fortress walls from a boat ride on the Douro.
  108. Porto
    View from a funicular ride from the waterfront up
    to town above. In background is Ponte Luis I bridge.
    On right are fortress walls. Below is Douro River.
  109. Porto
    The Casa da Musica or concert hall designed by Rem Koolhaas.
  110. Porto
    Window detail of Casa da Musica
    designed by Rem Koolhaas. Corrugated
    windows reminded me of sound waves.
  111. Porto
    Backside of Casa da Musica designed by Rem Koolhaas.
  112. Porto
    Randy inside the Casa da Musica designed by Rem Koolhaas.
  113. Porto
    Undulating grounds of the Casa da Musica designed by Rem Koolhaas.
  114. Parque Natural das Serras dos Candeeiros
    Jane and expansive view of the Atlantic Ocean and coastal plain.
    We took a short, very enjoyable hike in these limestone hills. The hike went
    through woods and also the tiny village of Casal Valventos and gave a view
    of the local limestone quarry operation.
  115. Parque Natural das Serras dos Candeeiros
    Randy on the walking path in this somewhat remote, limestone-rich
    rural area. Notice the windmills in the background.