Portugal Trip – Part One

By Beth Klemick

Sunny, brilliant Portugal, how I wish I was back there now. Fall is here in Philadelphia, and the temperature is becoming cold. In late September, my boyfriend and I traveled to and spent eight wonderful days between Lisbon and Armacao de Pera in the Algarve. It was a perfect balance of city, culture and history blended with a few carefree, relaxing days lounging on the beach.

Lisbon, the Capital of Portugal, is a fascinating, monumental city that boasts centuries of history and has endured the conquest of the Moors, a devastating earthquake and fire. It is also a city with great shopping and nightlife; as you wander the medieval streets at night, you can hear the fado pouring out into the narrow streets.

Our first full day in Lisbon was spent mainly in Belem, which is often referred to as the historical heart and soul of Portugal. The natural harbor of Belem was the launching point for the exploratory voyages that made Portugal a sea-faring nation and once a dominant world power. There are so many notable sights of interest in Belem to explore. For example, the Tower of Belem (served as a fortress, prison and lookout), the Monument of Discoveries (patterned after a ship with Price Henry the Navigator at the bow), the Jeronimos Monastery (the tomb of Vasco de Gama is here!), and the Presidential Palace/Museum, all of which are free on Sundays!

Next week, is that the Golden Gate Bridge in Portugal? More exploration of Lisbon and the Algarve to follow too!

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