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Portugal from known to hidden gems (2)

September 04, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Tips for visiting Óbidos

 

The medieval town of Óbidos is one of the most picturesque and well preserved in Portugal.
Quite close to the capital Lisbon (87Km approx.) and located on high ground near the Atlantic coast, Óbidos has had a strategic importance in the territory. It had already been settled prior to the Romans’ arrival in the Iberian Peninsula, and the town prospered after being chosen by the royal family. King Dinis offered it to his wife, Queen Isabel, in the 13th century, and it became part of Casa das Rainhas (Queens’ Estate), who improved and enriched it throughout the various dynasties. This is one of the main reasons for the high concentration of churches in this small place.

ÓbidosSmall town in Portugal

To get to Óbidos from Lisbon, you can take a train from the Santa Apolonia station. A bus service is also available and it takes about

1 h 48 m. 

Driving will take less than 1 hour. Ample parking is available not too far from the town centre. Best parking location is at the Viaduct. 

The viaduct in ÓbidosParking

The city is completely walled and it is 1.5 km in length. It is well worth the walk with wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. However caution, the ledges are relatively narrow, without handrails, some of the towers have steep steps. 

A wall around townÓbidos wall walk

The streets are cobblestoned so (as always in Portugal) make sure to bring good walking shoes/tennis.

 

There is a section of the city that stages medieval events/reconstruction. The month of July is usually dedicated to the Medieval Fair & Festival events, so make sure to check out the schedule beforehand.

ÓbidosMain Street

 

The local craft shops have quality products and are worth visiting. Do not leave the city before tasting the local chocolate & trying the “Ginjinha”, a sweet, cherry-based liqueur that originated in the region. Maybe even take a bottle home and relive your wonderful memories from Portugal during the long winter evenings! 

Casa da BuganviliaCraft shop in Óbidos

 

If you are a bookworm and/or just love wandering around book stores, Óbidos is the place for you. It is renowned as a book lover’s paradise! In fact UNESCO named Óbidos as a “City of Literature” joining other prestigious cities such as Dublin & Barcelona. 

If time is limited at least visit the Santiago Bookstore. 

 

For restaurants, try to avoid them between 12:30pm and 2:00pm otherwise you are likely to have to wait some time for a table. 

CatsCrafts in Óbidos

Summer time in ÓbidosLooking up

Disclaimer: The material and information contained in this blog and on this website is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information in the blog or on the website as a basis for making business, legal or any other decisions. 

Whilst I endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, I make no representation or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website/blog or the information, products, services or related graphics contained on the website/blog for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such material is therefore strictly at your own risk.

 


Portugal from known to hidden gems

August 27, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

 

Tips for coming to Lisbon

 

Make sure to bring good walking shoes/tennis. The streets/pedestrian paths are cobblestoned.

A light jacket/windbreaker is a must especially for evenings in Cascais & Sintra.

English is understood and spoken quite well in most places. 

For restaurants, always try to make a reservation. Use the website/app: The Fork for restaurant reviews and recommendations.

A lot of places do not accept International Credit Cards. Bring Euros!

You need coins for Public Transport.

 

1.Take a hop on-hop off bus tour especially the one that goes to Belem. Once in Belem, go to the former convent (Pastéis de Belem, https://pasteisdebelem.pt) where they have the best Pastel de Nata (Portuguese egg custard tart pastry = a local speciality) and good coffee.

2. Time Out Market (https://www.timeoutmarket.com/lisboa/en/) great atmosphere and a wide variety of restaurants including local cuisine. This is also close to the train station (Cais do Sodré) which goes to Estoril & Cascais.

3. Organi Restaurant (https://organi.pt/en/) - really good vegan restaurant which is also a favourite with non-vegans. Seriously good food. Be sure to make a reservation. 

Plantbased burger at Organi

4. Nicolau Cafe (https://www.ilovenicolau.com/en/) - this is particularly good for breakfast/brunch. Again a reservation is recommended.

Plantbased burger at Nicolau

5. Scoop ‘n Dough (https://www.scoopndough.pt) - a must for the sweet tooth! Good coffee and seriously spectacular doughnuts. Get there before lunch. They sell out fast. But they are open until very late (23h)

6. O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo (Lisbon City)+351 919 299 242 https://goo.gl/maps/JEjXTRwyGY7mpwPG6

It is on Av. Liberdade, a beautiful tree lined avenue. The avenue has a number of Kiosks (very continental style) with coffee/beer etc. I believe on Sundays there is music and people dance etc. (I have not been there yet but a friend has and recommended it.)

7. Take the train to Cascais but get off at Estoril. Visit the Estoril Casino and park. Afterwards walk towards the beach & along the promenade all the way to Cascais (about 2kms). 

In Cascais, have lunch at Masala (https://restaurantemasala.pt), a terrific Indian restaurant in the center. Great value (often 20% off for lunch). Afterwards walk along the quays/port on the coastline in the the direction of  Boca do Inferno (Hell's Mouth). Spectacular cliffs at the Ocean.

A little further on is the Casa da Guia (https://casadaguiacascais.pt). This is a lovely manor house with spectacular views over the Ocean. The house and gardens have an array of very good restaurants and a coffee house where you can sit and hear the ocean while enjoying (inexpensively) good coffee or a glass of wine. 

Casa da Guia, Cascais

It is also a great place at night because it hosts the restaurant “Palaphita Cascais’  (https://www.palaphita.eu) under its trees. Palaphita is a Brasilian restaurant and from Thursday nights on they have music. It is outdoors so it can be a little bit chilly - bring a jacket.

Sunset hour at Palaphita, Cascais Palaphita, Cascais

8. Sintra - Definitely need to put it on the visitor list. Sintra is a historic city with many world famous Palaces (last King of Portugal) and a Moorish Castle. If you only have time to visit one castle I recommend choosing “Quinta da Regaleira” (https://www.regaleira.pt/pt/) and buy your tickets beforehand online.

Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

The most visited castle is “Palacio da Pena” (https://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-monuments/park-and-national-palace-of-pena/) and it gets very crowded. “Palacio de Monserrate” and its park and gardens (https://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-monuments/park-and-palace-of-monserrate/) are well worth a visit too. 

Palacio de Monserrate, Sintra

It is easy to get to from Lisbon - take the train from Rossio direct to the last stop in Sintra and from there a "Tuc Tuc" car up to either Palace.

If you drive to Sintra, parking is a challenge and the traffic wardens are very keen to administer parking tickets. An option is to park your car at the Portela de Sintra (2nd last stop) train station (on the Forum side) for free. It will take about 15-20 minutes to walk to the old city and the “Tuc Tucs” for further transportation .

9. If you are looking for another day trip, then the city/town called Óbidos is a must. A complete medieval walled city. 

10. Alternatively the city/town of Ericeira offers nice beaches and opportunities for surfing.

Ericeira

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The material and information contained in this blog and on this website is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information in the blog or on the website as a basis for making business, legal or any other decisions. 

Whilst I endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, I make no representation or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website/blog or the information, products, services or related graphics contained on the website/blog for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such material is therefore strictly at your own risk.

 


The Cyclists' excuses

June 30, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Hi cycling fans and family!

Ever since I started road cycling last year after having admired different groups taking over Old Cutler Road (mostly at the weekends) I have met a lot of people, form different backgrounds and nationalities and all ages. An extremely nice, helpful and enthusiastic bunch of people. It's all about miles, where to have coffee and where to load up with carbs. But that's not what this blog (eventually becoming a book) should be about. I would like to collect and quote here all the different excuses people used when not showing up for a ride (after confirming that they will) or excuses they used for not bringing their reusable coffee cup, which our group introduced to help save the environment. Note: this idea has meanwhile spread over to other groups and even businesses.

So proud of it!

It's not a criticism but should make you laugh the same way me and my friends laughed when we first heard it. For some excuses the author or friend even provided a picture. Have fun, enjoy and if you have heard or seen some legitimate excuses in your group, don't be shy, share them with me and let's all laugh together.




São Paulo lädt ein (3) - Let's visit São Paulo (3)

October 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Parque do Povo - Peoples' Park

Av. Henrique Chamma, 590 - Itaim, Bibi, São Paulo, CEP 04533-130 

täglich 7 - 22h

 

Noch ein kleiner Park inmitten der Stadt São Paulo. Ideal für Sportler, die eine flache Laufbahn suchen oder Eltern, die ihren Kindern das

Fahrradfahren beibringen wollen. 

Es gibt dort auch einen sehr netten, schattigen Spielplatz. Der “Volkspark” ist eine 133.000m2 grosse Grünflache mit einigen Bäumen, Kakteen und Orchideen, zwischen der Marginal Pinheiros und dem neuen Luxuscomplex “Shopping JK”, mit einer 1,6km in der Runde angelegten Fahrrad- und Laufbahn. Sehr sicher, gut bewacht und mit Parkplätzen entlang der Eingänge (mit Parkverbotsschildern, die am Wochenende nicht gelten - sagen die Einheimischen!). Es gibt allerdings keine Kioske - Picknick und Getränke mitbringen! WCs vorhanden.

 

Parque do Povo, São PauloParque do Povo, São Paulo Parque do Povo, São PauloParque do Povo, São Paulo

 

Daily 7 - 22hrs

Another small park in the middle of São Paulo. Ideal for athletes who prefer to run on an even surface and parents who want to teach their kids cycling. You will also find a very nice, shady playground there. The “Peoples’ Park” is a green 133.000m2 lot, with some trees, cactus and orchids, situated between the Marginal Pinheiros and the newly developed luxury Shopping complex “JK”. The park offers a 1,6 km circular running and cycling path, is well patrolled by police and considered quite safe. You will find parking alongside the 2 entrances - although it has “parking prohibited” signs: Locals will tell you that they are not valid at the weekends! (Remember: you are in Brazil!)  Unfortunately the park has no stands with drinks or food - bring your own, DIY! There are toilets.

 

 

MAC USP Ibirapuera

Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo

Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (Ibirapuera)

 

Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, 1301 CEP 04094-050 São Paulo

Di 10 - 21hs, Mi - So 10 - 18hs

Eintritt frei. Parken gratis.

 

Noch ein absolut “gratis” Museumstipp mit dem Pünktchen auf dem i - oder besser gesagt mit einer atemberaubenden Aussichtsterrasse im 8. Stock. Der Weitblick richtet sich über den gesamten Ibirapuera Park mit Morumbi- und Marginal Pinheiros Skyline.

Das Gebäude selbst, von Oscar Niemeyer ausgedacht, beeindruckt sicherlich Architekturfans. Auf 6 Stockwerken findet man Ausstellungen von über 10.000 Kunstwerken, unter anderem von Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Tarsila do Amaral, Volpi, Jay Maisel und vielen anderen. Auch Fotografien befinden sich unter den ausgestellten Werken.

Leider: kein Café oder Sitzecke zum Sich-Treffen.

Für die Gartengestaltung blieb nach der teuren Renovierung (R$ 76 Mio.) in 2012 leider kein Geld mehr.

Über eine Fussgängerbrücke kann man das Museum auch vom Park aus zu Fuss sehr schnell erreichen.

 

Parque Ibirapuera, São PauloParque Ibirapuera, São Paulo MAC, São PauloMAC, São Paulo

 

Tue 10 - 21hrs, Wed - Sun 10 - 18hrs

Entrance & parking: free

 

Another absolute FREE and amazing museum (just opposite Ibirapuera Park) with a breathtaking terrace view on the 8th floor: you will be taken by surprise by the extensive view of the park and the skyline in the back (showing Morumbi and the skyscrapers on the Marginal Pinheiros). The building itself was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and will definitely please architectural fans. More than 10.000 pieces of art spread over 6 floors - amongst them you will find names like Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Tarsila do Amaral, Volpi and Jay Maisel. There are photographs on exhibition too.

What did I miss? A place to have a coffee or drinks, a corner to sit and meet friends.

What I noticed: After the costly R$ 76mio. renovation in 2012 there was no money left for the landscaping around the building - what a pity!

You can also easily access the museum over a foot bridge from Ibirapuera Park.


São Paulo lädt ein (2) - Let's visit São Pauo (2)

November 20, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Parque Villa Lobos - Villa Lobos Park
(http://parquevillalobos.sp.gov.br/)
Eintritt: gratis Parken: gratis

Noch ein grosser Stadtpark (732m2) für Sportler und Frühaufsteher. Der Park öffnet um 5Uhr30 und bietet sich zum Laufen und Fahrradfahren an. Noch nicht so bewachsen wie der Ibirapuera Park, aber dennoch sehr beliebt bei den Paulistas.
Sehr nett angelegt ist das Orchideenhaus Ruth Cardoso und ein versteckter Kräutergarten, wo man kostenlos Kräuter auf den Weg mit nach Hause bekommt.
Im Park selbst gibt es keine Restaurants oder netten Kioske um etwas zu essen, aber es gibt einen abgestellten Wagen mit Getränke und Eis. Beim Eingang des Parkes sollte man sich unbedingt den gebührenfreien Vogelkatalog mitnehmen.
Wie gesagt, ein Park um sich sportlich zu betätigen (Rasenfussball, Tennisplätze, Fahrradverleih, Picknick Plätze) oder einfach mal faul in der Wiese zu liegen.

Für: Sportler, Spaziergänger, Kleinkinder, Familien, Grünflächenliebhaber
Beste Besuchszeit: keinenfalls am Wochenende nach 11 Uhr, ausser man liebt es eng (bis zu 30.000 Besucher an Feiertagswochenenden!!!)

Parque Villa Lobos, SPParque Villa Lobos, SP Parque Villa Lobos, SPParque Villa Lobos, SP

Entrance: free, parking: free

The Villa Lobos Park is another big city park for athletes, families and early risers. It opens at 5.30 a.m. and is ideal (flat) for running and cycling. It does not provide as much shade as Ibirapuera Park because it is fairly new and some vegetation still has to grow. Nevertheless the Paulistas love this park especially at the weekends - oh yes, it does get very crowded!! A very nice addition to the park is the Orchid greenhouse “Ruth Cardoso” and a very hidden herb garden - pass there on your way out and you get some herbs for free - just tell the girl which ones you want.
Unfortunately there are no restaurants or nice kiosks in the park - only a van that sells drinks, cold coconuts and ice cream - nothing fancy!
At the entrance of the park don’t forget to pick up your free bird guide and park map. As I mentioned: it’s a park for playing football, tennis, cycling, running or just strolling around and resting on some green grass in the middle of a big city.

Recommended for: athletes, walking, families with small children, lying in the grass
Best time to visit: not at the weekends after 11 a.m. - unless you are looking for lots of company!! (that is with 30.000 people!)

 

Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo und Umgebung/Pinacoteca and surroundings
(http://www.pinacoteca.org.br/pinacoteca-pt/)

Eintritt: R$ 6,00 Parken: gratis

Wer gegenwärtige Kunstaustellungen und Klassiker sehen möchte, noch dazu in einem herrlich renoviertem Gebäude von 1900, ist hier gerade richtig. Auch die Gegend rund um das Museum hat Einiges zu bieten, wie z.B. Parque da Luz (Park), Estação da Luz (alte Eisenbahnstation - tipo: Grand Central Station von New York) und die Sala São Paulo (Konzertsaal und ehemalige Eisenbahnstation).
Absoluter Geheimtipp den man ausprobieren sollte, wenn man italienische Küche mag: die Ravioli und Teiggerichte im Café/Restaurant des Untergeschosses der Pinacoteca. Bei Schönwetter empfiehlt es sich draussen im Garten zu sitzen - man sitzt dann sozusagen im Parque da Luz.
Vorübergehende Ausstellungen kann man auf der oben angeführten Webseite ersehen - zu jeder Ausstellung bekommt man auch gratis einen kleinen Katalog am Eingang. Tipp: nicht mit Rucksack hingehen - den muss man dann an der Gaderobe abgeben. Handtaschen und Kameras sind erlaubt! Kaugummikauen ist ebenfalls NICHT erlaubt!!

Gleich nebenan ist der Parque da Luz - Park, wo auch einige Skulpturen und viele alte, grosse Bäume zu sehen sind. Der Park ist gut bewacht aber dennoch sollte man sich nicht allzu turistisch benehmen - leider gibt es dort viele Obdachlose und Drogensüchtige. Nur bei Tageslicht hingehen!

Gegenüber der Pinacoteca ist die Estação da Luz, ein Bahnhof aus dem Jahr 1900 mit aus England importierten Eisenteilen. Man findet dort auch das Museum der Portugiesischen Sprache (Museu da Lingua Portuguesa) und kann von dort aus mit einem turistischen Zug (Expresso Turístico) nach Paranapiacaba fahren (Tagesausflug mit einer alten Lokomotive).

Wenn man Zeit, Lust und Laune hat sollte man sich via internet für eine Führung bei der Sala São Paulo anmelden. (http://www.osesp.art.br/portal/paginadinamica.aspx?pagina=salasaopaulo) = Visita monitorada (R$ 5,00, am Wochenende GRATIS). Man erfährt dabei die Geschichte, wie diese ehemalige Eisenbahnstation in eine der besten Konzertsäle der Welt umgebaut wurde. Akustisch unvergleichbar und wirklich sehenswert.
Geheimtipp: Mittagessen vom Buffet!! und sehr guter Souvenirshop, was man sonst hier in São Paulo eher nicht findet.

 

Entrance: R$ 6,00 Parking: free

Whoever likes a mix of contemporary art and classics will enjoy the Pinacoteca, a renovated building from 1900 that hosts this museum. The surroundings have a lot to offer as well: just beside the museum is the Parque da Luz (Luz Park) and opposite the Luz Railway station (Estação da Luz).- reminds you of The Grand Central Station in New York. Close to the Pinacoteca you will find the Sala São Paulo concert hall at the old Sorocabana Railway office building from 1938.
If you visit the Pinacoteca, have lunch there and try the Italian dishes, like ravioli. On a nice day you can sit outside where the coffee - restaurant extends out into the Luz Park.
Temporary art exhibitions are mentioned on their website and for every exhibition you get a small catalogue for free at the entrance. Don’t visit the Pinacoteca with backpacks because you will have to leave them at the cloak room - handbags and cameras are allowed. Chewing gum is not welcome!!

Attached to the Pinacoteca building is the Luz Park (Parque da Luz) where you can find some more modern sculptures and huge, old trees. The park has security people walking around but still, I would recommend not to go there after dark - the park benches are the home of homeless and drug addicts.

Opposite the Pinacoteca is the Estação da Luz train station which still operates today and is very photogenic with its imported iron pieces from England. Inside you can also visit the Museum for the Portuguese Language (Museu da Lingua Portuguesa) or you take a touristy train ride down to Paranapiacaba.

At the concert hall’s website (http://www.osesp.art.br/portal/paginadinamica.aspx?pagina=salasaopaulo), you can book a visit for just R$ 5,00 (or at the weekends FREE) and be shown the inside of this magnificent concert hall (and hear the very interesting story of its foundation) Where previously there had been a courtyard of ideal dimensions and proportions, flanked by Greek columns, a space offering great acoustic potential was found and eventually transformed into a concert hall. It is the home of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra.
Another insider tip: Have lunch there at the buffet and visit the souvenir shop - very rare here in São Paulo.

 

Pinacoteca de São Paulo, SPPinacoteca de São Paulo, SP Estação da Luz, SPEstação da Luz, SP Estação da Luz, SPEstação da Luz, SP Sala São Paulo, SPSala São Paulo, SP Sala São Paulo, SPSala São Paulo, SP Estação Julio Prestes, São PauloEstação Julio Prestes, São Paulo