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Category: Europe: Spain and Portugal

Portraits of wines

Portraits of wine

Although my statement made elsewhere that Porto does not boast must-see museums is correct in the literal sense, it could be argued that the World of Wine complex in Vila Nova de Gaia is entirely worth checking out. Opened in the midst of the pandemic in 2020, the commercial-and-entertainment complex…

Around Porto (cont.)

Around Porto (cont.)

The second set of pictures from my February visit to Porto covers a number of key sights in the historic center of town, most of which are named in the WH inscription. You will probably find a bit of overlap between these pictures and the ones found in my first…

Around Porto

Around Porto

I frequently end my retrospectives of travel visits with a variation of “didn’t do it justice, need to come back”. There may be a dozen major destinations in Europe that I can claim great familiarity with, but most of the places are usually given a relatively brief look-over. Who is…

Memorable shots: Granada

Memorable shots: Granada

This is Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana that sits at the mouth of Carrer del Darro in Granada, Spain. A landmark shot of the kind that is frequently derided by landscape photography aesthetes, “Oh, look, it’s another church façade”. Except that in this case, the sunlit façade offers…

Portugal wrap-up

Portugal wrap-up

I have now come to the end of my photo-material from the spring trip to Portugal. For those interested, over 600 photos from the trip have been uploaded to my Flickr galleries. Central Portugal (Coimbra, Alcobaça, Batalha, Tomar, Évora) Northern Portugal (Douro Valley, Guimarães, Bom Jesus do Monte, Amarante, Aveiro)…

Chasing World Heritage: #129 (Evora)

Chasing World Heritage: #129 (Évora)

As my Portugal photo-essay series over the last couple of months clearly shows, our traveling targets in the country were heavily aligned with my well-publicized pursuit of the World Heritage. And yet, practically all of the places that we visited would likely feature – or at least be considered as…

Chasing World Heritage: #128 (Sintra)

Chasing World Heritage: #128 (Sintra)

Sintra is one of the most impressive and attractive places to visit in all of Portugal. It is also one of the most maddeningly overcrowded. We were there in late April; boarding the local bus to drive up to the higher-situated sights, navigating the sole road that leads to those…

Lisbon

Lisbon

Not many people would use “love” and “Lisbon” in the same sentence. Ask anyone who toured Portugal to name their favorite stops, and it is highly unlikely that the capital of the country will feature even among the top five. This lukewarm impression is not entirely unfounded. Lisbon is visually…

Chasing World Heritage: #127 (Belem)

Chasing World Heritage: #127 (Belém)

We started our exploration of Lisbon with a morning trip to Belém to take a look at the World Heritage site that consists of a monastery and a commemorative harbor watchtower. Together, this complex is recognized as representation of Portuguese power during the Age of Discoveries. Here is the perspective…

Chasing World Heritage: #126 (Convent of Christ)

Chasing World Heritage: #126 (Convent of Christ)

The third point of the Portuguese World Heritage monastic triangle, along with Alcobaça and Batalha, is the Convent of Christ in Tomar. The oldest of the three, it has been built and improved upon for several centuries; the variety of the styles in its construction came to symbolize the opening…

Chasing

Chasing World Heritage: #125 (Batalha)

Our drive from Porto to Lisbon started with the rain-out in Aveiro. We had two more sightseeing stops along the way, and unfortunately we kept dragging the rain behind us everywhere we went. Thankfully, the moments of downpour alternated with periods of calm and blue skies, and in Batalha we…

Aveiro

Aveiro

Just as in Amarante, our visit to Aveiro was negatively affected by the weather, only in a more dramatic fashion. We arrived in town on a beautiful spring sunny morning, shortly after starting our exploration decided to stop by for coffee at one of the local establishments, and emerged from…

Chasing World Heritage: #124 (Guimaraes)

Chasing World Heritage: #124 (Guimarães)

The first capital of Portugal way back in the 12th century, Guimarães is recognized on the World Heritage list as an authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town. Its historic center is a homogeneous architectural ensemble in a style that is native to the…

Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte

The city of Braga did not make the final cut of our Portugal itinerary aside from one single sight on the outskirts of the town. The sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte is comparatively young for a religious site – the pilgrimage church dates only from the 17th century, and…

Amarante

Amarante

The village of Amarante was planned as the end-of-day stop on the return to Porto from Douro Valley – it is conveniently located along the way. Unfortunately, the weather – which was fairly benevolent to us in the first few days of our trip – picked the moment of our…

Chasing World Heritage and drinking wine: #123 (Douro Valley)

Chasing World Heritage with wine: #123 (Douro Valley)

There are several properties on the World Heritage list that celebrate historic and famous wine-producing regions. My fairly well-known affinity for wine notwithstanding, I have never managed a visit to one of those sites that would actually revolve around wine. Which made our day-trip to Alto Douro the first of…

Porto (WHS #122)

Porto (WHS #122)

The very first adjective to use to describe Porto has to be colorful. Yes, the city has a lot of history and quite a few significant monuments and points of interest – which is the main reason why it as a whole is a World Heritage site – but it’s…

Coimbra (including WHS #121)

Coimbra (including WHS #121)

Coimbra is the fourth-largest city in Portugal, and its former capital for a bit over a century quite a few centuries ago. As any city over a thousand years old, it is not without charms, but on balance it falls short of making an exceptional impression. It is nice, but…

Chasing World Heritage: #120 (Alcobaça)

Chasing World Heritage: #120 (Alcobaça)

Our itinerary in Portugal was structured around two “hub-and-spokes” legs in Porto and Lisbon. There are roughly 300 kilometers of driving from one to another, with quite a few interesting sights in between. Seeing more than a couple of them requires more than one day. One solution to that would…

That’s the wrap from Costa Brava

I have reached the end of my photostream from the recent Costa Brava (and Barcelona, and French Occitanie) trip. All of the pictures worthy of public display can be found on Flickr in my albums: Villefranche-de-Conflent Albi Barcelona Catalonia and Costa Brava The final picture is similar to the one…