Saturday, May 16, 2009

Boa Noite

We are back in Lisbon.
Valença, Portugal on right; Spain on left & Minho River in between
Valença was delightful. Our hotel was located within the walls of the 12thC (or thereabout) fortress on a hilltop overlooking the Minho River and surrounding valley, which was...well, breathtaking comes to mind. Green, rolling hills, mountains, vineyards and the fortress itself, complete with cannons (pointed towards Spain).
Fortress walls: Valença, Portugal

Within the fortress walls were many shops which, curiously, all seemed to sell linens. There were also a couple of cafes and Portuguese restaurants. (If i never see another olive again, it may be too soon.) And of course there were a few small churches. On our first day there we explored this area. On the second day we went to Spain.
Eiffel Bridge between Spain & Portugal


Spain lies just across the river and is accessible by means of a bridge built in 1886 and designed by Gustave Eiffel himself. It took us just less than 15 minutes to make the journey. The town on the other side is Tui. Don´t ask me how to pronounce it. At first glance it is a depressing roadside town, best glimpsed from a passing car, but if one heads towards the river there is a beautiful little town, 5 or 6 hundred years old and centred around a large cathedral. We walked through the steeply winding streets and had a coffee. (You can smoke inside there, something that is not possible in Portugal.) After about 5 hours of blind exploration, we returned home, had dinner and watched the sky darken from our hotel room.
Today we took the train back to Lisbon; a pleasant journey that took about 6 hours. We spent out last evening having dinner and taking one final walk around the castle.
Dale smoking in Lisbon

Betty Lou in Lisbon

We have an early and long trip home tomorrow via Frankfurt and Calgary (two cities not often mentioned together).
We will be in Vancouver Sunday evening.
d & b

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