April 14, 2015

Getting From Salamanca or Madrid to Porto by Bus

There are buses from both Salamanca and Madrid in Spain to Porto in Portugal via Guarda.

Getting From Salamanca to Porto by Bus.

Buses are operated by ALSA/Internorte and take 6 hours and 15 minutes from Salamanca and 9 hours, 15 minutes from Madrid. The bus station in Porto where these international buses depart is at Casa da Musica on the Porto metro.

Presently the bus leaves Salamanca bus station at 12.45pm and arrives in Porto at 6pm. Returning to Spain from Porto the bus leaves Casa da Musica at 10.15am and should arrive in Salamanca at 5.30pm.

Getting From Salamanca or Madrid to Porto by Bus.

The bus from Portugal to Spain usually goes via Aveiro. Price for a one-way ticket is presently 44 Euros.
(Note: there is an hour difference in time between Spain and Portugal.)

The bus stops on the Spanish side of the border at a service station for a break for food. There are occasionally delays at the border.

Madrid to Salamanca is pleasantly done by train and then bus to Porto. If you are doing the whole leg by bus the journey takes 10 hours. The bus leaves from Av. de America at 9am and arrives in Porto at 6pm. Single is 50 Euros with the return fare 84 Euros.

April 11, 2015

Aqueducts in Portugal

Portugal has long been dry and arid especially in the south. Portugal has a number of historic aqueducts that were built to bring water from the hinterland to the cities. The Romans were the first to build aqueducts in Iberia and there are remains of 3km-long aqueduct in Conimbriga near Coimbra.

Aqueducts in Portugal.

Aqueducts in Portugal can be found in Vila do Conde (Aqueduct of Santa Clara), Serpa, Evora (the Aqueduto da Agua de Prata), Elvas (Aqueduto da Amoreira), Braga (Sete Fontes), Obidos, Tomar (Aqueduto de Pegões) and famously in Lisbon (Águas Livres).

Aqueducts in Portugal.

The 18th-century Águas Livres that brought water to Lisbon was 18km long. Construction began in 1731 under Italian architect Antonio Canevari and finally brought water to the capital in 1748 after work was continued by a number of Portuguese architects until 1799.

Aguas Livres aqueduct, Lisbon, Portugal.

April 10, 2015

Igreja Matriz de Mertola

The Igreja Matriz de Mértola in Mertola in the Alentejo region of south east Portugal is only one of two churches in the country that have been built over mosques following the Reconquest in the 13th century. The other is in nearby Serpa.

Igreja Matriz de Mertola, Alentejo, Portugal.

The Igreja Matriz is registered as a National Monument and retains the Moorish arched doorway and the mihrab - a niche pointing to Mecca.

Igreja Matriz de Mertola.

October 25, 2014

Jardim do Morro Station

Jardim do Morro Station is a stop on the Porto metro in Vila Nova de Gaia on Line D from Hospital Sao Joao on the Porto side to Santo Ovidio on the Gaia side.

Jardim do Morro Station, Vila Nova de Gaia

Jardim do Morro Station is one stop south of Sao Bento Station just over the upper level of the Ponte Dom Luis I Bridge and adjacent to the Mosteiro de Serra do Pilar convent.

Jardim do Morro Station, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Jardim do Morro Station is handy for connecting with the Teleferico de Gaia cable car and to visit the port wine lodges below.

Jardim do Morro is an excellent place to take photos over the River Douro to the city scape of Ribeira.

Jardim do Morro Station, Vila Nova de Gaia

October 15, 2014

Barcelos Rooster

The Barcelos Rooster (Galo de Barcelos) is a common emblem of Portugal often seen in souvenir shops. Consideredan item of good luck, the rooster comes from a story of a roasted rooster that crowed to prove a condemned man's innocence.

Barcelos Rooster, Portugal

The garish, brightly-colored Barcelos Rooster is often sold as a ceramic ornament but there are plastic versions too.

The standard Galo de Barcelos may be as aesthetically pleasing as a Staffordshire Toby Jug, but it serves the same purpose - as a gimmick for a popular, local industry.

Barcelos, near Braga, is famous for its eartherware and pottery, and the national symbol of good fortune and honesty is produced en masse in the town.

Barcelos Rooster, Portugal

The Galo de Barcelos is usually black but now comes in a variety of colors with a red plumage and a bright yellow or orange beak.

So if you are looking for an iconic memento or keepsake of Portugal, look no further than a Barcelos Rooster for your mantelpiece.

September 14, 2014

Hotel Mercure Porto Centro

The Hotel Mercure Porto Centro is a four star hotel located in Praça da Batalha in the old centre of Porto.

Hotel Mercure Porto Centro

Close to Porto's Cathedral, Sao Bento Station, the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso and the Rede Expressos Bus Station, the Hotel Mercure Porto Centro offers modern amenities in a vibrant urban locale.

The breakfasts are recommended, the Wifi excellent and the rooms spacious. We particularly liked the port-hole style windows with excellent views over the city.

Parking is available along with a restaurant and stylish bar.

Hotel Mercure Porto Centro

Hotel Mercure Porto Centro
Praça da Batalha, 116, Se
4049-028 Porto

September 9, 2014

Igreja dos Congregados

The Igreja dos Congregados (Igreja de Santo Antonio dos Congregados) stands just to the north of Sao Bento Station in Praça de Almeida Garrett in the old city area of Porto.

Igreja dos Congregados, Porto, Portugal

Igreja dos Congregados was built in 1703 on the site of a previous chapel. Restoration work on the church was done in the 19th century and the classic blue and white azulejos tiles by Jorge Colaço were added in the 20th century and depict scenes from the life of Saint Anthony.

Igreja dos Congregados, Porto, Portugal

Close to the church is an equestrian statue of Dom Pedro IV.

Igreja dos Congregados
Rua Sa da Bandeira, 11
Porto 4000-433
Tel: 022 200 2948