December 29, 2009

Cabo da Roca



Cabo da Roca, in the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais, is the westernmost point of the European continent. I was there in October. There is a picturesque red lighthouse, a stone pillar with a plaque about Cabo da Roca on its side and a crucifix on top, and a stunning view of the rocky coast.

However, the most memorable feature of Cabo da Roca is probably its winds. The hour and a half I spent there was a battle against the blustery cold wind that blasted this very exposed outcrop of land. In the photo of me by the Cabo da Roca monument, what looks like a salute is a desperate attempt to keep my cap on.

Cabo da Roca.

Another more pleasantly memorable feature is the succulent Carpobrotus edulis plant that, besides grass, grow all over the sandy soil, tenaciously maintaining a hold.

Cabo da Roca is about 40 km west of Lisbon and 20 km west of Sintra, making it a very easy day trip by bus out of either place.

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December 20, 2009

Torre de Belem Cannon

Belem Tower was originally built as a fortification to protect the Lisbon reaches of the River Tagus, though there is no evidence that its cannon were ever fired in anger.

Torre de Belem Cannon

The early 16th century tower served more as a prison than a naval gun emplacement and held over 100 political prisoners during the time of Spain's rule over Portugal.

Torre de Belem Cannon

Belem Tower's other non-military uses included seving as a customs post, telegraph station, a lighthouse and a clinic.

November 24, 2009

Altis Belem

Altis Belém Hotel & Spa is a five-star accommodation on the River Tagus in Belem, located within walking distance from the Belem Tower and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.

Altis Belem

The minimalist, modernist hotel has 50 rooms (including 5 suites) all with LCD full High Definition TV, Nespresso machines, electric curtains and WIFI Internet.

The Altis' spa includes a swimming pool, sauna and a hammam (Turkish Bath).

There are a number of fine restaurants and cafes within the hotel for visitors and guests alike.

Altis Belem

A shuttle bus takes visitors to and from Lisbon Airport.

Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Doca do Bom Sucesso
1400-038 Lisboa
Tel: + 351 210 400 200

November 10, 2009

Portuguese Numbers

Portuguese Numbers.
One of the first and most useful things to learn in any new language is the numbers.

Listen to the numbers in Portuguese.

Portuguese may be a difficult language for many people to learn due to its pronunciation - but the numbers are easily learnt.

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October 28, 2009

Socialists Win Second Term

The results of Sunday's general election in Portugal saw the Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates win a second term, though his centre-left party lost its absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament.

The Socialists won roughly 37% of the vote, compared with 45% in the 2005 poll. Turnout was low as the Socialists held on to 96 seats, down from 121 in the previous general election.

Unemployment and debt are both high in Portugal with 9.1% of the workforce out of a job and the national debt at around 5.9% of gross domestic product.

Leftists had strong gains, rising to around 10% of the vote.

Socrates has proposed a number of big-spending infrastructure projects, including a high-speed rail link to Spain and a new Lisbon airport to stimulate the moribund Portuguese economy.


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October 11, 2009

Zambujeira do Mar

Zambujeira do Mar in Alentejo is located on the Atlantic Coast south of Lisbon. The small fishing village, with a population of less than 1000, hosts the annual 4-day rock Festival Sudoeste in early August.

Zambujeira do Mar

Zambujeira do Mar is known for its mild winters and natural setting as it is situated in a national park known for its birds. The wild deserted beaches are excellent for surfing.

There's a turismo on the main street (Tel: 283 961 144). There are bus connections to Lisbon (just less than 4 hours), Vila Nova (45 mins), Beja (3 hours) and Odemira (40 minutes).

Book accommodation in Zambujeira do Mar.

October 8, 2009

Portuguese Language Map

The Portuguese language is spoken by around 188 million people in 31 countries and territories around the world. Click on the map to expand it.

Portuguese Language Map

The wide geographical spread of Portuguese reflects the colonial expansion of Portugal in the 15th-18th centuries.

Brazil, a Portuguese colony until 1822, has the largest number of Portuguese speakers followed by Portugal itself. Portuguese is also the official language of Mozambique, however only around 8% of the population, use Portuguese as their first language. Portuguese is also used in India, Canada, France, Paraguay, South Africa, and the United States.

© Copyright 2009 SASI Group (University of Sheffield)

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October 3, 2009

Portugal Population Map

These new maps from Worldmapper graphically show the population density of Portugal.

The largest bulge is around the capital Lisbon and the second city, Porto, to the north. The gray areas represent areas of low population density.

The total population of Portugal was estimated in 2008 at 10,676,910.

Click on the map to enlarge it.


Portugal Population Map

© Copyright 2009 SASI Group (University of Sheffield)

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September 6, 2009

Estremoz Hotels

There are some excellent hotels and places to stay in Estremoz. The beautiful Pousada de Santa Rainha has 33 well-furnished rooms, a swimming pool & garden and some beautiful views from the Upper Town.

Estremoz Hotels

The Albergaria Monte Da Rosada Hotel has good rooms and a spacious garden with pool.

The Pateo Dos Solares Hotel is a fine, upmarket hotel in a converted Portuguese manor house.

© PortugalVisitor

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September 2, 2009

Porto Weather Forecast

The weather in Porto is generally cooler than that in Lisbon and the Algarve region to the south.




Porto is 2 or 3 degrees cooler than both Faro and Lisbon in summer and has considerably much more rain throughout the year.

Porto Weather Forecast


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August 29, 2009

Rossio Square By Night

Adjacent to Restauradores Square is Rossio. Rossio is one of the liveliest public spaces in the capital and surrounded by cafes and places to dine al fresco. Café Nicola, is an historic spot, where the poet Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage would hold court. The Pastelaria Suíça and the Ginjinha are two more places to linger with bags of tradition.

Rossio or to give it its full name - Praça de D. Pedro IV - is an historic square which was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755. The square is paved with a traditional Portuguese wave pattern of stones and hosts two fountains. The statue of King Pedro IV on a column dates from 1874.

Rossio Square By Night

The 19th century Rossio Station remains an important transport hub to this day.

Rossio Square By Night

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August 7, 2009

Restauradores Square By Night

Restauradores Square (Praça dos Restauradores) in central Lisbon is an impressive sight by day or night.

Restauradores Square By Night

The square was laid out in the 19th century and celebrates the "restoration" of Portuguese sovereignty from 60 years of Spanish occupation in 1640.

The obelisk in the plaza has two bronze figures on a pedestal representing Victory and Freedom and was built in 1886.

The old Éden Cinema by architect Cassiano Branco is now a hotel with a distinctive Art Deco façade dating from the 1930s.

Nearby is the Elevador da Gloria.

Restauradores Square By Night

The nearest Metro station is Restauradores Station.

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August 1, 2009

Portugal Embassy Tokyo

Portugal is the European country with the longest relationship with Japan as Portuguese explorers were the first western visitors to arrive on Japanese shores in the late 16th century.

Portugal Embassy TokyoPortugal Embassy Tokyo

5F, Kamiura Kojimachi Bldg.
3-10-3 Kojimachi
Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 102-0083
Tel: 03 5226 0614
Fax: 03 5226 0616

Access

Exit 3, Kojimachi Stn, Yurakucho Subway Line.
Exit 4, Hanzomon Stn, Hanzomon Subway Line.
Map to Portugal Embassy Tokyo

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July 27, 2009

Portuguese Number Plates

The Portuguese car number plate system for automobiles and motorcycles is sequential. There is no reference to geographical locations in Portugal. The Portuguese car numbering system is an incremental system consisting of three groups of two characters, separated by dashes.

Portuguese Number Plates

The system began in 1937 with AA-10-00, then went on to 00-00-AA and recently changed over to 00-AA-00. When this sequence comes to an end, it will be replaced by the sequence AA-00-AA.

A list of the first registration numbers issued each month since March 1992 (starting with 00-01-AA) is available at the Automobile Association of Portugal.

Portuguese Number Plates

The "P" denominates Portugal and was added in 1992 with the EU flag on the left of the plate. In 1998, a yellow (previously pink on some vehicles) band on the right side was added with the month and year in which the car was first registered.

July 13, 2009

SOLAR DOS MOUROS

SOLAR DOS MOUROS

SOLAR DOS MOUROS

Rooms with a view

Suite with panoramic view

Personalized limousine service
- transfer from airport to hotel and return
- 4h tour in Caiscais, Estoril, Sintra and around

SOLAR DOS MOUROS

solardosmouros.com

Breakfast, services and taxes are included in the price previously mentioned.

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July 12, 2009

Fado Music in Madeira

Fado Music at Dinner Time

Fado Music in Madeira

Restaurante Juliu's
Street D.Carlos I, nº2 ( in front of the Electricity Museum )
Funchal - Old Town
Madeira Island
Portugal

Fado Music in Madeira

8 p.m to 10 p.m
On Wednesdays, Thusdays, Fridays and Saturdays

Restaurant Menu A la Carte / Buffet ( Group Reservations )

restaurantejulius.blogspot.com

Contact us to advertise your event in Portugal

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July 10, 2009

Portuguese Communist Party PCP

An American friend of mine was surprised to see the hammer and sickle displayed in Portugal and took the image below.

PCP

Rewording Barack Obama's famous catchphrase, the slogan reads "Yes, it's possible."

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) was founded in 1921 and is Marxist-Leninist in its political outlook. Heavily suppressed under Salazar, the party rebounded after the fall of the dictator and is popular in the Alentejo (where this photograph was taken) the Ribatejo, Lisbon and Setúbal.

The PCP's main organ is Avante! with print and now online editions. The party has the support of around 7-8% of Portugal's electorate. Jose Saramago, the Nobel Prize-winning writer, is a prominent member.

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July 7, 2009

Faro Weather Forecast

The weather is absolutely set fair on the Algarve at the moment.




The forecast for Faro is sun, sun and more sun. Enjoy before it really starts to heat up later this month and in August.

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June 27, 2009

Sana Lisboa Hotel

The Sana Lisboa Hotel near Marquis de Pombal in Lisbon is one of a number of Sana Metropolitan Hotels in the Portuguese capital including the 4-star, 306-room Sana Metropolitan Park Hotel in Entrecampos, the small Sana Capitol Hotel, the Sana Rex Hotel, the Sana Reno Hotel and the Sana Executive Hotel.

Sana Metropolitan Hotel

Aimed at the upmarket business traveler, the Sana suite of Lisbon hotels have a range of facilities. The Sana Metropolitan Park Hotel is a major conference center and offers high-speed internet in all its rooms.


SANA Lisboa Hotel
Av. Fontes Pereira de Melo, 8,
Coracao de Jesus, 1069-310 Lisbon

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June 22, 2009

Aqueduto da Amoreira

Like the Aqueducto da Agua de Prata in nearby Evora, the Aqueduto da Amoreira in Elvas is another masterpiece by master architect Francisco de Arruda, who also built the Belem Tower in Lisbon.

Aqueduto da Agua de Prata

Best seen from outside Elvas' city walls on the road back to Lisbon, this multi-tiered acqueduct is 7km long, was completed in 1622 and brought water to a marble fountain in Largo da Misericordia in central Elvas.


Aqueduto da Agua de Prata

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June 21, 2009

Aqueduto da Agua de Prata

The Aqueduto da Agua de Prata (Aqueduct of Silver Water) is best seen outside the city walls of Evora.


The building of the aqueduct is described in the poem Os Lusíadas by Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões (1524-1580) and was one of the wonders of its time.

Aqueduto da Agua de Prata, Rua do Cano

The aqueduct reaches Evora in the peaceful district of Rua do Cano, where houses and shops are built into the arches.

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June 20, 2009

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graca

The church of Nossa Senhora da Graça (Church of our Lady of Grace) in Evora is noted for its 16th century facade.

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graca

Four huge stone figues of Atlas adorn the building, which is only viewable from outside. In Greek mythology Atlas was a Titan who supported the heavens.

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graca

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June 5, 2009

Portugal Telecom

Portugal Telecom is the main provider of land lines and telecommunication services in Portugal.

Portugal Telecom

PT also provides internet services including ADSL.

Portugal Telecom

Portugal Telecom also operates in Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, China, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste.

Portugal Telecom is a publicly owned company and one of the largest businesses in the country.


Portugal Telecom
Customer Care Tel: 16 200
Customer Care for Businesses Tel: 800 20 20 22
Technical Support Tel: 16 208

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June 1, 2009

Smoking in Portugal

Portugal has a typically flexible approach to smoking in its cafes and bars.

Smoking in Portugal

As in many other countries in the EU, Portugal introduced a smoking ban in public places on January 1 2008.

However bars and cafes can opt to be classified as "smoking bars" if they follow a set of strict guidelines and install adequate ventilation. Portuguese bars smaller than 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) cannot allow smoking.

Look out for the signs on the door of the cafe: blue smoking; red no-smoking.

Smoking in Portugal

Smokers who break the law face fines of up to €1000 and businesses that flout the legislation will face a fine of up to €2500.

Interestingly, Antonio Nunes, the president of Portugal's food standards agency, which enforces the anti-smoking legislation, was photographed smoking a cigar in a Lisbon casino, the very day the law came in to effect. In May of 2008, Portugal's Prime Minister José Sócrates lit up in the first class section of a flight to Caracas, unaware he was also breaking the law.

Yesterday was "World No Smoking Day."


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May 31, 2009

May 15, 2009

International Whaling Commission Meeting Madeira

International Whaling Commission Meeting Madeira.
The 61st International Whaling Commission Meeting will take place in Funchal, Madeira at the five-star The Pestana Casino Park Hotel (Tel: 351 291 20 91 00) from Sunday 31 May to Friday 12 June.

Hot on the agenda will be the continued "scientific whaling" carried out by the government of Japan, which is vehemently opposed by environmental action groups such as Greenpeace. Japanese whalers killed over 680 whales in the last "research" hunt in Antarctica, held this year.

Madeira, situated off the coast of Portugal, in the Atlantic, was once a vibrant center of whaling. The industry is remembered in Madeira's Whale Museum, the Museu da Baleia, located in the former whaling village of Caniçal. Crustaceans have been legally protected in the waters off Madeira since the 1980s and whale and dolphin watching is now an important tourist activity.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in Washington DC in 1946.

The Pestana Casino Park Hotel
Rua Imperatriz D. Amélia
9004-513 Funchal
Madeira

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May 11, 2009

Lisbon Urinol

One of the very last public urinals (urinol) in Lisbon is outside the main gate to Lisbon Castle.

Lisbon Urinol

Once widespread these public pissoirs are all but finished, replaced by modern public toilets.

Lisbon Urinol.

The same urinol pictured seven years later, now graffiti covered.

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May 10, 2009

Friends of the British Cemetery Elvas

The British Cemetery at Elvas is one of the oldest British Military Cemeteries in existence. It holds only five known graves but two of these are the only marked graves of the thousands of British soldiers who fell at the battle of Albuera and another is the sole marked grave of the thousands who fell in the three sieges of Badajoz.

Friends of the British Cemetery Elvas

The Association of the Friends of the British Cemetery was founded to undertake the maintenance of the British Cemetery, which contains memorials plaques to all the regiments that fought at Albuera and Badajoz.

The Friends of the British Cemetery provides for a caretaker and the Cemetery is open to the public. Their long-term aim is to produce a fund that will ensure the Cemetery's maintenance and protection in the future.
The Association is a UK registered charity, no.1109395.

For more information: british-cemetery-elvas.org

View to Fort Gracia

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Santa Justa Elevador Lisbon

The Elevador de Santa Justa ((Elevador do Carmo) is a pictuesque lift in the centre of Lisbon just off Rossio.

Santa Justa Elevador Lisbon

Originally powered by steam, the lift took two years to construct and opened in 1902.

45 meters in height, the Neo-gothic style lift was converted to electric power in 1907. There are great views of Rossio, Lisbon Castle and the Baixa. Each of the two wooden compartments holds 24 people.

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April 29, 2009

Portugal Road Signs

Another piece of beautiful street architecture in Portugal besides its directional road signs are the signs on each street showing the name of each particular road, street or alley.

Portugal Road Signs

Some of them are made in beautiful azulejos ceramic tiles.

Portugal Road Signs

Others are more minimalist and functional in plain stone.

Portugal Road Signs

Keep your eyes open for some beautiful street signs during your stay in Portugal.

Portugal Road Signs

Rua is translated as street, travessa is lane or alley, beco is also alley.

Portugal Road Signs



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April 25, 2009

Portugal Street Signs

Portugal's road signs and street signs are clear to read and, in general, well situated.

Portugal Street Sign

In Lisbon, the brown signs point to attractions and places of interest. Icons are used for museums and churches.

Portugal Street Sign

Portugal's public toilets are also sign-posted - look out for the WC icon and the Portuguese word for toilet - sanitarios.

Portugal Street Sign

Destinations are usually shown with black text on a white background.

Portugal Street Sign

© Portugal Visitor.com