A Travellerspoint blog

Roman Villa and an evening of fado

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Poppies at Roman villa, Milreu

Poppies at Roman villa, Milreu

Medieval fortified farmhouse at site of Roman villa, Milreu, Estoi, Algarve.

Medieval fortified farmhouse at site of Roman villa, Milreu, Estoi, Algarve.

Yet more fishy mosaics at Milreu Roman villa.

Yet more fishy mosaics at Milreu Roman villa.

Sanctuary at Milreu Roman villa.

Sanctuary at Milreu Roman villa.

Another beautiful day saw us exploring the ruins of the Roman villa of Milreu at Estoi, near Faro. Dated from the 1st century AD, there's not an awful lot left to see, but the mosaics are beautiful and an overall idea of the villa can be obtained from the signs as you walk around. It was a huge complex, with evidence of olive oil production and wine making, and probably the ubiquitous fish sauce, if the amount of fish mosaics are anything to go by! The walls of the sanctuary still stand quite high, and there are the remains of several bath houses. There is a large building which covers some of the Roman villa; it doesn't look very old, but parts are dated to the early Middle Ages. It was lived in until the early 20th century.

In the evening we enjoyed a traditional Algarve fish dish in the old district of Faro, accompanied by some good Fado singers and lovely guitar music.

Posted by suziqed 06:09 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Portuguese guitar music, sangria and five hours of walking

sunny 25 °C
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View across the marina, Faro

View across the marina, Faro

Entrance to old town, Faro

Entrance to old town, Faro

Tartessian inscription

Tartessian inscription

A public holiday in Portugal today, so we decided to stay close to home and explore the old district of Faro (there has been a settlement here for nearly 3000 years). Lots of cobblestones, alleyways and little white cottages with terracotta tile roofs. A small market was worth a look, and we made a few little purchases of leather pieces from a nice young Portuguese lady.
A serendipitous meeting with a Portuguese guitar player led us to a half hour traditional guitar recital, interspersed with stories about the artists over the years and the history of the traditional fado singing. Set in a little cottage overlooking the water, it was lovely - so glad we stumbled on it. Lunch, too, was in a lovely setting beside old castle walls overlooking the water. Good tapas, and excellent sangria :-)
A visit to the local museum, where I had expected to find quite a lot of Roman archaeology, was unfortunately a bit of a let down, as the only Roman pieces were a small selection of tombstones. It was interesting to see some Tartessian inscriptions, though. The museum was set in a beautiful old convent, dated 1565, so it was worth it just to see the building.
That's it for today; saving energy for tomorrow's visit to the remains of the Roman vila at Milreu - yay :-D

Posted by suziqed 10:34 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Faro, Algarve

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Another great train ride, this time to Faro. Another beautiful day, as well.
Staying at an Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) property for 30 euros a night. Our 'host' kindly picked us up from the station, gave us a bit of a tour round Faro, then took us to the apartment and told us it was all ours for five days as he would be away visiting friends! So we have a lovely apartment all to ourselves for the next five days. Stocked up at the supermarket across the road; great food prices, and Keith was especially impressed with the prices and the great variety of the alcohol :-)
Tomorrow's a public holiday in Portugal, but hope to get a bus to take us along the coast and then have a good look around Faro.

Posted by suziqed 13:29 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

A Flying Visit to Porto

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Oriente train station

Oriente train station

Bridge, Porto

Bridge, Porto

Another beautiful morning as we caught the train for the three hour trip to Porto. First stop in Porto was the Lello Bookshop; built in 1912 it still has its original art nouveau interior, including an amazing sweeping staircase up to the second floor. It was used for some Harry Potter scenes. Unfortunately the grand sum of its stock of books on the Romans in Iberia was 1.
We took a bus tour along the beach and through the city which was great for a quick overview. The architecture has to be seen to be believed. Tall, narrow buildings, modern ones rubbing shoulders (literally!) with very old ones, and in some cases simply empty shells. The land is quite steep down to the river, and the old places cling to each other looking like they're about to fall over. Many are covered in beautiful Portuguese tiles (azulejos), and others are painted bright colours. Others look like they haven't had a coat of paint in fifty years, and the only decoration is the weeds growing out of the cracks in the walls.
The river was busy with boats and displays of the port-wine business.
A walk through the old city was fascinating - narrow streets, old cobbled alleyways, lots of churches and little cafes in unexpected corners. A beer and a piece of cold, battered fish (trust me, it tasted much better than it sounds!) was a bargain for one and a half euros :-)
Definitely a place to re-visit at a more leisurely pace.

Posted by suziqed 13:04 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Dawn in London and on to Lisbon

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View from window - Lisbon.

View from window - Lisbon.


Arriving into Heathrow at 5 am is definitely the best time! Didn't realise it was ever that quiet. Dawn was beautiful as we caught our early flight to Lisbon, and the sun was shining when we arrived. Flights were good and on time, but not much room on BA flight. Our room at the Pensao Estacao Central was small but spotless, and the staff were friendly. It's a small family business which has been running since 1927. At 40 euros a night in the city centre it's excellent value, if you don't mind no wifi, coffee or lift :-)
Had intended to go to Cascais in the afternoon, but the 1 hour shut eye to catch up on lost sleep turned into 4! So it was just a short walk round Lisbon and a good meal. Ready to explore Porto tomorrow.

Posted by suziqed 12:43 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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