Back to Portugal!

Hello, my dear readers! I have finally found some time after my vacation to share the impressions with you.

This year I travelled for the third time to Portugal. And I would not tell the truth if I say that it was boring. There were so many new places, views that I could say that it was the first time I came there!

The airplain landed and while the bus was taking us to the airport I was looking over the window and I was continuously smiling, because it was a different world! It wasn’t that gloomy and problematic territory of Chisinau, of Moldova. The sky felt clearer, the sun seemed more friendly! And even the cars were happier! 🙂 I arrived home and what do you think was the first thing I did? Of course I drank my perfect portuguese coffee! (Unexpectedly, good coffee). What a satisfaction, I had been waiting for it for too long!

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After some days of enjoying the ocean (How does it feel like to live near the ocean?) we got in the car and decided to be real travellers. We visited Palace of Queluz. What a beauty!

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After some days we drove to Lisbon for a walk through a touristic zone. After some hours of constantly walking I got hundreds of visual satisfactions and dozens of photos and beautiful memories.

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I really liked those fountains!

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Another day we decided to spend in another area of Portugal. We arrived at the Mira d’Aire Caves, which we saw in an hour. Of course it is a great experience! You see diggings that have lasted for thousands of years and you just feel like you’re in other era. There are groups of people and every group has a guide which answers all the questions you have.

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..After the caves we drove to Batalha. What a monastery! With a gothic arhitecture, complicated, unique. It is exactly the arhitecture that I like. We arrived there and I could not stop starring at it. How lucky are the people that get to see it every single day…

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Finally, we arrived in Fatima in the evening. I’m pretty sure many of you have heard about this city and about the Miracle of the Sun. And it would be such a pity if you travel to Fatima and do not visit the Sanctuary of Fatima, as it is one of the biggest and one of the most important places for catholics in Europe. You can enjoy the great paintings and arhitecture, but also a calm atmosphere.

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I dedicated the other days to Setubal, Palmela and other regions of Lisbon and to the beaches that were waiting for me daily…

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So, if you have ever asked yourself if Portugal is worth it, then I can answer you: IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT!

skyline. sunset in Palmela

bloody sunsets
and sunrises that are painfully throbing into my head…

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the sense of oblivion bows down to me and, taking my hand, throws me into the future: „do you know that you’ll be alive?”, it says to me.

and i, so confused, lost in time, struggling between my future, present and my past, have frozen… unconsciously, without binding myself to the memories, desires and dreams, without hoping or waiting for something, in a state of nothingness trying to find a balance, i speak clearly, bluntly, without even trying to understand what I’m talking about: „yes, this is what i’ll do.”

and then….

then I see myself running after sunsets and sunrises, throwing lilac flowers to the skyline, drawing my own skyline…

…or just sketching the illusion that there still could exist more than just a skyline in the whole world.

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sunset in Palmela

How does it feel like to live near the Ocean?

I have never really liked the sea and, generally, the water. Because I’m afraid of it. Everytime we went on a vacation at the sea I rested happily for 3-4 days and then could not wait to get back home.

And then I discovered the ocean and everything changed. I do not want to leave it anymore! I do not know why, I do not know what has happened, but I miss it so much when I get in the car and think that I’ll see it after some days. It has something specific. The water. The shells. The sand. The imensity. The histories. You look at it at its vastness and you realize how many things it is hiding. You realize that it has the power to hold into its depths so many lives and stories and it can still be calm! I would endlessly struggle if I were an ocean!

I have always thought that it was impossible to calm your spirit just by listening to the sound of the waves. But the ocean taught me that it was actually possible. You think it is your best friend and you do not want to leave it anymore. You want to build yourself a small house, to fall asleep and wake up there.

One day I saw a bottle floating on the water. I asked myself if there wasn’t any paper with a message in it.

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Conquering Lisbon, part 2

I’m not going to feed your curiosity and I’ll tell you about the other things to see in Lisbon.

1.Calouse Gulbenkian Museum. I think it’s the biggest and the richest museum that I’ve ever been to. I was, literally, walking in there and I was thinking like: „Am I really almost touching some of the greatest works of art in the whole world? Is this real?” I think I considered myself to be a star or something like that. The museum hosts works of art from Europe, Asia, Egypt, Rome and Greece. Well, it’s a great collection. I’m not telling you more because I though want to feed your curiosity a little 🙂 . If you are not fond of art you can still visit it. After that you can feel yourself a star, too 🙂 Being in one of the biggest museums in the world, this is a thing to be proud of!

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2. Okay, now it becomes more interesting! I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about this, but if you’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco and you couldn’t, then you can visit Lisbon and have the feeling of being in the american city. 25th of April Bridge is usually compared to Golden Grate Bridge because it has the same construction and color. I personally didn’t know this thing till I saw it. I would have wanted to watch it for days…

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More than that, if you want simultaneously to travel in another city, like Rio de Janeiro, then you can admire the bridge from Cristo Rei Statue. It’s Jesus’ statue, built upon the model from Rio de Janeiro. Of course, it doesn’t look exactly the same, but if you have a big imagination then you can admit that you’ve been at the same time in San Francisco, Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro. A good combination, isn’t it? 🙂

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3. Pasteis de Belem. Here you just HAVE TO go! Do not leave Lisbon without tasting the delicious portuegese cakes directly from the maker. Pasteis de Belem is a famous place in Lisbon and it’s always full of people because all the tourists come there to drink their coffee and to taste Pasteis de Nata. Of course there are always negative aspects. There are so many tourists that you have to wait some time till a table is clear for you. But it also depends on which season you’re there. But it’s totally worth it! 😉

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4. Another destination is Lisbon Oceanarium. You will be surprised by the sizes of the aquariums and by their beauty! I won’t tell you more, because I was speechless after leaving it. So I want the same for you!

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5. And the last place that I recommend you to visit in Lisbon is the Zoo. If you are lucky, you can take part at the most amazing and interesting moments with the animals. For example, I was watching at a gorilla scratching its nose. For more than 10 minutes. 10 minutes. Didn’t the gorilla get bored? 😀 More than that, you can catch an amazing show with dolphins and seals. (Specifying: I do not know if they have the same schedule and shows, but I think they have something to surprise you with.)

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I hope you will have a great vacation in Lisbon!

 

Conquering Lisbon, part 1

I started to guide you from Setubal and not from Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, because Setubal is my soul city :). But I’m „gliding” to Lisbon now and to its wonderful landmarks, which aren’t few and I’m pretty sure I didn’t manage to visit at least half of them. Of course I can take information from Wikipedia and paste it here, but I don’t think it’s worth it. First of all, because you can do it by yourself and secondly because I don’t want to talk about things I don’t know. When I approach a topic, I do it from my point of view, underlining my feelings and oppinions upon the topic. So, let’s see the things that I’ve liked in Lisbon 🙂

1.First of all, a must-see is Vasco da Gama Bridge. It’s the longest bridge in Europe and it has approximately 17 km long. The first time I crossed the bridge, I didn’t even know it was Vasco da Gama. I wasn’t really interested where we were, I had more important stuff to do in Facebook 🙂 . But after that I observed that the bridge was too long for a normal bridge and I became curious. It was so long that I had time to take photos, to ask my father about it and to see it in its splendor! It’s indeed very long, it doesn’t have a right trajectory, it has both ups and downs. I crossed it so many times and still had things to discover! If you want more details, click here: Vasco da Gama Bridge.  And I can give you some of my photos.13153291_1110466009024219_1203528702_n

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2.Usually, travels tend to be more in the past than in the present. And if you want your experience to be really unique and if you want to say proudly that you’ve travelled in time and you feel like you’ve lived hundreds of years in Portugal, then you have to visit National Coach Museum.  I do not remember how much the entrance costs but I know for sure that if you are a student you receive a price cut, but you have to have something that certifies this. The museum offers a chance to cross the XVII-XIXth history because it has a great collection of carriages from this period. After I had spent a couple of hours in those very big halls I was so tired of making big eyes and saying „wow” that I wanted to take a break or go to sleep 😀 . You have here the official site of the museum: National Coach Museum.

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3. To take a break from history you can take a walk through Estufa Fria. The entrance doesn’t cost so much but the memories surely do! I won’t give you more details and conclusions because you can make it by yourself. But I can give you some photos instead:

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4. After you are done with Estufa Fria, don’t miss the chance to take a walk through Eduardo VII Park, which is not so far away from Estufa Fria. It’s the biggest park in Lisbon, so it’s a must-see 🙂 It has delightful views!

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With love from Setubal, Palmela and Azeitao

These names probably seem unfamiliar to you, but this is why I’m here! Setubal is a district situated at 48 km away from Lisbon. Palmela and Azeitao are two counties. It seems like these places aren’t interesting at all, but I assure you that they are worth visiting!

The first time I arrived in Setubal was 4 years ago. It wasn’t a fixed destination, a wanted destination, we went that way because we had a place to be accommodated in Setubal. However, we realized that the destiny did the best for us, because we discovered the beauty of this city! It’s a wonderful city, with hundreds of white houses with orange roofs and a lot of tight beautiful streets! If you decide to visit Setubal, you have to experience all the beaches from that region, especially Praia da Figueirinha. And it would be better for you to visit it before 9 p.m. Why? Because till 9 p.m. there is no way back to the city, because the streets cross Serra da Arrabida and there are too many cars! If you want to return to the city you have to encircle the whole mountain. And I guess you are wondering why do you have to do this. You have to do this because you can experience the ocean and Serra da Arrabida in just one day. It will take you just 30 minutes on a car to encircle Serra da Arrabida and I assure you these minutes will be wonderful!

More than that, you will be able to see Troia, a peninsula, from every beach in the region. Troia is a very interesting destination. It’s a little peninsula, it has casino, some hotels, restaurants and you surely have to visit it if you are in Setubal. The displacement won’t be a problem, because there are ships that can take you there.13115355_1105085132895640_142631426_n

Also, if you manage to encircle Serra da Arrabida, you can stop at the caves located on the mountain slops. It’s a great view, you have the ocean in front of you and you can also see little fish or little crabs among the rocks.

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Another destination is Palmela Castle. It was built in the XIIth century and it is at the top of Serra da Arrabida. If you are not afraid of height and you manage to climb to the top of the castle, you will „joy your eyes” with a wonderful view: Setubal district, peninsula Troia, Tejo river and even Lisbon! The access is free. There is also a restaurant and a shop with beautiful souvenirs there. Of course, after tasting all the beauties of the castle, you can take a walk along Palmela city.

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And the last destination… it will be such a pity if you are in Portugal and you do not find out how their famous tiles (painted usually in white and blue, their traditional colors) are made, called Azulejo. And if you are in Setubal, you can visit Azulejos de Azeitao for a demonstration and an unique experience in life. For more detalis, click here: Azulejos de Azeitao .

I wish you a good evening and a night full of portuguese dreams!

 

 

7 reasons to visit Portugal

 

I will talk a lot about my travels to Portugal, because I spent two summers there and I managed to visit more places than in any other country. And I really don’t want to miss any impressions!

Firstly, I would like to show you some reasons that should incite you to buy a ticket to Portugal. 🙂

1.There are many cities that have a beach, or more beaches. So, if you want to spend your vacation on a beach, you really have many choices in Portugal. I stayed in Quinta do Anjo, Palmela, Setubal, 40 km away from Lisbon. I visited like 6 or 7 beaches only in this region. And I haven’t even managed to visit all of them, there were some more besides those that I visited!

2. You have the ocean at your feet! Even if the ocean water is colder than the sea water, if you choose a good time of the year, you get used to it. Instead, the water is very clear, you can find a lot of unique scallops and at some beaches you even have the mountains behind you. So, imagine this: if you look in front of you, you see the ocean. If you look behind you, you see the mountains. Could you be more lucky than seeing both ocean and mountain at the same time? 13077263_1099102603493893_1681794342_n

3. Portugal is not a very expensive country for trips, like England is, for example. You do not need a big amount of money to rest there. The accommodation and food do not have luxurious prices and you can even afford to have lunch or dinner at restaurants. There are a lot of places where you pay like 7-9 Euro and you eat how much you want and everything you want!

4. You will never eat so much fish as in Portugal! Salmao, dorada,
shrimps, crabs, even SNAILS! If you manage to visit Portugal in july or august, you can taste the delicious snails with fried bread, with a pint of beer or a Cola. I know you’ll think it’s impossible to eat something like this, but I assure you, THEY ARE DELICIOUS! I would really go right now there just to try them one more time.
And, more than that, fish is very cheap in Portugal. In Moldova, it’s a luxury to eat salmao, for example, because it is very expensive. But in Portugal you can afford salmao everyday. And there also are a lot of discounts for fish. 😉

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5. You don’t really have to worry about rain and bad weather. It rarely happens to rain in Portugal during summer. And even if it rains… okay, it doesn’t rain, it just drizzels. And if the weather is hot, you don’t even feel the warmth because of the ocean breezes and you barely feel the high temperature.

6. You have a lot of unique places to visit. But I will talk about them in another post 😉

7. You will be able to see a rare phenomenon: architectural uniformity. There is still a tradition that is respected: white houses with orange roofs. And you rarely see a big achitectural contrast as I see in Chisinau (luxurious buildings near the buildings that can any time collapse).

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Unexpectedly, good coffee

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Travelling through Europe I realized that people in my country don’t really know what good coffee tastes and looks like. Of course I don’t want to judge anybody, because everyone has its own taste and there also exist a lot of types of coffee that require a different amount of water, milk etc. But when I look at someone drinking his morning coffee in a cup of 250 ml made with a little spoon of soluble coffee, I realize that he didn’t taste a really good coffee, that one that wakes you up in the morning without any need for a grand cup of 250 ml.

Oh, but I’ve tasted it… When my father said to me that in a little village in Portugal he drank the best coffee ever, I just didn’t believe him. Seriously, is coffee in Quinta do Anjo better than coffee in Lisbon or Venice? No, of course not. And look who was surprised then! I was. In the cafe at the corner, an old woman and an old man were preparing the best coffee that I have ever tried! In small cups, with some milk (because my spoilt stomach is not aloud to taste coffee without milk), with a spoon of brown sugar, you can drink your dose of pleasure for a whole day.  You don’t even need extra cups or more coffee. It’s just enough, because it’s prepared correctly. In most restaurants, the workers don’t put the needed amount of coffee per cup because they want to save it. And, in consequence, the coffee’s not as good as it should be.

 

There is a great balance between the quantity of coffee and water in that cafe. There is no greed, just the desire to make the guests’ day more beautiful. There were clients everyday, because everyone loved the cafe. And the owner smiled to me everytime I came there for my coffee, because he was a nice person. People are nicer there. They are nicer than people in big cities are, because they are happier. They are happy because of small things. And maybe this is why their coffee’s perfect, too.

If you wanna taste the best coffee in Europe, do not hesitate and visit Quinta do Anjo. And it’s just 45 minutes from Lisbon.