Archive for September, 2012

Portugal, Day 11 – Saint Clare Monestary

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Monastery of Saint Clare in Coimbra
After a lovely and ample breakfast, provided by the Quintas, we visited the Saint Clare Monestary. Since I was named after Saint Clare, it was very cool to be seeing this place! After our little walking tour of the grounds, we had a lovely coffee at the café there; sampling the special Clare Pastry. The pastry was small, light, and fluffy with almonds.

Queen Elizabeth decreed this monastery be build in 1314, for the Order of Saint Clare. The grounds are very extensive, in part because of the wealthy local citizens and royalty who contributed though out history.

Dennis Dwarfed Inside Saint Clare Cathedral

Apparently, in 1677, the monastery was abandoned as it was flooded by the Mondego river. Between 1929 to 1940, it was restored. It was opened after the archaeological excavations from 1995-2000.

Arches Inside Saint Clare Monastery


Portugal, Day 10 – Lisbon Walking Tour

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Jeronimos Monastery Entrance

It was the last day of our adventure tour, so we were sad to say goodbye to Pedro. He was an excellent guide throughout the tour and we really had a blast hanging out with him.

Show Me Where You Live
Stand in the place where you live…!

Portuguese Discovery Monument and the 25 of April Bridge

For our last day on tour, Pedro took us on a walking tour of the Jeronimos Monastery and the Portuguese Discovery Monument. It was a gorgeous warm fall day in Lisbon, so walking around with him was super.

We were sad to be done with the tour, but excited to see how we would manage the second week on our own. We normally don’t have any problems in foreign places, but so far on our tour, we had really leaned on Pedro quite a bit. I figured we’d be fine, but there was a small bit of separation anxiety!

Coimbra With Moon Rising
After the tour, we travelled up to the university town, Coimbra, and arrived just in time to get settled into the Quintas Das Lagrimas.


Portugal, Day 9 – Mountain Bike Riding, Bacalhoa Winery, and Tile Factory

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Clare and Dennis Mountain Biking in Portugal

Dennis was super happy, we finally had the chance to go mountain biking. Pedro drove us out to the country and we road down a gravelly jeep style road. It was slightly hilly, but beautiful terrain.

Bacalhoa Winery - Odd Statues
At the Bacalhoa Winery there were these odd sculptures out in front!

On the way out there, we stopped at the Bacalhoa Winery and bought some delicious Moscatel Roxo (Red). I wish we could have purchased an entire case, but we were going to be travelling over the next week and didn’t want to lug it around from place to place!

We also visited a Mom and Pop tile factory named Ceramica Do Lapidario (email them at lapidario at clix dot pt or call them at 212191123, for tour information and products). We met with the crafts people and purchased some hand painted mosaic tiles. It was neat to take a small tour and learn how they make the tile. The gal who painted our tiles has been doing so since she was a little girl.

Clare Playing on Beach in Portugal
Later that afternoon, Pedro drove us to another area and we rode the bikes downhill to a very nice beach. We lounged about on the beach for an hour and then called it a day!


Portugal, Day 8 – Day Hike, Cabo Da Roca (Westernmost Point of Europe)

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Lighthouse at Cabo Da Roca
Approaching Cabo Da Roca and the Lighthouse

Clare and Dennis at Cabo Da Roca
We Hiked for 6.5 Hours to Get to Cabo Da Roca

Clare and Dennis Reach Destination
View of the Atlantic

The Atlantic Ocean From Cabo Da Roca, Portugal
Can you see New York?

We completed a lovely but strenuous seaside hike to Cabo Da Roca (The Westernmost Point of Europe). The trail wound it’s way up and down multiple ridges which abruptly cliffed out into the Atlantic.

We scaled up and down these undulating spines and enjoyed the path most when it wasn’t covered by this evil spikey bush. At times, we each were writhing in pain as the little needles stabbed our calves and ankles. Luckily, Pedro usually charged ahead and managed to find the way. But he was the least prepared to bush whack, having worn 3/4 length pants.


Portugal, Day 7 – Rock Climbing, Sintra

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Rock Climbing is below the Moorish Castle
We Climbed on Granite Domes Just Below the Moorish Castle!

Clare Climbing Into the Light
Clare Bathed in Sunlight On Solar

Dennis Climbing Solar
Dennis Climbing Solar

Two days of climbing in a row, how lucky am I? We drive to Sintra and park the truck. From the truck, we wander around a bit and then head up to the climbing crag. I’m just itching to sample some granite…Pedro said we would climb underneath a castle on granite and I had him repeat it to me, just to make sure I wasn’t day dreaming!

More Pictures Below: