Saturday, 01 November 2014
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 Torre de Menagem with horseshoe arch windowA satisfying morning´s halt (reports the AA Explorer Guide to Portugal). You can take in most of the sights in ... half a day, according to The Rough Guide to Portugal. Neither was Lonely Planet encouraging: At its worst, Baixo Alentejo´s principal town ... is dull and depressing, with drunks often lounging in the main pedestrianised street... We had already visited Beja previously on two occasions and determined to try out the Pousada de São Francisco again, and we booked for 5 January nights.

ConimbrigaConimbriga is probably the most fascinating Roman town in the Iberian peninsular. It is situated at Condeixa-a-Velha just a 16 kilometres south of Coimbra in Portugal. About 15% of the total area of the Roman City has been uncovered to reveal, houses, baths, a forum, two city walls, an aqueduct and Roman artefacts which are now on display in a museum, which is even better than the excellent museum at Merida in Spain.

The Romans in Spain & PortugalIt is almost impossible not to be aware of the amount of Roman ruins in Spain and Portugal. Below this introduction you will find a description of Italica near Seville, this is where I first realised that the Romans used concrete as well as stone and brick for their construction.

The Iberian peninsular was first visited by Phoenician traders as far back as 1500 BC who came in their ships from the area that we now know as Lebanon and settled all of the Mediterranean rim as far west as the Straits of Gibraltar. They did not come as conquerers but to trade with the locals, most of the major Mediterranean coastal cities were originally founded by Phoenicians.

Lisbon's underground wondersLisbon´s Underground Roman Galleries, located in Rua da Prata, Baixa, will open to the public on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of September. The entrance is in Rua da Conceição nº 77.

Discovered in 1771 during the reconstruction of Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755, the galleries are dated from the first century after Christ and are similar to other public buildings of the Roman city of Olisipo.

Working WindmillI quite often give in to my fondness for chocolate, but usually it involves a 12 minute drive or ride to the chocolate shop at the shopping center at Guia, or even easier stopping there briefly on my way back from Lagos or Portimão.

However on March 12th because of the proximity of my birthday I succumbed to temptation and we rode 332 kilometers to the 'International Chocolate Festival at Óbidos'.   We stayed in a very nice hotel called Casa d’Obidos about three kilometers walk to the center of Obidos and walked up to the town the next day.

Moliceiros on the lagoons and around Aveiro´s canalsAveiro: Seaweed, Salt and a Saint. Quirkiness is one of Portugal´s best loved features, and I have no misgivings about using the word quirky again to describe the city of Aveiro.  Aveiro has been called the Amsterdam of Portugal and the Venice of Portugal as well as the most attractive town in Beira Litoral (Lonely Planet 1999). 

The Golegã horse FairThe Golegã Horse Fair which is also known as the National Horse Fair held every year in November, is a celebration of the Lusitano breed.  The fair is held at Golegã in the Ribatejo region of Portugal. Golegã is 133 km north east of Lisbon on the west side of the river Tejo.

To find Golegã on a google map click here. To go to The Golegã Horse Fair web site click here.

Baroness Margaret ThatcherNow the dust has settled historians will endlessly debate Baroness Thatcher’s legacy. But hardly anything will be said about “what if? What if she hadn’t won the 1979 General Election ...Dawn is breaking in Puerto Maradonna, the town its former inhabitants once knew as Port Stanley. At the tiny airport, a gigantic mural commemorates the soldiers from the mainland who lost their lives in the battle for the Malvinas, or the Falklands, as they used to be called. Next to the old Anglican, now Catholic, cathedral a gigantic blue and white flag flutters.