Portugal/Barcelona May 2019

May 10-19, 2019
 Saturday, May 11, 2019 - We arrived in Portugal and began our trip with a tour of Lisbon.
We took advantage of a group picture standing in front of the famous Jeronimos Monestery, Cloisters and Church as we begin our initial tour of Lisbon with our guide, David.
Left to right: David our guide, Jeanne Nordstrom, Jim & Kay Hebel, Lana Sexton, Jim Meyers, Wayne & Valerie Graczyk Camille Meyers, Karen & Bill Shaw, Al Nordstrom (in back), Sue Hoffmann (front), Linda & Arles Izquierdo, Sue Laird, Joni & Gary Greenfield, Bonnie Lueck, Susan Dechert, Bill & Sharyn Mondloch

Valerie in front of the crypt for Portugal's famous Vasco de Gama,
explorer and the first European to reach India by sea.
We headed for and climbed the Belem Tower (Torre de Belem). Built  in the middle of the River with its major function to control the access of shipping in the city. While Portugal was a major naval power at that time, it never sought to conquer areas...just control as many waterways for their shipping routes, eventually all the way to the Indies and Japan.

Jim &Kay Hebel  and Jeane & Alan Nordstrom after their climb "almost to the top".

Bonnie Lueck intent on working her I Pad for more picture taking. The temperature reach the mid 80's on our first day to jump to the lower 90's over the next several days making shade a premium.
Valerie & Wayne Graczyk
Shade was a welcomed ally as Camille Meyers and Jeanne Nordstrom took advantage of it
As did Joni & Gary Greenfield.
From the tower we could see the Statue of Cristo Rei, 28 metres in height which stands on an 82-metre high pedestal

Jim and Camille took James and Lucy by ferry to visit this
statue up close on their free afternoon. Beautiful views of river, bridge and city of Lisbon.

It was on to the beautiful Monument of the Discoveries by which the City of Lisbon renders homage to all the Portuguese who took part in the great sea voyages of the 15th & 16th centuries. Completed in 1960, its design recalls the bow of a boat.

After an extremely long day we transferred to our hotel, Hotel Corinthia, Lisbon to freshen up and go to the Marisqueira De Santa Marta Restaurant where we gather for a group dinner to end the day.

A little levity goes a long way as Jim Hebel clowns it up next to Kay. Valerie, Gary and Joni are not aware of his antics and neither were Jeanne and Alan in the background. Of course that included the camera man, Wayne, but we were having such a grand time who cares?
Inside the laughter and group togetherness continued. All of our group meals were authentic Portuguese meals.

You will notice two new faces to the right rear. James & Lucy Boucher, long time friends from Dunkirk France, joined us for the first 5 days of our trip.

Jim and Kay Hebel showing their serious side.
Lana Sexton isn't quite sure if she was in picture or not.

A toast by Valerie to a great day and greater kick off for the trip.
Two very happy campers, and the wine was a prop since they don't indulge in the spirits, unless you call "natural Coke & Sprite" spirits.

Our friends James and Lucy from France
First time travelers with Someday Travel, Sue Laird (Moline Illinois) and Susan Dechert (Rock Island, Illinois). Friends of Arles and Linda.
Lana and Bonnie with our Tour Escort, Maria Jesus Carre
Two friends who didn't know I was taking a picture...oh well.

They knew a picture was being taken.
And of course Valerie always knows when it is photo time.
And the dinner ended with a happy driver and Bill...and not a drop was had between them...just fun!

A very satisfied group heading back to the hotel. Sharyn, Bill, Maria, Karen & Bill, Sue and Valerie.
Susan didn't believe it but Bonnie wanted to be in the front of this picture...and did it.

Of course, while we were all so tired, the hotel had this beautiful and relaxing outdoor gathering place for snack and drinks, so some just could not say "good night" so remained to enjoy more times of friendship.

Just for proof that Wayne did travel with the group, here he is with Bill, Bonnie and Lana.
Sunday, May 12 - A tour of Lisbon with temperatures in the low 90's - A walking tour of colorful downtown neighborhoods: The Bairro Alto, the Alfama and Baixa to include the Sae Jorge Castle.
Valerie, Bill & Karen, the "other" Bill (Mondloch) and Jim Hebel on edge of Edward VII Park located on one of the 7 hills of Lisbon. This walking tour will be on what is called Hill One with Hill Seven set for Monday.
The Art of Portuguese Ceramic Tiles (called azulejos, comes from the Arabic word meaning "polished stone") are everywhere in Portugal. They decorate everything from walls of churches, palaces, ordinary houses, fountains, etc.
Camille posing with the beautiful archway in background.

Valerie, Jeanne and Alan Nordstrom
Hard to tell who just climbed the 170 steps vs taking the elevator. You guess but pictured are Sue Hoffmann, Bill Shaw, Susan Dechert, Camille and Kay Hebel. For the record Camille was one that walked up as did Kay...but I don't really know if the others walked or took the free ride. I know I walked and it was ok until about half way up when the railings disappeared...

We entered the ancient Castelo de S Jorge (St. George, patron saint of Portugal). It is a medieval castle that overlooks Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon.
Lana and Bonnie and others wanted to capture this view from the castle, particularly with the 25 de Abril bridge in background. The bridge was built in 1966 by the same company that built the Golden Gate and Bay bridges in the U.S.

Susan Dechert will take this memory home to Rock Island for sure

Leave it to Al to find a little humor in everything.
Valerie walking the perimeter of the castle with its archways

Someone asked, "Can we walk the walls?" So some did. OSHA did not exist in those years. Very interesting varying heights in the steps and no handrails at points...but fun.




No hats but we can see Linda's and Sue's faces


Hang on Karen...use both hands like I did.
Lisbon Old Town is known for its trolley cars and hills. It is built on a hill so what should we expect?

Lana and Bonnie know how close those trolleys can get to the walk. See one coming from behind?

Entering the Lisbon Cathedral is a welcome relief from the climbing up and coming down on our tour, and an escape from the 90 degree day. It was  beautiful as well as relaxing.

The afternoon was free to explore, shop and just, as Rick Steve says, "Get Lost".
Sharyn and Bill posing with a trolley...they joined Valerie & Wayne to take a Hippo tour, on land and in the river.

Waiting for the next Hippo trip.
A Hippo trip is an hour tour of the city on land then a 30 minute excursion in the river. Like the Ducks at Wisconsin Dells. We passed the very same sites we had seen the day before, this time from the river perspective.

We immediately saw this small sailing class heading out to practice.

Recognize the Monument of the Discoveries, this time with a sail boat passing in front of it.

Trying to have a more personal touch with the monument in background. Oh well, we tried.

And the Belem Tower...with a boat speeding along
.And under the 25 de Abril bridge
A beautiful picture of Linda, Sue and Susan...simply relaxing.

Monday, May 13 - A return for a walking tour on Hill 7 in Lisbon. More of a walking tour but will highlight with pictures. The afternoon was free and we gathered in the evening for a fantastic, intimate Soulful Fado performance and meal.
Karen and Bill Shaw capturing the beauty of Edward VII Park before the walking tour
Bonnie and Lana enjoying the shade and level ground before heading up the hill.

Gary, Joni, Sharyn, Bill and Sue
A breather but still going up and up but Jim and Kay weren't even breathing hard
Believe it or not. This was a statue recognizing the lottery.
Leave it to Al to find something humorous on our tours. No, it wasn't real wine.

While we were tired when we returned to our hotel. we looked forward to our dinner and Fado performance at a local restaurant.

Valerie and Wayne about to enter for the performance and dinner. Got a few "hard looks and comments" since I was wearing my Someday Travel shirt, but it was Viking purple. Didn't wear it the rest of the trip.



A return to our hotel for our final night in Lisbon and socializing in the outside lounge at our beautiful 5 Star hotel, Corinthia.
Thursday, May 14 - A travel day to reach Faro via Evora and Beja.
Bidding farewell to our wonderful outdoor lounge at Hotel Corinthia
Even in the daylight it still brings back memories
We head for  Faro
We find ourselves crossing the very bridge we've seen for 3 days...25 de April bridge
We also get to see the Monument to Cristo Rei close up. Actually Jim and Camille Meyers and Lucy and James Boucher went to it during our stay and said it was fantastic


Church of Sao Francisco

 The church and The Chapel of the Bones survived years of deterioration. Francisco Barahona had the existing rooms built and contributed generously to the restoration of the church.
Ready to enter the restored church
The Chapel of the Bones was built in the 17th century in order to encourage reflection on the transitory nature of human life and the consequent commitment to living a constant Christian life. Bones are covered with thousands of bones and skulls, brought from burial areas associated with the convent.


Lana Sexton and Bonnie Lueck stand in front of the Roman Temple of Evora. Built in the 2nd Century, the city eventually grew up around the Temple.

Sue Laird, Susan Dechert and Linda Izquierdo

Opps, caught shopping for cork purses
Cork trees can only be stripped every 9 years. Susan Dechert
holds a piece of harvested cork while Sue Hoffmann looks on.
A digging to refurbish a room, 1987, luckily and thanks only to the constant attention to buried heritage, some structures of the Roman period such as this bath, were discovered and preserved.

Beja: We travel to Beja for our final stop before Fero. Beja was a city of remote origins and it was here that Julius Caesar signed a peace treaty with Lusitanians. We stopped to visit the fabulous Beja Castle and walked about exploring what only history has to tell.

Valerie, Jeanne, Camille and Joni outside the walls.

Camille and Valerie inside the walls of the castle
Linda reaching new heights
Jim and Kay actually climbed to the top of the tower and counted the steps. You'll have to ask them how many they were since I didn't record the number.
This is the tower I referred to. Way to go Jim and Kay and the others making the climb. Felt good after the travel to get here in our coach.
Arled and Linda
Valerie posing on the top wall
Sue Hoffmann just returning from the climb to the top of tower...just kidding. But she had fun exploring the castle grounds.

Arled is used to exploring on his own, but he always returns
Karen just enjoying the shade
Sharyn simply striking "the pose"...but I missed the best one.
A kiss to remember Baja by...darn that hat gets in the way!
We now head to Faro and our hotel for the next 2 nights. We have a group dinner set when we arrive

View from Faro hotel 4th floor dining social area

May 15, 2019 - Sagres and Lagos

We depart the hotel to visit Sagres, then travel to "the end of the world" followed by free time in Lagos before returning to our Faro Hotel

If you have ever traveled to Ireland and observed the Cliffs of Moher, then you have a hint of what Sagres has to offer. This region continues to be one of the most important landmarks of  the Algarve and a favorite spot for visitors to Portugal.




Now we take a short bus ride to the "End of the World"...Cape St. Vincent
The Cape St. Vincent and Sagres promontory stands on the south westernmost point of Portugal, forming the end of the European Coastal Path.
This headland was known in antiquity as the end of the inhabited world. In medieval times, when they still thought the world was flat, this was THE END OF THE WORLD, and we were there!

The lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent. The passage of Cape St. Vincent has always been a challenge for ships coming from the East due to diverse wind systems and confluence of currents requiring the need for a maritime warning system.


 Following our adventure to the End of the World, we head for Lagos for a free afternoon in the sun in this beautiful town in Portugal's Algarve region.

 Bill, Sharyn, Valerie and Wayne had lunch and the bread was delightful
A replica of an ancient pirate ship, and the type that took adventurers to the
new world, sat in the harbor.
Keeping in mind that these ships would take 10-12 weeks. To give you an idea of the size of the ship, note the modern (for fun) sailboat gliding past it.
We returned to our hotel to prepare for some evening fun, to shop and prepare for departure the following day to Barcelona.
May 16, 2019 - Took motor coach back to Lisbon to catch our flight to Barcelona, arriving in time for a group dinner at our hotel, Tryp Barcelona Hotel Apolo.
May 17, 2019 - Park Guell, Picasso Museum and Sagrada Familia Basilica  (Holy Family) and group dinner
We did encounter a little rain during the day but it didn't dampen spirits as Bill & Sharyn show standing in front of the Barcelona Cathedral.

Inside the Cathedral there were about 30 altars or shrines depicting numerous saints. This was dedicated to St George, patron saint of Barcelona.
Park Guell
Eusebi Guell entrusted to Gaudi the plan to create an estate for well-off families in a large property that Guell had acquired. Guell decided to halt the work of the estate in 1914. Upon his death, Guell's heirs offered it to Barcelona City Council and in 1922 opened it as a public park





We visited the Picasso Museum
When you think Picasso art, what comes to mind?

or this?

A self portrait by Picasso
One of Picasso's earlier paintings


The joke is on you! Picasso was a true artist. Just depends on his age.

Sagrada Familia Basilica church (Holy Family)
Gaudi was poor and whatever money he earned, even by begging in the street, he put back into the church. In fact at the end he lived in the church making his plans. He was killed in 1926 in an accident and without identification or money on him he was mistakenly buried in a pauper's cemetery.


Our guide shared the story of some bomb damage from Japan during the war so an artist from Japan offered to assist in restoring statues...and made all the eyes Japanese.

A rendition of what the finished product will look like. Using NASA technology we were able to reconstruct much of what Gaudi had planned. The completion is set for 3 years from now.
All around the church these is artwork depicting the life of Jesus.
At one exit is this scene from the crucifixion
After a long and wonderful day, thanks in many ways to our outstanding guide Christian, we departed the church and bussed to our group meal at La Fonda Del Port Olympic restaurant, serving another local menu.

Bill Shaw having fun to highlight the feelings of all at the end of a wonderful day.
Saturday, May 18 - A free day to enjoy our final day in Barcelona
What a wonderful gift and surprise for Camille & Jim Meyers. Mary Serrano Angeles, a lifelong resident of Barcelona, visited them and took both on a personal tour of Barcelona, places even we didn't get to. Like James and Lucy, Mary was a foreign exchange student who stayed with them in Kenosha back in 1998. Now she is a full professor at Barcelona University and has her Doctorate in Sociology. Valerie and I were blessed to not only meet her back in 1998 but again on our free day.
Sunday, May 19 - Departure for the U.S.

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful blog and conjures up so many wonderful memories! Thank you for all the work you put into it, Wayne and Valerie! We shall travel with you again! You took great care of us every step of the way!Arled and Linda