Posts Tagged ‘Castle’

International Park “Gerês”-“Xurés”

July 31, 2014

Today I stumbled on this great video on Youtube about the Nature Conservation Park located in both Northern Portugal  and the Spanish region of Galicia.

On the Portuguese side one of the doors to the Park is actually in “Lamas de Mouro” – Melgaço if you drive around 20 minutes up mountain from the town.

As you can see it in the video it is a beatiful place with ancient ruins from “Stone Age”  dolmens to Roman bridges.

Check a list and GPS coordinates HERE (new tab).

The mountais are covered with giant round shaped rocks some of them famous for their curious shape. There is also a lot of small rivers, waterfals from many sizes and small lakes.

Wild animals include wild flurry horses (video 0:46) and deers. There are wolves too but don’t expect to see them as they are scarce nowadays and the ones that are left are intelligent enough to avoid humans.

Now that I moved to Hungary I’ve had the chance to explore quite a few European Conservation Parks and usual mountain/forest destinations in Austria, Hungary, Croacia and  Slovenia, so I can make you comparison with this places.

The first difference is that “Gerês” is not such a popular place. For some strange reason it seems that the European tourists usually don’t travel West by car. Last year I was in Slovenia and I had never seen so many German, French and Italian cars parked together. So if you want to explore on your own and prefer under-the-radar places this is a plus.

The second difference are Ticks. As crazy as it may sound, yes, ticks – those blood sucking parasites are a plague for forest-travelers in most of Central Europe. Everyone who lives here always packs a tick-removal tool for their travels, take B-vitamin or use some repelent spray. This was something completly new for someone used to hike in Portugal.

The third and last difference is in fact a disadvantage for the non-popularity of this place. While there are tourist oportunities for radical sports, hiking, rent-a-bike, rent-a-boat and others, you should search online and take notes of what you want to do and where before traveling.

Enjoy the video!

Blitzwood @Spotify

Down to Lisbon: Lisbon!

June 17, 2012

Lisbon from Airplane window

After our one day trip we finally arrived to Lisbon. I think it has a different feel from any other capital in Europe. In one hand there’s of course the good Southern Europe weather and sunlight illuminating it on the other hand there’s historical reasons.

Recent history has been kind in the looks of the city. While other countries were deep into World War II, Portugal remained neutral in the conflict saving monuments from bullet marks, bombing, rebuilding and other tragedies. The last time Lisbon had to undergo a major reconstruction was in the 1755 earthquake. Then it got the shape of a modern city with straight, large parallel streets downtown facing the river.

History also gave the city a cosmopolitan feeling. Lisbon was the center of a maritime Empire with colonies in America, Africa and Asia and you can see influences from distant lands in many landmarks, museums and in trees that don’t seem to belong in Europe.

Due to our errands we didn’t have so much time for sightseeing so I included some photos I took another time I was here in October 2010.

There’s plenty of photos and information on Lisbon in the internet but feel free to check our photos. There’s a photo I took from an airplane window arriving to Lisbon Airport showing the “25th of April” Bridge and the Cristo Redentor (a similar statue to that existing in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil).

Down to Lisbon: 2-The Road

March 16, 2012

Óbidos

Map

We left from Porto a bit late considering out schedule. We noticed the progressive landscape change, from the North mountains of Portugal to the Hills of the West. It was a bit unfortunate that we didn’t pick the camera until after Aveiro because we saw interesting stuff on the way. It’s a pity but I can’t show something like 10 consecutive stork nests built on the traffic signs in the highway, it was quite unexpected. I guess there’s a lot of babies there.

But we could get some interesting photos either on the move or on the occasional service area stop. The focus isn’t always right when you travel but I really like some of this photos. There’s the view of Óbidos from the highway; the contrast between the old traditional windmills and the new electric turbines and even some curious mini-camping-houses near Nazaré.

Random photos from Portugal

October 24, 2011

Not so much time to blog nowadays. Here are some nice photos from Portugal. Don’t forget to check my other posts or categories for more.

Around the webs: Melgaço in Youtube

January 10, 2011

Melgaço is one of those unknown destinations in Portugal with plenty to offer as you can check on my previous post.

Sign on the Spanish side of the Bridge

I’ve found some interesting videos on Youtube that add a different angle.

Video 1Aerial view

This video shows an aerial view of the Minho River and Melgaço.

It begins with the River and the international bridge between Spain and Portugal.

At 0:42 you can see the rural Hotel “Quinta do Reguengo”

At 1:09 it shows the Sports Complex

You can get a good view of the town with the castle tower standing out at 2:30

Video 2Bridge Jumping


I’ve talked about the practice of extreme sports in Melgaço in my “Melgaço Radical” post.

Here’s a video of some people jumping from the International bridge if you’re feeling brave today.

Video 3RC helicopter films the Monte de Prado Hotel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7IXtENrSHc

This video shows the “Monte de Prado” Hotel located in the Sports Complex and near the river.

Oporto: Castelo da Foz

January 22, 2010
This post is part of  Matosinhos – Oporto following the Atlantic Ocean and Douro River, please check the Index page for the other posts following the same tour.
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Castelo da Foz

 

“Castelo da Foz” is also known as “John the Baptist Fort”. It was built in the end of the 16th century for the defense of the Atlantic coast and the entrance to the Douro River. The building of the castle absorbed the Church (in renaissance style) that was previously in the same place.

There is no ticket required to visit the castle but the place is not crowded at all, there was only one other tourist when I visited, no one else!

Art Exposition inside

There was a painting/art exhibition in a large room inside, the only person there was the artist himself. He confirmed me that one can explore the Castle at his own will but there are some rooms off-limits where apparently there are some administrative offices.

From the balcony outside it is visible that some parts of the Castle have suffered the passage of time. There’s a good view of the mouth of the Douro River.

From Praça Gonçalvez Zarco to the mouth of Douro River

January 19, 2010

This post is part of  Matosinhos – Oporto following the Atlantic Ocean and Douro River, please check the Index page for the other posts following the same tour.

Check the path I followed on this post: HERE

Cheese Castle -> Foz Castle -> Douro River mouth

The Atlantic Ocean

Continuing to follow the Atlantic Ocean Southwards you’ll be now in an avenue with a wide sidewalk. There are a lot of classy villas and other buildings on the other side of the road. This is probably the zone with the most expensive houses in Oporto.  

Along the coast there are small gardens near the sidewalk and 3 not-too-big sand beaches. Then you’ll reach another castle (“Castelo da Foz”) guarding the mouth of the Douro River.

Danger: Wave Zone

The manmade barriers in the mouth of the river are usually under the continuous collision of waves so walking to some areas above the barriers can be dangerous.

The “Arrábida” bridge can be seen upriver linking Oporto to Gaia (Vila Nova de Gaia).

After the “Foz” Castle, leaving the Ocean behind and already following the Douro River, there is a public garden “Jardim do Passeio Alegre”, with fountains and a mini-golf area.~

Oporto: Castelo do Queijo

December 18, 2009

Castelo do Queijo – ticket: 0,50€

 Please check the following map for it’s location: HERE.

1. Castelo do Queijo

“Castelo do Queijo” – Cheese Castle, or Saint Francis Xavier Fort is a small defensive fortification near the Atlantic Ocean. It was built in the 15th century and it is named like this because it was built upon a round rock considered similar to a cheese. It has changed over the centuries, including being attacked or bombed during many wars, for example the “Liberal Wars” (1831-1834).

The fort has an angular design with wide shooting platforms and large walls. There was a moat around the walls so that the entrance was limited to one door with a drawbridge. It has no towers. The design is from the French military engineer Miguel de L’Ècole.

It is nowadays owned by the “Association of Comandos” being used for cultural purposes and for expositions.

Some consider it one of the best places of Oporto to watch the sunset on the ocean.

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Note: One of the  sightseeing bus lines parks in this roundabout to allow tourists to visit the Castle. It works in “hop on – hop off” fashion. This means the tourist can use his daily ticket to enter or leave the buses as he pleases, exploring at his own pace. More information can be found on the official site: HERE. I expect to create a post on the subject later.

From Praça da Cidade do Salvador to Praça de Gonçalvez Zarco

December 17, 2009

This post is a continuation of theMatosinhospost.

Check the path I followed on this post: HERE

Fisherman’s roundabout -> Cheese Castle

Find: "Fisherman's roundabout"; Transparent Building; Sealife and "Cheese Castle" in this photo

Following South after the Fisherman’s roundabout you’ll be between the Transparent Building to the West and the borders of Oporto City Park (“Parque da Cidade”) to the East.

Parque da Cidade” is the largest green area in Oporto.

The Transparent Building (“Edificio Transparente”) is named like this because of its façade with huge windows towards the sea. It is a building dedicated to leisure, it features a gymnasium, a surf school, a bycicle shop and bars downstairs near the beach.

At the end of this path you’ll reach “Praça Gonçalves Zarco”, another roundabout. It has a statue dedicated to the knight and navigator Gonçalvez Zarco –administrator of the settlement and colonization of Madeira Island in 1425. This roundabout is usually known as “Castelo do Queijo” Cheese Castle roundabout because of the rock upon Saint Francis Xavier Fort was built.

SeaLife was built recently near this roundabout.

———–

Note: One of the  sightseeing bus lines parks in this roundabout to allow tourists to visit the Castle. It works in “hop on – hop off” fashion. This means the tourist can use his daily ticket to enter or leave the buses as he pleases, exploring at his own pace. More information can be found on the official site: HERE. I expect to create a post on the subject later.

Melgaço: town symbols

October 30, 2009

The Tower-Castle

Melgaço Tower

Tower castle

The tower construction began in 1170 under the order of D. Afonso Henriques – the first King of Portugal – who also issued a charter with laws, privileges and obligations for Melgaço, creating the municipality.

The tower has a quadrangular shape isolated in the middle of a wall circle. The walls have two doors and are reinforced with three smaller towers with prismatic battlements.

In the XVII century, with the developments in artillery, some adaptations were made with the construction of bastion lines around the medieval area.

Nowadays the interior of the Tower is a museum open for tourists.

Inês Negra (“Black” Agnes)

Inês Negra

Inês Negra Statue

Inês Negra is part history, part legend.

During the years between 1383 and 1385 there was a period of anarchy and civil war in Portugal due to the death of the King “D. Fernando I” without a male heir. The ruling rights were contested between “D. João, Mestre de Avis” and the ruler of Castile (nowadays: Spain) “D. Juan I”.

Melgaço was under Castile influence when in 1388 “D. João” decided to reconquer it with his army. However the fate of the town was in the end decided in a single fight between two women in front of both armies: Inês “Negra” (supporting the Portuguese cause) versus “Arrenegada” (supporting the Spanish cause). Both women were from Melgaço, Inês was nicknamed “Negra” among the population due to the dark tone of her skin; “Arrenegada” was also a nickname and means something like “the hated one” for her support to Castile. Inês Negra won the fight and the Castile’s army left Melgaço the next day. 

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