Portugal – Part 3, Lisbon Centre (Alfama), food, some notes . . .

After settling into my hotel, and having a overnight sleep, tried out the breakfast; but in this case, there was none? Hence, decided to go around the corner to buy some croissants, etc.

I found a metro market called Auchan – which is actually a French based shop, and noticed one or two peculiar but helpful things.

Order / Collect – Interesting Idea

One was the ability to order and then collect your food in an area at the very front of the entrance. I know there are shops here who do this, but maybe not to this detail; completely in English also!

The other was some bizarre (apologies for the black & white photo) chart on the wall at the entrance, describing something? Ah, the French strike again.

Instructions?

After this and some work, did a wander downtown, mainly to meet up with family in the Alfama region, of the city centre.

If you haven’t been here before, it’s a maze of hills, restaurants, yellow trams and tourists! OTOH, it is brilliant! Just go for a wander here, you CAN NOT go wrong.

Here, I walked by the coast and then by several places (Maritime Museum and a Taylors Port tasting room), that I will save for another day. BTW, the weather was awful, I seriously thought it was going to snow!

After this, I had a simply wonderful meal at one of the hundreds of places to choose from.

Restaurant in Alfama

Afterwards, used the metro to return to my hotel, and loved some of the wallpaper.

Lisbon Underground

CB

Portugal – Part 2, Breakfast, 1st Class train to Lisbon, Lisbon walk & Curry

The next day, after a sound breakfast, which was interesting as the hotel was just opening up from lock-down, I caught the train to Lisbon, via first class (which was quite reasonable – only about £45 for a return).

Breakfast

After a short walk through Faro to the station, I noted that it seemed quiet, but that there appears to be some renovating and modernising going on about here.

Faro shots

After this, I arrived at the station, where I was very pleasantly surprised by the state and style of the train.

First Class section of Portuguese trains

The station was clean and though at first, I thought I would be the only one there, it filled up quite quickly, with many tourists from North America.

Station shots

With my carriage having one of those “old fashioned” type of doors, which I personally, find reassuring.

Old?

We got in to Lisbon Oriente, with it’s stunning ceiling, that looks better at night, if truth be told.

Lisbon station Roof

After disembarking from the train, and leaving the station, I decided to go for a long walk (about 2 hours) along the east side of the city, that included the Marvila section, to arrive at my hotel (via the underground).

The first part was severely modern, though like most major cities nowadays, has rental bikes.

Marvila area and bikes

The next part, appeared to be under renewal, and can only be a positive thing for the city.

Marvila renovations

Finally, after I reached a point just north of the Alfama Old Town section, I got on the very modern underground, to go to my hotel that was only a few stops north.

Lisbon Underground

After I arrived at my room, a very utilitarian one at that, I was starving, so I

went around the corner, and was pleasantly surprised to find a curry house! I must say, it was lovely and had food that was served slightly differently than the places I’ve been to in the UK.

Curry with an attention to detail

CB

Portugal – Part 1, the flight and a stay in Faro

First of all, I decided after looking at the ridiculous prices of flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh (direct flights) to Lisbon, to go from the little used Prestwick Airport on the west coast of Scotland on a flight to Faro. They mainly only serve Portugal and predominantly Spain, but at very reasonable prices.

Shot of Prestwick, direct from the Bus stop arriving

Firstly, it is so easy to get there, whether by bus (above) or train (below); much easier to get to than Glasgow Airport; still with no train link, though this was tried in the past.

Prestwick Train Station

Inside, the airport is very empty, short queues, and there’s even a wall bar (apologies for the photo), to commemorate Elvis Presley’s only stop in the UK, back in 1960. Though he may have had a secret trip (earlier) to London.

Various shots of Prestwick Airport

The flight was naturally with Ryanair, where I had one of their “deals” with tea.


Once in Faro (for the night), I stayed in a relatively inexpensive (50 euros) hotel, the Hotel Alfonso, that had the typical spartan, tiled look – all I needed!


It was interesting to be in Faro, as the centre of the city has seen better days, so with my late arrival, I had few choices to find a restaurant; though the one I did find (after hotel advice) was perfectly adequate; even with a large screen for the late football.

Sto. Antonio restaurant

The Sto. Antonio (?), if that is what it’s called, served a variety of dishes, mainly Portuguese, but it was a gentle introduction to the cuisine I would be eating for the next few days.

Salad and Gazela green wine

With even the little things, like presentation, quite different to what I am used to. I had one of the “green” wines that the Portuguese do so well – In this case, it was a Gazela wine, and at only 9%, it was quaffable and not too heavy.

Wine and table water

CB

This week; Birnam, Scotland (Beatrix Potter land) and other observations, cafe’s, etc.

What a week, more being in the hospital recently, but it makes you even more grateful when you are not there!

Birnam Hotel, Birnam, Perthshire, Scotland

Had another Perthshire trip in the bag, this time to the sister “city” of Dunkeld, Birnam. Maybe it’s the poorer little relation, but still has something, particularly the home / place / whatever of Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit books.

Birnam Hotel, Blue Plaque

The hotel was right out of the 19th century! I love these type of things and I came across a “floor light” or whatever it’s called? I’ve never seen one of these things. But if you looked above it, to the roof, maybe it was a proto-type skylight? Who knows?

Skylight from the 19th century?

Also, there seems to be a little bit of money in this place, as various rooms looked completely up to date, which can only be a good thing.

Various shots

And it was only opposite, where there were various Potter types of elements, and also a theatre, museum / café dedicated to her memory.

Various things a la Beatrix Potter

Where the attendant was nice enough to let us have a look, even though they were officially closed.

CB

Dunoon – Final part – Burgh Hall café and OMOS Exhibition

Was told by the attendant here, that only a few years ago, this building, the Burgh Hall, was vacant and then purchased for £1.00 – what a bargain, and what an interesting inside here – with both an exhibition hall and a café – both work very well.

Dunoon Burgh Hall

As for the exhibition area, at the time there was a film / projection on black history in Scotland. Don’t know if it was my thing, but on the other hand, I’ve always been a sucker for these type of avant-garde installations; normally on a wall or screen, with much space about.

OMOS Installation, Dunoon, Scotland

It had a flow to it and an atmosphere that I adored.

Various shots from OMOS

As for the cafe, it had my favourite, being Coronation Chicken, that was a ten from 10!

CB

This week, and amongst many things, a look at the “art” scene in Dunoon . . .

More blogging about my trips to Bavaria and Dunoon, more cafe reviews(!) and maybe something else.

OMOS Presentation, Dunoon

But it was interesting to see that even in good, ole Dunoon, there is some form of an art scene. In this case, they had a film / presentation about 500 years of black culture in Scotland, and I will “review” it shortly for all to see!

Art Centre in Dunoon

In addition, the “art house” that housed it, had a brilliant café as well, and naturally I’ll review it also.

Also this week, I will start a series, of looking at just how good (or bad) supermarket cafe’s are! I’ll begin with Morrisons in Partick. If I survive the food, I’ll blog about it. . .

CB

Dunoon – Part 2, the High Street, etc

Cowal Kirk, High Church of Scotland

Following on from the boat trip from Gourock, the High Street is short, sweet and with the sun almost idyllic. And thought, as the screen shot below from Google Maps shows, that there is a preponderance of Churches! With the above, Cowal Kirk – High Church, being the most impressive.

They’re Everywhere!

After this, we meandered down the High Street, or should say correctly, Argyll Street, where there was everything one would want on a short day trip; cafe’s, restaurants, sights (the Churches, Promenade), etc.

Argyll Street (the High Street)

And we found some “cute” things, such as mini-kilts for your wine or whiskey bottles, and some “designer” tea pots!

Equally, we also entered a “modern” type of tourist shop, which had an affinity for both Tunnock Tea Cakes and the Scottish artist JoLoMo.

Worth a visit.

And even though it’s April, found a Christmas shop, presumably open year round?!

Christmas year round anyone?

Worth it.

CB

This Week – Germany, Cafes, Dunoon, various – How do you buy a German train ticket?

Here’s one of them, and that’s right, they’re in German!

Ticket to Nurnberg

First of all, even if German is not your strength, the ticket machines for the mainline German trains (though still a little confusing) can be set to English:

They ALWAYS look the same!

The above is for tickets for Deutsche Bahn, NOT for the U-Bahn or city trains.

The ticket was for a single, and the distance travelled was about 20km; all for about £4.50. Not cheap, but certainly not expensive. IMO, about the same price as for an equivalent distance here in the UK. The distance would be like going from Glasgow to Johnstone in Renfrewshire (As a Scottish example!).

If the machines are not for you, most of the major cities will also have a Travel Centre (Reise Zentrum) for you to buy them using English. I’ve also found most Germans are both helpful and speak very good English as well.

CB

Dunoon trip and other things this week

What a day it was this last Saturday, so decided to take a trip to the lovely city(?) of Dunoon on the West Coast of Scotland.

We decided not to drive, due to the distance, but instead to take the passenger only ferry from Gourock, on the West Coast also.

At Gourock port

From here we had a lovely walk at the pier, that appears to be in a state of renovation, though am not too sure. If it is, then in the sun, this would be a sensational place to have a high tea or meal.

Old Pier in Dunoon

From here, around the pier, there was many things to take a shot at, like the panorama, the church nearby and the coast.

Looking south and east

Shots near the pier

More later on this lovely place (in the sun!)

CB

More from Germany (Bavaria) trip last month

More from a recent trip to Germany, and what I instantly noticed (ED; again!), is the number of different bike stands / bike racks / etc, in addition to the sheer volume of bikes – everywhere.

My favourite was this one:

Simple, but Effective

Though with the amount of rain we get in Glasgow, Scotland, they would all fill up with water quite quickly.

You can take you pick from the others:

CB