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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Cruise and Land Tour in Portugal - July 1st/2015....

We followed this cruiser on his Christmas Cruise down the Danube River.  Now we are going to follow him on his Cruise and Land Tour with Trafalgar and AMA Waterways in early July/2015 in Portugal.  Here is his Blog...

The costs of the tour:   Trafalgar $2,833 (with early payment discount)
 Solo traveler                AMA Waterways $5,426(with past customer discount)  

On June 30th, I used my accumulated mileage to fly US Airways to Lisbon - from Jacksonville to Charlotte, then to Philadelphia - we were about two and a half hours late in departing for Lisbon because bad weather at a number of hubs was causing planes to stack up.  We were about an hour late in boarding and another hour and a half sitting in the plane at the gate and on the runway.  A group of ten persons was late, and US Airways decided to wait a half hour for them.  The flight went alright, and as far as the food was concerned, it was typical airline food.

Prior to leaving home, we all received a welcome email from the tour director with a photo of himself so it was easy to identify him when we exited customs at the Lisbon airport.  The flight arrived about two and a half hours late, and the baggage retrieval was the slowest that I have ever experienced - they must have taken a coffee break every five minutes. 
At Lisbon airport, I converted some US dollars into EUROs and it turned out to be good that I did this.  Usually, I find a currency exchange near the hotel where I am staying because exchanges give better rates than banks, and exchanges outside airports give better rates than those in airports.  There is a problem converting cash in Portugal - there are currency exchanges in airports and train stations, but I was unable during the entire trip to find an exchange where I could convert cash.  All banks in Portugal refuse to convert cash - I have never experienced a problem like this in any other country.  It was not until July 9th that a hotel in Fatima broke the rules and was nice enough to convert some cash for me.  For those using cards at ATM machines, there are no problems acquiring money, but  I do not like to use cards when I travel - a personal preference.  On July 17th, on an excursion with AMA Waterways to Salamanca, Spain, I had no problem finding a currency exchange where I converted cash US dollars into EUROs.

Trafalgar drove us to their hotel, the Turim Avenida Liberdade, where we had an opportunity to relax for a few hours.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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