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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Cruise and Land Tour in Portugal - July 10th/15....

The buffet breakfast at the Fatima Hotel was just mediocre at best.

The Dominican abbey of Santa Maria da Vitoria at Batalha is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture - it is one of the most fascinating pieces of such architecture within Portugal. 

Beside a glorious beach in a sweeping bay backed by steep cliffs, the fishing village of Nazare is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Portugal.  We stop here for lunch on our own.  This is a popular bus stop for tourists, many of whom like to enjoy a lunch of sardines.  

I walked around the town and found a small bakery which sold small individual pizzas to-go.  The pizza had a generous sprinkling of small bits of ham and the crust was more like a potato or egg bread.  It also had some type of Portuguese cheese - it was tasty.  After the pizza, I found a gelato ice cream shop where I got a delicious multi-berry flavor.

This enchanting hill town of Obidos with pretty white-washed houses is enclosed within 14th century castellated walls.  The town has been restored and preserved as a picture-postcard town, and a popular tourist stop. 

We received the last tour guide’s treat of cherry liqueur in a chocolate cup - this is a local favorite.

Dominating the town is the castle, rebuilt by Alfonso Henriques after he took the town from the Moors in 1148.  Today it is a charming hotel.....

After visiting Obidos, we drove back to Lisbon and checked in to the same hotel at which we originally started the trip - the Turim Avenida Liberdade.  I extended my stay at Trafalgar’s hotel for two extra nights so that I could connect with the AMA Waterways Tour on July 13th.  I was on my own for the two extra days/nights.  The AMA Tour was staying at another hotel just a few blocks away.

Before going to dinner, the Trafalgar tour guide distributed a gift to all those who had been on a prior trip with Trafalgar.  It was a bottle of tawny port -  a nice gesture.  I packed it in my suitcase and it arrived home safely with me.

The farewell dinner was included in the Trafalgar tour.  It was held at the Brasserie Flo Lisbon which was a very nice restaurant, and we were greeted at the front door with a glass of Champaign.  At the tables, we received the usual olives and hard rolls.  For the appetizer, I selected the carpaccio of beef with shavings of parmesan cheese; the beef was raw and sliced paper thin.  It was excellent, especially with the bread roll and wine.  I had the fillets of bream fish, which was also excellent.  The dessert was apple pie with cinnamon ice cream, and they included petit fours and espresso coffee.  It was one of the best meals that we had on the trip.  

This was the end of the guided tour.  I will write a review and criticism of the Trafalgar trip on the last day of this trip.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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