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Impressions of Portugal
~ From the Algarve to Lisbon ~
country, sights and culture
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Albufeira-alleyThis journey by far surpassed our expectations. Portugal is a fascinating country with a rich cultural heritage, charming old cities, picturesque landscapes, dreamlike beaches with idyllic bays and not at least the country, where 1917 happened the wonder of Fatima , which made the city a world famous place of Christian pilgrimage.

donkey on the road...We started our tour with a one week's round-trip by car, which gave us unforgettable impressions of life, the cultural heritage and the beauty of the country. Our itinerary lead us more than 1000 km  through the country, from Faro at  the southern coast up to the region around Lisbon and  back to the Algarve, to Albufeira, where we spent another week. 

Marvao fortressEspecially remarkable and impressive were the unusual large fortresses on high hilltops, the mighty ramparts of which surround mediaeval cities, still  inhabited as well as marvellous castles. Thus we often felt like taken back into the times of the Moorish conquerors and the expulsion of them by the Portuguese. 

On the way we enjoyed seeing the varying landscapes - steppes, mountain chains and fertile plains with exotic subtropical Lisbon - Alfamavegetation. While Eucalyptus-, olive- and cork oak plantations, fruit trees and wine form the lovely picture of the countryside, palms and a lavish abundance of colourful flowers give the white villages, the nobleman's country seats, the socalled quintas and the cities a charming flair.

But it is not only the flowers, which make the historic cities so attractive. It is as well the magnificent multi cultural architectural styles of the edifices and monuments which come from the Roman and Moorish past just as the traditional decoration of the houses with colourful ceramic tiles and elaborate lattices from wrought iron at windows and balconies, historic street lamps and narrow alleys... The most beautiful and typical example uniting all features is the capital Lisbon itself.

Sintra palacio nacional - azulejosThe decoration of walls with ceramic tiles, the "azulejos" - inside and out of the buildings - is a special feature all over Portugal. Since the Arabs brought this  craft to Portugal, it developed into a real traditional art. Elaborate wall paintings from tiles decorate banqueting halls of palaces as well as churches and common buildings. Even street signs on houses are made from decorative tiles!

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