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.
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.
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.
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 vegetation.
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
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.
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!