My mom had a wonderful expression that I have been trying—and failing—to remember all week. What it was not is the phrase that keeps suggesting itself to me which for some completely unaccountable reason is ‘keep the ditch in the road’. Nonsensical and bad advice. As I say—not it.
I think it must have been along of lines of ‘keep the plow in the row’ only with a bit more lyrical zing.
And why, you may ask, so much thought given to this during this particular week? Because this week despite all best intentions and efforts, the Tuesday blog is coming out on Friday, that’s why.
You know that kind of week—the kind when one is just sort of glad to be able to claim to have a row much less a plow. All aspirations of a higher order perfections shoved to the side. Head down. Full steam ahead until you can at least see the end.
And here it is--Friday! Mission accomplished!!
End of the week and of the figurative row, and may I say, with plenty to show for all the effort despite a certain lack orderliness...
In my case, the week's accomplishments include the new, complete and I think very exciting itinerary for Portugal, my new favorite place.
You’ll find it in its entirety below.
The itinerary starts in Lisbon, moves on to the Alentejo town of Evora then to Porto.
(No kidding, I know I say every place is my favorite but this really is…honest…)
Portugal is gorgeous, delicious, friendly, safe and, based on experience the last bargain on the planet.
You. Need. To. Come. Along.
And you need more info—so read on (or click the tab above in 'Navigation').
In the meantime--Happy Friday, all. We did it.
Time to put up your plow, don't you think?
SEPTEMBER 23rd to October 1st, 2017
Eight days to introduce this fabulous gem of a country? We like to think we’ve done just that with this itinerary designed around the country’s many, many charms. Whether it is Lisbon’s post-empire glory, the Alentejo’s profound—and delicious—sense of place or Porto’s hip-meets-history vibe, we have created an itinerary that is busy while never rushed; rich with 'must sees' as well as ‘only for us’ experiences. For a thousand and one reasons the time to visit Portugal is now!
Includes 7 breakfasts, 1 afternoon petisco break, 5 lunches, 5 dinners, 8 nights accommodation, all trip–related fees, admissions and transportation. Not included: airfare, airport transfers and alcoholic beverages unless otherwise stated. Single supplement $850.
Saturday SEPTEMBER 23rd
Architectural Walking tour
As those of you who have traveled with us know—we love to start with a good walk. We believe it is simply the best way to get to know a new city. Lisbon makes this particularly rewarding with its fabulous architecture, walkable streets and vibrant neighborhoods.
‘Tea’ at MEMMO ALFAMA
Another of our first afternoon favorites, this time tweaked just a bit to better enjoy the customs of the country. This 'tea time' we opt for petiscos (Portuguese tapas) and a favorite tipple or two at this fabulous spot in the Alfama, where the river views are as famous as the fare.
Dinner :: Open
We keep it flexible tonight—you can call it a day, venture out for dinner at one of the many neighborhood spots or stay in for dinner at SITIO , Valaverde’s celebrated restaurant.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 24th
Today we begin with a tour of one of Lisbon’s singular attractions, The Monastery of St Jerome. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a superb example of Manueline architecture built to commemorate Vasco Da Gama’s voyage of exploration. In both spirit and fact, the monastery lies at the heart of the Portuguese soul.
Lunch :: POPULI
We stop for lunch at this popular spot on the grand Praca De Comercio
We tour this small gem of a museum which tells the outsized story of azulejos—tin-glazed tiles—and their continuing delight, influence and importance in Portuguese culture.
Saint George's Castle, with its earliest ramparts dating from the 6th century, is a magnificent oasis of calm that belies its fourteen centuries of turbulent history.
DINNER :: TABIK
Stylish, excellent and a short stroll from our hotel. I’d say that about sums it up!
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 25th
We depart after breakfast for a two hour bus ride through the gorgeous Alentejo region of central Portugal arriving in Monsaraz in time for an introduction to its justly famous textile tradition. We follow this with a guided stroll through this fabulous ancient hilltop town.
Lunch :: TAVERNA OS TEMPLARIOS
A charming restaurant with terrific local specialties and equally terrific views.
Vineyard Tour and Dinner
The Alentejo is Portugal’s most important wine region. We combine a delicious crash course in Portuguese wine with a vineyard tour to be followed by a private dinner in the vineyard's elegant manor house.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 26th
Charming and very walkable, Evora’s centuries of history are evident at every turn. In addition to its stunning Roman aqueduct, there is its Temple to Diana, the 13th century cathedral, the imposing 14th century ducal palace and the macabre Capela dos Ossos--Chapel of The Bones--to name a few.
LUNCH :: RESTAURANTE FIALHO
This picturesque restaurant has been Evora’s most celebrated since opening in 1945.
The Alentejo region has an abundance of prehistoric menhirs and other megalithic monuments. The Alemedres Cromlech, located a few kilometers outside Evora, is one of the largest and best preserved of these in all of Europe.
Open :: Dinner
A bit of self-guided time to explore the delights of Evora, culinary and otherwise.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 27th
We depart Evora for Porto. It’s a three hour trip and we thought we’d break it up just a bit with a stop in COIMBRA,
one of the oldest university towns in Europe.
We have a light lunch upon arrival in Coimbra in this charming 17th century laboratory turned cafe.
We tour two stunning examples of Manueline Baroque architecture--the university's glorious 18th century library and the adjacent Chapel of Saint Michael.
Dinner :: ODE PORTO WINEHOUSE
We arrive in Porto in time to settle in to our digs, the gracious Porto AS 1829 Hotel, and then stroll to dinner at ODE Winehouse.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 28th
Walking Tour of Porto
Again, what better way to get to know the history and culture of a city than to see its sites on foot and up close?
LUNCH :: VINUM
The elegant restaurant attached to Graham Port Lodge has sweeping views and delicious fare.
Nothing is more essential to Porto than its port lodges--and Grahams is widely considered to have the finest 'caves'. We then enjoy a tasting in their renowned Private Vintage Room.
Open :: Dinner
Whether sidewalk café or Michelin-starred, Porto offers endless wonderful culinary choices.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 29th
We tour Porto’s superb contemporary art museum, widely considered to be one of the finest in Southern Europe, before breaking for an open lunch and afternoon.
DINNER :: DOP PORTO
This charming and intimate restaurant is one of Porto’s most popular special occasion spots--and its just up the hill from our hotel. The ideal combination!
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 30th
We return to Lisbon in time for an afternoon of shopping, sightseeing—or maybe just chill time by the Tejo River.
DINNER :: SITIO
We keep it close to home on our last night in Portugal with a very festive farewell dinner at Valverde’sSITIO.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 1st
Tour ends after breakfast.