Parque Dom Pedro Infante, Aveiro

The City Park in Aveiro is a beautiful little park just a few blocks from the canal.  There are walking paths, an Arte Nouveau bandstand, a duck pond and a wonderful azulejo covered staircase.  It’s a great place to escape the crowds around the canal and to enjoy a bit of quiet in the center of the city.

Parque Dom Pedro

Barbacan Gate, Coimbra

The Barbacan Gate, at the base of the Torre de Almedina, is pretty much all that remains of the castle walls that once surrounded Coimbra.  Between the 8th and 11th centuries, Moors and Christians took turns conquering and occupying Coimbra until, in 1064, King Ferdinand I of León and Castile took the city from the Moors for the final time.

In 1139, Dom Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, chose Coimbra as the capital of the new kingdom.  Six Portuguese kings were born in Coimbra, and the city remained the seat of Portuguese power until 1260, when Dom Afonso III chose Lisbon as his capital.

The need for castle walls to protect the city are gone.  The walls were long ago integrated into the surrounding buildings, leaving the Barbacan Gate and the Torre de Almedina as the last evidence of the castle that, for centuries, protected the city from invaders.

Today, the Barbacan Gate serves as the entrance to the traditional, and most famous, way to access the Old City and Coimbra University.  After passing through the gate, you climb the many stairs of Rua Quebra Costa, known as “the Backbreaker” for a long, arduous walk to the top of the hill.

Just inside the gate, at the bottom of Rua Quebra Costa, there’s a quiet little cafe, where it’s fun to sit outside with a beer or a glass of wine, and people-watch.   It’s one of my favorite spots in Coimbra, with the Fado de Coimbra sculpture just inside the gate, and the Tricana de Coimbra, another sculpture, a few yards farther along.  It’s a nice way to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Coimbra.

Old Gate

Câmara Municipal do Porto

Porto’s Municipal Building is a beautiful structure.  The building was originally designed by British architect Barry Parker, whose plan was approved in 1916.  After several delays and modifications of the original design, the Câmara was finally opened in 1957.  Located at the north end of Avenida dos Aliados, the Câmara is the much photographed centerpiece of Porto’s tourist district.

Camara Municipal de Porto2

Dom Luis I Bridge, Porto

This beautiful bridge, which spans the Ria Douro, was designed by Théophile Seyrig, a disciple of Gustave Eiffel.  It has multiple levels, and is open to Metro, foot and automobile traffic.

Gustave Eiffel is most famous for the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  His mark, through his work and those of his students, can be felt throughout Portugal.  Besides the Dom Luis I Bridge, the Maria Pia Bridge in Porto is an Eiffel work, as is the Eiffel Bridge in Viana do Castelo.  The Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Eiffel’s.

Ponte de Luis 1

 

Rua Quebra Costa, Coimbra

Known as “the backbreaker,” Rua Quebra Costa is a steep lane, really more a staircase, that winds its way from Torre de Almedina to the the old city and the University of Coimbra.  along the way, you pass Fado ao Centro, the Cathedral and the Machado de Castro National Museum before reaching the university at the top.  Rua Quebra Costa is quite photogenic.  I especially love the Tricana de Coimbra sculpture that sits on a wall near the bottom of the lane.

Rua Quebra Costa is not a road to take if you’re in a hurry.  Take your time and enjoy the sights.

Rua Quebra Costa

Yellow Windmill

It was raining when we visited Ponte de Lima, Portugal.  While rain can put a damper on a tourist’s visit, we decided we wouldn’t let the weather stop us.  Ponte de Lima is a beautiful little town in the north of the country and is a popular tourist destination.

This photo is across the River Lima.  I love the way the gold blades of the windmill stand out in an otherwise monochromatic scene.

Ria Lima

Brooklyn Bridge

I took this photo of the Brooklyn Bridge while taking a Circle Line tour of Manhattan in 2004.  The tour allowed for unusual perspectives.  In this case, it’s a view of the bridge from below, with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

100_0333

The New Colossus

Statue Of Liberty 3

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus, 1849-1887

Stone Hall, Portugal

This stone hall is in the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza in Guimarães, Portugal.  I love the texture of the stone and the way the light “bends” as it goes from the floor to the wall opposite the doorway.  I also like the austerity of the hall.  Much of the Dukes of Braganza is given over to extravagance.  This simple hall appeals to me more than the palace’s many large rooms full of treasures.

Arched Light

Monastery of Santa Cruz

The venerable University of Coimbra is not the oldest school in the city.  The Mosteiro de Santa Cruz predates the university by over a century.  The monastery was a highly respected school during medieval times.

Saint Theotonius was the monastery’s first prior and Saint Anthony of Padua studied theology and Latin at the monastery.  The first two kings of Portugal, Afonso Henriques and Sancho I, are buried in the church.

Because of its historical importance, the Mosteiro de Santa Cruz is a Portuguese National Landmark.

Monastery of Santa Cruz