Thanks for checking in with us and glad you had a nice vacation yourself!
We had a lovely time in Portugal, and were very impressed with everything Portugal Trails had arranged for us. We also heard very positive comments on your company from other PT travelers at the hotel and from those providing services from us–hotel staff, Avis staff, guides. All were friendly, helpful, and liked working with you. That’s all very positive! When I get settled, I’ll also post comments on TripAdvisor.
Some specifics. We loved the hotels, and the locations were very good. Staff at the Hotel Britania were extremely helpful, even to the point of mailing the GPS back to you so that we didn’t have to find a post office. It is a lovely old hotel and its history, very interesting. Elsa, our guide was wonderful, a great source of information and very accommodating about pace, etc. Thank you for alerting the guides in advance about that. After covering the center city on foot, she suggested, and we agreed, that we find a taxi driver with whom she could negotiate to spend an hour or so driving us to the hilly places, stopping for photos, and covering some of the other areas, such as the redeveloped site of the 1998 Exposition which I had attended as part of my professional responsibilities. We went to Sintra as recommended, and did fine with the train. It was a Saturday, and very, very crowded. We took at taxi to the palace, but should have taken the bus (which was also very crowded–had to wait for 3 buses to have room to get back to town), stopped at the Moorish Castle first, then caught the bus up to the palace. Jan was told that he could walk down, but would have to walk up, which he did, and said it was quite challenging. But it was an interesting, if sometimes frustrating, day. As far as restaurants are concerned, our best meals were at Bonjardim, where the roast chicken and piri-piri sauce (for me) and the grilled fish (Jan), were delicious, and our last night at Solar dos Presuntos, where we shared the traditional black rice with cuddlefish, prawns, etc., dish.
Enjoyed the drive to Sagres and beaches and castles along the way. No problem finding the hotel. Lovely, but would not recommend eating there for dinner. We enjoyed a dinner at Vila Velha. The sunset views from the hotel were spectacular. Jan got some great photos and even saw the elusive “green flash” that sometimes occurs as the sun is setting. Our only real problem with the GPS was in Lagos, where we lost the signal and had to drive around the tiny streets in search of the location where Silvano was waiting for us. Thank you for providing his telephone number so that we could contact him. Apparently the GPS isn’t set for the ring road which would have taken us right down by the harbor where there is an underground parking facility very near the meeting spot. We were a bit anxious, but found him and he was also an excellent guide and we enjoyed the day.
No problem getting to Evora and the beautiful, interesting hotel. Were able to get into our room before meeting Sofia, who was full of history and interesting stories about Evora. Our walking tour with her was really good, and we were just disappointed at the end when we got to the Bones Chapel, only to find that it had closed early. The next day was a holiday (October 5th), so museums on our day trip to Monsarz and Vila Vicosa were closed. But we enjoyed the castles and lunch in the old city at Monsarz and buying pottery in Sao Pablo de Corval for gifts. Our best dinner there was at Fialho–probably the best on the entire trip. On the way back to Lisbon, we found the megalithic site and some smaller ones on very narrow roads, and enjoyed seeing that aspect of central Portugal as well. Also enjoyed some fine wine and just seeing different regions.
So thank again for helping us to have a very successful visit to Portugal. I hope we can get back there to see the northern part of the country next time!