Friday, September 28, 2018

Our Trip to Viana, Portugal

I've been posting about Galicia next door at my Fourth Wish blog, so I'll save blogging Portugal for this blog. (Portugal and England do have a connection, although it goes back much further than the Victorian Era.)

We normally spend a few days in Braga, Portugal, each time we come to Spain. I have set a mystery novel in Braga, and in the process of doing research, my husband and I made several wonderful friends there. One of them moved to Viana do Castelo, not too far from Braga and not too far from our Spanish location, so this time when we went to Braga we added a day in Viana.

We stayed at a very nice and modestly priced hotel in the historic section, Hotel Jardim (Garden Hotel) with a view of the Rio Lima. Viana is actually situated on the estuary where the river meets the Atlantic ocean and it is also at the foot of beautiful mountains. It's a truly beautiful city.

View from our window.
You can see the river is
like a mirror. 

Another view of the hotel
Our friends, Joana and Luis.
It's impossible to see all of Viana in one day, so we didn't try. But Joana, whom we knew from Braga, and her partner, Luis, whom we met for the first time, gave us a wonderful tour.

They took us by Funicular up to the Santuário de Santa Luzia.  (Santa Luzia is the patron saint of healing eyes, and since I have glaucoma, it seems in retrospect a fitting basilica to have visiedt in this city so full of beautiful sacred buildings.)

The four immense rose windows are spectacular from inside. (I didn't take inside pictures, but the nave and apse and individual alters were awe-inspiring. Outside, I did take this picture outside of an ancient statue of Christ in an alcove. The the church offers breathtaking views of the city,  river, sea, and beach.
The bridge you see here is the Eiffel Bridge,
inaugurated in 1878, designed by the same
Eiffel famous for the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 

This was a close-up of the
beach, taken from above.

Before and after the trip up to the Santa Luzia Basilica, we walked through the historic part of the city, including the main plaza overlooking the river.

The remarkable rectangular sculpture with the broken chain you see below symbolizes Portugal's freedom after the authoritarian Prime Minister Salazar died in 1974, followed by the bloodless "Carnation Revolution" four years later. The plaza has a second interesting sculpture, but I didn't learn its significance.

I love the famous "Azulejo" tiles so typical of Portugal. Traditionally they are blue and white, or blue, yellow and white. But the tile work all over the city is wondrous and is often in different colors. Viana has a museum of Azulejo tiles, tracing their history (originally was inspired by the Moors) and their development through time.

The museum
Inside the museum
On a building wall outside

A really intriguing feature was the hospital ship that had been used in the 1950s to give aid to fishing boats. Viana has an old section of town devoted to the fishermen of yesteryear as well. This ship is no longer in use but is now a museum. We didn't go inside, but we were certainly tempted.

There are also numerous small plazas, parks, and fountains.Many of the names eluded me, but here is one of the small parks, and one of the pretty fountains. And here is a group photo of ourselves someone kindly took.

Luis, Joana, Me, Rajan, (L to R)

After we walked around quite a bit, we went to a restaurant in "old town" famous for its fish, and I must say I had a delicious salmon to remember, although the serving was overly generous. Then, as the evening wore on, we went to a bar. Over a savory red wine, we talked late into the night. Thanks to our friends, it was a wonderful afternoon and evening to remember.

One last view of the Basilica, high on the
hill before we drove off from the Marina,
where we had parked overnight.

Do you like old cities? When you vacation somewhere, what attracts you? Parks? Beaches? Statuary? Churches?


Anvilcloud said...

Looks like a fine day in a very fine place with very fine company.

Yikes! Did I really write that?

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Absolutely stunning photos. I have another internet friend who often visits Portugal and she also raves about the beautiful tiles. The Basilica was so lovely, and the views of the outside of the church were amazing. I loved the rose windows and the saint, too. It was an amazing visit and I thoroughly appreciated you taking me along on this trip.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Anvilcloud, it was all of that. And you put it very well! :-)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Elizabeth, I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. This was our first visit to Viana, and we were just captivated.

Sandra Cox said...

What a beautiful place.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Yes, it is beautiful. It was our first time there, but I would love to see it again. We saw some sights, but there were more to see.

DMS said...

Living in the United States and not having traveled out of the country (yet) I am only guessing at how much I would love to visit and old city. I think I would like to soak it all up- the history, architecture, parks, etc. :) Thanks for sharing your pictures!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Jess. That's exactly how we feel when we visit Spain and Portugal. It's the old buildings and the history that fascinate us and haunt us. It's probably why we snap so many pictures. Especially since we weren't always able to travel. This has been during our retirement years.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Such lovely pictures. It sounds like you had a great time. I love traveling but wish I could sleep in my own bed. lol

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Donna, Actually, that's the first thing we say when we get back from travels: "Ah, it's great to sleep in our own bed again." We really love traveling though, in our retirement years, and hope we can continue to do so for a few years to come.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

You have traveled to so many beautiful places and have such gorgeous pictures. I enjoy seeing the sights along with you through your photographs. Thanks for sharing.

Lynda R Young said...

I LOVE old cities, but living in Australia I don't get to visit many. Your travel photos are gorgeous. I particularly like the look of Santuário de Santa Luzia.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Beverly, thanks for coming along on my travels. I never had the opportunity to travel to other countries when I was younger, so i am a bit like a kid in a candy store: "Wow, look at that!" "Wow, look at THAT!" I'm surprised my camera isn't worn out yet. :-)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Lynda, thanks for stopping by. Yes, that was such a beautiful church. It's really a huge one, too. And those windows were so gorgeous. It's still in use regularly, so I didn't feel free to take pictures inside. But I love the architecture of some of these churches.

Sandra Cox said...

I enjoy gardens, countrysides and quaintness.
Hope you've had a Spooktacular weekend;)

Nasreen said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing these photos and your visit with us! I enjoyed the virtual tour!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Sandra. You will find all of those things in Portugal. That is so much part of the charm. That and the warm-heartedness of the people. Thanks for coming by.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Nas, I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures and tour. Thanks for stopping by.