Monthly Archives: April 2012

Portugal: Glorious Eden

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Saratoga Arts and Soroptimist International of Saratoga County Present:

Portugal : Glorious Eden* November 3 – 11, 2012

*Famous British poet and traveler Lord Byron stopped by Sintra, Portugal in the 18th century, writing that the town is “perhaps in every respect the most delightful in Europe,” and calling it a “glorious Eden” in his epic poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

Imagine whimsical castles, tiled fortresses, wineries tumbling down steep hillsides and botanical collections centuries in the making…..join Saratoga Arts, Soroptomist International of Saratoga County and Edventures on an escape to Portugal this fall!

November 3- 11, 2012

Day 1 – Saturday, November 3
Depart Newark on direct flight to Lisbon. This non-stop flight includes meals, refreshments, and in-flight entertainment.
Meals: Dinner and breakfast

Day 2 – Sunday, November 4
Arrive Lisbon – Upon arrival, we will transfer to the Lutecia Hotel, our home for four nights.

The balance of the day is at leisure. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel.

Lisbon is a city spruced up not just for tourists to see; it’s an authentic place that stands out in an increasingly homogeneous world. Although it boasts a range of must-see sights, its biggestpleasures are its street-life and setting, admired from a pavement cafe, from the scenic outlook of a hilltop, or simply by wandering around its enchanting neighborhoods. Not too many other cities have such an intriguing mix of the old and the new, or so many contrasting faces, making this a city for unhurried exploration and a place to get lost in, discovering its many distinctive sights and characteristic images. From the Moorish Alfama quarter to reminders of the Golden Age of Discoveries in Belém, to a royal residence in the Serra de Sintra, Lisbon offers an incredible adventure.

Overnight: Lisbon Meals: Dinner

Day 3 – Monday, November 5 Sightseeing Tour of Lisbon – This morning we will begin our sightseeing tour of Lisbon. Among our sights is the Belem Tower. Built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor, the Tower was the starting point for many of the voyages of discovery, and for sailors it was the last sight of their homeland. We will walk through the cobbled alleys of Alfama, the seaman’s quarter, and admire the wide Liberdade Avenue and visit to Jardim Botanical – Lisbon’s oldest botanical garden.

Next we will visit one of Lisbon’s most visited sights, the Coaches Museum (Museu Nacional dos Coches). The collection hosts the largest and most valuable collection of its type in the world. It is housed in a richly decorated 18th century royal riding school that is part of Belem Palace, illustrating the ostentation and staggering wealth of the old Portuguese elite.

We will then visit the delightful Tile Museum. Presenting five centuries of decorative ceramic tiles or azulejos, the museum traces the history and production of the art form. Its collection is the only of its kind in the world, and contains a splendid array of tiles from as early as the 15th century along with displays on how they were made.

The afternoon and evening are at leisure. Overnight: Lisbon
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 – Tuesday, November Full day excursion along Estoril coast to Cascais and Sintra

We will depart today on a scenic drive along the Estoril coast with a short stop in Cascais, a popular resort favored by European nobility and kings in the early 20th century. Today it iscolorful cosmopolitan town with elegant pedestrian streets, luxuriant villas, fashionable shops, restaurants and bars. We then continue to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the town’s Romantic architecture. On arrival we will visit the Sintra Royal Palace, an 15th-century royal residence, containing one of the largest tile collections in Portugal. Sintra was declared a World Heritage Site because:

“In the 19th century Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new
sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees. Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surrounding area, created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe.”

Return to Lisbon where the evening is free at leisure. Overnight: Lisbon
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 – Wednesday, November 7 Full Day excursion to Obidos, Batalha

We will depart Lisbon in the morning heading north to Óbidos, an enchanting walled city whose narrow cobblestone streets reflect its medieval heritage. All of Obidos has been declared a national monument. It is known as the “Wedding Present Town” because it was a gift King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282, but that alone is not what makes it such an extraordinarily romantic place — what make it one of Europe’s most romantic medieval villages are its incredibly picturesque cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses filled with geraniums and bougainvillea, Gothic doorways and windows, whitewashed churches, flowerpots and dazzling tiles — all encircled by the walls of a 12th century castle.

Then to Batalha to see the 14th century abbey, a masterpiece of Portuguese “Manueline” architecture named after the king who reigned in the Age of Discovery. This style is characterized by the wide range of architecture brought back by the explorers and is a mixture of late Gothic, with Italian and Flemish influences and even those of East Indian temples.

Batalha’s abbey is one of Europe’s greatest Gothic masterpieces and is protected as a World Heritage monument. It was built in 1388 after King João I made a vow to the Virgin that he would build a magnificent monastery if she granted him a victory over the Castillians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. An equestrian statue of Nuno Alvares Pereira, the king’s commander at the battle, stands before the southern façade. The exterior possesses innumerable pinnacles, buttresses and openwork balustrades above Gothic and Flamboyant windows, while the front portal is decorated with statues of the apostles in intricate Gothic style.Return to Lisbon where the evening is free at leisure.
Overnight: Lisbon
Meals: Breakfast
Day 6 – Thursday, November 8

Battle of Aljubarrota. An equestrian statue of Nuno Alvares Pereira, the king’s commander at the battle, stands before the southern façade. The exterior possesses innumerable pinnacles, buttresses and openwork balustrades above Gothic and Flamboyant windows, while the front portal is decorated with statues of the apostles in intricate Gothic style.

Return to Lisbon where the evening is free at leisure. Overnight: Lisbon
Meals: Breakfast

Flight to Porto with afternoon tour

After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Oporto designated World Heritage status by UNESCO. On arrival at our hotel, Mercure Porto Centro, we will enjoy an afternoon tour of the city to introduce us to Portugal’s “second city” known as a city with soul, wine and beauty! The unhurried pace of life in Porto mirrors the graceful flow of ocean waves rolling on her shores and makes the strife in the world seem distant and remote. Look for brilliant blue skies set against red tile roofs and the sun glittering on
the Douro River which here meets the Atlantic Ocean in tumultuous vigor. Porto gave its name to the famous Port wine and to the country. Vineyards grow for mile upon mile
along the Douro’s steep slopes, and you will enjoy a visit to a Port Wine Cellar for a tasting. This evening is free at leisure.
Overnight: Porto
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 – November 9 Full day tour to Guimaraes – Braga – Barcelos Today we depart Porto for the Minho, the northwest province of Portugal, known for its wonderful, effervescent Green Wine “Vinho Verde”. The Minho is home to two of Portugal’s most historic cities: Guimaraes, the first capital (1139) and Braga, the country’s main religious center. In Guimaraes we will stop at Colina Sagrada, the Castle and Palace of the Duques of Bragança. Near Braga we will see the sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Braga with its monumental baroque staircase cascading down a hill. We will continue to Barcelos, the town of the legendary rooster, now a symbol of Portugal. There are as many interpretations of the legend as there are roosters! The evening is at leisure.

Overnight: Porto Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 – November 10 Excursion to Amarante and the Douro River Valley – From Porto we will depart for Amarante, a beautiful riverside town immaculately set in a gorge of the Rio Tâmega, with the wooden balconies of its old houses leaning over the water. We will visit the Gardens of the Casa de Mateus. The beautiful baroque Casa has been made famous as the label on Mateus Wine. Then we enter the Port Wine region through vineyards clinging to the steep hillsides of the Douro Valley. The Douro River, rising in Spain and reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Porto, has created the spectacular Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rambling vineyards and charming native farms called quintas cling to the steep sides of the Douro River Valley, creating an incomparable backdrop to one of Europe’s most unspoiled regions and to Port country—the oldest demarcated wine region in the world.

Overnight: Porto Meals: Breakfast

Day 9- Departure – After breakfast, transfer to the Porto Airport for departure flight (via Lisbon) to Newark.
Meals: Breakfast and meals en flight to the USA.

Tour package: $3490 double occupancy includes:

  • Direct flights to/from metro-NY to Lisbon;
  • Flight from Lisbon to Porto
  • Seven nights hotel: Lisbon and Porto including daily breakfast and one banquet dinner.Both hotels are located in the center of the city to make it easy for travelers to exploreon their own.
  • Tax deductible contribution to Saratoga Arts, Soroptimist International of SaratogaCounty or the NYS Retired Teachers’ Association
  • First class motorcoach transport for all ground excursions
  • Garden visits, wine tastings, castles, fortresses and culinary delights!
  • Expert local guides who will make Portugal come alive
  • Edventures tour manager
  • Time for shopping, photography and individual exploring
  • Small group travel
  • Gratuities for guides and bus drivers
  • Memories to last a lifetime!

TRIP PRICE based on double room occupancy is $3470. The single supplement is $365.

SMALL GROUP FEE: A small group fee of $200 will be charged if enrollment falls below 20 travelers.

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