The Road Ahead : April May 2016
QUEENSLAND’S LARGEST CLUB 37 APR/MAY 2016 THE ROAD AHEAD The picturesque River Douro valley. as centuries of economic decline limited ‘modernisation’ – have become drivers for tourism on a wider scale. It was from this small nation that Vasco da Gama opened a sea route to the riches of India in the late 15th century and Pedro Álvares Cabral sailed to and claimed the huge chunk of South America that was to become Brazil. That golden age of exploration is strikingly commemorated in Lisbon’s Discoveries Monument on the banks of the Tagus River. With Infante (Duke) Henry the Navigator, the patron of much of the exploration, foremost among the cavalcade of historical figures stonily gazing towards the Atlantic, the 1960 monument is among the more modern public edifices gracing the national capital. The nearby landmark, Belem Tower, which has served variously as a fort, beacon and dungeon since its early 16th century construction, is much closer to ‘old’ Lisbon’s average age, despite the large scale rebuilding of the city following the city’s disastrous earthquake of 1755. A stroll through old ‘Lisboa’ is a journey of discovery in itself: painstakingly- patterned cobbled streets; manueline-style churches paying architectural homage to the discovery voyages that funded their building; pastel pink, blue and yellow houses; and entire facades of traditional blue and white Azulejos tiles. Head north to Portugal’s second city of Porto and you’ll see these tiles in stirring depictions of Portuguese history in the entrance hall of San Bento railway station. But then, so much of Porto is spectacular. The views across the city and the Douro River from the commanding heights of its cathedral are unmatched, as are the signature brightly coloured buildings along the bustling quayside housing bars and restaurants. To find the true home of the country’s famous port, travel under the soaring arch of the Dom Luis bridge, which spans the river, to Vila Nova de Gaia, where grapes used for wine-making grow along the picturesque Douro Valley. Talking of port, don’t dismiss it as the exclusive preserve of crusty British colonels. Try a chilled ruby port with lemon at the end of a hard day’s exploration of Porto or Lisbon, and you’ll find it as refreshing a change as Portugal itself. n TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL Explore the delights of Portugal and Spain on a 14-day guided tour with APT, including a seven- night luxury cruise along the historical Douro River, from just $9720pp twin share. For more details, refer to pages 38-39. OFFERRACQTRAVEL Discoveries Monument in Lisbon. A tramcar traverses the hilly cobbled streets of the old town, where visitors will discover entire facades of traditional blue and white tiles. ON TRACK Porto is Portugal’s second city, and an iconic landmark is the Dom Luis bridge. The 172-metre double-deck metal arch bridge was the longest of its kind when built in 1886. It was designed by a protege of Gustav Eiffel, with the top deck now reserved for pedestrians as well as one of the city’s metro lines. SPECTACULAR PORTO Fishing boats on the Douro River at Porto. BelemTowerhasservedasafort,beaconanddungeon.IMAGESTHINKSTOCK TRY A CHILLED RUBY PORT WITH LEMON... IT’S AS REFRESHING A CHANGE AS PORTUGAL ITSELF.
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