Bragança Journals

Portugal: A World Of Its Own. North& Pousadas Part 1

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A September 2002 trip to Bragança by hagnel2

Pousada de Santa Maria do Bouro Photo, Braga, Portugal More Photos
Quote: This is a review of our stay in Pousada’s, mainly in Portugal’s northern region. The Douro, Minho, and the Tras-os- Montes are definitely endearing. Fabulous scenery, historic castles, wine cellars, and extremely friendly people. Visit this area and be prepared to step back in time.

Portugal: A World Of Its Own. North& Pousadas Part 1

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Overview

  Historic Pousada Photo, Bragança, Portugal
Quote:
Having traveled frequently to the south of Portugal, I had longed to visit the north, and it lived up to expectations. On this trip, we stayed mainly in Pousadas staying from 1-2 nights depending on our whim. We left lots of room for impromptu diversions despite booking ahead prior to arriving at most of our accommodations. Anyone who has visited these regions, Tras os Montes, Douro, and Bierras will know that the difficult terrain, scarce resources, and bitterly cold winters have over many centuries formed the character of a people used to hard work. It is staggering to think of the amount of work that must have gone into building these terraces. They soar to the tops of mountains and down to th...Read More

Pousada de Santa Maria do Bouro

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Hotel | "Santa Maria do Bouro Pousada"

Pousada de Santa Maria do Bouro Photo, Braga, Portugal
Quote:
This historical Pousada is located approximately an hour’s drive from Porto and was our first stop on a two-week visit staying mainly in pousadas. We had a two-night stay here, nestled in the mountain range of the Geres. We chose this location because of its proximity to Braga. Amares is a small rural village consisting of a few small stores, a restaurant, cemetery, church, and this pousada. It is 14k to Braga, 64k to Porto, and within easy reach of Portugal’s only national park. This restored Cistercian monastery is delightful - I could have stayed a week. The entrance leads into a hushed stone foyer lit with well-placed wall lighting that doesn’t detract from its monastic history. The long passa...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 13, 2005

Pousada de Santa Maria do Bouro
Mosteiro Santa Maria Do Bouro, 4720-633 Amares
Braga, Minho, Portugal
(253) 3719-7123

Pousada de Solar da Rede

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Hotel

Pousada de Solar da Rede Photo, Bragança, Portugal
Quote:
This 18th-century manor house, set in a 27-hectare working vineyard, is sumptuous and peaceful. We spent two nights here before crossing into Spain. The house once belonged to a high-ranking politician, but when he died in 1916, the house fell into disrepair but was fully restored in 1962. Its setting in the midst of the Douro wine region makes it a popular spot, especially for wine-tasting enthusiasts. The plain façade of the building reminded me of a French château, white and gold plaster and black wrought-iron balconies. Once you enter the main hallway, you feel you are in another era. Beautiful granite floor and intricate wall tiles remind you that you are in Portugal. Handmade carpets blend i...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 13, 2005

Pousada de Solar da Rede
540-336
Bragança, Portugal
(254) 890-130

Convento do Belmonte

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Hotel

Convento do Belmonte Photo, Bragança, Portugal
Quote:
This stunning historic pousada is located on the slopes of the Serra de Esperanca, close by the natural park Serra de Estrella and Portugal’s highest area. The views from its terrace are magnificent. This restored building was erected upon the old convent of de Nossa Senhora Esperanca {our lady of hope}. Jorge Cabral, a relative of Pedro Alvares Cabral who accidentally discovered Brazil, endowed the rebuilding. Pedro was born in the 12th-century castle, and his ashes are interred in the lovely but tiny church of St Tiago here in Belmonte. There are 24 rooms in this pousada, all beautifully furnished in keeping with the historic nature of the building. Stonewalls and wooden beams al...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 14, 2005

Convento do Belmonte
6250
Bragança, Portugal
(275) 910-300

Medieval Braganca.

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Story/Tip

 Braganca's Ramparts Photo, Bragança, Portugal
Quote:
Braganca is located in the remote Tras os Montes area of northern Portugal. Once the seat of the Dukes of Braganca its walled citadel dates from 1187 and was built by Joa the first who created the duchy, his son Alfonso became its first duke and the house of Braganca became a power to be reckoned with. The town itself existed as a habitation since the 7th century. Its Celtic roots are evident in its name: Brigantia. Despite being ancient, there are modern sections and a modern main square, which was thronged with lively youth. I didn’t see any McDonalds, but I did notice a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a plethora of pizza places. The charm of this center lies in the medieval fortress that rises ab...Read More

Braganca's Churches & A Macabre Tale

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Story/Tip

Igreja de Bento Braganca Photo, Bragança, Portugal
Quote:
Inside the walled citadel stands the church of Santa Maria. Its simple white façade belies its lovely interior. The church was closed, but an old lady who was passing told me to wait, and she produced the key and allowed me to peek inside. I was not allowed to take photographs. Most striking is the painted ceiling, deep and rich in colour, with the familiar scene of the Assumption of the Virgin; despite the ornate ceiling, this church is simple and has a quiet air of sanctified calm. On our way down to the old town and outside the citadel walls, we passed a carved boar with a granite spike emerging from its body. You will see quite a few of these stone boars throughout this region; they ar...Read More

About the Writer

hagnel2

hagnel2
Hamilton, Ontario