top of page

Travel: Lisbon, Fatima, Coimbra Bussaco, Luso -Portugal 3/ 18- 21/ 2018

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Date: March 18/2018

Place : Flying from Palma Mallorca to Lisbon Portugal

As David was invited to lecture in Lisbon's academic institutions, at

Nova Business School  and IBET Technology U.

the anemic hotel chain which the university had arranged for us, was a downgrade from the spoiling accommodation we booked ourselves, although it is located at Lisbon's central location- Praca Marquze de Pombal.

For the next 3 days we will be staying at

HF Fenix - Hotel - Praca Marqqueze Pombal 8, Lisbon

Luis -our tall impressive Portuguese host, who picked us for dinner, is the founder of VCW Hub and has been a full professor at the

Nova School of Business and Economics. It is known to be the most prestigious business school in Portugal, and a leading business school in Europe.

Luise who also studied in MIT and Stanford, told us that Nova was founded in 1974 by a team of academician from Stanford and Wharton schools of Business, in the model and image of these lucrative schools, and with the aim to be disruptive to the communist system which was in  power at the time. In a way the business/economic schooling meant to be a cultural warfare, taught all in English, and has been a successful one.

25% of  the current students at the business school are Italian and German.

Luis was complaining about the steep rise in the city's real-estate thanks to the large migration of Brazilian, leaving Brazil's due to its failing economy, and because French citizens, whose retirement in Lisbon is more affordable then in France

The city according to him is comprised of growing  French Chinese and Brazilian, minority communities


Luis took us to this typical Portuguese traditional food restaurant  which also offers every Thursday Fado singing

Dinner at Laurentina - Ave Conde Valbom -351217960260


Date: March 19th/2018

Place: Lisbon

When David took off to his presentation at Nova School of Business and Economy, I took a 20 minute walk from Marquês de Pombal square were our hotel is centrally located, and continued to walk up through Eduardo VII Park until reaching the

Gulbenkian Modern Art Museum.

Marquis of Pombal Square - a monument to the city’s rebirth

Marquês de Pombal square is the very heart of central busy Lisbon.

I got thoroughly acquainted with this famous admired  Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquess of Pombal, to which the square is dedicated, during the previous visit to Lisbon, in 2015.

The mighty prime-minister ruled Portugal from 1750 to 1777 and rebuilt the city after the big earthquake of 1760 when most of the city center was ruined and many perished.

Parque Eduardo VII - once called Liberty Park

This large public park is named after King Edward VII of UK, who visited Portugal in 1902. The view from the top of the part is worth taking the climb to its top.

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum - Modern Art Center

This establishment is one of the world's finest private art collections, amassed over a period of 40 years by oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, who was one of the 20th century's wealthiest men.

In his later years he adopted Portugal as his home, and donated all of his stupendous art treasures to the country when he died in 1955 at the age of 86. The collection consist of Western and Eastern art – from Egyptian treasures to Old Master and Impressionist paintings.

The outdoor garden with its few water ponds is lovely to spend time should the weather permits. It has been raining the past 2 days, so I gave up on that leisure out doors experience for the sake of staying dry.

The  2 buildings of the museum are very large, and one needs at  least 2 hours to cover all the exhibits. I really liked the Islamic carpet and pottery section.

In the afternoon while touring the lower part of the city center we could not resist sampling delicious cakes at the charming traditional Portuguese pastry shop since 1829. at Praça da Figueira

Confeitaria Nacional Cafe located at Figuera Square. Praça da Figueira 18B, 1100-241

It is situated in the part of the Lisbon called Baixa, - the area of the city which was

re-urbanised after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The bronze statue in its midst is of King John I.

Many of the recipes came from the hands of the Confeitaria Nacional Caffe's second owner, Baltazar Castanheiro Jr. a man who was passionate about the different flavors that he discovered on his many trips. From France he brought the king’s cake recipe (fruit cake), one of the Portuguese pastry icons for the holiday season.

Dinner with old professional friend - Manuel

Manuel is a full Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, NOVA University and a  at IBET - of Experimental Biology and Technology.

IBET is a leading research institution in the Biotechnology and Life Sciences areas

Born in Porto and studying later at Carnegie Mellon and MIT, Manuel is both an academician and a charismatic entrepreneur.

According to Manuel, with only 1.7%  birth-rate, continuous professional young talent brain-drain, almost non existent pool of Pharma nor high-tech start ups, and cultural aversion to risk taking, Manuel can not foresee much of an ascending economic future, beyond the traditional Portuguese economy, which historically relied on olive-oil, forestry, cork, wine and tourism.

That means that without technological innovation the country will stay behind. 

Manuel took us for a good dinner close by Pombal Square at:

Bistro4 restaurante  at the PortoBay  Hotel


Date: March 20/2018

Place: Lisbon

The morning walk from Pombal Square down on Liberdade Ave toward Restauadores Squere on today's first sunny pleasant day, took me less then 20 minutes, although there are many wonderful distractions on the way.

Avenida da Liberdade -Lisbon's Champs Élysées,

Lisbon’s main boulevard, stretches 1.5km in a north-western direction from the Baixa district up to the Parque Eduardo VII park.

It was styled on the wide boulevards of Paris, but was sole for the rich of Lisbon.

It houses designer shops, fashionable boutiques, expensive restaurants, and trendy bars. Between the luxurious and exclusive decadence, there are impressive grand statues, memorial monuments, water features, two central plazas, classical 19th-century Portuguese architecture, and an endless stream of visiting tourists.

Before the 1755 earthquake, the area was a wealthy but undefined region of the city. Under the direction of the Marques de Pombal, whose statue stands at the top of the street, the entire of Baixa district was rebuilt

Beautiful square, which combines classical 17th century architecture with ornate art deco buildings. At the centre of the square is the imposing Restauradores Obelisk, which commemorates the independence of Portugal from Spain

The fourth tourist attraction is the quaint Elevador da Gloria, a set of two carriages, that climb the steep hill into the Bairro Alto district.

Further down, walking in the heart of Baxia niegborhood's center, my attention captured an amazing architecturally ornate facade, of a structure, which  from the outside one could not guess that it is actually a train station, until I  went in, and up on the steep escalator to the top, where the trains" platforms were.. 

The  "Rossio train station" I later found out, connects Lisbon with the popular tourist town of Sintra .

 Rossio train station

Funded by Portuguese Royal Railway Company who employed José Luís Monteiro as the architect. His design was influenced by the 16th century Portuguese Manueline style and construction of the railway and station was completed in 1888.

Baixa district

The rebuilt heart of the financial and commercial center center of Lisbon  comprises of magnificent plazas, grand avenues and  many shops/ boutique. On the 11th November 1755, one of the world’s strongest recorded earthquakes devastated the district and, along with the massive Tsunami, killed thousands.

Though I have not yet taken the San Francisco touristy cable car, I was enthused  to take a ride for one hour, later in the afternoon, when reunited with David after his second academic presentation.


The ride on Yellow Tram # 28  - is a recommended activity, offering a great scenic route, from the start at Martin Monz Square, up to the hilly areas, passing most notable neighborhoods including Graça, Baixa and Bairro Alto, as well as St. George's Castle and Alfama,  all the way  up to Bazilicom Estrela- last station


Martim Moniz Square - Boarding Tram 28

You will see a long line of tourist waiting at the tram station right below the "Our Lady of Good Health" white church building, at the entry to Mouraria.

Mouraria Niegborhood

Once a Moorish quarter until 1497, when all Muslims and Jews were expelled,

Mouraria is Lisbon’s most multiethnic neighborhood.

About a fifth of the population is of Asian origin, mainly from China, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, which explains the large number of ethnic restaurants in the area.

Little remains of the 12th-century Mouraria,

5 minutes walking further up beyond the church On Rue da Palma one can find 2 recommended popular Sea Food places good for lunch.

Cervejaria Ramiro Av. Almirante Reis, 1

Barcabela - we ate in this very good one Casual excellence for lunch

Rue da palma n 285

We got off tram 28 at the Bazillica Estrela- the Tram's last station, and took a  cab which got us much faster down to Bairro Alto, from which we continued our  walk.

Bairro Alto and Chiado Niegborhhod - night life , bars and restaurant  area

We were walking there in the afternoon and David was glad to finally find a promising small roasting Coffee boutique where he could buy his coffee beans , It is called

A Carioc Rue da Misericordia 9 213 320 377

Coming down the hill from the Barrio Alto, toward the sea, there are many charming Antic stores on Rue do Alecrim

At the bottom of the hill when turning left we walked back to the Baxia  area, from were we continued walking up on Liberdaude , back all the way to our hotel at Pombal Square.

David was reluctant to visit Portugal all these long years since the mid 90th, 

The academic invitation to  lecture, was the only reason which persuaded him to  take the trip, After re-acquainting himself with rejuvenated Lisbon, he finally admitted that indeed it was worth the visit.

Dinner at a very good Fish restaurant in Baxia

Solar do Bacalhau Rue Jardim do Regedor   Tel:302 13 460 069

That street which is is a narrow restaurant alley is off Liberdaade Ave 

There is so much more to see and do in Lisbon. some I covered at my 2015th visit and more you can find at the links below , also about the history of the Lisbon's Jews

Alfama - Jewish Quarter - Rue da Juderia Lisbon's Jewish History

National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo)

St. George's Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge)

Feira da Ladra  Flea Market


Date : March 21/2018

Place: Lisbon to Fatima, Coimbra to Luso

Our final destination in Portugal was Porto, but we planned to visit  2 other cities, on the way up North, as well as stay an overnight at the Bossaco forest area.

The car we rented today brought us in mid-day, after an hour of speedy  but uneventful drive to Fatima - the first place we stopped was at.

Fatima - The Portuguese Catholic Vatican Version

Once a tiny village in the hills of Santarém between Lisbon and Oporto, Fátima is now a central Portuguese town of around 10,000 people globally renowned for the religious visions which took place here in 1917 and which have made it an important pilgrimage centre for the Catholic faith.

Fátima originally a Moorish name - a daughter of the prophet Muhammad.

The legend here, says "Fatima" was the name of a Moorish princess kidnapped by a knight, Gonçalo Hermigues, and his companions. Hermigues took her to a small village in the Serra de Aire hills, in the recently created Kingdom of Portugal.

According to the Western Catholic narrative, Fatima fell in love with her kidnapper, and decided to convert to Christianity in order to marry him. She was baptized and given a Christian name, Oureana.

Arab sources, however, claim that Fátima was forced into Christianity, as were most Reconquista captives.

There is no documentary evidence to support either scenario of such a conversion. Whatever version is true, the place name recalls the Princess' original Arab name, rather than her Christian baptismal one.

The Fatima parish was founded in 1568 and consists of several monumental sacred sites.

As I am not into Catholicism, legends and virgins.. my visit was not a pilgrimage one, only a short curious viewing of the enormous compound and its attractive architecture.


While visiting Fatima, unexpectedly, by sheer luck,we run into this acclaimed food institution which David could not resist missing, We had a very good lunch there. Apparently Lisboneese drive especially from the big city to sample the place.

Tia Alice restaurant in Fatima , Av. Irmã Lúcia de Jesus

COIMBRA - a provincial University town from the 13th c

I visited Coimbra in 2015 I was enchanted by the city, I wanted David to also experience the special beauty of this historic university town.

Coimbra is the 4th-largest urban center in Portugal (after Lisbon, Porto and Braga) and is the largest city of its district.

It was called Aeminium in Roman times. Later the medieval capital of Portugal for over a hundred years, and site of the country’s greatest university for the past five centuries. Coimbra evolved into a major cultural center in which University of Coimbra was established in 1290, It is the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. 

Its historical monuments and buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013.

The Impressive buildings from that period (1131 to 1255) still remain.

Located on a hill above the Mondego River. Its beautiful historic core cascades down a hillside also through a studential setting on the east bank of the river . Students’ decrepit housing, throng bars and cafes with weird objects hanging from the windows, and graffiti scrawled outside repúblicas (communal student dwellings) address the political issues of the day. Many strolling students and one funeral of a distinguished professor/Parliament's member, were the memorable sight on campus.

We visited the magnificent  Biblioteca Joanina  - once part of the royal palace and I was as amazed as seeing it for the first time

Since October 1537, the University has occupied buildings, which for over 4 centuries, were part of the Royal Palace of Coimbra. In 1717, King João V sponsored construction of the library as part of his wide-ranging efforts to promote artistic, cultural and scientific endeavors. The library receives its name from King João.

The Baroque library is situated in the heights of the historic centre of the University  and is the main tourist attraction among the older monuments belonging to the university.

Housed inside are over 250,000 books, some handwritten, others printed, representing periods from 15th to 19th centuries.

St Michael’s Chapel  next to the Library

The 16c  small Chapel was probably built upon an ancient chapel of the 12th century and in Manueline style undergoing small renovations in the 17th and 18th c. There is a magnificent Baroque organ with its horizontal pipes is decorated with Chinese motifs which dates from 1737 and has about 2,000 pipes.

The view from the Law building next to the Library is beautiful as are the assembly graduation room located in the building. The basement floors of the complex served as dungeon for trouble making students, who would be brought to class and incarcerated immediately after class was over , for tardiness and vandalism of university property.

The Coimbra Jewish Quarter

Down the steep slope from the hill top toward the river via were once  the narrow allies of the Jewish quarter, was, It was founded in 1131o outside the medieval city walls.

Following the street signs to “Patio Inqisicio” leads to a ruin of a building with some remains of the original Inquisition court, where it had worked after 1548.

The unnoticeable square across the street from the Santa Cruz church and the Mango Garden was the setting for the trials held during the inquisition of the 16th c and many Jews who refused to convert to Christianity lost their lives here

The 3 important converted Jews known to be graduates of Coimbra U


Amato Lusitano -1511–1568), was a notable Portuguese Jewish physician of the 16thc . 

Pedro Nunes - (1502 – 1578) Mathematician

Gracia De Orta - (1501 – 1568) was a physician, herbalist and naturalist.

Getting closer to Loso area the scenery changed from dispersed forests and  agricultural landscape to more dense vineyard land, orange orchards and blossoming almond groves.

Steep elevation leads to to Bossaco forested area,

It took me 3 years to make it back to this enchanted Busssaco Palace hotel and i finally got to stay an over night there

Palace Hotel De Bussaco - Luso  3050- 231 937 970

Once upon a time the Carmelite Convent, made of a stunning ornamented stone structure which was later designed in a New Emanueline style, by the Italian, first architect, Luigi Manini (1848-1936)

The historical romantic Palace De Bussaco hotel, built between 1888 and 1907. is situated deep in the forested Bussaco woods and mountains.

There were plans to turn the ancient convent into a royal residence for Queen Maria Pia, wife of King Luís I. However, difficult political circumstances soon led to the decision to turn the palace into a hotel.

The area around the Buçaco Palace was part of a Discalced Carmelite convent established in 1628. The monks of the Convento de Santa Cruz do Buçaco  built a convent and created a luxurious garden with many species of trees. The garden was supposed to represent Mount Carmel (where the order was founded) and the Earthly Paradise. The Carmelites left Buçaco in 1834 following the dissolution of the monasteries in Portugal.

The surroundings, garden  and the hotel's public areas are spectacular.

But the rest of the building and rooms are not well kept and the restaurant's food is not worth writing about.

Still it is a special experience to be staying at this historical convent hotel. 


Luso - Portugal’s most important Spa town - North of Coimbra

This charming small town is famous for one thing in particular:

its water and thermal spas. The town is full of quint manors and spa hotels.

The hotels  back road exit, runs straight into the center of the charming little town's thermal spa . Its good quality mineral drinking water - the Portuguese "Perier" known as  Agua de Luso

Thousands of bottles of this precious liquid are consumed daily across the nation.

It is synonymous with good quality mineral water in Portugal

Water flows freely from fountains and springs in the town and is also renowned for its healing qualities.

Locals and visitors  come by and fills the empty vessels they bring along.  Thousands of bottles of this precious liquid are consumed daily across the nation.


This trip continues to Porto as of March 22/2018


bottom of page