Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Portugal - A real Brain Wave and not a Flight of Fancy!!

Although I don't normally write about IT/Science matters here, a piece on the BBC News website this morning, got me thinking about the future of flight, travel and tourism.

Imagine being on a Ryanair plane in 10-20 years time, taking off from London Stansted (STN), heading for Faro (FAO) for your Algarve holiday, and flown by a pilot sitting in Lisbon who is wearing a skull cap with electrodes to pilot the aircraft!

Sci-Fi? Sounds Far-Fetched?

No! Portuguese IT wizards, (and they are!), at Tekver EMEA have developed and are proving that such a system may be possible, using brain power to fly drones.

See the BBC News Report here:

and this blog post by Tekver:
Parabéns! Força Portugal!!

Well done the BBC and SIC Noticias for reporting this!

and on Radio Renascença

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Cruise Vessel calls in Portimão, Portugal

There is only one quay at Portimão located on a dusty 1km long plot of land bordering the Rio Arade and situated equidistant between Portimão town (1km) and Praia da Rocha (1km) (Think of a mini Benidorm!) albeit with a lovely beach.
If the vessel is bigger than 40,000 tonnes or have a deep draught, one may end up anchoring off-shore and being transported into the Port by tender as the Arade bar and estuary require dredging to accommodate vessels of greater size. 
The Fort of Santa Catarina located at one end of the main street of Praia da Rocha is about 1,5km distant from the main quay. This press article (in Portuguese) about the fort from 2104 reports that it is in a state of degradation:
At present Portimão town becomes more run down by the day, with the local council having the highest municipal debt in the country. 
Depending on how much time one has, a tour to SilvesMonchique or elsewhere in the Algarve would be a better choice than a day in downtown Portimão.
Otherwise, basically walk along the riverside into town, enjoy the seafood in some of the river-side restaurants by the old iron road bridge. One place that might be worth a visit en route is the Portimão Museum. 
You will see from the photo a vessel moored along the quayside about 500m south of the Museum.
More photos and reports on vessels visiting the town can be seen here on this great site

Monday, 23 February 2015

Where to shop for Sports and Electronic Goods in Lisbon, Portugal

Since Sportzone closed at Chiado a year ago, there are no large sport shops in down-town Lisbon (Baixa). There is a large FNAC store for electronics, books, cameras etc at Chiado.
For ease of access by pubic transport, I recommend going to either the Centro Colombo shopping mall, Metro Colegio/Luz-Militar on the Metro Linha Azul (Blue Line) direction Amadora Este or the Centro Comercial Vasco da Gama shopping mall at Parque das Nações/Gare Oriente, accessible via the Linha Vermelha (Red Line) direction Aeroporto or by suburban train from Sete Rios, Entrecampos, Areeiro or Sta. Apolonia staions. .
At both these locations, there are large sport outlets, as well as and outlets which offer electronics, mobile, books, etc etc. have an outlet near Centro Colombo and have one near Gare Oriente.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Aqueduto das Águas Livres, Lisbon, Portugal

Built in the 18th Century to supply water to Portugal's Capital, the Aqueduto das Águas Livres is an impressive structure that survived the 1755 earthquake.

An unusual view of the Aqueduct from the rear door of the rear carriage of a Lisbon Gare Oriente to Faro, Algarve Intercidade sourh-bound train taken yesterday.  

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Lisbon from train on Ponte 25 de Abril

View taken today towards Central Lisbon from Lisbon to Faro Intercidades train crossing Ponte 25 de Abril with Alcantara Dock in the foreground.

Lisboa - Rodoviario Sete Rios

Sete Rios, the main long-distance coach station in Lisbon, Portugal.

Buses to all over Portugal, Spain and Europe depart from here.

Located next to Sete Rios Train Station and Jardim Zoologico Metro Station.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Public Transport from Amares, Portugal to Braga and Porto, Portugal

There is a reasonable public transport service from Amares to Braga from Monday to Saturdays. There is a limited service on Sundays.

From Braga, one can get a train or bus to Porto.


Minho Verde -
Transdev -

If you are heading to Porto Airport there is the shuttle service operated by GetBus from Braga. 


If going into Porto itself, one can get the train. Services operate about twice hourly throughout the day.

See: Timetable:

There are also, on average, hourly bus services throughout the day operated by Rede-Expressos and Citilink.between Braga Bus Station and Porto Alexandre Herculano Bus Station 


Local taxis in the Braga / Amares area include:

Táxi Monteiro Amares - 919 376 233 

TaxiBraga -

Monday, 16 February 2015

Sevilla, Spain - A couple of things to do.

At the Plaza da Espana, one has the Maria Luisa Park. This is fairly large and leads down to Paseo del Delicios and the Guadalquvir.  There are several beautiful buildings that were built as national pavilions for the:
Alternatively, just wander the streets of the centre. The architecture of the old central area is lovely,
Downloadable Map of the historic centre of Sevilla in pdf format here;

Taxis at Lisbon Airport, Portugal - A comment!

Over the past year, I have had to pass through Lisbon Airport several times, and despite the fact that the police are trying to crack down on overcharging by taxi drivers at Lisbon Airport, the latter are still trying and are ripping passengers off.
Both my wife and I speak Portuguese and know Lisbon and Portugal well. However, we do not look Portuguese. On two recent occasions, when we have taken taxis from the Airport, I have caught them out, either not taken the most direct route or refusing to put the meter on. In one case, when I remonstrated with the driver when we arrived at our destination for adding 4 kms to the route and asked for his taxi licence number, he almost assaulted me.
The other trick that is happening increasingly at Lisbon Airport, is that more and more drivers are buying larger utility type vehicles that can carry more passengers AND with which they can CHARGE MORE! There is no separate queue for these vehicles at the taxi rank at Arrivals at Terminal 1 at Lisbon airport. All one can do is stand and wait until a smaller taxi comes along, all the time facing the wrath of the drivers of the bigger vehicles who insist it is their turn at the head of the queue.
There is no doubt that this situation has worsened since the opening of the Metro to the Airport two years ago. Obviously, the taxi drivers lost income. However, the Lisbon Airport taxi drivers are increasingly leaving a foul taste in the mouths of many visitors ans travellers with their bad behavior.
If one needs to get a cab from Lisbon Airport, go to the Visit Lisbon (Lisbon Tourist Bureau) counter outside the baggage hall in the arrivals area and get a taxi voucher.
Alternatively, buy one line here:
The Lisbon Airport Company, Vinci and the Portuguese Tourism Authorities really do need to get a handle on this situation and it is not a nice way for visitors begin their visit to Lisbon.

Lisbon Four Seasons Hotel to Parque das Nações (Gare Oriente), Lisbon, Portugal

The most direct route by public transport from the Lisbon Four Seasons Hotel to Parque das Nações (Gare Oriente) would be to walk to Pombal Metro Station and then take the Linha Amarela (Yellow Line) in the direction of Odivelas
At the second stop, Saldanha, change to the Linha Vermelha (Red Line) in the direction of Aeroporto and disembark at Gare Oriente Station. Follow the signs for the Centro Comercial Vasco da Gama, walk through this shopping mall and then you are then in the area of Parque das Nações
The metro runs till after mid-night.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Meia Praia - February 2015

Lisbon, Portugal to Valencia, Spain

Lisbon to Valencia is +- 900km by road as the fly crows.
There are no direct train overnight trains.
One would have to take the overnight train from Lisbon and then a connecting train to Valencia.
I have checked the timetables and all routes would require arriving at Madrid Charmartin Station, taking the Metro to Puerto de Atocha station and then catching another train to Valencia. Transit time would be about 20 hours.
TAP-Air Portugal ( flies direct daily(twice daily on weekdays) from Lisbon to Valencia.
Flight time is 90 minutes.
Alternatively, one would have to route via Madrid Barajas Airport., together with its subsidiary, Air Nostrum offer one-stop connections with transit time starting at +-5hrs.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Alfa-Pendular - Gare Oriente, Lisbon

Monday morning's arrival from Porto of (Portuguese Railways) Alfa-Pendular (Pendolino) with destination Faro in the Algarve. Current Service timetable in PDF Format here.

Tejo Estuary from Alfa-Pendular

Shot from the 8.24 Alfa-Pendular from Lisbon Oriente to the Algarve, this morning. Looking West towards Belem, Cascais and the Atlantic..

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Geneva Airport

Swissair take off from Geneva GVA this afternoon

View of French Alps from the top-floor Departure lounge at Geneva Airport on Sunday en route back from Lausanne.