Back in September of 2012 I flew from the UK to Portugal. The reason for the trip was to spend time with my parents and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. 50 years is a long time, so I can only admire how they’ve always been there for each other, and their children too. Thank you! 🙂
The trip consisted of 5 days in Lisbon, followed by a further 7 in Albufeira in the south coast region of Portugal known as the Algarve.
500 years ago, geographically situated on the far south west point of Europe by the Atlantic ocean, the Portuguese were in a prime position to take European know-how and discover other parts of the world by boat. Through the 15th century they were the first known Europeans to circumnavigate the Southern tip of Africa, leaving the Atlantic behind and travelling on through the Indian Ocean to India itself. Not long after, the Portuguese would travel on all the way to the far east including China, Japan and the Philippines. Their world wide ocean travel was unmatched in Europe, and backed up with dedicated schools offering skills training in every aspect of navigation, ship building, logistics and more.
Why do I write the above you may ask? Well, Lisbon the capital of Portugal is a beautiful city steeped in history. A place that many years later still displays some of the grandeur and confidence associated with being what might have called the most important city in Europe during it’s peak. Lisbon may have lost a lot of it’s influence compared to it’s wealthy hey days but this enhances it’s charm, making Lisbon relatively cheap to visit, and leaving a large part of it’s architecture close to it’s original design (not replaced by ugly modern buildings). With lots to explore, cultural diversity, great food, warm weather, and very friendly people, yes, I recommend you give it a try.
After the short flight from London to Lisbon, we took a cab to our rented apartment, ideally situated just off of “Rua Da Prata” and “Rua De Sao Nicolau” in the downtown hub of the city. Lisbon has streets in a partial grid system making it fairly easy to navigate by foot, or take advantage of the many street cars that cross the city.
Now those that know some of my photography habits know I like shooting trams and street cars… In Lisbon I was spoiled.
The famous #28 tram takes a route that has to be experienced due to the narrow picturesque streets it meanders through.
On this trip I decided to go minimal regarding photographic gear. All I took with me was the following :
Fuji X100 fixed lens compact camera. My X100 review is here
WCL-X100 Wide angle converter for above (changes focal length from 35mm – to 28mm equivalency at the same aperture)
Extra batteries and memory cards
Gitzo “Traveler” carbon fibre tripod
This setup was so light, one could carry the camera permanently attached to the tripod all day without arm ache. Add to this the excellent results in edge to edge sharpness I was getting from the 28mm equiv wide angle converter, I can’t say I missed having any other form of camera with me…
The one major excursion we made from Lisbon was to beautiful Sintra, with it’s Palacio Da Pena :
I won’t begin to explain this place beyond saying it’s pretty amazing, and crazy at the same time. Well worth the train excursion from Lisbon.
Lower down the hill in Sintra itself and the surrounding area there are many more places to explore…
Stage two of the trip…
From Lisbon we rented a car and drove 300km south down the A2 highway to the Algarve region, famous for it’s warm weather, and dramatic beaches…
In the Algarve life moves a bit slower than in Lisbon but traditional beauty still shines.
All in all the trip to Portugal was a great success. We had great weather the whole time, lot’s of tasty fish to eat, and found our hosts all over the country to be warm and friendly. Oh, and I’m quite happy with how the pictures came out too. One last thanks to my family for their patience as I continuously held up their site seeing to grab “just one more shot”.
Regarding the Fuji X100 camera, I have to say I love to use it, and the results speak for themselves. It’s combination of size, weight, silent operation (leaf shutter), and output is hard to match. I decided at the start of the trip that for once I would shoot just .jpg files rather than “raw” format as I find it impossible to match in post processing (Adobe Lightroom), the beauty that comes natively from the camera in jpeg mode as a finished file. It simply produces colours more appealing than any camera, if not then as good as, any camera I’ve ever owned.
That’s mostly all I have to write for now, but just let me thank you for taking the time to view my images and read my words.
I don’t post as often as I’d like on here, but I hope to pull you back with another article soon 😉
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