Category Archives: porto

My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 1 -“The first 5 weeks in Lockdown”

I expect like me you are just wishing you could go somewhere, ANYWHERE I hear you say!

Well those days will return, but I have been travelling around the Globe quite a bit since the lockdown started.

It is of course Virtual, but by painting watercolours of various place I can almost escape there for a while. By the time I have trawled through old photos to find the one I want to paint the memories of these places come flooding back and the concentration of painting soon transports me to those far away places.

I have been posting these paintings recently so not many new ones but I thought I could put them together as a sort of Journal if only for my own amusement, and I hope yours too!

It all stared sitting in the garden in the lovely April sunshine thinking of all the gardening I should be doing, not to mention sorting out the shed, garage,study etc etc.

A corner of the garden

But soon the travel bug took over.

I had been worrying about a delivery of a variant of this watercolour of Porto in Portugal

to a customer in Toronto when I realised that I had not been to Toronto for a very long time and so the idea of a Skyline painting seemed the thing to do. Don’t ask why, even I don’t know!

Toronto Skyline

One thing leads to another and so suddenly I found myself seeing once again the Skyline of Singapore.

Singapore

We had stayed in the Ritz Carlton there the last time we were there and this is the skyline from near there. What a City Singapore is!  I can even taste a spectacular meal we ate one evening there, in very authentic restaurant, of Beef in Black Bean sauce and Beef Rendang!

The trip back to the UK included a quick diversion to Chateau Chalon in the Jura in France. (That thanks to watching Rick Stein on TV). A wonderful area of that equally wonderful country with stunning ,and rather special Wine!

Chateau Chalon in the Jura region of France

And just to make sure the days were fully filled up, a  return visit to Amsterdam, another great place to be.

 

But soon I was back in the UK with view of the Countryside in Kent that I can’t now visit and another view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun bursts through.

The Kentish Countryside

The sun breaking through the clouds

Being back in the UK brought on another attack of the travel bug and a long weekend in Tuscany seemed just the right thing to do. So after a brief stop in Florence to look at the the house located on the Ponte Vecchio —

—I drove into the heart of Tuscany. It has been warm here in Kent and so the warmth of Tuscany seemed just so good.

Basing ourselves near to San Gimignano, as we have done before, gave me some time to enjoy painting some watercolours, first of Piazza della Cisterna in the heart of San Gimignano and then the view from San Gimignano across the wonderful Tuscan landscape.

Piazza dell Cisterna in San Gimignano.

Tuscany

Luckily there was time to return to Lucca. A real gem of a City in Tuscany and a painters paradise!

In the Heart of Lucca in Tuscany

And so the first 5 weeks of Lockdown have let me cover a lot of miles without even stepping outside!

I hope that this Lockdown won’t go on too much longer but if it does my Virtual bags will have to be repacked and put into us again.

Happy Virtual Travelling Everybody!

Stay safe and well too.

Brian

Lisbon and a Cruise on the Duoro River

Hi Everybody

We have just returned from a very enjoyable cruise on the Duoro River in Portugal.

Just before the Cruise we spent a fcouple of days in Lisboa and then travelled to Porto to get on the Viking River Cruise.

Alas the weather wasn’t always as good as we would have expected in Portugal in June but slowly it improved and luckily it didn’t stop us enjoying the towns, cities and scenery. Of course we also enjoyed the Port and the Douro wine too and our trips to various places were all very interesting.

Last year we spent time in Lisboa so I am using one painting from that trip to introduce this Post.

What better than one of their iconic trams in the old town area of Lisboa.

 

A Tram in Old Lisboa

While we were in Lisboa we took a day trip to Sintra and its amazing Pena Palace. Then a lovely journey along the coast to see the most westerly point of mainland Europe and the cliffs and bays of the Atlantic. I have some paintings of the coast planned for the future.

Here is a quick sketch of Pena Palace. If you visit do go inside it is a very interesting visit.

Pena Palace at Sintra

Our transfer to Porto took us to Coimbra, an ancient University town about halfway from Lisboa to Porto.

Our arrival in Porto was rather wet but luckily the sun broke through the following day and so I was able to paint this double spread sketch of Porto. It is a lovely City with much to see and do and especially taste the Port. The history of Port production is fascinating and we learnt a lot from a great visit to the Sandeman cellars.

Porto from the South bank of the Douro River. Sketch book watercolour 18 inches by 8.

From Porto we sailed up the Douro through it’s amazing locks and visited a number of places along the way , stopping each night, before heading off the next day. The scenery is spectacular and the number of Vineyards and Wine producers quite amazing.

Here are a couple of Douro river scenes

Vineyard and the Douro. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

By the bank of the Douro. ketch 9 by 8 inches.

One visit took us to Mateus Palace, this is the Palace used to name the Mateus Rose wine which I am sure you have come across. Probably a scene for a future painting but I was stuck that day by the Church and Vineyards, just next door and here is a quick sketch I made of the scene.

Igreja de Mateus Church near Mateus Palace.

 

One day we visited the very old Town of Castelo Rodrigo. The Castle is now mainly a ruin but once this was a dominant Castle town on the Portuguese /Spanish Border. It has a very old and has a quite magnificent Church to visit too. It is the Ingreja Matriz de Castelo Rodrigo.

Castelo Rodrigo . Watercolour Sketch,9 by 8 inches.

Our final trip before retuning down the Douro river with its wonderful scenery was into Spain to see Salamanca. Salamanca is an imposing and interesting city with a great history and a very old University. There are many stork nests in the City too, all in precarious places and all inhabited by the many storks there.

I hope to produce quite a few paintings of Salamanca in the future but here is the one sketch and one larger watercolour that I have so far painted.

In Salamanca. A watercolour sketch, 9 inches by 8

The Gold hues of Salamanca. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

We have come back with many wonderful photos of the Douro Valley and River and the fine memories of very nice people that we met with on the cruise and in Portugal. Always a warm welcome and wonderful wine and Port. I will be searching out more Portugeuse, especially Douro, Wine here in the UK. If you find some buy it and drink it, you will not be disappointed.

Happy Travelling

Brian

%d bloggers like this: