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Eurfirst Trip to Portugal

Like Spain, Portugal has an interesting blend of Christian and Moorish culture that is expressed in its building, its food and its history. Like Greece, you'll be delighted by how far your travel dollar stretches in this sun-drenched country. While Europeans know what a wonderful travel bargain this small country provides, it's not quite on North American radar.

If you fly to Portugal, you'll arrive near Lisbon. Spend some time in this ancient city, reputed in myth to have been founded by Ulyssees, and spanning seven dramatic hills. There is much to see in this pleasant city that can easily be navigated by trams.

On the highest hill in Lisbon, you'll find the Castelo de Sao Jorge, founded by the Visogoths. From its fortress walls, the rest of the city lays beneath you. Wander down from the castle through the old town of Lisbon. Then travel on to one of the great churches of the capital, the ornate Sao Roque which honors the same saint who is honored at San Rocco in Venice and the shrine of Rocamadour in the Dordogne region of France. Strangely, the church which pays tribute to a man who gave up his worldly goods to help the poor is the richest church in Lisbon. The church of Sao Vicente was the church of Portuguese royalty while the Chapel of St. John the Baptist was one of the most expensive churches ever built in Europe.

One of the interesting sites in Lisbon is the Santa Justa Elevator, built by a student of Gustave Eiffel, it reaches skyward over centuries old buildings to provide a dramatic view of the city. It's a great place to have a snack as you watch the sun set.