May 22 through May 31, 2010

This was an 8 day Andante Travels tour, with most of the group from the UK.  Unlike the cave art tours, the sites were all outdoors, so we were allowed to take photos.  Even up close and with the ever-popular straw/stick/laser pointer, though, some of the artwork is pretty hard to see, since much of it is just incised lines, sometimes very small, and any paint has long since disappeared.

The photos are "geotagged".  This adds GPS data (latitude, longitude, elevation, etc.) to the photo metadata, just as the camera brand and model, date and time, exposure info, etc. are automatically recorded by the camera itself.  Therefore, you can see exactly where each photo was taken, usually to within a few meters.  Unfortunately, the MobileMe web site will only display the GPS info, it doesn't actually map it directly at this time.  Google’s Picasa web site does an excellent job of integrating geotagged photos with Google Earth and Google Maps, so I’ve uploaded the photos there also.

The photos here are not edited, except for the GPS info, though some would benefit from some adjustments.  They’re size-reduced for the web, but I’d be happy to send you individual photos or a DVD with the full-resolution photos.

The following itinerary is copied from the Andante website, with a couple of comments added in [brackets], and the addition of the “Photos” and “Picasa” links to the photo galleries for each day.

[Day Zero]
[Margaret and I fly from Denver to Oporto (Portugal) via Newark NJ, where we have a flight delay, and Lisbon.]

Day One
Arrive Oporto and drive to our hotel.  [We arrived at the hotel several hours late, but with our luggage and in time to join the group and have dinner.]

Day Two    Photos    Picasa
Time to make your own exploration of old Oporto, then depart by train on a journey along the Douro river valley to Foz Côa.

Day Three    Photos    Picasa
Whole day in the Valley of the River Côa, a tributary of the Douro: the sites of Canada do Inferno and Penascosa have been chosen as the best representatives of different artistic styles, techniques and positions.

Day Four    Photos    Picasa
Return to Foz Côa to visit the site of Ribeira de Piscos, and the brand new museum (should be open in time for our trip) [the museum was not open yet]. Afternoon visit to Ervamoira vineyard for port-tasting.

Day Five    Photos    Picasa
Drive to Siega Verde, where hundreds of figures have been found along another tributary of the Douro river.  Afternoon in Ciudad Rodrigo, a typical and beautiful Spanish town with dramatic fortifications which were reinforced by Wellington during the Peninsular War.

Day Six    Photos    Picasa
Explore Salamanca, which was one of the first Spanish cities to become a World Heritage Site.

Day Seven    Photos    Picasa
Drive to Domingo García, dramatically situated on a rocky outcrop on a plateau, surprisingly covered in art spanning the Palaeolithic to the medieval period. Late afternoon free time in Avila, originally a Roman town but most famous now for its remarkably complete Medieval city walls with 88 towers and nine gateways.

Day Eight    Photos    Picasa
Drive to Madrid to visit the Prado Museum - to consider the same human artistic endeavour after thousands of years of development. On to airport for flight home.  [Margaret and I have rooms at a hotel a couple of miles from the airport.]

[Day Nine] 
Margaret and I fly home from Madrid to Denver via Washington DC, where we have another delayed flight!]

There isn’t a great deal of tourist infrastructure in the valley or the little village at Foz Côa, and our 4x4 vehicles have to traverse some steep dirt tracks on fairly precipitous hillsides of the Côa Valley in order to access the art. The visits last 1.5-2 hours and there is a fair amount of walking at each site (1-2km). No walking sticks permitted.

Portugal & Spain 2010