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February, 2016

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Last week I visited Guimaraes in Portugal for a day – it is about an hour and 15 minutes by train from Porto. Guimaraes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I can see why. What an amazing experience – it was like walking into a time warp. If only we had been able to spend longer there! The buildings were all historical and very beautiful. The main square reminded me of the square in Tours in France, with similar buildings, all of which were extremely well kept.

We walked around the castle which reminded me of the castle at Corfe in Dorset, and around the streets and little cobbled side streets until it was time to get the train home. The prices were also like a time warp – during our visit we went to a cafe where the cost of a coffee and custard tart were the equivalent of what we would have paid in the UK in the 1960s, and later a bowl of soup, bread and a beer each cost less than £5 for two of us. I bought a cotton long sleeved top and a shampoo for 4 euros in one shop and three bras for 1 euro 50 in another. Porcelain puppets were for sale for 1 euro each, but I decided not to buy any as I was worried that they would get damaged in my suitcase.

The staff in the tourist office were friendly and helpful as was everyone we spoke to.

After our visit my friend and I agreed that the experience had been surreal, and I am still wondering whether it was all a dream.

Jennifer Lunn

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