Monday, July 10, 2017

Vacation in 2017 - PORTUGAL

I know it is a while since I blogged. That is because I was busy with work and busy planning a trip, subsequently traveling. Now that I am back and rested (my weary bones are still complaining!!!!), I felt it is time I put pen to paper or fingers on the keyboard. Here it goes....
It is 4 years since Jo and I traveled anywhere longer than 5 days at a time. It is 4 years since I stepped out of India. That means my dream of seeing the world is still a distant dream. Time to rectify it. One fine day in the beginning of this year, I thought long and hard, and told Jo, that I would like go for a holiday somewhere, preferable together, and if he wants to join me, that would be great or I will have to make some other plans. But, I am interested in traveling this year. 

He thought about it I guess, and came out with this idea of Portugal. I thought 'Portugal?' Why Portugal? He said, 
1. It is a European country 
2. Goa, where we live used to be a Portuguese colony for 400 yrs.
3. He had not seen it before
4. It is cheaper than other European countries
5. He wanted to do a road trip and Portugal is small enough to make it happen.
Since I hadn't seen many places, one country is as good as another, and since I love traveling, I jumped at the idea.
Next came, how long should the trip be. I mentioned 10 - 12 days, actually wanted to go for 2 weeks. A holiday should be 2 weeks long. Isn't it? 
Ok, 2 weeks it was. That was a tentative time estimate.
Next step was to find out what to see etc. Both Jo and I did not know much about Portugal. Then we started googling on the internet for information on Portugal. Jo got sidetracked and was looking at info into demographics, fuel, economy etc. I went the simple way - the internet - it threw up '10 best places to visit in Portugal' kind of websites. Diligently looked them up and read about them and noted down which place took how long to cover the tourist attractions. Now I had a list of places to see. Simple!   
We did not know there were so many castles and cathedrals in Portugal. Jo and I had our preferences, and when added up, 2 weeks was not enough. We were going so far, and why to miss out on such interesting places because of a few more days!!! yes, it did not make sense. 
So, it became a 3 week long trip. Yey..... I am happy!
When to travel was the next topic of discussion. Neither Jo not I enjoy the cold weather much. So it had to be summer. Summer would be holiday season, everyone would be traveling, and the cost of everything would be up. A compromise, just before the tourist season starts, was the right time for us. Middle of June to first week of July seemed ideal.
Next was to find out how much money we need. A 3 week long vacation can be quite expensive, if you add, airfare (to and fro between Lisbon and Goa) + Visa expenses + Insurance + Accommodation in Portugal + food + Travel expenses + entrance tickets + miscellaneous expenses etc. It was daunting. I opened an Excel sheet and started a 'Rough estimate' of the expenses.
Looked up the airfares on the net, and got an estimate of how much it would cost for airfare. 
We were excited at the idea of hiring a car, and going around the country through the back roads, stopping wherever we wanted to, etc. It seemed very romantic....
So, we started looking up the car rentals in Portugal and there were several on the internet and they were very economical. In my rough estimate, an average cost of the rental charges for a small car, and the cast of fuel for a approxi. distance for an approxi. no. of days was calculated. 
For 21 days, for 2 persons, cost of food per day ( 2 good meals and 1 small meal), was estimated.
It is fact of life that every museum, monument or place of interest has an entrance fee. I assumed at flat rate of 5 euros per place, for an average of 15 places, for 2 persons. Rough estimate of the cost of entrance tickets was arrived at.
I decided how much we should spend on accommodation. We were going to compromise on the location or type or size.  
So on so forth, assumed other costs too. Finally a total figure was arrived at. 
We knew where we wanted to go for our holiday; when we wanted to go; for how long; and how much it would cost us. 
I put all this information in my Rough estimate; places to see, how many days for each place, where to make the halt etc.
Now that we were equipped with a plan, we started executing it. How it panned out? That was another story, for another post....

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