What a shock to the system! A great one! A whirl-wind change of events. 7 years of corporate work life (don’t think I will ever do this again), to contract work, to suddenly, “Whoa, I’m in Europe again”!
So the fun beings in Lisbon Portugal, our landing spot to kick things off. And what perfect timing, fresh into Spring, flowers are blooming, but really it felt like summer. Hot and sunny weather for the entire 2 weeks. Was a nice relief after a long-ish winter in Toronto.
Above are some nice purple flowers blooming and contrasting against the white Paróquia de São Vicente de Fora, a Renaissance church erected between 1582 and 1627.
Lisbon is a fantastic city of views and perches, which I quite enjoyed. I have always enjoyed gazing away at a nice view while day dreaming.
It was tough to find great food in Lisbon. We did a few times. Once out to a very busy Portuguese restaurant that we happened to notice when walking back to our apartment in the Alfama district. It was on a quiet street, but was not quiet itself at all – always packed with locals having fun eating, drinking, and chatting. The food was exceptional. We also had some amazing seafood at Ceverjaria Ramiro that Caroline tracked down. We had a giant crab of some sort and a bunch of large tasty sweet shrimp.
When you exited the front door to our apartment, you had an immediate view of the Church of Santa Engrácia that dates back to the 17th century. It is now know as the Panteão Nacional. We saw it every day we left and returned, but did not get inside until the day before we left. What magnificent views from above! And what sensational acoustics inside that dome! You can walk upstairs into the dome and the sounds below are stunningly clear. If only I could have recorded some music within.
Of course you can go to the beaches of the Algarve to the South, but there are also some pretty great beaches within 20 minutes of biking plus a quick ferry ride.
A gorgeous Spring morning. We had just had an espresso at our favourite local viewpoint of the city, and now ready to go, we descend below. Lisbon is a very hilly city, very good exercise if you are walking which we sure did.
Here is a shot of the city center.
So, what can we do outside of the city for a change of scenery? Let’s go to Sintra. It is just a half hour train ride away, and so much to do and see! We had an action packed full day in Sintra. Below, we have the Castle of the Moors. We finished the day with this site, and I am glad that we did. What an incredible place built of boulders and rocks. You can see the Atlantic ocean from here. The wind was blowing wild as you can see Caroline’s golden hair is flowing along with it. This place really gave me a great powerful feeling. You walk around the wall, climbing higher and higher until you perch above all. Amazing. A fun day with the birthday girl!
What else is Sintra? You have royal retreats, castles, palaces, and further away a intriguing monastery. We checked out the Pena National Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, took a taxi to the Convent of the Capuchos where we explored for an hour (while taxi waited because this magical location is in the middle of nowhere really), and finished off at the Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros).
Also at Quinta da Regaleira…our initials.
Here is Caroline at the Convent of the Capuchos. An interesting monastery where the buildings are covered in cork tree bark surfaces.
Cork tree bark patterns on the ceiling…
And that is all from Lisbon!