Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunny Portugal

Our European adventure continued in early April with a trip to a long-anticipated destination: Sunny Portugal.

After an early-morning arrival in Lisbon, we grabbed a cab to our home for the next 3 days, a beautiful apartment in the city center. We've stayed in some hard-to-find locations before, but this one took the cake—even the cab driver, a 30-year veteran, had to consult his maps. But we were again pleasantly surprised with the digs, a beautiful 2-story flat with views of the old castle.

And the Castelo de Sao Jorge would be one of our first destinations in Lisbon, a city teeming with history, culture, and residents proud of their city's rich legacy. Everywhere we went in Lisbon, hand-painted tiles covered entire building fronts, their bold colors dancing in the sunlight. An old tram line carried us up the steep city streets...the creaking wood of the tram car a tourist sight unto itself. The castle provided great views of old rooftops, the Tagus River, and the various majestic structures of Lisbon. But the early morning travel and day of exploring Lisbon sent us back to the apartment in search of dinner.

Day #2 was another full day of Lisbon sightseeing, including the Elevador de Santa Justa (a cool old elevator), the Rossio square, the Torre de Belem (tower), the aquarium, and the Expo '98 waterfront area.

The following day, we ventured out of Lisbon to the scenic town of Sintra, where we were treated to a magical visit to the Palacio da Pena, which appeared to be a royal residence straight out of a Disney fairytale. Absolutely stunning!

A stay at a beautiful country inn about 1.5 hours south of Lisbon near the town of Cercal would be our next destination. In this area, we basically explored the beautiful beaches and coastline, sometimes accompanied by our new friends Francisco, Emma, Zachary, and Annabelle, a lovely family from Geneva, Switzerland. Fran's Portugese heritage and command of the language helped considerably, and our kids fell immediately in line with the other two as if they had been friends for years. Two days in this countryside were filled with relaxation, sunshine, and fun times.
We pointed the rental car north of Lisbon for the final leg of our journey. Obidos, a beautiful old fortress town was our destination. If you're planning on visiting Portugal, be sure not to miss this great town. A walk on the sentry paths of the battlements gave us an incredible view of both the town and the surrounding countryside. Off and on rain in our last two days couldn't dampen our spirits, nor take the shine off of our great journey to this marvelous country.

See all the photos of our trip to Portugal HERE.

1 comment:

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

your life is great all the places you get to visit!