Port, Pastels and Palaces

We caught the bus from Lagos to Lisbon for our 3 day visit. It was quite a scenic drive and thanks to Kadin’s forward planning, we were able to enjoy the best views from the front seats…

Our airbnb in Lisbon was near the old town again. Lisbon is quite hilly, but small enough to get around by foot. We went for a walk after we checked-in and enjoyed more Portuguese architecture and views…

It also turned out that we arrived just in time for the cities biggest party of the year; the celebration of St. Anthony (also known as the Sardine Festival). So we got amongst it and enjoyed a sardine on bread. Everyone was cooking them on make shift BBQs. Even though it resembled the bait we use when fishing back home, it was pretty tasty. Of course, the sangria washed it down perfectly. At night, there was a massive parade through the town and street parties until the wee hours…

We spent a day in the inner city checking out some of the tourist spots. In the middle of Lisbon you can find an elevator that was designed by the same engineer of the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to one of the many tips from Kadin’s cousin (who has visited Lisbon several times) we didn’t line up with the queues of people at the bottom, but instead climbed up to the street behind and got to the top for free.

We also went to a very popular Pastel de Nata shop (traditional Portuguese custard tarts). It was super busy inside and they were selling them as quick as they were making them. The custard centre was fresh and warm and was covered in a crisp pastry shell…

Towards the end of our day in town, we walked along the water front in search of a view of the longest bridge in Portugal (17kms long). We had to walk quite a long way, and only ever saw it in the distance and always partially blocked by buildings, boats or cranes – but we took a photo of the part we could see from our walk. We then had to take the more adventurous and definitely less touristy route home.

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Sintra Town – Outside Pastel Shop

For our last day in Lisbon, we decided to get out of town and visit the city of Sintra. We took the train from the city, which was pretty straight forward (our airbnb host even saved us a bit of money by lending us two metro cards to put money on). Sintra is an old town in the hillside with several epic looking castles covering the landscape. We left our visit until after lunch to try an avoid the crowds. On arriving, there were still heaps of people milling about in the town, many ending their day in Sintra. We went to another pastry shop, ‘Piriquita,’ it was packed with people waiting with a ticket number to be served. However, we noticed that there was a café seating area on the next level and plenty of free tables, so we sat down at one and then were looked after by one of the most efficient waiters we’ve ever came across. The pastries were the same cost as the take-away ones everyone was lining up for and we had a pleasant spot to enjoy them from without having to queue.  At Quinta Palace, we had to queue (for about 20 minutes) but once inside, the crowds thinned out and we enjoyed a few hours exploring the grounds. There were underground tunnels and massive stone wells, plenty of towers to climb and of course the palace itself.

It was 6pm when we exited the grounds. The other palace we wanted to explore, Pena Palace, closed at 8pm (last entrance at 7pm). It was quite a big walk (and all up hill!) so we decided to get an uber – when we first put it into the app it said it was going to cost 15 euro! We cancelled and re-entered the destination and it came back as 5 euro, which seemed more reasonable. However, we were on a one-way road and our uber driver was going to have to drive 17kms around the loop to get to us… luckily, we were able to communicate with him and we just walked the 500m up hill to the car. In the car we realised that the uber driver seemed to be going the wrong direction from the palace, we had to confirm he was taking us to the right place. He was, but because of the one-way road system, what we thought was going to be a 10-15 minute ride was becoming a 45-50 minute trip (obviously where the first quote came from). We were also pushing it to make it for the last entrance. Our uber driver was a good sort, and he was thankful that we had walked to him at the start, so he turned the trip off early and it ended up costing 11 euro (phew!) and we made it in time to get the tickets! Finally, there were no crowds too! There was only us and another few couples, which meant we had this amazing castle almost to ourselves and could get plenty of photos without having other tourists photo-bombing us…

The next day, we took the train from Lisbon to Porto. We paid a little bit more to ride in the first-class carriage, which gave us a comfortable space to catch up on some blogging. It was a pretty short trip and our next airbnb was only 1.5km from the station, so we just walked. We arrived before lunch and our host had managed to get our room ready early so we were able to check-in straight away. We headed out again, stopping for lunch at a nearby bakery, which we continued to visit throughout our 3-day stay…

It turns out that that same engineer that designed the Eiffel Tower, also came to Porto. This time it was a bridge. We walked over one bridge, along to the view point at ___ tower and then back over the Eiffel bridge tower into town…

In town, we stopped by some more landmarks. Including —- palace, McDonald’s (didn’t eat there – just took a few photos), the train station – for it’s amazing hand painted tiles…

The next day, we walked back to town and spent the morning strolling through the markets by the river. We even bought ourselves hats…

We crossed back over the bridge and walked up the hill towards the Port Cellars. We started with a liquid lunch and then came across a very local café – where the English was quite limited. We ended up ordering a schnitzel (to share) and it came with a side of fries, rice and a massive salad platter. We also ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice each and the total bill only reached 5 euro (local prices too)! We continued to explore more Port places after lunch too. At Taylor’s there was a family of peacocks in the courtyard garden…

We then rolled back down the hill, across the bridge and found ourselves back in town. We walked up to the bookstore famous because J.K. Rowling got inspiration from the staircase inside for her Hogwarts staircases … but there was a massive queue and it cost 5 euro each. So we peered inside from the street and kept walking. We eventually found ourselves in the Botanical Gardens. It was a nice way to end the day…

For our last day in Porto (and Portugal), we took the tram to the seaside. We had a chilled-out day enjoying the sun and reading our books…

Have fun at work!
Gemma

One comment

  1. Great pictures once again Gemma. Very nice garden places castles and the train station tiles were amazing. The Eiffel Tower designer did a unique elevator and bridge 😆😎
    Looking forward to your next adventure.
    ❤️Carol

    Liked by 1 person

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