We were really excited for Portugal. We had hired a driver (we were praying he would be at the port, unlike our driver in Casablanca, Morocco) to take us around Lisbon and then over the small village of Sintra, Portugal. Rick Steves (you know, of the European travel series Rick Steves) said that unless you've seen Sintra, you haven't really seen Portugal.
As we are not ones to argue with Rick Steves, we made it a point to get over and see Sintra for ourselves.
First we walked around Lisbon looking for an ATM. Seriously, when we travel we are always looking for one of three things. ATMs, a drink for a thirsty child, or bathrooms. Sometimes looking for things isn't too bad because you come across things like this, the Church of Santa Engrácia. It was built in the 1500's and is the final resting place for important Portuguese people.
It also seems that is a place where you can be weird.
Our driver took us to the top of the Eduardo VII park in downtown Lisbon, which offered great views of the city and the bay. Here is an interesting tidbit - Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe. It predates Paris and London by hundreds of years.
It took me practically forever to get a shot of these buildings in the park. People kept walking through blocking my shot.
After spending a little time in Lisbon, we were ready to head over to Sintra. Oh, and by we I really mean me, Matt, my four kids, Mr. and Mrs. Point and their four kids, my brother, his wife and child Mr. Sun, Mrs. Albania and her husband Mr. Mrs. Albania and their daughter. It ain't easy traveling around Europe with such a big group.
This shot here is why we went to Sintra.
And this view here. This is why went to Sintra.
And this here. Everywhere we turned places in Sintra were crying out, "Look at me! Look at me!" So we did. It was pretty wonderful.
We a found a funky little restaurant in one of the alleys on Sintra. It was built right into the hill and the inside was modeled to look like a cave. A cave complete with a flat screen TV on the wall. That's my kind of cave.
Sintra is the kind of town where you can just walk around for hours and hours, taking in the different buildings and vistas.
As we walked around Sintra, Portugal, Mr. Point found out one very important fact about the Portuguese. They do not appreciate being spoken to in Spanish. Yes, Spanish and Portuguese are similar, much like Spanish and French are similar. BUT! They are separate languages and they don't like people thinking Portuguese and Spanish are interchangeable. Just a little something we found out.
It was late November when we were in Portugal. Perfect time for leaves changing and cooler weather.
Sintra is the perfect town to get a taste of a simple Portuguese life. It is close to the sea and filled with kind and friendly people.
It is also filled with really good chocolate ice cream, as Mrs. Albania's daughter found out.
When we found out our cruise itinerary included Portugal, we were glad that we could finally cross it off of "our list." But now after spending the day in this fabulously gorgeous corner of the world, all we can think about is when we can go back.
Up next - more Portugal!