A PORTUGUESE ROAD TRIP......Part II
Following on from my previous post......the next stage of our road trip took us on to Lisbon. My husband was born in Lisbon and brought up for the first few years in Estoril further along the coast, and had not been back since....for me it was a first visit to a City that I had heard so much about and had so looked forward to visiting.
We were staying in the 'Alfama' which is the oldest district of Lisbon, spread out on steep cobbled hills between the Castle, down to the Tejo River. Rich with history, fantastic restaurants and Fado bars.....it is the most authentic part of Lisbon.
Fantastic views in every direction from the top....down towards 'Down Town' where there was fabulous shopping.....and towards the water......stunning architecture everywhere one looked. One of the oldest cities in the world, pre dating Roman times, it is a fascinating and visually rewarding place to visit. They say it is a 'photographer's' dream to visit and they are not wrong.....I took several hundred photos, too many to share!
For our two nights in Lisbon, we decided to rent an apartment in the historical Alfama. With very few hotels in this fabulous historic area, it was the perfect choice. More than just the apartment we were expecting, it turned out to be the most stylish small 18th Century 'coach house' on two levels, set down a quiet cobbled back street.
Casa das Merceeiras is one of two beautifully and lovingly restored properties owned by the charming Teresa.....meticulous attention to every detail was evident throughout. Kept strictly true to its original features, with a stunning vaulted brick ceiling in both the bedroom and downstairs.....Teresa had styled it throughout in a very cool, contemporary 'Moorish' style and it worked so beautifully. My photos don't quite do this gorgeous building justice....but it really was a very comfortable base for the two days. An open plan sitting area, kitchen and dining room downstairs, and a cosy bedroom and bathroom upstairs. Each day, a delicious breakfast was brought to us and we were touched by the little unexpected details such finding a lovely bottle of wine and olives waiting for us when we got back from a long day of site seeing! Teresa was one of the most interesting and lovely people we met on our trip.....so passionate about her City (where she is also a tour guide) and someone who truly cared about the comfort and quality of our stay. We shall definitely return and stay in one of her coach house apartments next time we are in Lisbon....it was a real 'home away from home' and as much as a hotel is always a treat, there are times when living like a 'local' gives a more authentic travel experience!
|Narrow passageways....leading to a new view or surprise|
round every corner.
|One of Lisbon's famous trams.|
|Looking down from St. George's Castle.....|
|Stunning views in every direction.......|
One of the most important aspects of travel....at least for us.....is the food. Lisbon did not disappoint! Fabulous restaurants everywhere, especially good for fresh seafood and delicious tapas.....it was just as well we did a lot of walking each day to burn all those extra calories!
We were sad to leave Lisbon, but excited for the next stage of our trip which took us west along the coast to Estoril where Andrew had lived as a child....and then to the seaside town of Cascais, where we sat in the first warm sunshine of our trip down in the marina and ate a delicious traditional prawn curry dish, watching the
yachts come in.
After lunch, we headed north to the stunning town of Sintra for the afternoon, with its beautiful palace and breathtaking views.
Our destination that evening was at the Pousada in the historic hilltop town of Obidos. Situated in a Castle within the old fortified walls
of this pretty white washed ancient town.
A perfect view......the table where we sat for our delicious dinner that night.
Now on the final stage of our tour.....we travelled the next day up the spectacular Atlantic coast, taking in miles of unspoilt beaches and countryside.
Our last stay was just south of Porto, on a very beautiful estuary at Torrera. Right on the water in the cool, contemporary Pousada they have there.....the water literally lapping our balcony.
|Traditional fishing boats coming in, at Torreira......|
After yet another delicious dinner, and a good night's rest having fallen asleep listening to the sound of the water gently lapping beneath us.....we woke to enjoy our last day before flying
home that evening.
At the hotel's suggestion, we made the hour's walk that took us through the tranquil pine forest of the nature reserve....that led us to one of the most spectacular, empty, unspoilt beaches I have ever seen. Not another person in sight.......immaculately clean golden sand......the thunderous Atlantic waves crashing in........this really was the perfect end to the most perfect 'Portuguese road trip'.........
Happy Friday and wishing you all a