Thursday, February 28, 2008

Day 16 We get to the Castle of St. George

This day started out with some laziness after the dedicated sightseeing we had done. However, we didn't want to drive since the long drive to Madrid was ahead and bustling about didn't sound so tempting either, so it was a read in bed and write on the computer morning. Had it been sunny and warm, it would have been nice to laze about the pool, but that's for another season.

By the time we were ready to hit the sidewalks, I had a surprise for dh. It would be a Goan restaurant for lunch, in a different area - Anjos. We like to try various ethnic meals, and even I had never had Goan. I hoped it would be a treat! By now we had the Metro down almost pat, and were even able to zap our metro cards On Our Own! Woohoo! The Benfica sign (old UEFA memories for me) was a guide on our walk down to the zoo.
We spotted both the Rua de Guinea and these maids at the same time. We had found our way.
A break and a coffe
A couple more hills (what else?) and I asked a woman coming home with shopping for directions. Right down the street, and there was lunch.
(I thank my dh for the use of his camera for these lunch shots.) His pork vindaloo (sadly not hot enough for him)
Pork Vindaloo
and my grilled prawns with a very small bit of piripiri. Messy but delicious.
Grilled Prawns
Happy to eat among happy people.
Our first Goan dinner
On the walk back to the metro I spotted something I hadn't noticed before. This is for my first dear grandson...
Once we got down to Rossio, I spotted these but really wasn't that hungry.Maybe later. Anyhow it was too nice to sit inside.
So we went back to the Rossio and sunbathed with galaos, and watched other visitors.
Tourists eating - Rossio
Despite our map reading and studying of the transit map, we could not find the bus to the Castle. When in doubt, ask, so I asked. Oh no...we are finally on 'the short bus'. It had to happen! But it takes us to the Castle!
We arrive at the same time as several school groups.
HS students
How much can we see before we flag? (I speak for myself.)
Castle Map
We finally get a good view of the 25th of April bridge (goodbye Salazar!).
And the magnificent Vasco de Gama bridge to the far east.
Bridge over calm waters
The views are stupendous and we can see from this vantage point the western side of Lisbon we were on earlier in the week.
Castelo de Sao Jorge
from the Castelo de Sao Jorge
But the highlight of my day, and my entire trip is meeting these students.
Danielle, Jessica, Soroya, and...Jorge(?)
You can read about this on... Cooking My Life . I was really touched and grateful.

But dh and I continued to listen to this guitarist, Joao Batos, in a courtyard.
Guitarist Joao Bastos
Climb more walls
Castelo de Sao Jorge
I've got my eye on you

And finally realize the sun is both setting on this day and our visit to Lisbon
Nearly sunset
But those pastries earlier? Well yes, we had to stop and have a quick 5:30 coffee and pastry break with everyone else at the Pasticiere National. Then back to our hotel, and after heading out to dinner we had another serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler. Bill it was good to meet you! Stay safe on your travels.

Obrigado Portugal!

Day 15 We go to Sintra!

We debated about taking the train or driving, and I thank dh for agreeing to drive. It's the little actually getting ON the A5 that have us wondering where in the h*ll that left turn was supposed to be. Once we got on our road, it was pretty straightforward. We planned to go to Sintra, Cascais and Cabo da Roca - at least that was our plan.

When we arrived in Sintra, we just stopped and parked the car (easier said than done on a hilly, hilly street) and walked about.
It was so so beautiful that if we hadn't seen much more, the day would have been worth it.
Street markers
We behaved and didn't pick anyones lemons tho it was tempting.
None picked :-(
The houses and gardens were exquisite with the blend of formality and tropical plants.
What species???
I would have loved to see the grounds and house of this estate but alas...we just looked at the driveway which I seriously regret not photographing.
Quinta dos Lagos
After enjoying this little section, we decided to find either old Sintra or new Sintra and so drove off. This looked like new Sintra but there was a parking space so...
We scanned some menus and decided to eat when we saw gambas on the menu. Shrimp! We kept this 'couvert'
Bread in typical napkin
and while I would have loved to have had some of the cheese, I knew I would be too full. (You pay for each item you choose to eat. I had the fish pate.)
Dh had a bowl of vegetable soup
His soup - vegetable
and then came our entrees. His curried shrimp
His prawn curry - sweetish, not spicey
and my Shrimp Bread Pudding. I wish I had taken a shot of the dish as it arrived with the raw egg yolk in the center. I think I would have freaked our waitress out if I had photographed her mixing the egg into the dish. (Shades of rice in Iran.) It was creamy, rich and delicious.
Prawn Bread Pudding
From our table we could see life go on and note the conical towers of the cathedral. Ah that must be old town. While we didn't have dessert there was the requisite galao.
Back to walk lunch off.
Hanging out
Not tonight
Citrus Sintra
There must be some history
A true fixer upper, with windows bricked up from the inside. We were beginning to realize if we went to old town, we would not make the coast at all this day. Seeing the Atlantic again was high on my wishlist so we only looked from here and said..another vacation, another day. But sooo lovely.
Our parking was running out and the clouds were getting big again, so it was back in the car.
The end of the walk
Dh spotted this and as we didn't seem to be on the road we wanted, he turned around and I quick-clicked.
Waterfall at
#12   don't come any closer

To the ocean! We thought we were on the road to Cascais, and eventually found ourselves heading to Guincho. That seemeed ok, go with the flow, and eventually we had our Aha! Those are surfers, not sharks.
West of Sintra
West of Sintra
Time for a coffee and there was a Relais & Chateaux..Fortaleza do Guincho, and as I had never been in a Relais, I asked to splurge. Coffee and tea is a reasonable price to see luxury.
Fortaleza do Guincho
A whole pot of only one in Portugal. And some amazing chairs?!?
Fortaleza do Guincho
While we never found Cabo de Roca ( we saw one sign but never another and saw later it may have been a dirt path?? down to the Westernmost Point in Europe) but this gave us an idea of what the view might be like thru the mist.
Along the coast near Sintra
Back in the car, head home past Estoril ...maybe another time and a desire to return to Sintra and this part of the coast. Yawn...

Day 14 continues

Our lunch finished, and a break in the downpour gives us hope for the afternoon. Guess what? we buy an umbrella hoping it will be the talisman to keep the rain away. Dream on...
Dh had spotted something so we ride another form of transport..a funicular.Funicular driver Up we go
Up top but I have no intention of walking DOWN that hill. We passed on the walk down
So let's look around and see what's up here...aha! a miradouro! Just like Spain! A Miradouro!
and what a view!Looking across the city
We see across the city to the Castle of Saint George, but there's those pesky clouds. Miroadouro view

Waling through the Barrio Alto, we're getting hungry but it's too early and places aren't open.
Adega machado Food and music

But bookstores are open
Interesting translation of "The Other Boleyn Girl"
And the sky gets darker.
Clouds again
This was a constant of our week in Portugal, cloud, rain, sun all taking turns and changing continuously. It was interesting weather and not really bad as a whole.

While we won't be hearing any fado at night any more than we were asleep long before the flamenco shows in Spain, we do spot this...Fado on Demand. ;-) cFado on call
Dh has also spotted this..and elevador
DSCN7361 DSCN7360
So we ride up into the air.

And OH! the views, like a fairy tale city.
Seeing the cathedral and Alfama from here and down into Rossio Rossio

But that man says we can go higher!
I know him...
Just breathtaking and what a blessing to have this light.
Looking toward Castelo de Sao Jorge From Santa Justa

I'm not so good at the long arm pictures.
Cutting him out :-(
But look what we see on our walk out from the top of the Elevador Santa Catarina
after we take this bridge back to terra firma
Bridge from Elevador Santa Justa
The Archaeological Museum now abuts Santa Catarina but night is drawing near and serious dinner pangs are crying out.
I have a simple pork cutlets
My pork cutlets
and dh has grouper
His Grouper

Time to head north on the metro and hopefully stop for a galao and pasteis. A good day and bed sounds even better.