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Portugal

Have returned from holiday in Lisbon and Sintra Portugal. Ningning and I spent 5 nights in Portugal’s capital city and 1 day outside in Sintra. This post recaps the trip, provides some links we found useful, and then offers photos, video, 360´s and more. Lets begin with our favorite images from Flickr. All images Copyright (c) 2012 Hall.

All Images Copyright (c) 2012 Hall.

All Images Copyright (c) 2012 Hall.



Our Itinerary…

Day 1:

Arrived in the evening from LGW. Took a bus to Picosa stop – directly next to the Sheraton Lisboa, a 5 star (Lisbon standards) Starwood property.

Day 2:

Great breaky in the lounge thanks to Vanessa and her team. Was a beautiful sunny and warm day. Got out on the city and walked south on Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue). Traversed through Alfama, and saw the seafront where we ate our lunch. The restaurant we wanted to have dinner at was closed so wondered around the area. Ran into Fernando Girão (wikipedia | youtube | myspace music page | music from his latest album) – a Portuguese jazz musician. He has been described as “a key name on the Portuguese music scene, someone used to building bridges between cultures, continents and spirits. He is an unique singer, possessing a voice unmistakable.” Fernando directed us to a local dinner place and helped us order. Unfortunately, what he ordered came out way different from expectations! None the less, an interesting meeting in Lisbon.

Day 3:

Directly went to Castello Sao Jorge. This Alfama landmark overlooks the city and provides gorgeous views in all directions. The canons remind you of the hard fought past. The views remind of a city devastated by earthquake (1755) and rebuilt. Little is left of the castle other than exterior walls – which have been refurbed.

Had lunch at the best Peri Peri chicken spot in town (near Rossio station). We walked it off by visiting the bombed out church – Covento do Carmo – and a funicular.


Day 4:

Sunday is special for tourists – several of the major attractions provide free entry until 14:00. We were up early and took the 727 to the coastal village of Belem. Here you have several key attractions. We started with the Jerónimos Monastery and church (not destroyed by the 1755 earthquake), walked over and toured the Belem tower (a UNESCO heritage site), and then back to the Monastery museums.

The Monastery was bathed in sunshine and gorgeous from all angles. There are two levels. Take your time and enjoy the unique stone carvings. Great place for photos. Inside the church you have the grave of Vasco de Gama! It is reminiscent of Gaudi’s work but not near as grande. Being a Sunday there was mass ongoing. The Belem tower is another must see. You get spectacular views of the San Francisco esque bridge, coastline, and can look back onto the Monastery and city. Take your time on the narrow passageway which leads to the top level. Think one-way street without traffic control! There are 2 different museums at the Monastery. We would have been sorely disappointed had we paid anything for entry, actually, we were sorely disappointed even having paid nothing. Skip both the museum of Archaeology (some broken clay pots and some Egyptian rubbish) and the maritime museum.

A visit to Belem is not complete until you have eaten an egg tart from Pastéis de Belém. This historic landmark has been serving this treat since 1837 and it is wonderful!


Day 5:

Sintra and Pena Palace… Sintra is a direct 40 minute train journey from Rossio station. The city was/is the summer home to kings, monarchs, queens etc. Several key palaces are prominently displayed. We visited the Disney-like palace of Pena.

For dinner we ate at… indulged in a fish dinner for two which included full pieces of Swordfish, Bream, and Grouper along with Squid and Prawn. Fantastic!



Day 6:

Lounged around, viewed more of the city centre and shopping areas, then traveled home via Gatwick.

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