A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Portugal - Version 5 (we're almost done!)

The last four days of our trip were spent in and around Lisbon. Our next to last day in Vilamoura, we were looking on the Internet and found a little town called Obidos just north of Lisbon. It was one of those old walled cities that we had been wanting to find. So, on the spur of the moment, we packed our stuff, checked out two days earlier than planned, and drove up to Obidos. Saw a lot of great countryside along the way, had an awesome grilled salmon lunch, and made it to our room at Estalagem do Convento before dark. This was an old monastery that was built in the 1700's, but the nuns or monks who were supposed to live there never actually came. So it was eventually turned into an inn (of course!). Fun place to stay.

We did a lot of walking around that evening. There is a huge wall around the whole city with a church and castle at one end covered in wisteria, and a dramatic entrance at the other. Lots of narrow, windy, hilly streets. Shops, restaurants - very quaint and lovely

The next morning Ed decided he wanted to "walk the wall" which is totally a tourist thing. I choose to sit at a cafe, write in my journal, and watch the other people. Way too steep for me. I saw a lot of people get up the first set of steps only to look around the corner at what was ahead of them, get a "Not so much" look on their faces, and head back down. Not Ed, though. He went up and took some amazing photos and videos. My brave little soldier.

I, on the other hand, found a door in one of the buildings that I would actually have to duck to go through!! For a short, Italian chick this is quite exciting.

After we left Obidos, we drove to Lisbon, returned the car, and headed to the hotel. The next day we took a train to Sintra. One of the things we love about Europe is the transportation system. So our last few days in Portugal we did everything by bus, train, funincular, and walking. It was great. Notice that even the friggin' train station has mosaic walkways!

Sintra is another really lovely little town about 30 minutes north of Lisbon. It was also a warm, sunny, non-windy day which was very exciting for us! The town has the requisite mosaic sidewalks and plazas, windy streets, beautiful artwork, several churches and museums. And a shitload of tour busses crowded on these narrow streets. It was amazing watching them maneuver around each other.

The photo above is of a plaza in front of the main church. In the distance, at the top of the hill, you can see a small flag that is on a castle. We took a bus to the top of the hill, then climbed to the top of the castle. It was a little unnerving in spots - especially for someone like me who, as my first husband put it, can trip over air. But I climbed gingerly and Ed was very patient with me. It was quite beautiful all along the climb. Castle ruins, flowers, everything was blooming, and magnificent views of the city below.

When we got to the top, we spent several minutes taking photos, talking with two college students from New York, and just enjoying the views and the weather. In the distance on another hill was a palace (I've forgotten the name). One of the students took our photo with that in the background and it is one of my favorite photos from the trip. Maybe it would be a good Facebook profile photo!!

Only one more chapter to go - Lisbon itself.


ba and the boys said...

yet another post with the most beautiful photos! ed is brave, i would have hung out with you. no way would i risk my life.
some day, when i grow up, im ditching the kids and chris and i are headed to...somewhere. i cant wait!

Drowsey Monkey said...

Oh wow! These photos are amazing! An I wouldn't have walked up that wall either - I'm sure I would have fallen.

And I got a chuckle out of that door photo & your comment. I hear that! Being 5'3 I've never had to duck for anything!

namaste said...

good for ed on climbing those steps! i would have been waiting in the cafe with you, sandi. you've captured some great looking pictures here. what nice memories you have of this trip!

Fleur de Lisa said...

I just got caught up on all of your Portugal stuff. I feel like I've been on a virtual vacation!