Attack of the Umbrellas!

Attack of the Umbrellas!

Portugal was our first stop in the EU that neither of us had been to before which was exciting for us. We rented a full apartment walking distance from the city center, it wasn’t the most glamorous place, but it was enough for the two of us.

We spent a lot of time just walking around and getting familiar with the city.  Rob’s first mission was to find some inexpensive, delicious seafood and he came through with flying colors. Every place we ate over our few days in Portugal was fantastic. We also found our new love – Melon and Prosciutto!

This stop was mainly about relaxation and recharging for our next few stops so we laid low and didn’t do our usual amount of activities. We started with visiting a local Monastery, which was beautiful inside and out. Thank goodness it was worth the visit because we had to wait in line for about an hour to get in. We spent some of our time just watching street performers in the center square during the day.

There was a castle in town that was perched high on the hills so we decided it would be a perfect place to watch the sunset. It was a pretty long trek to get up there but the view we had was wonderful! We made a batch of homemade sangria (which tasted a little more like a wine spritzer than sangria but delicious nonetheless) and we found a spot at the top of the city to watch the sun go down. We had a little bit of time before it got too dark to explore other parts of the castle where the view changed around every corner.

Per the recommendation of our Airbnb host, on our last day we ventured out of Lisbon to the town of Sintra – roughly a 45 minute train ride. We arrived to find this quaint little town filled with a ton of history. We went to Peña palace, likely the most well known historic site in the area. It was a stunning bright canary yellow palace perched atop the city. The stark contrast of the clear blue skies and the bright yellow and white palace made the scene look like a painting. We strolled around the inside and outside of the palace and then headed towards our next destination. The Quinta da Regaleira. Within the estate’s walls was a well that Rob had seen some pictures of (pre-trip) and was stoked that we were actually going to see it. We arrived at the grounds that contained the well and much to our surprise the palace there had acres of ground to cover and much more to see than just the well. We were able to spend a couple hours exploring the grounds. The palace was beautiful but the surrounding area was even better. We went through the church and the watch tower, finding some secret passageways as we walked. The whole area had exquisite gardens and paths snaking back and forth like a real life maze of sorts. We eventually worked our way to the well that we had come to see and it didn’t disappoint. It was huge and you could go from the very top looking down or the bottom looking up. Once we were down at the bottom we noticed there was a pathway that you could walk into  - it was pitch black. Of course we entered in… turns out it lead to a waterfall! We were anxious to see if there were any more surprise stops so we back tracked a little in the tunnel and found another pathway which lead halfway across the grounds to the bottom of an unfinished well. There were so many hidden gems in this place – it is a must see if you ever go to Lisbon (or Sintra).

After a day of exploration we were very hungry so we went on search of food and a beach. We found the beach after a short train ride, but no food. We did however almost get taken out by an umbrella while walking the boardwalk… a gust of wind and the large table sized umbrella came soaring just over our heads but thankfully didn’t injure anyone. We found our way into the center of town and found a restaurant (more great food of course) but during our meal, the wind picked up and ANOTHER umbrella was uprooted right next to our table. --they were after us!-

We made our way back to Lisbon before dark and spent the last of our time there strolling through the streets taking in all the city had offered us.  The next morning we left early, arriving at the airport to head to our next country!

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