4 Oct 2011

Lisboa, Portugal

The Henry the Navigator monument
 Early in the morning of the next day we drove down to Lisboa, capital city of Portugal. The view changed from hilly to undulating to plain - we passed through scenic countryside and gorges as we passed through the mountains of Sierra Madre towards Lisbon, or Lisboa as the Portuguese call it. On the way we stopped twice - once at a wine bordega and had some wine tasting. Angel, being the caring person that he is, brought biscuits because he didnt want anyone taking the wine on an empty stomach. Here we learned the history of wine making in Portugal, the average ages of the various wines and why certain wines were for the table and some for special occasions at restaurants. I wanted a taste so Repin let me have a sip - no more! Hmmm... I didnt really like the taste - it was a bit bitter  and tart on the tongue - but they say it grows on you, and I guess it does. It did give me a warm feeling though.
Almost everyone bought some wine - to take with them to Morocco, it seems.

We arrived in Lisbon late in the afternoon and were checked in by Angel fairly quickly. Lunch today was on the house - paella - for us it was seafood. It was quite delicious actually and I was pleasantly surprised. Angel said that Portuguese food is so much better and fresher than Spanish food because most Spanish people had come to depend on restaurant and store bought food whereas the Portuguese still cooked at home and most of them dine at home rather than eat out.

We were then taken on a short tour of Lisbon - just a drive through actually. Lisbon is a very beautiful city and is situated on the banks of the River Tagus. There are more than 20 bridges spanning this river and the widest and longest looks a little like the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. We were told that the San Francisco Bridge was designed by the same architect.

The beautiful monastery at Battalha
In Lisbon we visited the Henry the Navigator Monument, The Belem Tower, the Royal Palace and also the Expo site. The next day we went to Cascais and Sintra both outside the city and a fair distance from Lisbon. The journey to Cascais which is a seaside resort on the Estoril coast took about one hour. We had plenty of time to wander around the pretty coastal town and had lunch at one of the tiny cafes near the seafront.

After Cascais we went to Sintra, this time a town up on the mountains. The drive was scenic but a bit harrowing though our driver Sergio was rather good and very experienced, in spite of being young. The views here was fantastic and what I loved about it was that it was much cooler than Lisbon, though Lisbon was cooler than Madrid.

Cascais seen from the bus
view of one of the castles in Sintra

view from Sintra

1 comment:

naida said...

Portugal looks fabulous. The wine tasting sounds very nice.