Our long awaited trip got off to a rocky start. Our flight to Philadelphia was cancelled due to t-storms and we had to be redirected. So we had to fly west to fly east. Got to Chicago and found out that our flight to London was delayed. Delayed so much that we would miss the first two flights to Lisbon from London and wouldn’t get into Portugal until late night on Sunday, thus missing a whole day of our trip.
We got to London and tried to make the best of it. I shopped at Boots and found the cucumber lotion they carry that I like. Randall found a good bottle of Scotch and we found some veggie food for dinner that didn’t suck.
We also met a nice man from Fatima Portugal who flew with us from Albany to Chicago, London and then Lisbon. Navigating the transfer was also a challenge - if it wasn't for some nice people at British Airways we would have missed the last flight to Lisbon as well.
When we did finally arrive in Lisbon we quickly learned that our bags had not! :( So we made our way to the lovely Lisbon Sheraton International hotel carrying very little with us. The nice night desk guy gave us tooth brushes and tooth paste and free internet for the week.
The black out shades allowed us to sleep in but we made the most of our first full day in Lisbon. We found the infamous tram 28, the arch way, and a great vegan place for lunch.
Met up with Ingrid and Howie and Ingrid’s family for dinner where we had vegan burgers in a small place across the street from the hotel. It was nice to see Anna Laura once again and to meet the Paul family.
We also went up to the skybar at the Lisbon Sheraton for a night cap. The view of Lisbon at night was very beautiful. Lisbon has a two really beautiful bridges. One looks like the golden gate and we could see from this bar and even from our hotel room (where we had a broad view of downtown Lisbon) The second bridge we drove over on our last full day in Lisbon and could see from that night’s hotel room.
Day 2: The 9 of us made our way down to the river where we took a lovely boat ride over to Belem. In Belem we took a long walk to the Belém Tower or the Tower of St Vincent, a fortified tower located on the river and also past a famous monastery - Jerónimos Monastery.
After the boat ride, Randall and I went to an exhibit called The Lisboa Story Centre. A very nice tour of how Lisbon developed over time and especially after the devastating earthquake of 1755. For dinner on Tuesday we ate at the delicious Terra where we enjoyed a wonderful buffet full of vegan fare.
Ingrid, Howie and Debbie walked back to the Sheraton and admired the night life of this vibrant city.
On Wed. Ingrid, Howie, Anna Laura the two of us took a tour of Sintra which included Pena Palace and the lovely city of Cascais. We found a vegan restaurant in Cascais that was a real treat. Randall and I walked around and found a gorgeous park that had ducks and roosters.
On Thursday Randall, Anna Laura and Debbie went to the Tile museum. A wonderful display of local tile with international influence. Also this museum was in an old monastery ( =lots of them in Portugal!) and we found ourselves in a stunning gold laden church. After the museum we made our way to the St. George Fortress and Castle that overlooks the city. This was a real treat as well.
I have never seen Peacocks in trees, but aside from the gorgeous views, you can also witness these large birds perched in the trees.
After the castle we went to another large cathedral.
Debbie found a Synagogue and met a nice woman named Chana on her way out. She said there are about 600 Portuguese Jews in the area. Her family has been in Portugal since before the inquisition. So they hid...
For dinner on Thursday we went to a wonderful vegan restaurant called Ao26: vegan food project. The dinner started with a vegan cheese board - can’t beat that! We took another long walk after dinner and again witnessing the vibrant street life of Lisbon at night.
On Friday, our last full day in Lisbon, Randall and walked around the city and found a market with more vegan treats and of course, Sangria.
We took a fun ride up and down a funicular and in the evening we found an amazing hidden gem right in the middle of downtown. Randall and I both love art deco and there is a gorgeous old hotel/theater called the Eden that is currently undergoing renovation. However, the hotel is still open and there is an unassuming rooftop bar. Oh the view. The entire city lit up as we sipped our drinks by a not that clean, but still attractive pool. What a weird place!
On Saturday, we picked up our rental car and headed south. But before we got to the Algarve, we took a detour west to a wonderful little town called Evora that featured impressive roman ruins. We also found yet another veggie café with a lovely buffet.
Got to the house that evening and were stunned by the beauty and the view of our new home.