So my family just came back from Portugal – a rather quick but jam-packed trip that gave us 5 full days there. One of those we spent in Sintra, the rest in Lisbon. Herewith are my musings:
Best Christmas-themed thing we did: As Europe is
famous for its Christmas markets, we made sure we hit a few. We ultimately went to two different markets
two times each. It was a great way for
us to get in the Christmas spirit while we were away from home. We also did a
night walking tour in parts of town where there were lots of Christmas lights
so that was special.
Most addictive local treat: Pao con Nutella. This is
basically warm pizza dough with Nutella incorporated throughout. But it is hearty heaven.
Most delightful surprise: Discovering that Lisbon has
the oldest continuously open bookstore in the world - the Bertrand which opened in 1732. It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records and
everything. We got to go there twice, and of course purchased a book which they
stamped as such.
Most unusual sight: The Initiation Well at the Quinta da Regaleira estate. This “well”
is better described as a gothic spiral staircase that descends 90 feet
underground, apparently to simulate nine circles of hell. Once you get down to the bottom, there is a
maze of underground tunnels for you to wander around seeking salvation. How
this thing never made it into Game of Thrones is beyond me.
Best last minute find: the Banksy Museum. We had moved our schedule around a bit and
decided to check out this small museum.
It was a nice break from palaces, castles and larger museums. The best part was that each piece of art had
a little explanation next to it giving the context of the art. Very helpful considering Banksy’s work is so
Best overall fun thing we did: we took a four hour
Tuk Tuk tour of the city. Our guide was
very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and it was like being outside but still in
a sheltered vehicle. Very easy to pop in and out to look at various views and
sights. It was an easy and convenient way to cover a lot of ground.
Hope you enjoyed my comments! Feliz Natal!