When we went to Sintra, not long after our arrival in Portugal, we wandered the village, looking at the houses, homes, Airbnb and shops near the train station. I was not as on top of my game as I would have liked in order to be able to enjoy the town. But I was hungry and thirsty. We had a late start on the day as well. Continue reading “Sabot Lucky Burgers – an afternoon in Sintra”
The city was actively engaged in preparations for the big festival on June 12th. We could feel it in the air, in the streets and in the shops and restaurants.
At the top of my bucket list for this trip was a visit to Cascais. It is fairly simple to get to, but we took the long way to the train station (on foot via the cobblestone sidewalks – a tough one for my sense of balance). We got sort of lost a couple of times. The easy way was to go to the Rossio subway station and take the green line to Cais do Sodre where we switch to the train to Cascais. But we walked. Eventually we reached the western waterfront of downtown. Google and the GPS said we were there, but we could not seem to find it.
This whole time of our vacation, all the festivities seem to be leading up to the 12th of June – St. Anthony’s day of honor. I have been reading up on this since we came here not knowing about it. St. Anthony of Padua (12 th Century) is the patron saint of Lisbon. He was originally from Portugal but spent most of his life in Italy. However, the Portuguese are proud of his heritage.
We decided to stay in town and eat at our favorite Tapas restaurant. The festival would go on until the wee hours of Sunday morning though it would not bother us. We could hear it and feel the thump of the music in our apartment, but when we close our windows they are very tight against sound.
Saturday we queued up for Remodelado Tram #28 at Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique (Prazeres). The route goes through Graca and Alfama, as well as connects Baixa to the Estrela District. We took it both ways. Fortunately there are trams every 15 minutes and sometimes more frequently. Seating will accommodate about 30 people, but there are people constantly getting on and off, so at times the tram probably held twice that many people standing as well as sitting. We timed our entry into a tram to be one of the first 12 people on so we got great seats.
I have learned a lot in just a few days. Well, actually over several weeks as we grew closer to the event and our planning of the trip. We really left the lodging arrangements to within 2 weeks of light off. We had also decided to travel with only carry-ons for 2 weeks. This one is a mixed bag, so to speak. It was really good because we did not book through a consolidator or agency. We booked Norwegian Air from Seattle to London Gatwick. Then we booked TAP (Air Portugal) from London to Lisbon. Not having to pickup bags and clear any official lines made our transition between airlines at Gatwick easier. (There is a whole other story about that later.) The down side is a backpack and a 21 inch spinner can be a lot of weight to maneuver, especially if you have to go up or down rickety stairs to and from the plane. (We had to several times.)
I seem to have a resistance to Christmas in December (I find that Christmas songs float through my head in July though). The one way to avoid the Christmas decorating, cooking and eating is to go somewhere else rather than be home for Christmas. One of our favorite places to spend Christmas is in Victoria, B.C. We have our favorite hotel, our favorite room in the hotel and our favorite eateries and shopping there.
Chateau Victoria is up the hill and sort of “behind” the grand dame, the Fairmont Empress. We love our room on the 16th floor. And in 2017 they lived up to our expectation, yet again. As we walked in, the Christmas tree was decorated, lighted and awaiting us in its usual corner. As darkness descended, the Christmas lights came on all around us and the night was alight with holiday glow. Continue reading “Christmas in Victoria”