A Travellerspoint blog

Back Home Again

October 25 - 26, 2017


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We said goodbye Jeff and Deb early in the morning and headed for the airport. We had a terrible time finding the car rental return depot. We had rented from a discount place that didn’t have a spot right at the terminal, but back around the side of the airport. After several frustrating attempts dealing with freeways and roundabouts, we finally got there and then shuttled to the airport.
We flew to Dublin and then had trouble trying to find the hotel shuttle bus. We couldn’t even find an info kiosk until we had walked over to the other terminal! So we were a little frazzled by the time we got a taxi to our hotel (their shuttle only runs early morning and evening). We had a bit of a rest and then Neil and Helen picked us up.
They drove us out to a suburb of Dublin, called Howth, which is around the opposite site of the bay from where they live. We got to see some sights as we drove and we had a lovely meal at a restaurant along the quayside. Then it was back to the hotel to bed.
Helen and Neil at supper

Helen and Neil at supper


Again early, we got the shuttle to the airport and started our trek home. Dublin to St. John’s, St. John’s to Toronto, and Torontoto Saskatoon. Long trip, but we were met by Kalindi and Kieran and spent the night at their place before driving home.

Posted by katdill 06:43 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Walking Lisbon’s Streets

October 24, 2017

sunny 24 °C
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After spending some time planning both the day and D & J’s continued holiday, we set out to explore. First we went to the Principe Real Jardin (garden), where we had been told was the biggest tree in the world. No, it’s not the biggest tree, but it’s a very nice cedar tree in a very nice park with lots of big trees. We enjoyed our visit in the shade but then moved on to visit the botanical garden. But alas, it was closed for six months for renovations.
Sitting under the cedar tree

Sitting under the cedar tree

Enjoying the lovely flowers

Enjoying the lovely flowers

Sign seen along the street

Sign seen along the street


The next item on the agenda was visiting a bakery which allows you to watch the whole tart making process. In the course of walking there, we visited a mirador ( or lookout) and we chatted with a man at a restaurant which has Fado music. So we decided to return for supper and Fado.
A view down one of the streets

A view down one of the streets


The tart making bakery was very interesting. They have a glass wall so they can prepare the tarts while we got to watch. And of course, the tarts were delicious.
Rolling the dough with lots of butter to prepare it

Rolling the dough with lots of butter to prepare it

Working the pieces of dough into the tart shells

Working the pieces of dough into the tart shells

Don buying more pastries at a different bakery

Don buying more pastries at a different bakery


We continued our walk down to the waterfront, stopping at a grocery for lunch supplies. Then we sat in the shade on a park bench and enjoyed our lunch. Don had read about “Wine Portugal“ and that they gave 3 free samples of wine to taste. So we walked along the waterfront to find the spot. Unfortunately they no longer give free samples. It is necessary to buy your wine. However, they had a fantastic display of wines and a wine vending machine - something else we haven’t seen before.
Wine vending by the glass

Wine vending by the glass


We saw on the map a spot marked Roman theatre, so we headed into an even more ancient part of town to see it. There were interesting ruins and a museum dedicated to the things they have found concerning the ruins. Don and I didn’t go in the museum but Deb and Jeff really enjoyed it. Jeff is a hobbyist archeologist.
Roman ruins

Roman ruins


We had a rest in a little square, me drinking a bottle of beer I bought for one euro and the others drinking wine they had brought with them. Hard to get used to drinking right out in public!
Drinking in the square

Drinking in the square


We had a slow progression back to the Fado restaurant, watching street performers and just plain people watching. Once we got there we got seated immediately, placed our orders and enjoyed the Fado music. We didn’t think the music was up to the standard of the the other Fado we had heard in Tavira, but it was enough to give Deb and Jeff a taste of what it is like. Then we had to return to our place to meet our host who was coming by to make sure everything was OK before we leave in the morning.
Our table at the Fado restaurant

Our table at the Fado restaurant


One of the Fado singers

One of the Fado singers

Posted by katdill 12:47 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Sintra

October 23, 2017

sunny 24 °C
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I want to show you the place we are staying. It is a small apartment on the end of a block where the streets meet at a sharp angle. It is three floors, so Deb and Jeff have the loft bed, we have the basement room and the living area and kitchen are in the middle. The stairs up and down are quite challenging. And the only bathroom is in the basement with us.
View of kitchen with loft above

View of kitchen with loft above

Steps up to loft

Steps up to loft

Stairs down to our room

Stairs down to our room


After much discussion of ways, we decided to take the metro to the train station and catch the train to Sintra. Sintra is a town on the west coast of Portugal where there are many mansions and palaces. We managed to figure out the ticketing with the help of a metro employee and had a nice train ride out there. Then we queued for the bus which takes you on a circuit and let us off at three different stops.
Rossio train station

Rossio train station


First we saw the National Palace, which is right in Sintra. It was huge and interesting. Strange rooms named after the things painted on the ceiling, like the Swan room. And lots of lovely elaborate furniture.
The Swan ceiling

The Swan ceiling

One of the many tile walls

One of the many tile walls

The kitchen

The kitchen

Elaborate furniture

Elaborate furniture

Painted ceiling in the Heraldry room

Painted ceiling in the Heraldry room


Before we got back on the bus, we went for lunch at a small cafe. Good food, but very crowded with tourists. We can’t imagine what it must be like here in the high season!
Our cafe

Our cafe


Next stop was a Moorish castle, which was restored as a kind of romantic symbol. Towers and walls and a great cistern, which they say never ran out of water. There was a lot of climbing up and down and we didn’t even visit all the towers.
Going thru a little tunnel on our way up to the castle

Going thru a little tunnel on our way up to the castle

Three climbers on a tower

Three climbers on a tower


Our last stop was the Pena Palace, which was first a monastery and then taken over by the king as a residence. Lavish and elaborate are the words that describe it best. By the end of that visit our butts were dragging and we sat on a terrace in the sun and drank wine. Then it was catch the bus and train back to the city.
Pena Palace

Pena Palace

Wild decoration on outer wall

Wild decoration on outer wall

Dining room set for dinner

Dining room set for dinner

Amazing chandelier from Venice

Amazing chandelier from Venice

Palace kitchen

Palace kitchen


Jeff and Deb had read about a place, Delirium Cafe, which has 25 different draft beers on tap as well as over 1000 bottled beers! So we walked there from the train station and had drinks with a light supper. We then had Mapsme take us home.
The bar at Delirium

The bar at Delirium

Posted by katdill 00:04 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

A Trip to Belém

October 22, 2017

sunny
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We set off after breakfast to Belém. We walked to the train station (and passed thousands of runners doing some kind of marathon) and after a short wait got a train out to Belém. Belém is a suburb of Lisbon and there is a great archeological museum there attached to the Monastery of St. Jerónimos. We got to the museum and seem to have gotten in before the tour groups arrived. There was lots of interesting stuff in the museum and our ticket allowed us to visit the monastery without standing in line for another ticket. I think I prefer the monastery we saw yesterday but it was still good to see.
Outside of monastery and museum

Outside of monastery and museum

Cloister

Cloister


On the upper level of the cloisters

On the upper level of the cloisters


By then it was past time for lunch so we went across the street to the park and sat on a park bench and ate our bread and cheese. After lunch we searched out the “Torre Belém”, which is a defensive tower built at the water’s edge. We decided not to stand in line to enter it and just took pictures from the outside.
Don and Deb in front of the fountain

Don and Deb in front of the fountain

A monument to Portuguese explorers

A monument to Portuguese explorers

Torre Belém

Torre Belém


Our friend from the Optimista had said we had to have the Pasteis de Belém, the apparent originator of the custard tarts we have been eating everywhere. So we went and stood in line for them. They produce 5000 tarts a day at this bakery and it seems the lineup is continuous. Due to Deb being curious we got our tarts a little quicker than otherwise and took them to another park with a bottle of wine to enjoy. They were sooo good!!! I bought some “beer cakes” as well, but they did not measure up to the custard tarts.
The changing of the guard outside the presidential palace

The changing of the guard outside the presidential palace

The originators of the custard tarts

The originators of the custard tarts

The lineup that goes on all day long

The lineup that goes on all day long


After a rest in the park, we went to catch the bus home. It was a long wait and then a sardine can ride home with hardly room to breathe! We got off and decided to have an early supper at the food court (Time Out Market). So we all ordered what we wanted from different vendors and sat down and enjoyed our meal. Then back up the hill to relax at home.

Posted by katdill 11:47 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

On to Lisbon

October 21, 2017

semi-overcast 20 °C
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We decided not to take the freeway all the way to Lisbon, which would take about 3 hours - too boring a trip. So we set out and found our way over to a road which followed along the beach for awhile. And the ocean was putting on quite a show! Huge groups of waves crashing in, very impressive.
Wild waves at the beach

Wild waves at the beach


We followed some secondary highways down to Batalha, to visit another UNESCO World Heritage site. This monastery was started in the late 1300s and took over 200 years to build. It is huge and the stone work is very intricate. We had lunch sitting at a sidewalk cafe right beside the church so I had a lots of time to study it. We toured inside and found it beautiful in it’s simplicity. They think this was one of the first churches to use stained glasss windows. They have taken one of the rooms, the Chapterhouse, and created a monument to the unknown soldiers. They even had soldiers standing on guard there.
The view of the church from our lunch cafe

The view of the church from our lunch cafe


The wall of the Founders Chapel

The wall of the Founders Chapel

The stained glass window in the Chapterhouse

The stained glass window in the Chapterhouse

The dome of the Founders Chapel

The dome of the Founders Chapel

One of the cloisters

One of the cloisters


A funny thing happened when we parked the car. They have little parking machines that give you a ticket to put on your dash after you put your money in it. It prints the time your parking expires in big letters. We had arrived about 12:45 and put in a euro to get two hours parking. The ticket came out saying 9:45! After trying this again in a different machine we went over to the tourist info building and asked about it. It turned out there was free parking after 1:00 Saturday and we could have parked there until 9:45 am on Monday!

So it was time to join the freeway and get to Lisbon. Lisbon traffic is fierce and after a couple of frustrating attempts to reach our accommodation, we parked our car in a free for the weekend zone, and walked to it. It turned out Mapsme was trying to take us to a place of the same name but different address!
Deb and Jeff were there waiting for us, so we settled in and had some drinks and shared stories. We did a bit of shopping at the local shop for breakfast and then set off to find a restaurant for supper. As we were walking down the street reading menus and trying to figure out when different restaurants opened, we came upon one that looked like they were having a special event. We were standing outside the door reading the hours and looking for a menu, when a young woman came up and asked us to join them for a drink! She (Rita) was one of the four owners of this new restaurant, called Optimista, and they were having their grand opening. So we got a free drink and some nice canapés to eat. She also came over and sat with us and wrote out a list of places to eat and see while we are in Lisbon. Such a nice welcome to Lisbon!
The unicorn in the Optimista Restaurant

The unicorn in the Optimista Restaurant

The crowds in the huge food court

The crowds in the huge food court


We then wandered further down the street and ate in a place called Arte do Mercado. It was pretty good and then we went over to the market which is a huge food court. It was packed with people on Saturday night and very noisy. We found the pastry shop Rita recommended and had our custard tarts. Then as we walked along we passed an ice cream shop celebrating their birthday with a two for one sale. So what could we do but have ice cream as well. Then it was definitely time to head to bed.

Posted by katdill 00:11 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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