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Daily Archives: April 16, 2012

First stop: Lisbon

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We’ve been home from our March vacation for three weeks. Almost long enough to have forgotten we had a vacation. So it is high time I sit down and write about it, and in so doing, relive it a bit. Unfortunately, some of my photos didn’t come home with me, so I can’t share them. I used my phone instead of my camera on a number of occasions and got some outstanding shots. But it was stolen the night before we flew back to Budapest. I’d rather not relive that particular experience.

First stop, Lisbon. We were met at the airport by our friends Shelley and Gord, who are also posted overseas with the Canadian military. It was wonderful to be able to visit them in their new home in Cascais, about 30 km west of the city of Lisbon. I have to admit that I am quite jealous of the lovely house they found – it backs onto a golf course, has a swimming pool, and you can see and hear the ocean from the window. My idea of heaven! Cascais is a gorgeous seaside resort community, dating back to the 12th century. The historic centre of the town is absolutely charming, with many old buildings and the ruins of a castle and cobbled streets. The main square at the waterfront is cobbled in two colours in an undulating pattern that resembles waves. From one angle, there is an optical illusion of ridges, which can be quite disconcerting when you are walking on it. This photo comes from Wikipedia, since my pic was on the phone.

Cascais Town Centre

On day two, we headed into Lisbon proper. Fortified with yummy custard tarts called pastéis de Belém from the original bakery (1837), we made our way into the city and explored away the day. And ate. Oh, how we ate. I hadn’t realized just how much I’ve been missing fish until a plate of mackerel was set down before me. Yum. Lisbon is a beautiful city with a long history and I’ve been searching my photos to try to find a representative image. There just isn’t one. So I’ll post a couple.








We also visited Sintra, noted for its 8th-9th century Moorish Castle. Wow, what a place! Hilly doesn’t even begin to describe it. There are many buildings from the 15th to 19th centuries and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The husband and I climbed up the hill and did the tour of the fortress. Amazing! The location was brilliant, as you can see any possible approaching vessel on both the river and the Atlantic ocean.










Fortunately, my interest in history far outweighs my squeamishness about heights, though I have to admit that there were a few tense moments as we walked along the ramparts of the fortress. There are no safety railings. Enough said.

Monday was a travel day, so we only had time to head to the beach for a walk. Guincho Beach is a short distance from our friends’ home and was made famous in a scene from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” a James Bond film. It was breezy but sunny and I had my friend take a shot for posterity.

Too bad it wasn’t a tad warmer.

Shortly after, we were on our way to the airport and headed to Barcelona.