After renting a car and driving most of Portugal for ten days, we spend the last five nights in the great city of Lisbon. Full of historical/naval significance (the longest reigning modern European Colonial empire in history), shops, boutiques, museums, and cafés fill the buildings and fortresses of years past.
Fabulous food and dramatic coastline emerge as our main travel theme of the entire Portuguese adventure.
We find the final entrée on our “food list” in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant across the street from our poorly located hotel.
Morcela (pig blood in sausage casing). Not too bad when mixed with rice. A tad too strong for us in its pure form.
“You must try our other Portuguese tradition, Bacalhau a’ Bra’s,” (salt dried cod mixed with hash-browns) Antonio, our waiter says.
Well, all meals cannot claim a savoy title. The cod claims the title of “least favorite,” beating out Caracois (snails) by a fish bone.
Our hotel’s location demands six-mile (round trip) sweaty walks to the center of Lisbon where the good cafés exist.
A great way to burn off excesses of the past three weeks. Walking moves faster than traffic once the city awakens. Many guys try to sell me hash, weed, and cocaine along the way.
“Those guys don’t have good stuff,” Antonio the waiter explains. “They are from Romania and just rip people off.”
Along with a poor location, our hotel offers see-through walls surrounding the bathroom. I don’t care how much you love your travel partner, some activities in the bathroom need to remain private. (Especially after eating blood sausage and snails)
We take three subway lines, and then a train to what guidebooks claim is the “must do day-trip from Lisbon – Sintra.”
The city of Sintra disappoints. Although a walk through old forest up to the Moorish fortress and palace proves exhilarating, elbow to elbow tourists deplete our remaining energy.
The next day, we hop onto the “Hop and Ride” tour bus to the coastal tourist destination of Cascais.
If you’re going to do a tourist area, this would be the best spot in our opinion. Full of beautiful beaches and magnificent coastline, cafés compete for your palate pleasures.
To wrap-up Portugal according to our style of travel, we prefer the laid-back atmosphere in the small coastal towns.
Feasting on an array of seafood, amidst waves crashing on cliffs and rocks, will stay with us more than historical accounts of greatness. But that’s just us.