Not the lovely missus and me. That’s for sure. I’ve never thought much about the weather in Portugal but when I have, I assure you: rain did not enter into the equation. At least it didn’t till M and I spent this past weekend there.
- Raining Angoras and Great Danes. I saw before we left that the forecast called for rain the weekend we would be there. I figured, “No biggie. What’s a little rain?” If only it was a little rain. It was sprinkling a bit when we landed at the Lisbon airport and it stayed that way as we took a taxi for Sintra, about 16 klicks west. We made it to our hotel, the Residencial Sintra, a charming 1850s manor house. We then went on a little 400-metre walk to the center of town so that we could see the National Palace of Sintra. Five minutes after we got there, the heavens opened up. And they stayed open for the rest of the afternoon. We read later that Sintra, located at an elevation of 400 metres and surrounded by trees, has its own microclimate – meaning it’s almost always cooler and wetter than nearby Lisbon. The following night, Saturday, after we returned via train from Lisbon, we experienced the hardest rainfall I have even known. Luckily, we were able to catch a cab to a restaurant which just had a table open up. Thank You, thank You God.
- Lisbon: The San Francisco of the Iberian Peninsula. Lisbon has its own version of the Golden Gate Bridge, Ponte 25 de Abril, made by the same firm in 1966. It also has cable cars which go up some incredibly steep, narrow and twisty roads. If you go to Lisbon, be prepared for some healthy climbing.
25 or 6 to 4 OR 42 43 44 and 26. For you non-baby boomers, 25 or 6 to 4 is the title of a song by Chicago. For us, 42 43 44 refers to the numbers of places we’ve visited on the UNESCO World Heritage List – at least the ones we’ve visited since we’ve been in Europe. Number 42 would be the beautiful hilltop village of Sintra, a few klicks west of Lisbon. Number 43 was the Mosteiro de Jeronimos (Hieronymites Monastery), built beginning in 1502, has the most beautiful cloister I’ve ever seen, and #44 was the Tower of Belem, built beginning in 1515 and which served as a fort at the entrance to Lisbon Harbor. As for the “26” in the title, that refers to the number of Hard Rock Café t-shirts I now have. Lisbon was 26, Malta was 25, and Madrid was 24. What can I say? I’m a collector.
- You Should See the Shot I Took in the Men’s Room. Whilst on the second floor of the Mosteiro de Jeronimos, I had to use the little tourist’s room. When I came out, I said to M the words of the title of this paragraph. Naturally, she looked aghast. I said, “No. It’s not what you think. There was a big open window in there that looked out onto the other, non-open courtyard.” Here’s the photo:
- Muito Obrigado. That’s Portuguese for “thank you very much.” It constitutes pretty much the whole of my knowledge of Portuguese. BTW: Portuguese sounds considerably different than Spanish or Italian or French. It is definitely its own thing.
- Try the Fish. Being a coastal country, Portugal is known for how it cooks fish. In fact, I read where there are more than 365 recipes just for cod. I tried one of them. I also had some perch and, at a little restaurant in Sintra, Restaurante Dom Pipas, I had the most amazing meal: arroz de marisco (seafood rice), which is sort of like a wet paella. Our waiter there was really friendly as we tried our best to communicate in Portuguese.
- Low Cost Carriers Get Screwed by Airports. At least, that is the conclusion I came to after this little weekend getaway. We flew on Easy Jet, which just opened service between Toulouse and Lisbon (they’ll be adding flights to Porto soon). When we left Toulouse, we were delayed because there was a problem refueling the plane. Turns out the problem was with the fuel truck, not the jet. When we got to Lisbon, looking out the little window on the plane, I could see we were going to the far end of the terminal. When we pulled up at the gate, we had to wait because the jetway – the walkway connecting the plane to the terminal – wasn’t working. After a few minutes, ground personnel got it straightened out. Finally, when we left Lisbon, we had to take a bus out to the far end of the tarmac and climb up a stairway to enter the plane. Of course, it was raining. I don’t think these were just a series of unfortunate coincidences.
And since this new home to the Newmans of Leguevin blog doesn’t have photo album capabilities, please click on the following links to see pictures of:
- Lisbon Street Scenes
- Sintra Scenes
- National Palace of Sintra
- Pena Palace in Sintra
- Tower of Belem
- Mosteiro des Jeronimos
Thanks for visiting. Stay dry.