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Off To Sintra, Portugal

A 45 minute train ride from Lisbon takes you to an enchanted place, Sintra. But first, the morning view from our terrace in Lisbon.


The place is crazy.  I mean, this is what you see when you come around the bend on the trail.

Sintra Castle

Stunning, I expected a Portuguese version of Tinkerbell to fly out and sprinkle fairy port on us.  Actually I was hoping for that because I love Port.  Once inside, it was very castle like, but the views, spectacular.

A view from a terrace
A view from a terrace
From the Rear Wall (I think)
From the Rear Wall (I think)
Some Local Homes (I'm thinking nobility lived in these)
Some Local Homes (I’m thinking nobility lived in these)

Once we left the castle, we headed into the gardens.  As the story goes, the gardens are a mixture of Mediterranean and Northern European forests, put together as an experiment. The resulting foliage is truly remarkable and the gardens themselves, very peaceful and beautiful.  The downside is that one could tell that a despot seems to have put it together.  Think, “Carve a stone couch there, and while you are at it, the ducks need houses that are nicer than yours, so build some in the middle of that lake you dig.  Oh, and have it done by Wednesday”.

Check these out.

That is one funky tree
That is one funky tree
The White Swans
The White Swans
And In The Next Pool, The Black Swans
And In The Next Pool, The Black Swans
The Foliage
The Foliage
One Of The Duck Houses
One Of The Duck Houses

Finishing up in the garden, we crossed the road and hiked uphill about 2km to Castle Mourous, the old Moorish castle.  Pretty spectacular in itself, but not in a good state of repair.  Refurbishment is in progress.  Still, an imposing structure.


And with that, we were done.  Caught the train back to Lisbon, knowing we were on a plane in the morning in our plane, train and automobile run to Toledo.  Loved Portugal, and will definitely be back.  Way more to see there than one can do in 60 hours.




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Our Memoriam to Dale Rempel – Lisbon, Portugal

On our arrival in Lisbon. Portugal, we were saddened to be informed that my cousin Lynn’s husband Dale had succumbed to cancer.  This put a damper on an otherwise exuberant day, and we would think of him and his family often during the trip.  We had last seen Dale in a set of unusual circumstances in October of 2011.  Lori and I had hopped a plane in Winnipeg on our way to Ottawa, where we were heading out on a fall road trip though Quebec.  Amazingly, Dale and Lynn walked past us on the plane and sat directly behind us.  An absolutely amazing coincidence.  We spent a bit of time chatting on the plane and a bit of time in the Ottawa airport before we went our separate ways.  He was a great person and will be missed terribly by all in his circles.

Keeping in mind that we are not Catholic, and neither are Dale and Lynn, we decided on an appropriate tribute ( we think) in that we were in Spain and Portugal, both of which have a multitude of beautiful cathedrals.  we decided we would light a candle in remembrance in each cathedral we visited.

Our first candle was lit in the famous Sao Domingo cathedral in Lisbon, just off Rossio Square.



A Second Day In Lisbon

We awoke early on the second day, feeling the worse for wear from the dual effects of jet lag and my jet lag cure.  What is my jet lag cure you ask.  Well, it is simple.  Get where you are going, then find a nice place to sit and drink.  Drink copious amounts of alcohol, while fighting off sleep as long as possible.  In this case, I must have got some good sleep on the plane cause I pressed my theory until at least 1:00 AM.  The result, I definitely slept, but am thinking the jet lag would have been better than the hangover.

Up and ready, this was to be our only full day in Lisbon.  We left the B&B and headed out.  First, a couple of pictures of the place.  This first one is the entrance.  It was kind of cool as the restaurant had seats right in front of the door.  Whenever we entered or exited, we felt like we were using a secret entrance to somewhere special.

Our room was a terrace, which is in the top left of this picture.

We carried on down the hill and ran into the old city, very heavy on the shopping.

Rossio Square
Santa Justa Elevator



Canada even has its own stores in other countries

More than a few explorers left this harbour.

We then headed towards the castle on the hill and quickly learned that the city of Lisbon has some spectacular views.

I was pretty happy with this shot
Lori and I with the city spread out behind us

The city has lots of windy streets, built into the hillside.  Other than along the shore, there were very few areas that one could call flat.  Our day in Lisbon was coming to an end. We headed back to Zuza Bed and the headed out for dinner.  Another terrific meal.  Still a bit tired and as big trip to Sintra in the morning, we decided to call it a night.  We did have a terrific sight awaiting us when we hit the terrace though.  The moon had risen behind the castle hill and looked terrific.  This shot doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea.

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A Few Days In Lisbon

We landed in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal after our standard 14 hour flight from Calgary to pretty much anywhere.  As usual British Airways provided a great experience, a great airline.

Landing in Lisbon

Grabbed a cab at the Lisbon Portela Airport and headed to our B&B, Zuza B&B.  We booked this B&B back in March of 2012 and were very lucky to get a booking.  The place is a very highly rated place on Trip Advisor and well worth it.  The views off our balcony were spectacular, by day..

Lisbon by Day

or by night..

Lisbon by night

As usual on our arrival, we were pretty much exhausted.  We asked Luis (a terrific host) to point us in the direction of a close by restaurant where we could have some good food and settle in.  It wasn’t far.  We could see it off the balcony as a matter of fact.

The Buenos Aires Restaurant

The place is called Buenos Aires and it had some crazy salads.

And, as always, some liquid refreshments…

Just a quick post to prove we did get there.  Lots more to come over the next few weeks as we continue in Lisbon, set off to Sintra, then away to Seville, Cordoba, Toledo, Barcelona, Malaga and many other places.  Until next post, CHEERS.


Wandering Wednesday – Thanks For The Help

Just a short note to thank the people who responded to my post on suggestions and advice for our trip this fall.  We valued the comments, and a few email conversations and have an itinerary set (sort of).  We will be heading off to Lisbon, Portugal for 3 days and nights.  From there, we are doing Madrid and area, then Cordoba and area.  In the middle, we will be doing a 7 day cruise to the Canary Islands and to Madeira.  From there it is off to Barcelona and area, then home.

This trip is going to be spectacular (to us).  The more we investigate, the more anticipation takes hold.   From a camel ride in the Canary’s, to ice skating on a cruise ship to staying in a Paladore, the new experiences will abound.

This will be the view from our Bed and Breakfast in Lisbon.
Photos of ZUZABED & Breakfast B&B, Suites and Apartments, Lisbon
This photo of ZUZABED & Breakfast B&B, Suites and Apartments is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Help – We’re Planning a Trip

The Strait of Gibraltar (North is to the left:...

We are currently planning our next trip.  This go round we have one firm destination and no idea where, or what, to see along with it.  Here’s the itinerary potentials.  The one firm place is Barcelona in Spain.  We can go in several directions from here.  We are leaning to 4 days in Barcelona, then to Andorra (cause it’s there) and then south to the French Mediterranean.  We have looked at basing in Nice, France for a week or so and fanning out daily from there.  We have also considered going to Madrid, then to Lisbon, Seville, Gibraltar and Morocco as an alternative.

We need help in determining where to go and what to see.  The basic rules are, for our travel habits:

1. We will be on this trip for 2 weeks

2. We are 50 so crazy stuff don’t work for us anymore.

3. We love to eat

4. We like to try to blend in, staying away from tours etc.

If anyone has been and went places they thought were great, let me know.

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