A week in Lisbon, how lovely and warm! Except it wasn’t, and it was here. But despite the weather we really enjoyed our time in Portugal’s capital.
We flew out on Good Friday, a holiday here. We had a bit of a worry in the morning – Sprocket was running a fever and we wondered if we should be going at all. But, a quick call to the doctor assured us that we should be fine. Sprocket wasn’t the happiest baby, but he did OK on the flight down – the relative lack of energy may even have been helpful. We arrived in the afternoon, and found our rented apartment without too much trouble. We were a little disappointed in it, but reminded ourselves that it had been cheap and the location was great. The owner was nice and we got by despite the lack of a common language. He’d thought our kid was older, but when he saw Sprocket, went home to get bedding for the crib that was in the apartment, which we put back together while we waited. Good old Ikea.
Saturday, Sprocket awoke his completely normal self. We spent the morning exploring the centre of the city, took Sprocket back home for his nap, and then headed out to find a park to play in. We found the Botanical Gardens and had a good wander and let Sprocket run around a bit.
Sunday, the weather was lovely and the forecast for the rest of the week less so, so after getting sandwiches in the centre, we headed for the beach at Cascais. A small beach, but had sun, sand, water and a lovely view, so it was perfect. Sprocket enjoyed his first real beach experience, playing in and with the sand and standing on the edge feeling the waves come in.
Monday morning, we headed for the castle, taking the famous Tram 28 en route (actually, we took it a little too far and had to walk back, also fun.) The castle was nice enough, but the views were great – really did look down on their subjects. Sprocket fell asleep as we were leaving and we walked back home, the rain hitting as we did.
Tuesday, it was raining and we had the idea that clothes would be cheaper in Portugal than in the Netherlands, so we headed to a mall. It was a fairly upscale mall, which might have been why we didn’t see any difference in the clothes prices. The style was also preppier than DutchBoy is, so we ended up not buying anything, and ended the day irritable, as is normal when spending the day in a mall.
Wednesday, we headed for Belém, where, after lunch of bread, cheese and olives, we split up. DutchBoy took Sprocket off to the electricity museum and I went to the Mosteiro do Jerónimos, a World Heritage site, this one pretty impressive. Afterwards, we met up again for some of the famous Belém pastries (how typical is it that as we read the guidebooks, we were both most intrigued by the different kinds of foods and pastries). We ate them while Sprocket played on a playground, then decided to get more for dessert.
Thursday, we had everything planned to be ready to go the minute Sprocket finished his nap. We were headed for Sintra, another World Heritage Site that looked pretty cool (also famous pastries). We were almost out the door, when, crash, Sprocket fell. When I picked him up to comfort him, there was blood. He’d cut a gash in his forehead. It wasn’t bad, but needed to be closed in order to prevent a scar in the middle of his forehead. So, off to the hospital we went. The first hospital we went to had no ER, but we eventually found someone who directed us off to the nearby Children’s hospital. It was a little scary looking, not the most modern building, dingy looking actually, though not at all dirty. But we got seen quickly and they glued his forehead together, and didn’t charge us anything, probably to avoid the paperwork.
After that it was too late to get to Sintra with time to see anything, so we took a funicular up to one of the upper neighbourhoods and wandered around.
Friday it was time to go home, so we packed up and then waited for Sprocket to wake up. After that, we left the apartment for the final time and headed to the centre for our last Portuguese lunch. If we were strict vegetarians who didn’t eat fish, Portuguese food would be difficult (although there are Indian restaurants everywhere which would help), but as fish eaters, it’s quite yummy and cheap when compared to other European countries. We then headed to the airport for our flight home, picking up some more port and fresh tasting vinho verde (silly liquid ban) as well as Sintra pastries and yummy fish pate at the duty free. A lovely week away, and we would gladly go back to Portugal.
For photos, with explanations, click here or on the photo below: