In the very bottom corner of Europe, and a country that is practically lumped together with Spain, the remarkable country of Portugal makes its mark. With incredible history, beautiful grounds and a cool culture, it became the perfect place for a family getaway.
While I could write paragraphs on paragraphs about all the adventures and stories that happened during the week long escapade of family shenanigans, Ill try my best to keep it brief.
First stop was the beautiful little seaside town of Cascais. This tiny town had so much character and was so quaint! Its too bad we were there so early in the morning, cause we would have loved to spend more time there. But alas, we were tired from our 7 hour, overnight flight, and one hour drive to the city, that we settled for a quick familiar bit from Mcdonalds (I know, I know, but it was actually the only thing that was open, OK!). We strolled through the little cobblestone side streets, and we instantly reminded of the cities in Spain, and even the small towns I once knew during my time in Leeds, England.
After about an hour, we got back into our little hatchback and drove off to Sintra!
Oh Sintra! If we thought we were tired in Cascais, than we couldn’t have been more wrong! As soon we got to Sintra, my brother pointed out the castle on the top of the hill that overlooks the city and greater area. And naturally, when I see and know I can go somewhere that will give me the ultimate view, Im in. So we decided to hike up the whole thing!! And let me tell you this was no jaunty stroll up the little hill. This damn climb took 45 minutes (which isn’t that bad, but to be fair, none of us had slept and we were wearing jeans and sweaters etc….so it felt harder than it probably was). but it was definitely worth it. The hilltop gave us incredible views on the area and made for terrific photos!
After our very difficult walk back down the hill, we were beat. But there was no rush to head off to our resort further North so we looked up a couple more things to do in Sintra while we were there. My brother and I wanted to check out Quinta da Regaleira, and so we plopped it into the GPS and gave the directions to my dad in hopes to easily drive up and check it out.
Boy was that ever a mistake! We got stuck driving up this narrow dead end street, which acted as a two way and we got stuck in the middle of the hill with a standard car in bumper to bumper traffic. After driving as closely possible to wall and with cars just barely passing by we got turned around. Only to being driving back out. As we drove down the hill we started to hear siren! YES! A freaking ambulance started driving up this hill which can barely even fit one car let alone, a massive ambulance. Not to mention their were tourists walking around everywhere!! So after minutes of reversing up the hill and ambulance drivers yelling at us in Portuguese to move, we finally left. We said screw it and just headed to our resort. We were just so over it!
And just like that we headed up to Praia Del Rey to our beautiful ocean side resort.
We got upgraded from a villa to our own house complete with private backyard and pool, rooftop patio, and remote controlled gated entrance. It was quite the place. So for the next 5 days we hung out, played 3 rounds of golf at 3 incredible golf courses (some of the best in Portugal) drank a whole lot of wine, beer, and cider and ate so much food!
From there we visited all the little neighbouring towns like Ferrel, Baleal, Peniche, Obidos, and Nazare.
Of those, Peniche and Baleal were my fav. Mainly cause they were solely surf towns and unfortunately the week we left there was going to be a major pro surf competition happening! And after my 2 hour private lesson with Cam I know doubt would have been able to compete in the competition! HA! JK, I only got up like a handful of times and was consistently told by my teacher that I needed more arm strength…..like gee thanks tips! I know I’ve got noodle arms. And after two hours of trying to push my fat ass up onto the board, I was surely exhausted!
But with plenty of days full of R&R beachside, I was good to go. We spent our final day in Portugal heading to Lisbon. With a beautiful hotel in the heart of the city centre, and set up with a complete rooftop bar, and ultimate room balcony we felt like royalty! We ventured around the city, took to the shops and cafes, and cracked open the beers! We hopped on a bus to explored all corners that we could in a day.
We stumbled upon this site here in the picture above, and I swear for a moment I thought I was back in San Francisco! It looks exactly like the Golden Gate Bridge!! But its connects Lisbon to Almada. But the drive along the water was gorgeous and on a day like we had it was perfect! The city of Lisbon was a blast and we for sure didnt spend long enough there.
But we did have an incredible vacation all together and were able to see some really neat and quaint towns throughout the country that many others dont. It was an awesome family vacation and I cant wait to head back another day!