Page 2 of thejani Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 20th 2018

Friday: Karen and Glen left early this morning on a bus to Obidos. We found out about a chocolate festival from an Uber driver and they didn't want to miss this fun event. Marji and Gary's plane was arriving midmorning so we decided to take advantage of the time and tidy up. Around noon, the car service pulled up and our newest roomies emerged. The four of us joined forces to carry the suitcases up the many flights of stairs to our apartment. After settling in, Mike, Marji, Gary, and I took off for Baixa and the start of our Lisbon tour. Lunch on the Commercial Plaza, gave us a chance to give the lay of the land. We then started our wander. First, Gary needed his first pastel de nata at the oldest pastry shop ... read more
Gary's first pastel de nata
Waiting for the funicular

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 19th 2018

Thursday: Bright and early, on this gorgeous sunny day, Glen, Karen, Mike, and I hopped on the Metro then smoothly transitioned to our train. Destination...the beach town of Cascais. Shorts and capris, sunscreen and hats, and most importantly, NO COATS!! Yippee! Thanks to Mike and a chatty Lisbon Uber driver, we had a walking tour and a lunch destination. A stop at the Info booth gave us a map and directions to some cool "not to miss" places to see. Looked like a fun day to me. First stop after the train was an outdoor cafe for cappuccino at the tiny Rainha Beach, where we decided when and where to meet for lunch. Four people are generally too many to keep together on these jaunts and deciding to split always seems to work better for us. ... read more
Beach map
Rue Frederico, Cascais
Municipal Building

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 18th 2018

Wednesday: Another beautiful, warm day. Mike wore shorts and I left my coat at home. Yow-zah! It was a perfect day to explore the Alfama neighborhood, located just below the Sao Jorge Castle. This is the oldest area of the city, dating back to the Visigoths, and was largely spared by the 1755 earthquake/tsunami/fire. The streets are too narrow for most car traffic, making it a really fun place to get ourselves lost. To get to our destination, we needed to walk to the Metro line that goes to the river edge on the border of Alfama. The nice, uncrowded train ride let us out at the port where the fishermen used to bring their load. Today, it is now the docking place for cruise ships to bring their load. Still pretty, despite the change in ... read more
Three Marias
Sangria at lunch
Public Bath

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Sintra April 18th 2018

OK, maybe the late movie wasn't such a good idea but we all awoke in good moods. How could a train ride through the Portugal countryside make you sad? Glen and Karen left early to look for something at the Flea Market, and then they would meet us about an hour later in Sintra. Mike and I set off via Metro to the main train station in Rossio. Even in Portuguese, the trains and platforms were clearly marked. Our Metro cards also worked on the trains so no dealing with the ticket machines. Platform 3, 9:41am train! Easy peasy. Mike was happy to announce that the mosaic floors were "prison clean" with someone knowing their way around a buffer! After a pleasant ride, we got off at Sintra and went in search of the 434 bus ... read more
Historic Sintra
Lower Sintra neighborhood

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa » Almada April 16th 2018

Monday: SUN, YIPPEE!!! Today, Mike and I decided to take an Uber across the April 25 Bridge and visit the 300 ft Cristo Rei statue. This is kind of a San Francisco meets Rio de Janeiro scene. Red suspension bridge and Jesus over-looking Lisbon. The artwork at this pilgrimage site is surprisingly modern in its style and is present in all of the chapels. We took the elevator to the top of the base where we could get a different view of the city that we have had on the opposite side of the river. The park around the monument had a religious vibe with the Stations of the Cross and chanting but also an open, nature trail feeling along the river. Glen, Karen, Mike & I had decided this morning to meet for lunch at ... read more
Selfie w Jesus
The steps to lunch?

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 15th 2018

Sunday: Another downpour! Oy! Raincoats are getting a workout. Today, the four of us rose a little later than usual and spent the morning reading the Washington Post and doing the crossword puzzle. Ever loyal, Mike read the Press Democrat, too. There is a bagel place down the street and I volunteered to go out to get breakfast. Now, we have tried to go to Raffi's Bagels at least three times since being here but, each time, the place has been in the process of shutting down for the day. Today, on a rainy Sunday morning, I thought, "yum, bagels". Sorry, closed today. WTF, Felicia? No problem, local pastry shop had outstanding croissants. Rain eased up and Karen and Glen went in search of a mall and Mike and I went to the Gulbenkian Museum, one ... read more
The Museum welcoming committee
Irises on the pond
The Spring, Homage to Jean Goujon

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon April 14th 2018

Saturday: Pouring rain in the morning, so we might as well use the time for Yoga, laundry, and organization of our digs. We found a laundromat to dry our wet clothes and a restaurant with take-away sandwiches. So far, quite a useful day. The rain can't last forever, can it? By 2p or so, the clouds start to break and the sun peeped out. Time to explore! Since our start was so delayed, today, Mike and I decided to go see three of my fave places: churches, parks, and cemeteries. When we arrived at the Estrela Basilica, there was a wedding exiting the church. As much as we wanted to be a part of the festivities, it would just be rude. Instead, we strolled through the lovely park across the street. Estrela Park is surrounded by ... read more
Memorial to the mosaic makers
Glen throwing caution to the wind
Basilica Estrela Park

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley April 13th 2018

Friday: Mike and I left our home in Windsor 2 weeks ago! Hard to believe we are half way through our trip. What a wonderful time. Karen and Glen have been great traveling companions and we are excited to have Gary and Marji join us next Friday. Late rising this morning. Yesterday was such a long day, that we crashed until 8:15am. Slug-a-beds, no? After breakfast and tidying up, the four of us jumped into an Uber and headed to the Belem section of town. Glen and Karen wanted to see the Tower of Belem and eat the best pasteis, ever. Mike and I wanted to see the Monastery of Jeronimos Cloister and Church. The line for tickets for the Cloister was forever but we met an interesting, chatty British couple, who we kept running into ... read more
Monastery of Jeronimos
Inner corner of the Cloister
Cloister courtyard

Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Sagres April 12th 2018

Thursday morning, we awoke to a deluge! Not just a little rain, but wind and pouring enormous amounts of cold water, putting a damper on our plans to visit Cape Sagres and the site of the end of the world. As an aside, every Portuguese citizen that we have spoken to has remarked at how much they needed the rain and how dry everything has been. California friends, does this sound familiar? To this, we say, you're welcome! After another great breakfast, we said goodbye to the lovely Danielle, then promptly stole our room key. Waiting for an easement in the rain, we hustled to our car by way of the steep outside marble steps. Let's just say that our B&B in not exactly OSHA approved. No problem. Off we went to Cape Sagres with hope ... read more
Rain from the Car Window
More Rain
The End of the World

Europe » Portugal » Algarve April 11th 2018

Compromise: Nobody gets exactly what they want. Sun day is fun day! Went for a long walk on the beach where it was a bit chilly and windy but hey, it was sunny and I was happy. After a lovely breakfast prepared by our hostess, Danielle, Mike and I discussed what to do today. I wanted to see caves but the water was too rough for the local caves and the tours for the Cave of Benagil, near Faro, were booked for the next two days. Mike wanted to see Moorish architecture but the Moors got the boot from the Algarve a long time ago, so maybe just some influence here and there. We finally decided to visit Olhão, a town whose name we so butchered that Danielle just looked at us and said, on perfect ... read more
Morning walk
Fish Market

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