Leaving Spain in lovely sunshine we headed off towards our first destination of Monchique in Portugal......making the obligatory breakfast stop on the way! We arrived some 5 hours later, remembering to adjust our clocks - still find it strange that Portugal is on the same time zone as the UK, unlike the rest of Europe. We were staying at the Thermal spa hotel in Monchique, some 20km inland. A lovely spot which is actually a collection of 4 small hotels/apartments that have been taken over and it now has a lovely villagy feeling with a shady plaza at the heart of it. We were doing a recce for our walking club as the area is full of wonderful walks, perfect for one of our 4 day walking holidays. We settled in quickly with a large glass of red wine and a portion of bread with sausage, which turned out to be a large fresh baked roll with a spicy sausage actually cooked inside it....happy hubby! Still find it strange that we can't understand the language, don't know why as it's completely different to Spanish and actually sounds a bit Eastern European!
The next day dawned hot and sunny and we
The plaza at the hotel
drove up to Foia, the highest point and had a walk around - again stopping for the obligatory coffee and cake. you will find that this is a big feature in all of my blogs! We then headed back to the coast to do a coastal walk recommended, and what a walk it turned out to be! Stunning views of rocks and little bays only accessible by boat. A completely different coast line than the one where we live. We walked from Porto de Mediterriano to Benagil around 6 km of amazing scenery!
We had arranged to meet the lady and a guide who were helping us with the holiday at a (rather swanky) golf hotel, and promptly said we were so glad we weren't staying there. It's really not our idea of a holiday, laying by the pool all day.
We opted to find a restaurant in Portimao for an early dinner - apparently the Portuguese don't eat as late as the Spanish. We were looking forward to some fish and had a recommendation of a restaurant in the port...needless to say we couldn't find it - might be due to me being directionally challenged! But we
The intrepid travellers!
did stumble across one right on the end of the line and it couldn't have been better! A wonderful monk fish kebeb and a plate of freshly cooked sardines which we shared (darling was getting a bit twitchy with the whole 'sharing' business!)
The following day we set off for Lisbon with Dora the Explorer, our trusty sat nav, coming up trumps. She keeps us amused on journeys as her pronunciation of the Spanish roads is most entertaining! She directed us straight to the hotel, where we checked in, unpacked and then headed off to explore. The Hotel HF Fenix Urban was very well placed, just about a 3km walk from the main hub and restaurants - well, we are a walking club after all!
We found the restaurant area, following our noses, and enjoyed a lovely meal. Had a stroll around afterwards, stopping for coffee and cake - do you see a pattern emerging here?
The next day we wanted to ride on the famous 'tram 28' which winds its way through the (very) thin streets. Not realising that Lisbon is as hilly as it is, it was a bit sweaty palmed when the tram went
down hill! Darling loved it and wanted to go again but we weren't queuing up for another 45 minutes for the next one. Worth the wait tho!
After a spot of lunch we headed off to meet the guide for a free Lisbon walking tour. we always like to do a guided walking tour when possible - even better when it's free! Our guide Rafa was excellent, extremely knowledgeable and entertaining and the 4 hours walking tour was well worth the effort. He showed us the hidden Lisbon that a lot of tourists don't see. In fact he said he would rather be known as a traveller rather than a tourist. So we are now travellers! The company is Chill-out tours and operate in other capitals, worth checking out on line.
Sadly we had to leave Lisbon the following day and return home, missing our next stop of Merida in Spain as Bob's dad had been taken into hospital. We did say we would return, this time in Bertie!
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