PORTUGAL HIGHLIGHTS

Dr Reena Koppala Jul 15, 2019 547 Views   0 Comments
Portugal, officially Portuguese Republic, is a country lying along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe.

Day 1:  We got on to a flight from Dallas to Madrid and had a one-day stopover in Spain. At that time my son was an ardent fan of soccer, so this stopover was a surprise for him. We went on a sightseeing tour of Madrid and had breakfast, lunch and early dinner in Madrid. Just before we went on to board the flight to Lisbon we made a stop to shop for footballs and jerseys.

Day 2: We landed in Lisbon, Portugal capital. Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.8 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost portions of its metro area form the westernmost point of Continental Europe, which is known as Cabo da Roca, located in the Sintra Mountains. In Lishhboaaaa (that is how they say it) we stayed at a hotel that was a 15th-century Portuguese palace with a sea view. The first thing my son picked was a Hippo tour. It was a minivan that took us around Lisbon and later drives into a sea and becomes a boat.  We could barely keep our eyes open because of the jetlag. On our way back we stumbled across a museum, the Portuguese teachers were explaining about Ramayana and Mahabharata to their field trip students (made a note to read Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik on Kindle once back).

Later in the evening we traveled by train to downtown Lisbon and had dinner at ' Timeout'. One of the most unique eatery places that I have ever been to. There were around 40 eating places under one roof with a contemporary look and so informal (fell in love with the concept). Strolled on the streets of the historic downtown and had late local coffee, Of course, shopping inclusive.

Day 3: My son's pick for today was Oceanário de Lisboa which is the world's largest saltwater Oceanarium and is a fantastic tourist attraction especially for families. Just to go to that place we took 3 forms of transportation metro, train, cable. One of the main adventures of any travel is “TRAVEL LIKE LOCALS”.  Trying to understand Portuguese and trying to find our way, was the most interesting part of our travel. Next stop was Vasco da Gama Shopping Center. We took a Cable car on the ocean and had lunch at Cais de Sondre. By the time we came back to our hotel, it was 6:00 pm. The hotel always had surprise exotic chocolates for kids. We quickly changed into formal wear and got ready to witness the iconic Fado show in style. Fado is commonly regarded as simply a form of song which can be about anything but must follow a certain traditional structure. In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness, and melancholia.Awesome Portuguese music mixed with dinner made it a perfect evening. We came back from the show around 12 am. Today we really felt the essence of Portugal. 

Day 4:  Woke up late and had a brunch in the hotel itself. Took the metro, to reach another station. There we went on a city hop off tours castle line and Belem line. Our next stop was Rossio Square or Praça do Rossio, officially called Praça de D. Pedro IV, is Lisbon's nerve center. The square is situated in the city's Baixa neighborhood, on the northern end of Rua Augusta, very close to Restauradores Square. Praça do Rossio is the liveliest area in the capital of Portugal and where many locals and tourists meet up. We had a good walk and browsed all the antique shops on our way. My son Arnav played with water that was hitting the shores for sometime before we moved on. 

Our next stop was Padrão dos Descobrimentos; Monument of the Discoveries, which is a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus River, Lisbon. Located along the river where ships departed to explore and trade with India and the Orient, the monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery (or Age of Exploration) during the 15th and 16th centuries. From the top of this monument, we had a breathtaking view of Lisboa. It was 6 pm now and we headed back to our Palacio. We walked for over 3 miles to get to our train station. My son said that he may forget this trip but will never forget the walk from the monument to the train station. We reached Hotel and almost collapsed, had a quick dinner and called it a day. It is at this hotel we learned the essence of Peri Peria very hot sauce made with red chili peppers.

Day 5:  We started our day at 6 am. Took a cab to central Lisboa to board the tour bus to the Sintra. Sintra is consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest and most expensive municipalities in both Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula as a whole. Sintra is similarly known for its high standards of living, consistently ranking as one of the best places to live in Portugal. The historic center of the Vila de Sintra is famous for its 19th-century Romanticist architecture, historic estates & villas, gardens, and numerous royal palaces & castles, which resulted in the classification of the town and its historic passage as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Palacios Reais de Sintra was beautiful and calm. We had a wonderful stroll spending our afternoon there on the cobbled streets. Had lunch at a 1945 Portuguese restaurant. Don't miss Paste De Nata the Portuguese official dessert. Later grabbed some coffee and went on a shopping spree. Loved the village ambiance and spending time with the locals. Towards the evening started our way back and drove to Cascais another beautiful town so pure and so rich in history. We stopped briefly at Cabo da Roca or Cape Roca the westernmost point of the Europe Continent. Now we called it a day and headed back to our hotel. 

Woke up early had a quick breakfast and headed to Cristo Rei, took a ferry to the other part of the town Your trip would not be complete without visiting this place.

Day 6: The giant statue in cement was constructed to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II. To view Cristo Rei in close proximity was an experience by itself. Later returned to Lisbon and visited the Jerónimos Monastery. The Jerónimos Monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. It was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Tower of Belém.We later took a tram to Jorge Castle. It was totally uphill ... my son got to play with the peacocks there. He and his dad visited the entire fort and later saw the archaeological sites. The scenic view at night from the castle was spectacular.  By this time it was dark, we quickly wrapped up our shopping and walked back to our station en route to our hotel. I started packing our bags and now my very own husband and son disowned me and they refused to give me any space in their luggage for all my shopping. At last, I did some pushing and pulling and finally got to close my suitcase. We woke up at 3 am in the morning and headed back to home sweet home Dallas on a 16 hr flight.  





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