Jeanne, Bob and I decided to take a ten-day trip to Portugal as our Christmas present to ourselves. An ad in the newspaper offered 10 days in Portugal with a car and nine nights in Pousadas, which are boutique hotels converted from historic buildings. Before we left, the travel agent called to say that a woman from St. Paul had planned to go at the same time that we were going, but now her travelmate was not able to go. Would we like to add her to our group of three, making four? He felt that we were simpatico and about the same age. We met to check each other out and agreed with the agent—this could work!
The four of us flew to Portugal on Dec. 28th, got our rental car and headed to our first hotel near Cascais. This was on a beach on the Atlantic, which we thought was quite stunning. The next morning we walked to Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point of land on the European Mainland, with its traditional lighthouse. Much of the ground that wasn’t sand was covered with a beautiful succulent with lovely bright pink flowers, creating a park-like setting.
We drove on to Sintra, with its 18th C. Palace, its 8-10th C. castle, and the Pena from the 19th C. At the Palace we were treated to a recital by a classical quintet.
We had a lovely lamb dinner in a charming restaurant (good food, too!) and drove past an impressive ‘pile’ at Mafra, then on to Obidos where we stayed at the Pousada de Castelo. When we arrived we learned that the Pousada only had room for three of us, so Pat was taken to the Estelgem de Convent. These pousadas are quite lovely with lots of atmosphere.
We explored Obidos, buying some souvenirs. Unfortunately the weather was pretty cloudy, but Obidos was so pretty and interesting, we enjoyed it anyway.
From here we drove to Alcobaca where there was a beautiful Cistercian monastery. We drove on to visit Nagare, an ocean fishing village. For dinner we were treated to wonderful paella at a restaurant called Leonardos.
We finally arrived at our Pousada in Buscaco, which was in deep woods, and we arrived after dark. The Palace Hotel where we stayed was built for King Carlos in 1907 and was very beautiful. Since we had had our dinner, we had a nightcap followed by dessert. They were advertising a New Year’s Eve party in the hotel, which Pat attended—the rest of us bailed on her and went to bed!
Happy New Year!