Tuesday, April 10, 2012
After our time in Morocco, we flew to Lisbon for a week. There were six of us on this portion of the trip. Bruce leased two 2-bedroom apartment right in the center of town. It felt really good to be staying in modern apartments. He found them on VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner). We spent the next few days leisurely visiting Lisbon.
There were three main areas we all enjoyed. By train we visited Belem just on the outskirts of Lisbon. It is a large area with museums, monasteries and located where many of the voyages to the world by Vasco De Gama, Magellan and others started from. We spent quite a bit of time wandering around the area.
One day we took a tour to Sintra. Located just outside Lisbon, this is a small town with two castles, both of which we toured. The town itself is filled with winding streets and small shops. Naturally, we found a few things we could not do without. Our guide that day was just excellent and knew the histories well. Since he had lived in the States for several years, he also spoke English very well.
The most unexpected place we visited with the Oceanario in Lisbon. It is the second largest aquarium in the world and has live exhibits of all the various ocean areas. We spent probably three hours exploring it. The sea life they showed was amazing.
Of course, our favorite activity was just exploring and walking the streets of Lisbon. There are many outdoor cafes where we had tea and pasties and watched the traffic flow by. Just around the corner from our apartment was a wonderful ice cream shop. We visited it several times.
As you might expect, finding good restaurants was high on our list. One night we ate in a restaurant that specialized in presently traditional Fado music. Another night we ate in a monastery that was now a restaurant. There was also a good restaurant just around the corner. Another night we ate in an Italian restaurant. We even had take-out pizza for dinner.
What kind of food did we like best? It started with breakfast in our apartment with fresh pastries from a nearby shop and strawberries from a street vendor. Lunches were just pickups depending on where we were except for the day we were in Belim. Here there is a restaurant that has been making custard tarts forever. We all over ate there along with the lines of people who buy tarts and sit outside eating them.
My favorite dinner entrée is actually an appetizer. I just love baby clams steamed in wine with cilantro. I ate it three times for dinner. Of course, what makes it the best is how fresh the clams are. Salmon was another great favorite in our group. Lamb was always available. As you might guess, we ate too much but the choice was wonderful. Sometimes we were able to get a table that overlooked the dining room. Bruce and I love to watch the operation of a dining room. I am sure that comes as a great surprise to all of you.
Now that we are home, it is good to look back on this wonderful trip and to start planning our next trip.