Wednesday, July 08, 2015

From one end of Europe to the other... Portuguese adventures...

As my usual summer holiday companions, Ljilja and Sina, wanted to do something different this year, we decided to leave the eastern bloc and travel to Portugal... we found some cheap flights and accommodation and we were all set for a wonderful well-deserved break. (after 9 back-to-back weeks of hosting 3 different teams, it was definitely time for me to get a break!!)

We started with two days in Lisbon. This is the view from our apartment: (and the funny story is that I sent my sister this pic via whatsapp and she sent me one back from the apartment they were in in December, and it was almost exactly the same - they were just two doors further down!). We were right in the heart of the Baixa, the downtown walking district...
We did a LOT of walking in our two days: around Chiado, Alfama and up to the Castelo: Here are Ljilja and Sina in one of the windows of the Castle...
The views from up there were fantastic: They have a bridge built by the same guy who did the bridge in San Francisco, (looking very similar!) and also a Christ statue inspired by the Christ the Redeemer in Rio...
Then it was time to spend a little time in Sintra (still part of Lisbon, but were the Kings and nobility used to summer): Here I am with Sina:
It was quite festive, and we also got to see the palace there (but the photos don't do it justice), before heading to the westerly most point on continental Europe: it was a leetle bit windy:
But the wind doesn't bother the short-haired member of our crew: here she is looking back from the cross towards the rocky coast and the lighthouse:
After a whirlwind two days it was time to travel down to lovely Lagos on the Algarve coast:
The beaches were lovely - see the long "meia praia" above in the background and below was our favourite: little "batata":
But to be honest, the water was pretty chilly, so we spent a lot of time at the pool at our complex... the views made us feel like we were on a beach!!
 And we also hung out a bit in Lagos old town: very beautiful!
Of course, being in Portugal, my crazy companions just had to travel to "nearby" Spain as well: so we went to Seville for the day:
Despite the heat (and being there at the hottest part of the day!) we did have a wonderful time wandering around: Above is the Cathedral and below is the Plaza de Espana:
After seeing all the horse and carts everywhere, we decided to ask how much it would be to take us back to where we started (so we didn't have to walk)... the first guy wanted 45, so we walked away, but then another driver offered us less and then another even less, until we got one who gave us the ride at 20!!
We did see some other parts of the Algarve, but we spent most of our time in Lagos. It is well known for its beautiful craggy rocky coastline:
And the best way to view it is by boat: especially with a local fisherman as guide: here were are with Gigi, who looks so excited to have us on board :)
He knew enough English to tell us what some of the stones were called: Wedding Cake
 The one on the left is "Titanic"
 Otherwise there were lots of lovely formations to see:

 And lovely caves to enter:
 And one final picture of beautiful Portugal...
Then it was time for us to head on back to reality... after a relaxing (8 books read!!) and refreshing holiday! 

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