Cascais!

Lisbon to Cascais

After 2 days in Lisbon, we packed up our belongings and caught a train to Cascais, an idyllic seaside town, just under 17 miles along the Lisbon coast.

Across the River

Do you remember that old slogan: “Let the train take the strain”? Well there’s definitely something to be said for rolling along a railway track,  gazing out of the window the entire time, with not a care in the world!  No fiddling about with maps, or having to figure out how to drive on the wrong side of the road.  No stressful arguments with your spouse about navigation.  No sense of concern about how much a taxi fare might end up costing.  So relaxing!

Travelling by train is also a really good way to get snapshots of your surroundings.  Passing through pretty places, such as Estoril, only further convinced me that there is so much more of Portugal that I want to see.

Once in Cascais, we flagged down a taxi and made our way to our hotel.  The Villa Gale was good, but nothing to write home about – it was a bit dark and dated in places, and huge crowds of people made breakfast times feel like a military operation!  But it was clean and comfortable, and very conveniently located – and Emily enjoyed the swimming pool and the small children’s playground.

Cascais

Cascais started out as a typical Portugese fishing town, and apparently became the preferred summer retreat of the Portugese Nobility.  But over the years, it has grown into a wonderful fusion of 19th Century architecture, mingled with artisan shops, all kinds of eateries and an attractive marina.  There are beaches, museums and parks, so you can take your pick as to how you’re going to spend your day.

Pic 2

Pic 3

We strolled downtown just as evening was descending…

Celebrated Nathan’s birthday with an unforgettable meal at O Pescador, an award winning seafood restaurant, tucked down an unobtrusive little side-street,

Paella for two!
Paella for two!
Ice cream with hot chocolate sauce
Followed by ice cream with hot chocolate sauce – yum!  Spot the Beanie Boo in the background!

Mooched around the boutique style shops,

Cascais Shop

Took a ride on a carousel,

Carousel 1

And bumped into a big, grizzly bear!

Bear trouble

Floodlit buildings

Everywhere you looked there were smart hotels with floodlit terraces, and plenty of those typical Portuguese streets adorned with swirling mosaic.  Palm trees lined the central thouroughfare, reminiscent of the French Riviera.  It really was a very pretty place.

Downtown vibes

View around the bay

Walking back to the hotel, we kept looking over our shoulders to catch one more glimpse of the town – so beautiful with its lights mirrored in the stillness of the ocean.

Mansion

And stopped by the bridge, to take in the sight of this picturesque stately home.

Wonderful memories are made of such moments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lisbon – A Grand Day Out!

After a good night’s rest, we were eager to head into Lisbon City Centre to see the sights.

We took the Metro to a popular area of Lisbon known as Baixa which is a busy commercial centre with plenty of interesting shops, eateries and charming cobbly streets that rambled uphill and down.

Cafe

There were so many wonderful shops to explore, such as this inviting bakery:

Cake Shop

Sardine shop

And this very quirky shop that sold nothing but tinned sardines!

Rossio Square

Fountain 2

Fountain 3Fountain

The elegant streets and city Squares, adorned with fountains and moasics, oozed history and charm.  And in the midday heat, it was difficult to resist the urge to stop for an iced coffee or a beer in the shade.

Pic 11

Pic 9

Praca Do Commercio

Many of the busy streets meandered down towards the Praco Do Commercio, which means Commerce/Royal Square.

Cobbled streets

This impressive, historic gateway into the City, with it’s smart yellow facade, is situated near the River Tagus and would have once been a place of bustling trade and industry.  Sadly, much of this area was destroyed in a great Earthquake in 1755, but was later rebuilt.

Lisbon - City Square

Main Square 2

 

River Tagus
River Tagus

Tram 28

And of course, no trip to Lisbon would be complete without a ride on the iconic Tram 28.

Tram

Even if it was a bit hairy at times!

Tight Squeeze
Tight Squeeze
Hold on tight
Hold on tight

And Relax…

As it was Nathan’s birthday week, we ended our grand day out with a glass of wine (actually one of us had two! ) in a lovely bar that had tables outside.

And Relax

Nathan couldn’t believe his luck when he got the bill –  11 Euros for 3 glasses of wine and an apple juice!   Not bad at all!

Nice Price

All in all, we had a fabulous and very memorable day in Lisbon.  For a country-loving girl, I was surprised at just how taken I was with this beguiling, old City.  Elegant, charming, and even a little bit romantic, in the evening sun.  Lisbon – we hope to visit again some day!

 

 

 

 

 

Off to Landaa Giravaaru

Our prize-of-a-lifetime, trip for two to the Maldives was doubly sweet.  Spending 3 nights in the beautiful Kuda Huura Hotel was only just the beginning.  The next leg of the journey, was a four night stay in the exclusive Four Seasons resort, Landaa Giravaaru.

It was sad to say goodbye to the Kuda Huura, and we were given a wonderful send-off.  Yet there was a sense of excitement for what was next in store.

restaurant
Not an easy place to leave…
see you soon
I hope so….

Our transfer was in a tiny Maldivian Sea-Plane.  This in itself was an incredible experience!  I have never taken-off or landed in the sea before!  It was all a bit of an adventure, to say the least.  We had to wear ear plugs that looked a bit like cheesy Watsits!

cheesy watsits
Cheesy Watsits!
captain
About to take-off!

flying about

Flying over the Maldives is an astonishing sight.  Atol after atol like shimmering pearls amidst the irridescent jewel-like ocean.

birds eye view
Atol after atol…

Around 40 minutes later, our destination came into view.  We had certainly arrived in style!

landaa
Birds Eye View of the Landaa Giraavaru

Two years  later, I still look back and pinch myself.