Travel to Portugal.
17.07.2016 - 17.07.2016 32 °C
Hotel - Intercontinental Hotel Lisbon, Rua Castilho 149, Lisbon - Room 1014
The Poet's Wife by Rebecca Stonehill was a book I read about a sherry making family before I left home. It was fiction but certainly set the scene for our visit to the bodega of Williams & Humbert yesterday.
Seville is called The Frying Pan because of the heat in summer. It is very hot and doesn't seem to get many breezes to help with the heat.
Driving to Lisbon, we notice that the land has become a lot more fertile.
We changed our watches. Portugal is one hour behind Spain.
We passed Lepe. Lots of jokes about people from Lepe. They are all supposed to be dumb.
We stopped at Tavira for a couple of hours to have a break from the road trip to Lisbon. Tavira is a former fishing port but now a popular holiday destination. It has beautiful beaches and a delightful historic centre that is filled with lots of hotels and restaurants.
We walked up the hill to the castle. It dates from the Moorish rule of Portugal and the 11th century. Tavira was conquered by the Christian crusaders in 1242 and the castle was at the forefront of the fighting. The castle was expanded in 1294 by King Dinis and the city walls were constructed in 1296. Its primary purpose was to defend against Moorish invasion but later the role altered to defend the fishing port from pirate raiders. The castle was severely damaged by the 1755 earthquake. Today the castle comprises of four solid stone walls with accessible battlements running along the eastern side of the castle. Great view over the city from here. The main gates open on the Largo Abu Otmana, the square in front of the massive Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo.
We walked through the town and across the bridge looking for somewhere to have a snack. We ordered a snack and a drink and every combination of fruit drink I ordered, they were out of stock. I finally settled on an orange and mango drink. I had my first taste of the famous Lisbon custard tart and loved it so much, I had two. They were delicious.
This little pet was French (what else!) and was all dressed up for her visit to Tavira.
We had a comfort stop along the way and these great bikes and trailers were in the car park. No need to say where all the men headed.
We arrived in Lisbon and before we checked in to our hotel, Isabel took us to the Museu Nacional dos Coches. It has one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world. The museum is housed in the old Horse Riding Arena of the Belem Palace, formerly a Royal Palace, which is now the official residence of the President of Portugal. The museum was created in 1905 by Queen Amelia to house an extensive collection of carraiges belonging to the Portuguese royal family and nobility. The carriages date from the late 16th through to the 19th centuries. It was a great place to visit and well worth the time spent there.
We visited the Jeronimos Monastery which is a monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome. It was classifed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The construction of the monastery began in 1501 aqnd was completed 100 years later. It houses the tomb of the navigator Vasco da Gama.
We have a free evening tonight, so we decided to try our luck by eating out at a local restaurant, recommended by our friend Paul Kelly. The restaurant, Bonjardim, is known for spit roasted chicken with piri piri sauce. We caught a taxi to the area and the driver pointed at a lane way we had to walk through to get to the restaurant. We walked on and on and nothing seemed familiar but finally we found it and sat down outside and proceeded to order. There was a little jug of piri piri sauce on the table and we had a little taste - wow - it almost blew our heads off. So that was that. We won't be having chicken with piri piri sauce.
The waiter was one hundred and ten - not out - in fact all the waiters were cranky, old men. I ordered a sangria and he plonked a huge jug of it on the table. We don't speak Portugese and he didn't speak English but I finally made him understand that I only wanted one glass full. Much hrumphing and he took the jug away but somehow it arrived back on the table and I drank it (with a bit of help from Phil). How I could even stand up after drinking all that, I'll never know!
Caught a taxi back to our hotel. That was a weird evening - eating on the streets with the locals.