FIGUEIRA DA FOZ
The following day we sadly left Porto – one of the best places we have stayed. We drove along the coast towards Coimbra (inland) – we stopped at Figueira da Foz and were taken aback by how far the ocean was from the road – on a hot day you would burn your feet before you got to the ocean! At least a 15 minute walk!
COSTA NOVA DO PRADO
Then we stopped at Costa Nova do Prado – we loved this cute, quaint little fishing village – famous for its painted houses – but we enjoyed the sand dunes, walking paths and the fact the sand was everywhere – it looked like a snow storm as it spilled onto the road.
We then spent two nights in Coimbra – our neighbours had a young, screaming baby – and, unbeknownst to us, there was a pub two doors down which closed at 4am – lots of loud noise all night – and no sleep for two nights. Kim had an ear infection as well which did not help. Lots of pavements in Portugal are made of handcrafted tiles – which are uneven and quite slippery – they do look good though.
We then arrived in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. This would be our stay over Christmas for four nights. Our apartment was amazing and well styled.
The views from the window were breathtaking and we enjoyed watching the coming and goings of the cruise ships and the view of the Pantheon.
We experienced the famous trams – which ride almost vertically up the seven hills that make up Lisbon. They are always packed like sardines! Rob was almost on the driver’s lap. Merry Xmas indeed! Near our apartment was the ‘school with nice views’ which had a permanent guard outside and a barbed wire fence. We have enjoyed experiencing the cultural differences – over here Xmas would not be complete without a giant salted fish skin and some weird looking Portugese Xmas cake. We were not tempted by this and instead Kim experimented and made a delicious baked apple strudel from scratch!
We did a day trip down to Belem – about 10kms (we caught a tram) down the coast. It is famous for the Belem pastry. This is a sweet eggy tart. You had to line up for a while as there was a quite a queue. The recipe is hundreds of years old and was passed on by ancient monks. It tasted ok. Not sure it was worth the wait. We had a look at the monastery where the famous explorer Vasco de Gama had his tomb and we saw the tower on the water (which was closed) – we made up for it by having a lovely affogato (coffee with icecream).
Our highlight of Lisbon had to be food related – we went twice to the Time Out Market – like a giant gourmet food court. Michelin starred chefs have created some of the food. Hard to get a seat and many queues – at time whilst Rob was waiting for food Kim felt that she was actually having lunch with all the strangers as it took so long.
On our walks up and down the hills we discovered a lot of street art as well as the views. We visited the old elevator (but we rode the free one) but it was impressive from the outside. We also saw the ruins of an old museum which also had in a glass cabinet a replica of what Kim will look like if we keep doing mountain drives!