Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Easter in Portugal

Farol Design Hotel
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I only found out the night before we were leaving that the Lisbon hotel I booked wasn’t actually in Lisbon but 30 minutes away by train. But it turned out to be a good mistake. The hotel website said it was “5 minutes walk from the town centre”. I had assumed Lisbon town centre – but the Cascais town centre – a gorgeous beachside town outside Lisbon was lovely. Our Farol Design Hotel was so nice we only managed to leave for a couple of sightseeing missions to Sintra and Lisbon and out for one dinner. The hotel restaurant is highly recommended. Chef Gerhard’s food was divine and waiter Paulo’s service super friendly. Not to mention the amazing ocean views.

We went to the World Heritage listed nearby town of Sintra, and visited the amazing Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle) with walls reminiscent of the Great Wall of China and the even more amazing palace, Palácio da Pena. It was quite a wait to get into the Palace and I think that the outside was more spectacular than inside – the carving of the Monster with fish feet (mermaid legs?!) was something else.

Wandering around the town later we settled on a little café for lunch and found ourselves sitting opposite Kyan from Queer Eye (grooming). Jo and Steve had to forcibly restrain me from asking for an autograph but at least I did catch a smile when I got busted staring at one point. I can only gather that Queer Eye hasn’t taken off in Portugal yet. That, or the Portuguese are much more polite as no one else was taking any notice.

The next day we took the train into Lisbon. After losing ourselves in the windy cobblestone streets of the old town we climbed up to the impressive Castelo de Sao Jorge for amazing views over Lisbon. But we couldn’t stay away from Cascais for long and headed back for some more of Chef Gerhard’s seafood delicacies.

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