Friday, August 6, 2004 3:50pm Atlantic
½ way over the Atlantic now. Can’t say i’m anxious to be back to old routine. Haven’t written for a while, so here I go.
Day after Belem we did Sintra after another great breakfast by Diane, took the steep and winding route up to Palais de Pena near Sintra. Met M&GL just past 10:30 at the entrance. Michael was very anxious to see this palace as it is quite diverse in it’s architecture. A German Baron Von Ludwig von Eschwege designed it and it is most amazing. The colours, styles and detail are all extreme. There are parts where the mountains is built into the palace. Every room yearns to have a view. No wonder there was a revolution – the decadence is so extreme, the palace was built starting in 1840 until 1895. The carved stone -especially the clam shell with neptune who is holding up the arch and the entire wall has shells carved in minute detail. Also the baskets of stone – each a different pattern and the detail in almost every external wall. Inside the tremp l’ouliel were incredible – the queens room looked like panelling and another (can’t remember which one …) was so deceptive as carved stone, you had to touch it to believe it.
The furniture also – different themed rooms were oriental, indian, and more. The carving of the furniture was most impressive. Overwhelming.
From the castle we went for lunch in Sintra to Deanes favorite – Natalies (actually Sao Pedro do …) nearby. Again great food and desserts.
By then it was late enough that M&GL headed off (train from Cascais back to Lisboa) and we headed back from the beach and photo opps @ the cliffs.
Had dinner nearby @ toca do Julio – wonderful surprise. Boys had Brazilian, I had duck, Mike had goat. All superb – Pats favorite dinner of all I think.
Thursday August 5th, We had our most stressful driving day by far. Plan was to head to Expo site and Aquarium. Took a wrong turn and wasted much gas (causing an extra 5E fill up) but finally got there. Drive home messed up also but at the Sintra end turns out we should have gone via Cascais, not Sintra. Oh well, we are all still alive and love each other.
The Expo ‘98 site was pretty vacant – the theme had been the sea – so the exhibits were quite limited apparently. The gardens were nice and the overall site was impressive. (We also passed a Marvel comics site where they were filming something).
The aquarium is the 2nd largest in the world – very well done with interesting video on the maintenance required. The huge central tank is very diverse and full of many types of sea life. Then back (hairy nasty drive) and pack (boo hoo). Hope my pottery makes it.
Then for our last dinner we headed to Jane’s favourite – Priai Adrega. Right on the beach. Kyle had soup and salad, Mike and I had clams & shrimp, Pat had lamb. Mike also had the seafood soup. All had dessert. First restaurant to check if we ate the cheese (didn’t) and then actually under charge us – had to tell them to charge more!
Had breakfast bit earlier and got away by about 9:20. But not after several (75) calls from Carlos to make sure we had good directions to the airport, they are wonderful hosts. They went to see a water mill yesterday and put in an offer – 350,000E, but they will offer 300,000E – sounds wonderful, but still needs work. Will be interested to hear if it works out.
Got to the airport no problem – only to find out had to pay extra 130E for car rental (4 days more). After waiting 1 hour we were running late and paid it without much dispute.
Kyle did get a hat, but not his jersey – at least no time to kill in the airport. And now we’re ½ through the flight – 2 movies down and 1 to go. Time for a catch up nap me thinks. So sad its almost over amazing trip that calls for a repeat.