Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Portuguese Paradise: Part 2

Ola again! 

Really? You're back? Well, thank you for reading! Okay then. Off we go! Back to Portugal (see our Paris trip and the first half of our Portuguese adventure here and here). 

Day 4
My hub and I were really excited about Day 4. Do you know what happened on Day 4? We DID NOT HAVE TO SET AN ALARM. Do you know how amazing it felt to sleep in? Want me to tell you? Amazing. Although the trip allowed for down time, it was also full and busy, which resulted in us setting an alarm each morning to take full advantage of the itinerary. But not on Day 4. No, not on Day 4. On Day 4, we slept until after 8:00 am. I cannot remember the last time I did that. Ahhh...Day 4. I really loved you.

We awoke up anticipating nasty weather, and it did not disappoint. Rain, rain, rain. So. What did we do? Took full advantage of the hotel spa, each getting massages while listening to the rain falling outside. It was heavenly.

What's more, the rain made a fairly quick exit, and by early afternoon it was absolutely beautiful outside. We decided that a trip to Lisbon was in order. So, we hopped a train and took the 40-minute, coastline ride into the city. It was absolutely beautiful. Also of note? Another friend called the train ride into the city a "graffiti tour." Seriously, you would not BELIEVE how much graffiti decorates almost every square inch of every surface available along the route to Lisbon. But the coastline? Now THAT was beautiful.

Anywho. We arrived to the beautiful capital city of Lisbon and quickly took off in search of the Castle de Sao Jorge. Our hotel concierge had promised glorious views of the city from the castle. So. Off we went, traipsing all around the gorgeous, and quite hilly I might add, streets of Lisbon, which allowed for some pretty amazing sight-seeing along the way. 

 Such a beautiful city

 Is there any other way to travel than streetcar?!

 One of MANY gorgeous churches we saw

 I loved all the red roofing

 A beautiful blue sky accompanied us on our trek

Color, color everywhere!

Love this shot! Again, the mix of old and new was so pretty to me. 

These colorful planters along the coastline also had seats, which were filled with locals and tourists reading and taking in the coastline view. So pretty!

Close up shot of a cork tree, a central product of Portugal (you should have seen all the cork merchandise in the souvenir shops!)

Finally, we reached our destination. And the concierge was right. The views were absolutely breath-taking. 

A beautiful view of a beautiful city from the top of Castle de Sao Jorge

The massive bridge in the distance is called the 25 de Abril Bridge and looked exactly like the Golden Gate Bridge. It was awesome!

The Christ the King statue, a Catholic monument and shrine that overlooks Lisbon, as seen from our castle view. Simply amazing.

Oh, hello, one of the many random peacocks meandering around the castle

After spending some time walking around the castle a bit and stopping for some delicious Portuguese snacks, it was time to head back to the train station. After all, we had "grown-up prom" (aka a company gala) that night, and a girl needs at least a little time to freshen up, right? 

Ahhh. Grown-up prom. Before we left for our trip, my hub was sweet enough to insist that I go out and buy a new dress for the occasion. I did. 

I was so excited when I found this dress because it was EXACTLY what I was looking for!

We were treated to an amazing formal dinner at the gorgeous Colares Wine Cellar. The setting itself was absolutely stunning. I wish I had snapped a few more photos of it, but I'm pretty sure my hub was tired of me whipping out my camera at every possible ooh and aah moment of the trip. Which was a lot. But trust me. It was divine. After drinks, dinner, and dancing, we called it a night and headed back to the hotel. After all, more fun awaited us in the morning.

My handsome prom gala date and me

Day 5
Our final day in Portugal greeted us with GLORIOUS weather. It was sunny and 60-something degrees, perfect weather for....regatta-ing (Not a real word? It is now.)! This was the second excursion we selected from the options given, and I am so glad we chose it. After touring three different Portuguese towns earlier in the week and taking full advantage of a wine tour, it was really fun to do something different and to see the amazing views of the Portuguese coast from a sailboat. So, back to Cascais we went, only this time to the marina.

But don't get me wrong. This wasn't a booze cruise or sit-back-and-relax kind of sail. No, no, no. This was a regatta. My hub and I were paired with two other guests to form our regatta team. We would be competing against five other boats, racing along a figure-8 course. Being the ever-competetive people that we are, we quickly requested the sailing instructor who would help us bring home the gold. And y'all? What an awesome choice we made. I wish I had taken a photo with our instructor, who told us that he "learned to sail before [he] learned to walk." He.Was.Awesome. Mainly because he was freaking hilarious. And maybe even more competitive than my hub and me, which is A LOT. 

Ready to steer us to victory

Ready to pull on a rope, really fast, shift the direction of the sail...I think...

My view of the main sail, which was apparently made by BMW

Sailboat view from our boat

Coastline view from our boat

Proof that our instructor was just as uber-competitive as us? Our boat won two out of the three races (and our instructor purposefully made us lose the third so the other instructors wouldn't get mad. Ha!). Honestly? Half the time our little team o' four had no idea what we were doing. Our instructor would yell things like, "Open everything!" and we had no effin' idea what he was talking about. We would laugh and pull ropes and turn pulleys and hope for the best. But in the end, it worked out for our team. And it was a blast! 

Back on land, post-regatta victory!

One last photo of the Portuguese coast, this time from land

After our very fun, hard-working morning at sea, we headed back to the hotel where my hub and I ate delicous cheeseburgers (by this point, we were craaaaving American food!) before taking a nap, packing our bags (we had a 3:00 am wake-up call on the horizon), and freshening up for our final, company-sponsored dinner. 

Again, the evening did not disappoint. Remember how I mentioned in my last post that the hotel grounds housed the remains of a 14th century monastery? Well, we were escorted to dinner by hotel staff, who lead us to a beautiful chapel on the hotel grounds where we were met by the heavenly voices of a men's choir. It truly took my breath away. It was such a special moment. 

Dinner, drinks, and desserts immediately followed. Although we left pretty soon after enjoying devouring our delicious meal, we were able to say good-bye to many of the friends we were able to enjoy this amazing week with before departing. 

So. Off to bed we went. And at 3:00 am, our wake-up call came, reminding us that we had a FULL 24 hours of travel ahead of us. Honestly, though? We didn't mind. Because we were going to be reunited with our sweet babes, who we were really missing. 

Hello, USA! It's good to see you again!

Speaking of, our kiddos were in the best of hands all week. They had an absolute BLAST with their Uncle Damon and Aunt Jamie (who did fun things like make homemade ice cream and take them to feed horses at a nearby farm!) and Nana and Pop (who, it goes without saying, my little ones just adore. Pop even got to help coach at Banks' teeball practice since Coach Daddy was out of the country!). 

Yes, our babies really enjoyed themselves in our absence. But. There were two minor incidents that happened while we were away. The first involved the kids and grandparents getting locked out of the house. Could have happened to the best of us, especially since you cannot tell the doors are locked when you turn the handle inside the house. Nothing a quick trip from a locksmith couldn't fix. 

The second incident? Well. I take full responsibility for this. It could have easily happened when I was home. But my little stinker just chose to pounce when his parents were in a different country. You see, there has been a LARGE container of vasoline in Banks' room for the last few months. He has really dry skin, and we put it on his back right after his bath each night. 


One day, during his nap/quiet time, he very stealthily managed to strip himself down and cover his entire body in vasoline, while not giving any indication over the monitor (which was on the whole time!) that anything out of the ordinary was happening. The little mastermind then elected to cover his body with coins from his piggy bank. When his wonderful, awesome, amazing Aunt Jamie came up to check on him, she discovered the scene, at which point Banks proudly pointed to his vasoline- and coin-ridden body and exclaimed, "Look at my buttons!!" 

If only that were the end of the story. 


Our stealthy little fella also managed to slather the rest of the entire LARGE container of vasoline all over his floor. His carpeted floor. Although my wonderful, awesome, amazing brother and sister-in-law googled and tried everything they could to get that vasoline out of the carpet, no dice. I mean, it is slathered on, in, under, through, on top of, and over the carpet. There's no getting it out. 

A small sample of the vasolined carpet.

So. One little boy will now be getting brand new carpet in his bedroom. Little stinker. 

Regardless, if it's not evident by this three-part post series, we had an absolutely amazing time. Absolutely amazing. And if you're still here and reading, thanks for sticking it out. :) 

Until next time, Portugal. Adeus!

1 comment:

  1. Loved these posts about your vacation!!! It was a trip you SO deserved. :) xo!