Friday, October 29, 2010


 My kids, who won't realize completely until we are back in the States just how lucky they are now, looked at the map and picked Portugal for the Toussaint break. Another country to add to the collection that they are assembling on the knickknack shelf of their lives. And because I'd be travelling solo with the kids due to my husband's work commitments, I said no to beaches and little villages and instead said okay to Lisbon and Sintra -- two places I could handle without a rental car.

Lisbon delighted us with its sunny skies, bright palette, amazing tiles, delicious pastries, and people warm enough to deal with our non existent Portugese. It's a bit of a ramshackle place with lots of graffiti, falling apart facades, and ever present laundry hung out to dry. But we found bits of beauty everywhere, ate filling meals at dirt cheap prices, and between Rick Steves and the Lonely Planet guides' suggestions, we kept plenty busy and entertained. (Say what you will about Rick Steves but I appreciate a man who has the good sense to tell you the location of the bus stop and the number of the bus that will take you to the tile museum.)

It's a funny thing spending a few days in a city like Lisbon, especially knowing that we are likely never to be back. We quickly mastered the maze of streets in the neighborhood surrounding our little apartment, figured out which codfish dishes we liked best, and ticked most of the major tourist sites off our list. But given what it's taken to acclimate ourselves to life in Paris, it's absurd to think that we could ever claim to know Lisbon at all. What can I say Lisbon? I hardly knew ye but thanks for the memories all the same.

I can never resist a group of street musicians, especially one as spirited as this lot.

These custard tarts were beyond delicious.  A little bit of heaven, piping hot at just 90 centimes a pop.

A small country with some pretty big names from the Age of Discovery

Believe it or not but the Marc Jacobs store was just around the corner from this mess.
Unbelievable views of the Pena Palace and the countryside surrounding Sintra



Duchesse said...

Rick Steves' a likeable chap:)

I've heard lots of good things about Portugal lately. Might be checking it out too:)

Your kids are very fortunate to have worldly parents:)

debbie in toronto said...

haha..MJ will approve...too bad about the darn's everywhere and such a blight...have a good weekend Anne

Jean(ne) in MN said...

Nice reminder of a visit back in the '60s using Europe on $5 a Day. We (2 female students) stayed in a convent and loved the city and a visit to Sintra. A good choice often forgotten European jaunts.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Lovely photos of Lisbon and surroundings. I can appreciate your perspective on "likely never to be back" which I often consider in my travels. How can you get to know a place in such a short period and yet what a rich experience for you and your children.

Bon weekend,

A Tale of Two Cities said...

I was really happy to see your photos and your thoughts about Portugal. A group of American gals living in London for this season of our lives is headed there next month. Looks like we'll really enjoy it!


MJ said...

Sigh. You know I love me some Portugal. Nice to see the place again from your perspective!

Anonymous said...

Oh, those Portuguese custard tarts are sooooo good. There's a place to get them in Paris somewhere - the Portuguese ladies at work bring them in sometimes - but I don't know where it is. Perhaps I should ask.

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