30 March to 2 April
Talk about an early morning, this morning we were in our Uber (a little late may I add) at 4h30 and quickly to CDG for our 6h20 flight to Lisbon!
We arrived just after 8h local (there is a 1 hour time difference from France to Portugal) and we picked up our rental car with no issues, well at least with the picking up part, but loading it was another thing altogether. We had a Smart car, which if you don’t know them they have 2 seats and very little luggage space yet we had 2 carry-ons plus Jer’s massive golf bag. We played a very good game of Jenga to get all the stuff in the car.
From the airport we drove along the coast enjoying a beautiful day. We stopped in the town of Carcavelos to see the tennis center (Jer might have a trip here in the future) as well as have breakfast at Páteo dos Prazeres.
After breakfast we headed down to the beach and walked around a bit enjoying watching some of the early morning surfers.
After we were done walking around we continued along the coast and our next stop was at Boca do Inferno. This is a place where the waves crash against the cliffs with such force and the waves are so massive you can get wet on land. The surf wasn’t up too much this morning so we didn’t spend much time.
It was almost noon at this point and we needed to make our way, finally, to our hotel, Quinta da Marinha, since we had a 14h20 tee time for our first round today.
After getting checked in and settled into our room we headed over to the pro shop so we could hit a few balls before we headed out for our round. It rained off and on while we were at the range and we assumed that was going happen all round too, but we were prepared for this. We also found out that we were walking during our rounds this weekend!
The play was very slow for the first 3 holes then the group in front finally let us play through. As expected it rained for most of the front 9 but we were able to stay pretty dry until the 12th hole when it started pouring! We got soaked, but kept playing, until we got to 17 when the sun finally came back out!
After the round we enjoyed some much needed drinks and snacks at the bar and tried to figure out where we were going to eat dinner. We settled on the sushi and seafood dinner special the hotel was offering that night, which I had the best mussels of my life, because it included alcohol and we had a long day so we were pretty tired.
Today was the day we set aside to explore as much of Lisbon and surrounding area as we could. We started the day in Cascais with the thing we like to do in every city we visit, a Saturday morning market. After enjoying the entire city we relaxed with a coffee before dropping off our shopping spoils back at the hotel and moving on to our next stop.
Our first stop of the afternoon was Praia do Guincho which was a stunning beach along the western coast of Portugal in Sintra National Park.
Our next stop was Cabo da Roca, known as the westernmost point of continental Europe (and also super crowded with tourists).
At this point in the day we were starving so we went into the closest town and had lunch at Restaurante Típico Pão De Trigo.
After a great lunch we were on to our final stop of the day, Palácio da Pena, and honestly the one we had been looking forward to the most. There was absolutely terrible traffic as there is only one way in to the entrance and not very much parking. This stunning palace had amazing gardens that you hiked up through in order to get to the actual palace and the tile work on the outside of the castle was also absolutely amazing. I mean this was home to multiple Portuguese kings and queens over the years so it is not surprising.
After fighting through some additional traffic on the way back we got back to the hotel around 18h. This evening we had a dinner reservation at 20h and we also wanted to take some time to explore Lisbon itself before hand since we had yet to go into town itself since we arrived. Thanks to a quick turn around we had about an hour before dinner to explore the area around Time Out Market and the waterfront.
Dinner tonight was special as we were experiencing Fado music, a Portuguese specialty, for the first time ever. Restaurante O Povo was an excellent recommendation as not only was the music amazing, but the food was great as well, especially the octopus!
After a solid 2.5 hour dinner we made our way back to the hotel as we had a 07h45 tee time in the morning.
Happy Easter! Although it was a little chilly, and still very wet, this round was much better overall and since it was so early we finished in a little over 3 hours!
The weather really started to get nice out towards the end of the round so we decided to have lunch on the patio at the hotel afterwards.
After lunch we decided to go explore more of Lisbon itself so we got showered and headed to the Belém area to the west of the city center. We started at Belém Tower and then walked along the entirety of the waterfront area to a statue in tribute to Henry the Navigator. We could see Jerónimos Monastery from where we were so we decided to walk over and take a look at it as well. We happened across a market/brocante where Jer got a really nice handmade pair of shoes. After seeing the monastery it was time to make the walk back to where we had parked. We stopped at Spot Tal, one of he many food trucks/carts along the waterfront, for a beer and to figure out where to explore next (and for some people watching of course).
Once we finally got back to our car it was time to go to the next spot. When researching Lisbon Jer had seen the LxFactory online and it looked like a cool craft market so we decided to head there. After struggling to find some parking we finally got lucky and then we made the rest of our way by foot to the market and explored for a while. Even though there were many different shops and artist stalls I only ended up buying a ring to add to my collection. We then went to Rio Maravilha which was a rooftop bar overlooking the river. It was the most hipster place we have ever been to but we loved it.
After enjoying the beautiful weather we headed back to Time Out Market since we didn’t get a chance to eat there last night and grabbed a seafood dinner followed by some very highly recommended gelato and pastel de nata, which is a custard pie. After another fun day we headed back to the hotel for the night!
This morning we took our time waking up as we had requested late checkout. The real reason for late checkout was so that we could use the spa at the hotel!
Around noon we headed back in to Cascais because I saw a dress the other day and wanted it (Jer was a good sport). We had to be really quick because we were having lunch with someone Jer was meeting to set up a tennis trip to Portugal. Their offices were in Belém so they took us to one of their local favorites, Restaurante Rosa dos Mares. We had a traditional Portuguese lunch, a kind of a cod fish scramble eggs with potatoes. It was much better than it sounds I promise.
Once we were done with lunch and some really good chats it was time for us to head to the airport to catch our 16h45 flight. We thankfully had no issues and we were home by 21h30.