The smell of sardines on the barbecue, brightly coloured garlands hanging across winding alleyways, beautiful tiled walls and rickety trams. All these things I associate with my week in Lisbon this June.
I visited with my family and we did so much, rather than list everything in my journal, I've chosen a few images and put together short descriptions of our wanderings.
Our apartment was halfway up a steep alleyway in Lisbon's Alfama district, from our apartments pretty terrace we could see terracotta rooftops, tall chimneys and colourful flowers on balconies. We could also see the water. This view was from a platform round the corner, historic tram 28 winds through the district.
Colourful Pena Palace is a main stop on a day trip to Sintra. It's roughly 45 minutes by train and then a bus ride away unless you're particularly fit and a fan of steep hills! Inside Pena Palace are ornately decorated rooms and it boasts spectacular views, you can see for so many miles it's unreal. The grounds are extensive and there are a lot of hidden gems to discover, it's worth arriving early with lots of energy as there is so much to see.
Belém is a pretty and leafy district a tram ride away from the city centre. Here you can find Belém Tower. When we visited it was a very hot day, my mum and I sheltered under a tree people watching while my other half Craig and my brother Matthew took photographs. Whilst in the area we ate a delicious Italian lunch, visited Jerónimos Monastery and I got my art fix at the fantastic and free Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Quinta da Regaleira is also in Sintra but we visited on a seperate day, it was my favourite place in the Lisbon area. Full of pretty plants and flowers, statues, ponds and unusual sights. There are tunnels behind waterfalls, initiation wells, hidden doorways and tall towers, it felt like we had jumped into a fairytale.
Now, I'm not a beach person. I once spent 4 weeks in Fiji where there wasn't much to do except relax by the sea and so I think I've exceeded my beach time quota. However, we did spend one day out of seven in Cascais a pretty seaside town. We spent the whole day on a lounger, I read my book (On The Road by Jack Kerouac) sipped piña colada and watched people play in the freezing cold ocean. It was pure heaven.