Wednesday 15th March - We drove from Aveiro to Carregal do Sal, the small town where I lived for 12 years prior to coming to Australia. I still have some family there (both my parents were actually born there although they live in Cascais (30km from Lisbon), and I still have many friends with whom I had arranged to meet up.
|The small building where we used to live (2nd floor duplex above garage). My cousin's indoor pool|
I met with my friends at a Cafe and we had a couple of hours to catch up on each other's news.
We had dinner out with my cousins - traditional Portuguese food at a small restaurant where just the entrees were enough to fill us up. But of course, we couldn't leave without dessert. To tell you the truth, I'm actually not a fan of some of the more traditional food like tripe, but I ate broad beans with chourizo.
|Bones, Broad beans and chorizo, Tripe - Fresh cheese with pumpkin jam, Creme brulee|
Saturday 18th - After breakfast we drove 2,30h south to Cascais. Karina dropped me off at my parents and drove to Lisbon to meet up with university friends.
That evening the whole family (my parents, sister,brother in law, Karina and I met at a Restaurant "Jardim da Luz" in Lisbon to have dinner with my brother-in-law - Jose's younger brother who lives in the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. He flew over for the weekend to spend Father's Day with his daughter who is at University in Lisbon and to meet up with us too of course.
The interior of the restaurant was beautiful, and the food was good too.
Sunday 19th - Father's Day, and the family took Dad to brunch at Kafeine restaurant in the Cascais Marina.
After brunch Karina said her goodbyes as she had to go to the airport, hand in the rented car and fly back to Cologne in the late afternoon. It was lovely spending those 2 weeks with her.
|Brunch - bacon, mushrooms, eggs, avocado, halloumi cheese|
It was such a nice and sunny day and we headed to the nearby Marechal Carmona Park for a walk. I found some murals too :)
Monday 20th - In the morning, I went with my parents for a walk in a park near their neighbourhood.
|Sign: Home is where the homes are|
After lunch Dad and I took the train from Cascais to Lisbon and then the underground to go the inner-city suburb of Chiado to go the Eye Glass Factory, where he had a consultation and had new reading glasses made on the day.
|Buildings in Chiado area|
On the way there Dad showed me the Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs, a Catholic church on Rua Garrett. It got its name in memory of all the soldiers that died in combat defending the Christian faith. The baroque church originally built there was destroyed in 1755 during the earthquake that destroyed most of Lisbon. The current basilica was built in 1784.
|Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs|
Wednesday 22nd - I accompanied Mom and Dad to a high school in S. Joao do Estoril (not far from Cascais) for a talk my Mom gave about Portuguese consul in Bordeaux Aristides Sousa Mendes, who saved Jewish people during the WWII. At the age of 85 my Mom still worked on the Powerpoint presentation herself.
I'm very proud of her achievements, I've never even tried doing a Powerpoint...
The teenagers listened intently and at the end even asked questions. Mom was presented with a bunch of flowers and a book about the Cascais coast.
|Mom's presentation at the school|
Thursday 23rd - My sister and I drove to Lisbon. She is an estate agent and had to be present with her buyer for the transfer of the house deeds. While she was there, I walked to Colombo shopping centre, the largest shopping centre in the Iberian Peninsula with 340 stores! I went into a hardware store and I bought paints, brushes, etc as my sister had asked me to paint a rocking chair and a half-moon table she had.
She later met me at the shopping to look for lampshades for Mom, and as we couldn't find the right size we then drove to Ikea.
|Colombo shopping centre|
Friday 24th -Finished painting the half-moon table and the rocking chair.
At 5pm, my sister, brother-in-law and I (and their big dog Leah) drove to Vilamoura in the Algarve for the weekend. It was a warm weekend for the end of March.
|Vilamoura Marina, Ice-cream, bike as a support table outside a restaurant|
|Prawn curry, view from my sister's apt to the pool, Leah|
|A tiny electric car, Prawn Açorda made with bread, dinner with Jose's older brother and wife|
Saturday 25th - At dinner with Jose's older brother and sister-in-law, who live in Faro (Algarve) at a fish restaurant - Tintol. We returned to Lisbon on Sunday afternoon.
Tuesday 28th - Visited the Quinta da Regaleira (Regaleira Palace) in Sintra, with my sister.
We parked the car in the town centre and took a tuk-tuk up the hill to the palace.
The owner of the palace - Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, was a Brazilian mine owner who was fascinated with the history of the Freemasons and the Knights Templar, and he let his imagination run wild in the house and garden - the beautiful 5 floor palace with turrets and gargoyles built between 1904 and 1910 (only the main floor is now accessible to the public and is sparsely furnished), the four hectare gardens, being the star of this Palace with caves, hidden passages, a well.....
Entry fee is 11 Euros and the visit can take up to 2 hours.
|Side view of the palace|
|Some rooms inside the palace|
|The Chapel in the grounds|
|Door to the chapel, inside the chapel|
|Spiral staircase of the Initiation Well goes down 27 metres, leading to a cave under the gardens ending in a little lake and waterfall|
|Me inside one of the turrets|
|An intricate bench in the garden|
|Our tuk-tuk - Tugatuk|
Friday 31st - My parents, sister, brother in law and I left Cascais at 11am to Batalha, (1,45 north) as we had a wedding in Leiria that Saturday.
We stopped for lunch at Foz do Arelho (50min from Batalha), as the Airbnb would only be available from 3pm.
The we drove to Batalha, where we had rented an Airbnb - up to now the most beautiful place we have ever rented - modern, comfortable and tastefully furnished, and just a 5 min drive to the centre.
We unpacked, then drove to the supermarket to buy a few necessities and take photos of the Batalha Monastery.
Across from the supermarket I noticed this "cat shelter" for stray cats. The municipality supplies dry food for the pets and they can take shelter there at night.
|Batalha Monastery with statue of Nuno Alvares Pereira|
Prince Henry, later known as Henry the Navigator, was the founder of the School of Sagres, and responsible for Portugal's maritime conquests.
|Easter Eggs in the main square, made by kids from the Primary schools|
Also joining Tom's signs. Please check his blog for signs from around the world