Trip So Far

I have only posted the Hotels so far, and haven’t had time to tell you what we have done, where we have been, and then you can see why.

We have been to the Prado Museum and had a guide who was so passionate about the art he was telling us about, it was enrapturing just to be there. Explanations seem to give the paintings life. After a tour of Madrid by night, we retired for the night.

There was also a tour of Segovia, lots of walking and we opted not to go.

On Monday, we drove to Toledo and visited the gold Damasquinado factory, had some free time and a light lunch. I only had tomato/mozzarella salad with oregano, and Don ordered octopus salad. I will not comment but he did say he liked it and I loved mine. Of course Don had his beer and I, of course, had a glass of wine.

After lunch we drove to Salamanca and later dined at the Hotel. Again, very light.

On Tuesday, we left Salamanca and drove to Porto, Portugal. We took short walk and had lunch by the Douro Ribeira and then took a great tour of Caves Sandeman. This is where they make both a white and red Port, some of it is aged 100 years and a bottle of this very precious port is about 660 Euros. No, I didn’t buy any , but we were given a tasting.

We had a fabulous dinner in the evening and retired for the night.

On Wednesday we left Porto and drove to Fatima. We visited the factory of religious artifacts and then walked down to see the tree where the apparition took place. A small building (1 room church) was built just in front of the tree. Today it is housed in a large glass walled chapel. When you turn around you can see the modern Basilica that holds 60,000 people. That, my friends, is not an error. The ‘field’ held 3 million people when the Pope made a visit.  I believe our tour guide  said 4 Popes have visited this place.

After this we drove to the village of Obidos, a beautiful hidden gem in Portugal where a nice lunch was consumed and some shopping accomplished as well. (did you think I wouldn’t?)

We continue on to Lisbon  and rested for about an hour and went out for a super dinner across the Tagus river via ferry ride to a restaurant called Vale Do Rio. They stand outside the restaurant holding trays of beer {just to welcome you}. You order what you want to drink – If you happen to run out of the bottles of green wine, white wine, red wine, bottled water, any soft drink you can think of that are already sitting on the table.

They had about 6 courses to serve, but if you wanted more crab legs, for instance, just hold up the leg and more appears. The same with the shrimp, salad, bread, fish…the list seemed endless. Totally unforgettable experience.

Thursday, today, we had a great time seeing the highlights of Portugal. We drove to Cascais (fishing village on the beach), then on to Estoril which is the farthest western point of the European continent, then through Costa del Sol (rich beyond belief) and on to the lovely village of Sintra. Arriving back at our hotel just in time for me to catch up with everyone and getting ready for a super Fado Folklore dinner, followed by an illuminations drive around the city.

Now, you are caught up. I want you to know that we think Portugal is beautiful and, so far, ranks about #4 as one place you would want to live in.


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