Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Last Portugal Post

Since we were all staying up late in Portugal, I got a bit behind on the blogging. . . Here's some highlights from the last few days of the trip.
Took a really cool drive to "the end of the world" or at least to what Europeans used to believe was the end - the city of Sagres, where Portuguese King Henry set up his School of Navigation. All the major Portuguese explorers and even Columbus spent some time sailing around those cliffs. Today, it is a hot spot for surfers and we had a snack at this cute surf cafe owned by a nice French woman.

Drove to the mountain town of Monchique for a nice dinner with some good local ham and
chicken piri piri (yum), but the drive wasn't really worth it as we ended up getting lost high up on curvy mountain roads for two hours on the way home. Not the best night
of the trip (or of the last year . . )!!!!

Finally got a partially sunny morning on our last day in the Algarve, so William and Matt played tennis while Trevor, Yamini, and I took a walk on the beach collecting shells. The beach is really cool because of the high cliffs you pass through to get down there. The Atlantic Ocean wasn't even that cold, but we didn't have time for a swim since we were checking out of the hotel.

Our last stop in Portugal was the city of Evora, which has a beautiful medieval walled center. We stayed right outside the city in a hotel that used to be an old convent - still has a gorgeous chapel and all the old architecture was beautifully preserved. On Easter, the hotel had a great activity for kids. The chef took us all outside to plant trees on the expansive property, then back to the banquet kitchen to make pizzas an
d chocolate mousse. YUM!
The other highlight in Evora was seeing the Chapel of Bones, which yes, was literally lined with human bones to remind us all of our mortality. Would have been really creepy in there if it wasn't such a tourist attraction, so it was just plain cool, not too scary for the kids. Our dinner the last night was at the lovely restaurant Fiahlo where we had more great local wine and food.

The last morning we were up at dawn (for a change) to drive back to the Lisbon airport and head home! A great trip.

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