Journal, Travel

Portugal-Day 1

It has been three years since we took a vacation.  We were so excited that we almost missed our flight from Denver to Atlanta.  If you have been a parent, you know how busy you get.  We were just so relax by sitting at the gate that we didn’t notice the gate changed.  They even called us through the intercom.  We spent the next 12 hours recovering from the horror of Portugal almost didn’t happen.

It was 8 AM when we walked out of custom at Lisbon airport.  We had to find our way to Sintra.  Thanks to Google.  It mapped out what we needed to do to get to Sintra.  First find the subway station.  Take the subway from Aeroporto to Oriente.  Then take the Sintra-Oriente train all the way to Sintra.  That was easy!  

The train ride was about 40 minutes for 2.25 euro.  I was pretty exhausted then I just wanted to relax on the train.  I noticed there were a lot of graffiti along the train ride.  They are on train stations, building exteriors, walls.  Seemed a bit excessive.  

When we finally got off at Sintra, we needed to find our way to our Air B&B.  The first thing I noticed when we exited the train station was the two-person cars parked across the street (and a Chinese restaurant).  My eyes widen because I’ve been dreaming having a car like that for the past few years. I really hope I get to try them during this vacation, I thought to myself.   As things don’t go as planned, at least I can hope.  Don’t get disappointed when I don’t.

We walked up and down, up and down.  Finally found our Air B&B.  By then, it was almost 11 AM.  We weren’t supposed to check in till 2 or 3 pm.  Luckily, our host let us leave our luggage.  We went out to town to get acquainted.  

We were starving.  So we stopped at a pastry shop at the center of the village.  Coffee was a must.  I don’t know if it’s because we were on vacation, or European coffee is just amazing, we loved drinking coffee here.  Then I looked at their pastries.  I saw Pastel de nata, or as we called them in Chinese, Portuguese tarts.  I grew up eating this.  Portugal occupied Macau for a long time.  It was finally returned to China in 1998.  The only Portuguese cuisine spread to southern China was these egg tarts.  So seeing Pastel de nata here almost feels home to me.

After we filled our stomach, we walked around town and tried to find a supermarket.  Google pointed us to the other side of town, which meant we had to go pass the train station.  We walked along this big winding road appeared to be the main street from the train station to town center.  We found ourselves walking against traffic.  Along this winding road, there were many statues and street vendors that sell touristy trinkets.  Seemed to me their most notable trinkets was the accessories, such as handbags and hats that made out of cork.  There were a lot of cork trees in the area.  But seeing cork handbags and hats was my first time.  Tiles with blue print pictures was another big thing I noticed.  Guess what you’ll get from cork and blue print tiles? Hot pads! I got a couple myself as souvenir.  

When we got back from the supermarket, it was three o’clock.  We checked in with our host, Carole.  She named her place Cinco.  She had a binder of information about the town and the apartment.  She walked through the binder with us.  It was so informational.  Her apartment was very equipped.  There was a washing machine, ironing board, and iron.  She provided breakfast.  There were eggs, yogurt, juice, and water in the fridge.  A loaf of bread and coffee in the kitchen.  When we ran out, she would refill those items.  Our beds were made daily.  It really felt like staying at home.  

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