You know that feeling when you are first falling in love? The giddiness? How the whole world looks better because you have this awesome warm glow all the time? That may be how I feel about Portugal. And this guy below – St. Jorge.
This was my first long trip in over 10 years – when I say long – I mean a trip over two weeks. Investing in the time and money to get to Europe from the west coast of the U.S. is substantial and I have made several trips over the past 10 years – they have been at most 11 days. Which just isn’t long enough. Two and a half weeks isn’t long enough.
But it was long enough to fall in love with Portugal. The people, the natural sights, the beaches, the churches, the food…. if you only go to Portugal to eat Nata’s it will be worth it.
Our first night in Lisbon we walked through the lovely Alfama neighborhood up to the Caste of St. Jorge (I love the Portuguese spelling by the way). And that’s where this guy hangs out. He is the king of his castle and master of his domain.
The castle is impressive and always brings out the 13 year old make believe child in me. But the views are better. You can see across the huge estuary of the Tejo River – ferry boats criss crossing and Lisbon has several impressive bridges – including a Golden Gate look a like suspension bridge. Red roofs as far as the eye can see, which at sunset glows like no other city I have been to. We watched the sun say goodbye to Lisbon from the castle walls – our faces smiling and glowing with the magical color of the Portuguese sun.
A great moment but the walk down after sunset was even more memorable. Tiny curvy streets with cute little hole in the wall restaurants and bars. Laughing Portuguese families and couples – I want to move here. We had a great meal in one of these that caught our eye – great wine, olives, cheese, bacalao (Portugese national dish), a little more wine.
Then a long saunter down through the neighborhood. We stopped to listen to a Fado singer – and peered into numerous lively restaurants – “we have to come back here…” we exclaimed. Happy Lisboetas wandered with us as we got lost and found again on our way back to our apartment. Is this really Sunday night in Lisbon?