Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Portugal 2

So my last post left off just after I had taken a bite of a maggot (argh!)...well, nearly anyway! However, I guess I should really start at the beginning of our trip for a proper recap.

Yes, my suitcase has legs! 
Our holiday to Portugal was a little last minute. We had all been under a lot of various stresses: work, new school schedules, etc... and we also acknowledged that this would probably be our last year of being able to take the boys off whenever we wanted (versus half term school holidays) so we found some cheap flights, hired a car (another cheap deal) and booked some accommodation through Airbnb. I'm not sure if any of you have ever used Airbnb before, but 'regular' people (as opposed to companies/hotels) list either rooms or whole apartments/houses that are up for rent for holiday users and generally cheaper and more interesting than just staying in a hotel. We have used it before and are big fans! This time was no different.

Our first point of call was the South of Portugal in the Algarve. I had never been to Portugal before but had heard many people talk about the Algarve and how nice it was. The beaches were lovely, the water wasn't too cold and the seafood was great! Unfortunately, we encountered a lot of rain. Luckily the rain was only intermittent so we just ignored it and carried on sight seeing and enjoying the pool. :)

Benagil Beach
Climbing the rocks at the beach
A few days later and after a 5 hour drive we had arrived in Amarante (just outside of Porto in the North of Portugal) for a few more days. The house we rented there was a lovely old farm house with a swimming pool and completely unbeknownst to us actually had fruit and veg aplenty growing right there on site. We had corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, chilli peppers (the hottest I have ever had, which is saying a lot!), lettuce, oranges, grapes, kiwi, some strange kind of apple and many others. It was amazing. We also collected chestnuts one night to roast on an open fire. The historic town of Amarante was pretty but once again the weather was just not behaving. It was cold and raining (a torrential downpour kind of rain). :(

Roasting Chestnuts

Local sparkling green wine!
Finally, with 3 days left of our holiday we got into the car (armed with our own food, I wasn't risking bugs, maggots or anything else again) and headed down South to Lisbon, Portugal's capital city! Our apartment was right in the centre and had the most amazing views of the city. We stayed in a modern apartment right in Barrio Alto. The weather while we were in Lisbon decided to cooperate as well so we were blessed with some hot and sunny days! It was great. :) We went exploring the city, had ice cream, rode on a tuk tuk, rode on the trams, had many delicious pastries and coffees (and of course more wine!).

Castle at the top of a hill (blocked by silly van)

Grumpy pose
I guess we didn't get up to as much as a normal tourist would but we think that sometimes just taking things easy and working with what we think the boys can do and will enjoy will lead to the best family memories. :)

We are back home now and looking forward to taking on the next couple of busy months in the lead up to Dun Dun Dah.....Christmas!! ;-)

What are your family holidays like? Do you fill them with sight seeing, take it easy or a bit of both? 

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