Monday, 26 October 2015

What Cat & John Did | Portugal - Lisbon, Leiria & Nazaré


So a couple of weeks ago, John and I headed off to Portugal for a week. During the week we travelled around Leiria where my family come from, Nazaré and Lisbon to see family, meet my new baby cousin and just generally have a nice relaxing time away. I took a few photos along the way that I thought would be nice to document. Looking at these I forget how beautiful Portugal can be and the little secrets you can find in each place you go.

After a two and a half hour flight, an hour delayed on top of that AND a two hour car journey to Leiria, we finally arrived at the hotel we were staying at and said a quick hello to my cousins just so they knew we'd arrived. It was about 11pm when we finally arrived there so we were pretty tired. The next day was already planned out with a big family meal so I could say hello to everyone and then a casual trip to Nazaré which most people know as the best place to surf in Europe. Only during the months of January and February I've been told.

Nazaré


Nazaré is absolutely beautiful. I've been there before a couple of times but I'm still always amazed at the views. The waves were constantly crashing on the beach but this is calm for Nazaré. I couldn't think what these will look like in January when the surfers come to town!


We took a little walk in the local church too, which was absolutely beautiful. Almost everything was painted in gold and white. I'd never been in the church before so it was quite a sight for me.


My cousins who'd brought us to Nazaré then took us to the other side of the cliff where you could walk right up to the water. At the end of this long and steep track, we got to a building which kind of looked like an old castle. I wasn't too sure. Behind there, there was a very steep and small set of metal stairs taking you right down near the water. It was fun, but I was a little fearful of the steps on the way down and up because they were so small!

Leiria

For the rest of the time we stayed in Leiria, we spent a lot of it with family. We sat down and ate countless meals, and when we were chilling back at their home, John was often found playing with their new pup Pepe whilst I cuddled the newest princess in the family! It rained on the first couple of days, but the third was scorching hot! It was perfect, because we were worried we'd been stuck with rain for a week.




Leiria Castle

Because the weather had turned so nice, we took a trip to the shops right at the centre of town and then a trip to the castle. Me and John love a good castle, and I'd always wanted to go up to it. This time we decided to go and took my cousin and her other half along with us.


The castle was pretty much in ruins but it was still beautiful to see it in it's original state. The views from the top were amazing as it sat on the highest point of the town.


There wasn't much to see, but the structure itself, but it was worth going to. I love history, and it was nice to see something the way it's been left and more or less untouched since it's original use.


After four days in Leiria we headed to Lisbon. We decided to spend our week split, because both of us had never seen Lisbon before properly and though I did want to see all my family and spend some good time with them, we wanted to explore a little bit and relax just us two. I was also going to see my Dad and sister who lives just outside Lisbon, which I was really excited about.

Just Outside Lisbon

We drove to Lisbon on a really lovely warm day and after giving back our hire car and being picked up by my Dad, he showed us the beautiful road he likes to go mountain biking on which was a breathtaking sight. This road was super steep and sooo long and I still don't understand how he does it, but I couldn't get over it's beauty. You could see far out into the water and what looked like small tiny towns down below. It was gorgeous and I wanted to sit up there all day!




Breathtaking isn't it?


A day full of travelling and this beautiful sight was finished off with dinner at my Dad's. We had some amazing steaks and chips from his favourite takeaway and for the rest of the evening sat chatting and catching up before heading back to our hotel.

Lisbon City Centre


Lisbon is amazing! I loved the structure and it reminded me a lot of Barcelona. I loved the streets, the architecture and walked around for hours just me and John. We were going to go up to the castle, but after having been in one already, we didn't fancy another. We instead, went round exploring the city and shopping a little bit. It was just lovely to have nothing special to do for the next two days :)



I spent a lot of the days taking loads of photos when I got the chance to. There were so many beautiful places and things to see, I didn't ever put my camera away.




We ate in some great places including the Hard Rock Café Which has to be my favourite and I'm sure was John's favourite too! It was nice to have familiar food since we'd been eating Portuguese food all the holiday and the atmosphere was amazing.



Just Outside Lisbon Part 2

On our last full day we had half the day in Lisbon and then headed off on the boat bus to the other side of the river where my Dad would be waiting for us. My sister had a shorter day at school so she'd be having an afternoon with us.
My Dad took me and John to see some of the prettiest places just outside Lisbon. Of course living there he knew exactly where to go and he didn't disappoint. I couldn't tell you where they were right now, but they were pretty.



The holiday was a very busy one seeing lots of family, having countless dinners and seeing all the sights. But I wasn't ready to go home, just because it's hard leaving family there. It was a lovely time though, and I did everything I wanted to. John and I have also been given some recommendations from family on where we should go next and it looks like we've added Azores and Porto on the list as well as Rio which was already on my personal list! I have some video clips from the holiday too so you may see a short vlog coming soon... it just depends when I get to it.

Have you ever been to Portugal? Where is your favourite place there?
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