So, our final leg of the journey.... It was to be even closer to home but also a country I'd not yet been to. The first stop in Portugal was the capital Lisbon.
Nice little city, small for a capital so kept it's old charm. Nestled in between a few hills with a castle looking over the city. We had a great apartment with a big balcony looking out to sea. The first day we pottered around town, as always we sampled a few of the local beers and some local food!
The city's old town was small enough to walk around in a few hours and had loads of little alleys and spots to stop for a drink. Randomly in one area we walked straight into a film set for a local soap opera!
We had a few days here and there's not as much to see as Barcelona so there's a slower pace to the city. We took a trip up to the castle and a ride in a local Tuk Tuk, not quite the same as Asia with a ride for 20 mins costing the same as a whole day in Thailand!
Outside of Lisbon about 40 mins by train is a town called Sintra. A bit overrun by tourists now (although that could just be down to the August rush again) but still a beautiful place. The hill and forest around the town is full of mini castles and houses, each decorated in a fairy tail like style, some similar to those in Germany. The main one is a beautiful castle on the hill top, owned by kings over the years it was amazing to see. All different shapes, sizes and colours; a mix between German, Spanish and Portuguese styles. It was never a castle for defence and so was designed to be as lavish as possible.
The next estate further down the hill was something like an old stone Manor House with grounds full of hidden caves, towers, tunnels, waterfalls and all sorts. The main attraction of the grounds is a huge 20m well which includes a spiral staircase around the inside walls and a mosaic floor at the bottom. The buildings and grounds really were just built for a maximum show of wealth and extravagance for the millionaires who once lived in them.
The rest of our time in Lisbon was spent just mooching around town, eating, drinking and generally continuing the overindulging which really started 3 weeks ago in China!
We were definitely going into 'holiday mode' for the last month of the trip!