Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Portugal: Fave Sites and Food

MD COVID-19 UPDATE:  As of April 8, 2020, Maryland has 5,529 confirmed cases. According to the most recent press conference by Gov. Hogan, White House is designating DC-Baltimore as "an emerging hot spot" for coronavirus.

Please stay at home, starve the virus and flatten the curve.

This is our fifth week of staying and working at home.

Today, we're traveling to Portugal.

Portugal is truly a delight to explore. We flew to Lisbon in the Spring of 2018. From our past travels, we've learned not to pack so much on our itinerary. For this trip, we mainly picked the places that we're really interested to see and left much idle time people watching at parks, comparing one pastel de nata to another, and drinking tea and munching on pastries at cafes.

1)  Pena Palace overlooks the town of Sintra. Situated on top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains, it offers visitors a sweeping vista of the mountains and the towns afar and below. It is an uphill climb to reach the palace and so truth be told, I was drenched in sweat when I reached the top.

Palacio Nacional da Pena

Palace courtyard

2)  The westernmost point of the Sintra Mountain Range, Cabo da Roca. The lighthouse stands watch 165 meters above the Atlantic Ocean enjoying an astounding view and surrounded by blooming Carpobrotus flowers on the hill side.

3) Batalha Monastery, a Dominican Monastery, is a UNESCO World Heritage site built to commemorate the Portuguese victory over the Castilians at the Aljubarrot Battle in 1385. This is an impressive building, and if you're lucky to time your visit right, you can watch the changing of the guards.

4)  Although I am an Episcopalian, I am a product of Catholic education. Since grade school, I've read about the Marian apparitions as claimed by the shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinto. The place inspires visits from so many devotees from all over the world to offer candles and prayers. Whether you're a believer or not, it doesn't matter. Fatima offers a place of reflection, peace, healing, hope, and love.

Basilica of our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima

Chapel of the Apparitions - built in the 1920s to mark the exact location where the three children saw the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

5)  The beautiful seaside resort of Nazare.

Freshly caught fish for lunch.

There is something cozy about having lunch at the back alley of a fisherman's house, where we were served grilled fish with lemon, olive oil, vinegar and boiled potatoes.

6)  Obidos is a quaint medieval town with houses adorned with bougainvilleas and honeysuckles. It is also encircled by medieval wall.

Porta de Villa, the main gate entrance to Obidos.

Walking on top of the walls is a good way to see the town or simply to get a good exercise.

7)  Beautiful and fun Lisbon.

Belem Tower

Jeronimos Monastery

Padrao dos descobrimentos

Santa Justa Lift

Tile Museum or Museu Nacional do Azulejo

We were in time to see a performance at the Fado Museum.

Time Out Market Lisboa

8)  Food we really enjoyed - roasted pork, Pasteis de Belem, Bifanas, and more pastries.

Roasted pork with crispy skin

Pasteis de Belem

Travesseiro de Sintra or Sintra's Pillows at Fabrica de Quiejadas in Sintra.

Cornucopia Pastries

Clams in white wine sauce

Bifana platter

Grilled Pulpo with Olive Oil - our favorite.

How can you say no to these enticing pastries?


  1. Please keep these posts coming. It's so interesting to see different parts of the world and your photos are beautiful.

  2. Ah, thanks for that virtual tour. That lighthouse would be a lovely place to be quarantined, wouldn't it?

    1. Thank you. I agree, the lighthouse would be a great place to be quarantined.

  3. When all this is over, hopefully, I can return to Portugal and explore more of the country instead of just staying in Lisbon. I want to go so bad it hurts, :)

    I love their paella negra in Lisbon more than the Barcelona version for some reason. And pasteis somehow does not impress me yet. Maybe it's a personal preference because even the Chinese version is not my fave.

    1. I don't like the Chinese version. It's not as creamy as the Portuguese version.

      I know what you mean. It's a bad time to get travel fever.

  4. Oh wow, I have a sweet tooth and love pastries. Those sumptuous pastries made my mouth water. This quarantine period has me craving for many sweets like pastries, donuts and cakes. I know bad timing. LOL

    Portugal especially Fatima is on my bucket list.

    Stay safe, Kayni and Jeff.

    1. I've always wanted to go to Fatima. I hope you can go too. It's such a powerful place to visit especially if you grew up reading about the Marian Apparitions.

      Stay safe.