There’s nothing quite like a good holiday is there? The past ten days or so, I’ve been gallivanting around Lisbon and the Setúbal Peninsula, which you might have seen from my social channels. At its hottest Lisbon was 36 degrees, which is hot and I wasn’t looked forward to walking in those sorts of temperatures. Luckily though we didn’t have to as as we moved out of the city centre the temperatures dropped by easily ten degrees. Sadly arriving back in London it seems they’ve dropped a further ten degrees but let’s hope that’s just a blip, and now that I’m back in the country the weather will start behaving.
So with a week full of new experiences, places and many photos I thought I’d take a slightly different approach to this post this week. I’m sharing a photo from each day, ahead of something fuller about this trip and will share some narrative about it too.
First up is this cistus, and many like it and it’s pink flowered version too. Along our walks, and on this day it was around the Cabo de Espichel, we saw many of these plants but few in flower. They also have a distinctive scent, often used in perfume, but it was in the Alentejo region that we first encountered these plants in full bloom along the coastline, and since then they’ve been a favourite.
They’re drought-loving plants, and have adapted for the warmer climate - the leaves are thinner and more waxy than the same plants in the UK, and I think their scent is stronger too. Either way they were a welcome addition to our walk, which also saw a goat herd walk by us and much closer than I expected.
In our third stop of the holiday (second of the walking element) our room was much more traditional and included these traditional Portuguese rugs. They were beautiful, but in a tiled floor a little problematic unless secured by furniture like this one.
This picture is of the gardens at José Maria Fonseca winery in Azeitao where we opted for a tour and a tasting. The winery is one of Portugal’s oldest, and one of two in the relatively small town. We’d hoped to take a tour at Bacalhôa too, but the timings didn’t work out. We did get to wander around their gardens too though, and they were quite different to this.
Friends saw us spend most of the day walking to the place we would have dinner. The eleven or so miles included a brief stop for lunch and about 4km of an overgrown path, which at times made you feel like you were losing the battle against and at others like David Attenborough. It was all worth it though, as this was our view for dinner, and yes, there was a taxi home that night!
The next day saw us move hotels again, walking through meadows and numerous Sesimbra windmills like this, and actually in all manner of states of repair, or disrepair. I lost count how many we passed, eight maybe nine, or more. I’m sure I’ll be able to work out how many from the photos, though on our walk the following day we spotted some more, so that may well confuse things. These though were along a ridge and were visible from our base at the Pousada.
I thought the shape of the windmills were familiar, they were similar to the one in Odeceixe, which I shared a while back, and had since forgoall about until these jogged my memory.
The walk on Sunday was circular rather than ‘moving on‘ and while there was only a 380m descent and ascent in the whole 12.7km walk, they came right at the start and right on top of each other too. In reality I’m less signed up for the circular walks, don’t get me wrong they’re usually good, but for me they don’t have real purpose, unlike the ‘move on’ days when you’re walkito the next hotel. So when there’s down and a very steep up, I was all for jacking it in except for the fact that I’d already done the down, so whatever happened I’d need to go up again. I was close to saying that line amount a smart ass, you know the one I mean.
But anyway, we did the walk and when it moderated itself it improved. We knew there wouldn’t be any bar or cafe stops along the way on this one so our plan was to eat on the way back, grab a bottle of wine and some snacks and have another hotel room picnic. I mean, we like food, but we find hotel stays are often dominated by food and quite often at times when we’re not hungry.
We did manage to put the plan in action, but the slight spanner in the works was the cork breaking in the bottle of wine for that evening. With only a Swiss Army Knife corkscrew (which by definition are smaller than a usual household corkscrew) and with much perseverance MOH eventually broke in, but not without a red wine blow back which saw us wiping down splatters in the bathroom and rinsing out his (thankfully pale pink) linen shirt.
The wine - from Quinta de Piloto - was pretty good, we’d stopped off during the walk and bought it direct for just €9, so it was worth the effort. Actually throughout this trip we’ve drunk some decent Portuguese wines, so I’d definitely recommend trying some.
We landed at City airport yesterday evening in the chilly wet weather, with perhaps not the best footwear, but travelling home from holidays isn’t about being sensible all of the time is it?
It’s back to work today though, and back to normal with perhaps a hint of holiday resolve and good intentions thrown in, and of course many, many photos to sort through and edit from our adventures. There’s definitely plenty to share, and even a loo or two for the Loo Series too.