Monday, 22 August 2011

Portugal in a week

It can't be done! Nope, not at all!! Portugal in a week? You're kidding!!

So, if a week's all you've got, well, you just have to make the most of it, especially if you don't have a car which then limits you to the local bus service.

A week in Lisbon is easily done. What a capital!! You sense how laid back it is as the bus carries you in from the airport (kids pay the same as you, aye, ouch! Portuguese aren't happy because all the transport costs have risen. Still cheaper than ours if you don't factor in the children).

With a week you could explore the city then take a few days out to go to nearby Sintra, a fairy tale town, or one of the beaches. A week in Lisbon is good use of your time.

We didn't do this!!

In short we spent two nights in Lisbon,
two nights in Sintra (castles and palaces, gardens to get lost in!)
two nights in Nazare (Portuguese beach resort!)
and two nights in Coimbra (Portugal's premier university town)
and then it was over with half a night back in Lisbon and a 10 euro cab to the airport at 5am.

(Going out my son and I "slept" at heathrow as our 6.10 flight was too early for public transport. Our city is too big for cabbing it. My son never wants to repeat the experience and nor do I to be honest...)

It wasn't long enough our holiday, of course, but we got a feel for the country. We didn't make it to the caves and the dinosaur footprints but I'll close my eyes and dream upon another visit!
We travelled by train to Sintra then buses all the way (kids pay half fare).

It was all pretty easy and straightforward apart from once when after waiting for our connecting bus to Nazare for over an hour, we queued to get on and the driver said no, only my son could board as only he had a ticket. I'd thought 5 euros was cheap for the two of us, but what do I know in a foreign country?? "I can't let him board on his own" I erm, said, abandoning all sketchy portuguese, both of us weighed down by the packs on our backs. "Why would I do that???"

I ran to the ticket booths clutching my boy's hand, pushing into the front. "Our bus is leaving now!" It was midday and there wasn't another until 5pm. My heart was thumping. The people very kindly allowed me infront of them. I was told I only asked for a child's ticket. "Um adulto, um crianca", don't think so! Anyway, all ended well. Two buses were running and we got on the second. Phew!! I didn't want to get to Nazare at night with nowhere to stay!! Blimey no!!

My only advice when visiting Portugal is don't leave home without a phrasebook! Not everybody can speak english and making an effort with their language goes a long way with how people treat you. We were treated really well which I won't forget in a very long time!

Thank you everyone!


Frankie P said...

Man, you managed to pack a lot of places in for a week...

Stigmum said...

Yes we did. With more time we'd have moved some more because there was so much I wanted to see with him!

Anonymous said...

I'll have to come with you next time since I speak the lingo! The sort of travelling you to is very much up my street!

Stigmum said...

Oh yes!! Next time my boy's gone for a week in Ireland, we go for a week to explore the Port!! (Boat rides through canyons I read, how exciting would that be?!!)
Shame the Portuguese tourist board doesn't send us a couple of invites!!