Nov 19, 2018

Porto, Portugal

Part 2 of our last big trip was to Porto, Portugal.  We woke up in Lisbon and hopped on a train to Porto!
 The kids ate breakfast and played cards the majority of the ride.
 The mosaic tiles and water front views were even more stunning in person.
 Porto was so charming and very accessible.  We walked most places even though some were across the river.  They have a large bridge that is walkable, even with little ones.
I am not sure what was going on this day, but these two were inseparable.  They laughed and whispered and held on to each other all day long.

 After some site seeing and checking out the water front we had some local fresh food.  Our favorite was the grilled octopus and fries.

 We walked across the bridge just in time to see a man jump!  Don't worry, he was totally fine!  You can see the crowd that had gathered to watch.

 Port wine is from Porto so we had to visit some of the local wineries.  I expected the kids to sit still and be quiet while Ryan and I attempted a tasting.  I can't express how welcoming they made us and our children feel.  Each winery would bring out "wine" for the kids (really just grape juice) and made them feel so special.
 Bobo wanted to buy this so bad- his name and my birth year:)

 Bobo loved being at Graham's winery and seeing his given name written all over.
After a long day in the city and wineries we went back to our hotel.  If you are going to Porto, with or without kids, you  have to stay at the Yeatman Hotel.  The views, the room and the staff are amazing. 

The twins loved relaxing on our patio, running around in the grass before swimming in the pool overlooking the city and a long warm bubble bath!
 We had drinks on the patio and then dinner at Taylor's.  I have to say we were very disappointed in Taylor's.  I wouldn't recommend going for dinner, but maybe just visiting their winery.  We felt pretty lucky only having one let down meal over an entire week trying new places.

 Even though we didn't love the food, we did love the company!
The next morning we had a big breakfast at the hotel and then waited in the long line to visit Lello Bookstore.  This book store has so much history and charm.  JK Rowling used to teach in Porto and would frequent this bookstore!
 We each picked out a book to buy and even read a few more while browsing.  Ellie picked a cookbook, Ryan and I travel books and Bobo a kids book about the history of the library.
 Next, more shopping!
 We walked across the top level of the bridge and then took these cable cars that went above the city.

 Lunch and gelato before visiting a few more wineries.

 The staff at Offley's gave twins a flight of juice and water and taught them how to properly taste it.
 Ellie was cracking us up doing this over and over so seriously.
 For dinner the second night we ate at the hotel.  We ordered one more final round of our Portugal favorites.  We don't let our kids order off kids menus, especially at unique restaurants.  On the last night the waiter mentioned a burger as a special and Bobo's eyes got wide and he asked nicely if he could order it.  After a week of seafood and new adventures cuisine we said of course.  So he ordered "a bacon cheeseburger with pickles".  After it arrived and he took a few bites I noticed it had something white in it.  I asked him what was on it and it had thick prosciutto as the bacon and picked cauliflower for the pickles...and he loved it haha!

 We ended our week in Portugal with one last glass of Port wine and one last gorgeous sunset.
 We got home late Sunday night and these two were holding hands on the way to school just a few hours later.  They got to present their travels to their class the next day and now we start the process of planning our next big adventure together!

Nov 8, 2018

Lisbon, Portugal

We recently went to Portugal for the twins fall break.  They had a day off of school and we took an addition few days to make it a week vacation.  Portugal has been on our bucket list and it is an easy flight and only 5 hour time change so we decided this was a perfect time to go.  
 These two love to travel together.  They are so kind and patient and I could not be more proud of them!
 First flight was short so we ate dinner at the air port and then watched a show.
 I look rough in these make up and ready for bed will do that though haha!
Second flight was a red eye and we tried our best to get as much sleep as possible.  For us these over night flights are great because even if you don't sleep great, it helps you get on the same time as your destination faster!
Once we landed and checked into our rental house we headed out for some food.  We decided our first ride should be in a Tuk-tuk!
 I can not tell you how much cured meat and cheese we ate, but it was alot and it was delicious!!!

 After lunch we walked around and checked out the mosaic tiles on the buildings and side walks.  We had seen a ton of pictures, but seeing it in person is so much better!

 We stopped in a local bakery for the first of many pasteis de nata!!

 We did some shopping and site seeing.

 We went to the top of the Santa Justa Elevator.  The view at the top of the endless red roofs was spectacular!
We visited the Carmo Convent and then took a tuk-tuk to time out market for lots of local grub!

 Most of the restaurants don't start dinner service until 7:30.  Being our first night and coming off a red eye flight I knew we would be hungry and tired so Time Out Market was the perfect first dinner.  We could eat earlier and as much as we wanted.  We were able to try lots of local wines and cuisine.

Our rental was absolutely perfect and we mostly enjoyed all the space (not all in one room like a hotel) and the sunsets/sunrises!
The first morning we woke up to the sound of birds and boat horns, it doesn't get better than that. 
We were fortunate to get a private tour guide for the entire day we explored a little outside of Lisbon.  First stop (after coffee and pastries) was Pena Palace.  This castle looks like one Princess Jasmine would live in!  We got extremely lucky with the weather.  Our guide says that up on the mountain they have clear blue skies a few days a year!  Usually it is foggy and drizzling!  

 The views and tiles were stunning.   Bobo loved this one the most.

 Here is Andre answering the twins questions.  He was so sweet and patient with them.  He treated them like big kids and took the time to explain things to them in a way they could appreciate.
Next we went into Sintra for more coffee and pastries! Here we had their well known "pillow pastry".
 Why do we not have good coffee in the US?  Also why is our coffee so expensive??  In Portugal we would both get coffees or cappuccinos, a few pastries and a bottled water and our total would be $4-5!  That is how much we pay for one latte in the US!
As we drove towards lunch the kids fell asleep.  Since dropping their nap last summer they love some car cat naps!
We made our way to Adraga Beach and ate at the little restaurant on the water.  Luckily our tour guy knew the owners and they selected some of their best dishes for us to try.

 Our kids are adventurous eaters, but even we were surprised by all they tried and loved on this trip.  Ellie and Bobo both loved the clams and large prawns.  Ellie even enjoyed the fish...and playing with the head afterwards.

 After lunch we enjoyed running around the beach and soaking up the beautiful sunshine.

 Next we made our way to the most westward part of Europe, Cabo da Roca, and enjoyed all the spectacular views it had to offer.

 Our last stop was in our tour guide, Andre's,  home town of Cascais. This little town was so charming and relaxing.  If we go back to Portugal again I would love to spend an entire day here.  I can't brag enough on my kids with time change and travel, but also lucky to have a sweet husband that will let them nap on his shoulder when they get too tired.
 We told the kids they had enough treats so far...they walked away and started whispering and came back negotiating to share one instead.  Hard to say no when they are so sweet I guess.
 I could have literally stopped every 5 feet and taken a picture because it was so picturesque.
When we arrived back in Lisbon we all took showers and got dressed up for dinner at Ramiros. 
 We have seen this restaurant on several food shows and were all four so excited to try it out!
 One of the highlights of the meal was selecting our own live lobster for them to prepare for us.

 Surprisingly our favorite thing to eat was probably the barnacles.  Our kids loved them so much we ordered a second plate!

 The staff at Ramiros loves kids and would constantly come by and make them laugh.  We just enjoyed this time together and meal so so much!

 Another fun thing is they serve a steak sandwich for your dessert!
 Another day and another beautiful sunrise.  We would sleep with all these living room doors wide open so it was the first thing Ryan and I saw each morning.
 I love this picture so much.  The bedhead and lovie in hand while watching the town wake up.
 Here is a view from the kids room.  They had several double doors that we would leave open at night allowing fresh cool air in.  After they woke up they would get dressed and then observe outside and plan the days adventures.
 Ellie fell in love with the top part of my coffee on this trip.  She would light up when they would bring me my coffee and grab her spoon and start to scoop off the top.

 Lisbon is a large city and there is so much to do and see so after breakfast we made our way to the other side of the city to tour the Belem Tower.

 This felt like a real battle ship tower.  They had cannons and a prison we were allowed in.  They also had a narrow tall staircase with views at the top over the river and city.  This allowed the kids to play and run around and pretend, which they loved.

 Gelato break!
 Here are the tiny twins next to the grand Monument of Discoveries.
And of course we had to go to Pasteis de Belem where they have the original Pasteis de nata.  Ryan and the twins rated all the different ones they ate over the 3 days we were in Lisbon and the original ones won!

After lots of sight seeing around Belem Tower we made our way back towards our house and had lunch outside at Capito a Mesa.  The atmosphere and view here were perfect and relaxing.  We couldn't get over how friendly the staff is at most restaurants in Portugal.  They loved on our kids, we are talking holding their face in their hands and kissing their cheeks!  Ryan and I joked that if a waitress in the US came up and kissed our kids we would be shocked, but here it felt normal and kids loved it!
What do you know another pastry!  This time the kids got to watch how they made them and ask questions before trying one fresh out of the oven.  After some sugar energy we headed to Castelo de sao Jorge...yet another beautiful castle.
 Lisbon is built alot like San Fransisco....lots....and lots of hills!  Got to work off those pastries though!
The kids would not stop asking to ride Tram 28!!  There are lots of trams around the city, but Tram 28 is most well known for tourist. You buy your tickets at a local store (make sure you buy enough for two ways) and hop on at any stop.  On the first part of the ride we didn't have a seat so we stood and tried to keep our balance while checking out the views of the city.  

Here is the final stop where they make you get off and wait in line to get back on for the ride back...we couldn't figure out why, but we went with it.
Good thing was on the way back we got good seats!!!!  This was a great way for the kids to see the city.   Our kids picked up on the fact that no one offered us (especially the kids) a seat on the first ride.  I feel like in the US we are a little more hospitable and chivalrous.

 On our last night in Lisbon we checked out some local stores and did some shopping.
 Portugal is known for their canned fish.  Sounds gross, but it is not!  We stubbled upon one of the stores that sells lots of different varieties and sampled a ton before each picking out one flavor.  Ryan and I loved the white fishes, Bobo the canned salmon and Ellie the eel!
Here are the kids at our dinner right at sunset.  It is hard to see, but the bridge and Jesus statue are in the far distance.  We lucked out with the weather and being able to eat all our meals outside and enjoy so many pretty sunsets!
 Gelato for the walk judging how many sweets we ate...we also ate alot of fish and healthy stuff I swear!
 Last sunset in our home in Lisbon before heading to Porto the next morning!  I have to say I was excited for Portugal, but it far outweighed my expectations.  It is such a charming city with so much cultural and history.  Perfect mix between a relaxing vacation and adventurous travel!