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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

A Quickie in Lisbon - Day 586

It was 16th November 2017 that we left the UK and our first destination was Lisbon. We remember it well, we got on a train going the wrong way! And here we are again, 586 days later and what adventures we’ve had since then. (We still get lost!).

After a night flight and a recent 30-hour coach journey, we were feeling a bit jaded. Rather than going into the buzz of the city centre, I found a place to visit on the outskirts while having a much-needed intake of caffeine.

We arrived at Palácio dos Marquesas da Fronteira, a 17th-century palace which was a hunting pavilion for Dom João de Mascarenhas who was given his title as 1st Marquis of Fronteira by King Afonso VI for his loyalty during the Portuguese Restoration War.

Our guide arrived taking us around part of this noble house, still home to the Marquesses of Fronteira today. The house is renowned for the 17th and 18th-century azulejos blue and white tiles, with one panel depicting the War of Restoration in detail, but it’s the gardens that are the pièce de résistance. Unfortunately, preparations for an event precluded us from visiting part of it, but we could still see how stunning it is from the windows.

The area we could visit had more tiles, a water feature with grotto, a chapel in the cellar and seven sculptures of Roman and Greek gods; Diana (Moon), Mercury, Aphrodite (Venus), Apollo (Sun), Mars, Jupiter and Chronos (Saturn).

When we were waiting for the tour to begin, a beautiful, chic lady came over and chatted with us. Yasmene was originally from Turkey and now lives in Bath with her husband, who was at a Conference in Lisbon. After our tour, we shared an Uber into the city and ended up having lunch together. Our meal at Agua Benta was delicious, highly recommended, and we had such a delightful conversation with Yasmine. I hope we meet up again.

Yasmine had recommended a small museum just up the road about the life of Amália Rodrigues, a highly popular fadista and actress. It was her home for 45 years until her death aged 79 in 1999 and left in its original state. We had our own guided tour and enjoyed walking around, seeing her flamboyant clothes, kitschy costume jewellery, and stylish rooms.

I could hear a Parrot calling and thought it was a recording, but when we entered the kitchen, there was her Congo grey parrot, beautiful slate grey with a vibrant orangey-red tail. Sadly it stopped talking when we arrived. Probably thinking “I’m not a performing monkey, you know”.

We wandered around, through a nearby park, popped into a rather grand church, then decided that the only thing we HAD to do was to have a Nata…not the chatting kind, we’d done plenty of that today, but a small Portuguese tart. A café with excellent Nata reviews was found on Google Maps. It was a hot 40 minutes’ walk, but good to stretch our legs after being squished in the aeroplane. And the Natas? Oh, so worth it.

So, the end of our lovely quick, alternative visit in Lisbon. We had a 10-hour stopover here from Brazil to Seville, so yet another flight to catch.

Strictly speaking, the next bit is day 587, hey-ho, my rules to break! We arrived in Seville early hours of the morning and had booked in a hotel with a 24-hour reception. When we arrived, it was all shut up with a note to call their sister hotel for the key. Another Uber and 40 minutes later, we returned to find that the key fob didn’t work for our room. By this time it was 2 am. Luckily before the crescendo of fury erupted, I noticed the door lock and tried one of the keys. Were we relieved that it opened our door? Yes - Understatement of the year. Phew!

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