Saturday, November 22, 2014

Portugal: Faro

Our trip from Obidos was much longer than expected. We did not arrive to Faro until midnight. When we finally arrived to our hotel, we were exhausted. We all just fell deep asleep. The next morning we were starving and we had nothing and there was not much open for breakfast. So I volunteered to go and find food. I got lost and was very scared as I wondered deeper into a small ghetto. Thankfully, I did find my way to the grocery store, but when I got back it had taken me over two hours and Stan was so nervous. He told me that for now on we stick together, and I agreed. After breakfast we got on the city water bus or the ferry which took us to an island off the coast of Faro. It was something to do that didn't take much effort, at this point in the trip we were exhausted and ready to go home. Eleven days of traveling and trying to see everything we possible could had finally caught up with us. We enjoyed our relaxing day, to be honest Stan and I could have just stayed in the hotel and watched TV, but the boys loved the ferry and exploring the island. I did enjoy both those things, and especially collecting sea shells. Stan found really nice, big ones which we took home to Ireland. I love sea shells and so do the boys, so that was fun. The beach was beautiful, but it was evening by the time we got there, and too cold to swim. So Stan and the boys built sand castles and decorated them with sea shells. It was a nice day.

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise. We were happy to be up and heading to the airport. Portugal was a great experience, we feel so blessed that we were able to come and see such an amazing place. I will always cherish our holiday and the memories we made together. In many ways 2014 was a difficult year, but despite the challenges we also have had wonderful times. Portugal was definitely a lift and a needed break; it will also always have a special place in my heart.

Portugal: Obidos

We woke up really early and finished packing, we were heading to Obidos. According to google maps, the train station was only a 10 minute walk; but with our crew and all our luggage it took a half hour and we missed our train by just a few minutes. This meant we were stuck without an apartment for three hours until the next train left for Obidos. We made the best of it, it was very early so we went to a cafe in the train station and for the first time had a Portuguese famous pastry called Pasteis de Nata. I cheated on my diet and had a few. They were delish! Stan loved them so much, that he bought another box as we waited for our train to come. This was also a great time for souvenir shopping, and there were a few shops at the train station as well. Stan was happy to sit with the luggage and I was happy to go shopping with the boys. We bought them each a hat. They loved them and still wear them here in Ireland.

After two train rides we ended up in Obidos. It was a charming, medieval city that was built within a large castle wall. There is also a very large castle within the wall, and we were fortunate enough to spend Halloween night inside. It was very fun! It sometimes felt weird to walk within the castle without any supervision. It truly felt at times that we were the only ones there. It was a beautiful castle, and we had the largest room. One time we did run into a worker and he told us that the castle was private and we could not be inside. Stan showed him our key and he apologized and we were able to continue exploring. Afterwards we took a long walk around the castle wall. It was a bit thrilling, I was nervous that someone was going to fall off.

We were high up and there was not railing or anything to stop someone from walking right off the edge. The boys behaved themselves and kept to the inside of the walkway. I relaxed after a while and really enjoyed the walk around the castle wall. It was a beautiful warm evening, and it truly was a magical night.

Here is a panoramic view of the city and the castle wall. It is hard to see but the wall goes completely around the entire city. I know because we walked around the whole thing!

We also took a walk within the city. It was very nice, and we found a delightful, family-friendly place to eat dinner. 

This shows you how high up we were. I am so grateful no one fell off!

This is the castle where we stayed the night. It was a really amazing experience and the highlight of the trip. The boys of course thought it was the coolest thing ever. We didn't have to rush in and out, there were no lines or other tourist, it was like the castle was ours... well just for one night, but it was a very fun night. We found a little convenience store and bought a few bags of candy. That night in the castle we passed out candy and wished the boys a Happy Halloween. They thought it was perfect, and so did I.

We found these murals at the train station. I was very sad to say goodbye. But we needed to start our trek back to Faro where we would take the airplane back to Ireland. Obidos was wonderful, it was such a great way to end the trip.

Faro here we come.