Episode 11 – Lisbon – when there is a will, there is a way
When we were in Portugal, we visited the Sintra castle. There are mixed stories about this castle. Some said it was used as a prison for royalties. Some said it was a summer palace. I just followed the crowd and enjoyed the scenery.
This patch of land is the former vacation site for the monarchy. It is full of vegetation, estates and summer palaces. Inside the castle are a lot of circular staircases when eventually made you all confused. We slide through the kitchen, dining room, living room, bed room, conference room, and it was a relief to get out of this maze.
Portuguese people have this strange sensation of claiming everything they do is always the best. So the buildings are the biggest. The museums are the fullest. The Guinness World Record is a relative of the Portuguese culture.
The shopping area of this little town is hidden amongst the winding little streets. The most interesting shop is the wine shop. It offers wine tasting on the spot and it has a great selection of Portuguese Port. I stood in the shop while the ladies were doing their shopping. We should never doubt the determination of women when they go shopping. The letters ‘R’ = reduced, ‘D’ = discount, and of course ‘S’ = sale. There were no discount signs in this little town and yet someone managed to find a little store selling linen and bed sheets high up at the top of the stairs. Upon this discovery, the whole group of ladies just had to make a visit to this little shop, in case they missed out on a bargain. Bed sheets are heavy and cumbersome. It would be a chore to pack them in the suitcase. But if it is a bargain, packing is the least of the problem. Now I truly understand the phrase of ‘when there is a will, there is a way.’
Another 2 hours and we reached the famous Mecca for pilgrims – Fatima
The legend will live on how the 3 children watch the apparition of our Holy Mother and this was declared a miracle. There are lots of visitors to this shrine and quite a few people would say their prayers while kneeling all the way across the square. It takes a lot of faith and dedication to remain a fervent catholic.
Back to the hotel and then back to town for more exploration. We could not let go of not tasting the famous Portuguese tarts.
It was good but it is not superb.
We had dinner at a little restaurant not too far from the hotel. We wanted some grilled food. It is an immense mountain of food but everything was charged a-la-carte. The kind of BBQ grill they use is rather interesting. There are pulleys allowing the grill grid to be adjusted to different height levels. So instead of controlling the strength of the heat through the burners, they use the distance of the food away from the heat to adjust the cooking. Naturally gas is not too popular here. Coke and charcoal are commonly used. Smoke is the end result of this type of cooking and all foods carry the smoky taste.
There was tremendous amount of salt used on the food. There is a big bowl of salt mixture right by the grill and salt is sprayed over the food regularly.