Colares and Sintra

So, whenever we go on holiday I feel like I have to completely update this blog with every detail of what we did. Then I feel completely overwhelmed with writing and end up writing nothing. So I am going to keep this short and sweet in order to get it done, so that I can move on with the blog!

After my friend Kristin's wedding, we had a couple of days in Colares to spend with Andy's family before going back to England. Colares is in the region of Sintra (which, confusingly, is also a town), about 30km west of Lisbon. It is about a 10 minute drive to the beaches on the Atlantic coast. There is not much to do in Colares itself (although we were surprised to learn there are 20 restaurants listed on Trip Advisor!), however it has a beautiful, calm old world feel to it, and the restaurants we ate at (especially Sussegard) were very good. One of the highlights of the trip for me was walking five minutes down to a local coffee shop for a morning coffee and a Portuguese custard tart (Pastéis de Nata).
Walking through Colares near our airbnb
Colares old town square - Sussegard Restaurant on the left
Colares town centre
Coming back from our morning coffee and 'Nata' run

We spent two days exploring castles in the Sintra area. The first was the Park and National Palace of Pena. The Palace itself is brightly coloured and almost looks out of place surrounded by the natural beauty of the park. The castle is a good 45 minute walk uphill through the gardens, although there is an option to get a bus. The park/gardens surrounding the castle are lush, and there are pretty spectacular views once you get to the Palace. You can walk through the interior which Andy's family did, however Andy and I decided to walk back down to the car as it was getting pretty hot and Ella was in need of food. We ended up feeding her in the car, ah, the life of a breastfeeding mom, so glamorous!

Palace of Pena

The second castle was Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors). This castle was built in the 10th century so all that is left of it are the ruins. You can walk along the fortress walls high in the hills (where you have a great view across to the Palace of Pena) and again there are pretty amazing views all the way around. Not great for those afraid of heights, there are no guardrails along the walls and it was quite windy at times so it's important to watch your step!

Castle of the Moors

We also spent an afternoon in the town centre of Sintra. It's cute and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but was VERY busy and touristy. The first time we tried to visit we ended up turning around and going home as we couldn't find a parking spot. 

The Hug a Bub wrap came in really handy while exploring the castles and Sintra as walking around with a pram would have been pretty annoying. Lots of cobblestone, narrow paths, and plenty of other tourists to contend with. We weren't the only ones that thought this - we saw plenty of other babies being carried by their parents on these trips. I am a little bit obsessed with "babywearing" at the moment (yes that's actually a word) and am currently on the hunt for a more structured carrier for Ella as she gets bigger. I have actually booked a "babywearing consultant" to come and help me choose the right one... Yes I am aware of how ridiculous (and middle class) that sounds but there are so many to choose from and they are pretty expensive so I've decided this will be the best way to find one that both Ella and I find comfortable. Andy just rolled his eyes at me when I told him. I will update next week once I've had the consultation.

 We had a fantastic time in Portugal once we got over the initial rush and stress of getting there. It was wonderful to have the opportunity for us and Ella to spend some quality time with Andy's family, and I know his parents loved being able to get to know their first grandchild.

After Portugal we flew back to England spending time between Portsmouth and London which I will write about in the next post. Hopefully it doesn't take me too long to write that one!

Auntie Lauren
Uncle Russ
Changing diapers... a three man job!

Playing with Grandad


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