Monday, September 13, 2010

Ellie's Big Adventure

I knew this day was coming, the day when I would have to venture out  alone. I was determined to return to Cascais or Estoril so that I could sit on the beach and enjoy the sun and ocean breeze. I'm a sun-worshiper, unlike Steve, so he sent me off to take buses and trains all by my lonesome. His words: "You're a big girl now, you can do it!!"

this is my love...taking me on my practice trip!

Let's talk bathing suits.
The first time that Steve and I explored the beach I was amazed. Among the young girls with beautiful bodies, there were DOZENS of women my age in two- piece bathing suits and bikinis. There is no way to say this delicately…these were very large women in two- piece bathing suits. They strolled along the beach and boardwalks without cover-ups feeling no shame. And…NO ONE stared with judgment in their faces. Just think of the freedom from NOT CARING! Gee, just like in the U.S. (Not quite!!!)

hopefully these unsuspecting women will not read this blog

I thought..should I?? Could I??? My darling, wonderful husband (this is the "love" part of living in Portugal) told me he loved my body and yes, I should also buy a two piece bathing suit. I figured..who would see me??? Why not?? Fortunately for me and for my readers, there are no pictures of this. (My US friends most definitely would have been judgmental! Besides, there is enough to laugh at just seeing me eat all the food here!) So yes, now I am one of these glorious women who say the hell with all those anorexic models and hooray to all those Rubenesque women of the past! The beach in Estoril was wonderful and although the water was way too cold to take a dip, I have a very brown belly and I feel great!                                         

castle on Tamariz Beach
a very crowded beach in the mornings

 Many people went in to the cold Atlantic, but having lived in Florida for 25 years and in Arizona for 15 years, I did not feel brave enough to even get my toes wet. Swimming in my warm pool is one of the things I miss about home. Still, it is a small thing to give up!

 It's all about friends!

On September 7th, our friends Ron and Linda Felton arrived. They are our first guests. Ron and Linda are now expats living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, so they were the perfect "first guests" as they are experts at exploring new places.

Ron and Linda

For the past six days we have explored nearly every neighborhood surrounding our flat, but on their first day we headed by train to Sintra to see the sights. After getting our first bica of the day we took the bus to the Castelo dos Mouros, a Moorish castle built between the 9th and 10th centuries. First, I AM PETRIFIED OF HEIGHTS, so the walk up was both scary (thank you little Linda for helping me) and exhausting! (This time I didn't count the steps because I was concentrating on BREATHING!)

HELP!!!!!!!! Don't leave me!!!!

Sometime in the 1100's this Moorish castle was under attack by some crusading Norwegians and every one of the Moors was killed because they refused to convert to Christianity. Geesh, personally I don't know how the heck they could even get up to the castle. The Moors had to be asleep at their lookouts or else very dimwitted.

Pena Palace

After catching our breath we headed off to the Pena National Palace , a beautiful romantic building that sits at the highest point of Sintra. I think my six- year old granddaughter, Lexie, dreams about living in such a place.  No matter where your eye travels you will see architectural wonders and surprises both inside and out. (Although I am posting pictures and talking little about the history, you need only to put your cursor over the underlined words in the blog to find its history.)
call a real estate agent, Linda. I'm moving in!

The Gargoyle

Beautiful tiles, azulejos, line both walls and ceilings of this magnificent building. It is surprising, warm and bright throughout, and I easily pictured myself living here. Why aren't I????

I want to entertain in this room!

It was the end of a very long and hot day and it has become routine to just collapse with exhaustion and nap for a good hour. Oh wait, my friend Ron says he never naps so I snuck up on him to capture this "once in a lifetime" snooze.

There is SO much more to write about and I plan on playing catch up throughout the week, but for now, I have given up my own nap to write this. Below are a few more pictures of our week and by the end of the week I should have an album to post. For now, thanks for reading and adeus!

outside Castelo Sao Jorge
drinking Ginjinha (sour cherry liqueur)
the lovebirds at the Castelo Sao Jorge
Best friends
Linda at one of Lisbon's many wonderful markets
A VERY important man with his girls!
Can't live without my Starbucks!
Friends. Different but SO much alike!


  1. Great picture post! I love hearing about your adventures and I wish I was there to explore with you. :)

  2. I was thinking about the boys running up and down the castle walls and my heart started to beat on over drive. You all would love it here!