Archive for July, 2019

Portugal Diary, day 9

Saturday, 27 July, 2019

Sunday, 19 May, 2019. 19:19, Incomum Wine Bar

We are having a relaxing dinner of snacks and glasses of wine at the wine bar attached to Incomum restaurant where we had dinner last night. It’s been a busy day of walking and sightseeing all over the hills above Sintra.

We slept in a bit, not getting up until 07:30. For breakfast we headed over to the Cafe Saudade, which was operated by the same people as the Chalet, and was up the street and around the corner. This was the venue for breakfast if the option of a breakfast with the room was taken, adding 9€ to the price. But we decided to simply go there and order off the menu and see if we could have breakfast cheaper. While there we saw some other people get the 9€ breakfast, which included bread rolls, croissants, cheese, cold meats, yoghurt with fruit, a boiled egg, juice, and coffee or tea.

Yoghurt parfait
Yoghurt parfait, Cafe Saudade

Instead of that we ordered a “yoghurt parfait” each, which was yoghurt, fruit, and muesli topped with honey. It was good. And then we ordered some extras. I got a travesseiros, which is a type of pastry from the Sintra region. It was a crisp flaky pastry roll topped with sugar, and stuffed with almond cream. It was nice, but very sugary. M. wanted the apple and berry scone which was listed in the menu, but the waitress said it was either apple or berry, not both. M. asked for berry. But then the waitress returned and said they were out of berry scones, so M. asked for apple. And the waitress went away and returned again, saying there were no apples scones either! So then she asked what the toasted “bolo do caco” was, and the waitress said it was a type of bread typical of he region. So M. ordered that, and it actually came this time. It turned out to be a large round bread a bit like an English muffin squashed flat, both in shape and texture. It came toasted and buttered and the small bite M. let me try was really good. Our total was only about 12€ rather than the 18€ for the fixed breakfast, so we’ll probably try the same thing tomorrow.

Read more: Exploring the Pena Palace high on the hill above Sintra, walking past the Moorish Castle and through Vila Sassetti, an afternoon at Quinta da Regaleira, and finishing off with wine and cheese in a wine bar

Portugal Diary, day 8

Monday, 22 July, 2019

Saturday, 18 May, 2019. 21:47, Chalet Saudade, Sintra

We slept in this morning, not getting up until a bit after 07:00. We went for breakfast close to 08:00, and the breakfast room was busier than we’d seen it earlier. I tried eggs again, getting my selection of onions, ham, and cheeses made into an omelette today, while M. had a couple of fried eggs. After breakfast we packed our luggage, being careful to check the room and make sure we’d left nothing behind. Then we checked out and walked south a block to Entrecampos railway station, for heavy surface rail as opposed to the underground metro system.

Here we recharged our Viva Viagem cards with more money, then tapped onto the system and ascended to platform 2 to wait for a train to Sintra. One must have just left, because they run every 20 minutes, and according to the indicator board we had a 19 minute wait. We wondered how full the train would be and if we would get a seat. It arrived a minute or two late and turned out not to be full at all. We got seats easily enough and relaxed for the journey up into the hills surrounding Lisbon.

Most of the trip was through sprawling suburbs of the city. It was only really in the last three or four stops that any countryside became visible, as we slowly climbed up into the hills and the buildings finally petered out. We pulled into Sintra station a bit after 10:00. From there it was a short walk, down a steep flight of steps to the parallel street down the hillside below, and then across a bit to our accommodation for the next two nights, Chalet Saudade.

Chalet Saudade
Chalet Saudade

Chalet Saudade is a lovely blue painted house sitting in a beautiful garden. It’s so nice that people walking along the street stop to take photos of it; we saw several do so. We buzzed the intercom at the gate and a recorded voice said something in Portuguese. We tried again and said “hello”, but then I realised we should try just pushing the gate, and it opened and let us into the garden. Then a man opened the door of the house and ushered us in to a reception area where a woman sat behind a desk. We were too early to check into our room, but they did the paperwork and said they’d mind our bags while we went out to explore. The woman gave us a map and scribbled all over it indicating the attractions, the amount of time we should expect to spend at each, and the walking times between them all. She said the Pena Palace was at the top of the hill and we could either catch a bus or use a Portuguese Uber-like app, which would be cheaper. I asked about walking there and she said it would be about 45 minutes, uphill, and said don’t walk along the road, there is a walking path through the forest which passes a place called Vila Sassetti.

We also checked out the ground floor of the house, which had a common lounge area and a sunroom out the back, overlooking a garden with fishpond below down the hill. The room was decorated with a fox motif, and there were lots of knick knacks everywhere. There were a few miniature furniture sets at ground level next to miniature doors attached to the walls. The house looked as beautiful inside as outside.

Read more: exploring the town, visiting the National Palace of Sintra, chocolate tart, a possible train strike(!), and a delicious dinner with free wine top-up!