We are in Portugal!

Tuesday, October 20

Today we drive to Lisbon. We leave Mérida and cross the border into Portugal near Elvas. We park our car on the edge of the town and walk into the old walled part of the town to find a place to buy Portuguese SIM cards for our phone and iPad.  It isn’t that easy!  The people at the Information office tell us that the Post Office sells them, so we go there and purchase two cards.  We manage to get the first one working after calling the UZO company for help, but we are told it will take 12 hours or more to hook up our iPad internet! It appears that this isn’t the best SIM card for us, but it will get us to Lisbon until we can get a better one there.

Back on the road and I notice a town high on a hill as I am taking pictures out the car window.  I do this to help pass the time on the drive, and sometimes I actually get a decent picture or two.image

I remember my Mom telling me about a town with white houses high on a hill so I check the map and this town is Estremoz. I am pretty sure this is the town my Mom and Dad visited when they were in Portugal years ago, so we take a detour and head for Estremoz.imageAfter having lunch, we walk around and check out a few of the shops and Bob buys himself a souvenir, a big wooden spoon for making his salsa and spaghetti sauce. Orange trees are used for boulevard trees here and some of the other ciities we have been in but so far we haven’t found any that are good to eat.imageThis is one of the many interesting old buildings near the central plaza of Estremoz.
imageWe leave Estremoz by driving on a narrow one way road under some old buildings, and this is the way to the main road! Once again I think how happy I am to have the iPad GPS.  No way I could find my way around without it.image

We pass lots of cork trees but there is no place to stop so I don’t get any pictures, but I take this photo of some coniferous trees lining the road and get a weird effect happening.  No idea what caused it but I kind of like it. image

The houses we are passing have changed, they are now painted white or pastel colours instead of the brick or stone we have seen up till now.image  The clouds start to build and soon it is raining.imageWe arrive in Caxias, which is a town just outside of Lisbon and check into our apartment for the next week.  We have been very lucky with our Airbnb bookings and this apartment seems just as nice as our other bookings. It was less than a five hour drive but it seems like it has been a long day and it was nice to walk into such a nice place.imageimage

The Prado

Thursday October 15

This Mad Hatter was outside the Prado with his little white mouse.  They both looked very content and pleased with themselves!imageThe Prado has 102 rooms and we managed to visit all but 17 of them.  We spent about six hours exploring and soaking up the incredible art work but we simply ran out of time and energy.  There are no photos in the Museum but I did take these two.  I know, I am a bad girl! We saw many paintings that were familiar because of reading my art books.  It was wonderful seeing these works in person.  This is a very famous Goya work titled “The Family of Charles IV.”  I just wanted one photo to say “Yes, I was there.”  When I am home I will find a good book on the Prado as a reminder of everything we have seen today. Books are just too heavy to lug around in our suitcases!imageThe Museum encourages artists to study and paint in the Museum, as this young lady was doing.  We saw several artists at work today.  image  Pictures were allowed in the Leoni Cloister and when we looked up we could see that there were workrooms above the cloister.  I would love to be able to tour these rooms, but had to settle for zooming in for a closer look.imageimageWe headed back to our Airbnb for some much needed rest.  I love touring Museums and Art Galleries but it is quite exhausting, physically and mentally.imageThis has been home for the last ten nights but we leave the day after tomorrow.  We only planned on staying here for four nights but liked it so much, and Bob really liked taking the bus into Madrid instead of driving, so we changed our reservation to twelve nights.  image