On to Sintra

Today we leave Lisbon and head for Sintra. We are ready. We have loved Lisbon and we will always have fond memories, but it has become exhausting. We have mostly been stuck at home the past three days due to rain, so we have been going a bit stir crazy. We feel really lucky that we got so many beautiful days when we first got here. We have figured out that the quickest way from our rental to the metro is down a big hill. Going down isn’t so bad of course, but the thought of climbing up that hill one more time makes us want to cry.

We’ve been having some bad luck with the metro lately too. At least half the time we take it there either isn’t an elevator, or the elevator is broken. That means a lot of carrying strollers and kids up and down stairs. The metro has served us well, but we are ready for a break. We love Lisbon, but we are not big city people and we’re ready for somewhere smaller and hopefully better suited for toddlers who want freedom.

A few days ago we took a trolley up a steep hill to a gorgeous view. I think the trolley is called Elevador da Gloria. The view from the top is the most beautiful we have seen. We found a playground and stopped at the botanical gardens and natural history museum on the way home.

On Saturday we were supposed to have a 4 hour break from the rain, so we decided to take the train to Cascais. We made it to the train station 10 minutes before the 10:00 train was scheduled to leave and we settled in for the 40 minute ride. Unfortunately 30 minutes later an announcement was made in Portuguese and everyone got off the train. The plus side is that we met a great couple from Florida (hi if you’re reading this! 😊) who told us that there was a problem with the train and the next one would come at 11. Unfortunately the one at 11 was cancelled, so at that point we just decided to do something else. The kids had been in their strollers for two hours and we were all ready to walk around.

Time Out

Time Out Market was right there, so we went to check it out. We knew it was essentially a big tourist trap, but I always think that touristy things are worth doing at least once. It was expensive, and really hard to find a place to sit and eat, but the food wasn’t bad and it was interesting waking around seeing what they have to offer. Now we have it out of our system and it’s not somewhere that we would go back to. I would have preferred Cascais, but at least we were able to do something with our short break from the rain. It started raining again, so we headed back to our rental.

We have started looking for a long term rental. I have researched quite a few places this past year- Braga, Porto, Coimbra, Setubal, Sintra, and a few others. I think we could be happy living in any of those places, but we have never quite been able to narrow it down. I’m very drawn to Braga for its beauty, walkability, and pedestrian only area, but the weather makes me nervous and it seems so far from all the other places I want to check out. I happened upon a website that mentioned Leiria and I started looking into it.

As soon as Kyle saw a YouTube video he said it felt like home and he wants to go there. So that’s where we’re looking for an apartment. Everyone we have talked to has said that Leiria is great for families, and right now whatever we can do to make life easier with two toddlers is a win. I think I could be happy for the next year or two pretty much anywhere in Portugal as long as there are some playgrounds and we can walk everywhere. I have zero interest in getting a car anytime soon. Our rental in Sintra is paid for through November, so hopefully our next move will be into a long term rental in Leiria. Until then, we are excited to see what Sintra is like. Like I said, we love Lisbon but it’s all that we know of Portugal so far. I’m excited to see some other parts of this country.

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