Castles. Caves. Beaches. Ants.


“This is one of the best days of my life!” declared Swanson, perched high atop this mountain, gazing upon the beautiful castle in the background. That made me smile knowing he was having such an amazing time on this adventure. Yes, that’s a fucking castle in the background. On top of a mountain. We just spent 3 days in the lovely (if not overly touristy) town of Sintra.


We arrived in Sintra, a small but exquisite gem nestled in the mountains just outside of Lisboa, after about 5 hours of travel to be greeted by an unholy downpour of biblical proportions. Our host, Jean, was gracious enough to pick us up when the cab driver couldn’t find his place. We had a sweet little apartment in the centre of town. This is the view from our bedroom window…

1662991_843726212334542_1050472016_sWill there ever be a rainbow?

 We enjoyed the lovely surroundings, saw some great palaces and castles, walked down a mountain, drank a really big beer, ate some great food. Yes you read that right, we had some very tasty vittles – duck cooked in fabulous rice adorned with a myriad of delicious sausages, tempura octopus,  black pork belly, crepes and a few other choice bits all washed down with fine, cheap wine.

photo-4Can we leave him here?


Yes, child, just follow the path into my lair…


Word of advice – Don’t run in poorly lit caves, says my shoulder.


Is there a casino behind that gate?



After about an eight kilometre day of hiking around the mountains of Sintra, we figured that we needed to slow down a bit and relax. We’ve had a steady diet of traipsing off to a new city every three days where would spend all of our time walking around and checking stuff out. It’s great and I love doing that but we thought that a little beach action was required.

So we did a little research and made the decision to head south to Lagos. Against our better judgement we booked into some sort of resort thing complete with swimming pool, laundry and scores of ants.


 Welcome to Lagos! We are your ant overlords!

Yes, after 9 1/2 hours of travel – 4 different trains – we were greeted by a host of ants in our blander than bland hotel room. They were everywhere – in every room, in the cupboards, in the bathtub, but not in my pants. Not yet anyways. The office was closed for the evening so there was nothing that we could do. We all slept in the creaky bed with Swanson massaging my spine with his nobby knees and elbows. We got a new room the next day. It was a nicer room and the ants that lived there were smaller so that was OK. I guess that ants are included in every room at no extra charge.

The complex that we’re staying in is weird and unsightly. Its a series of ugly apartments located in some wasteland on the top of a hill. The clientele seems to be a mix of retired Brits busy working on their alcoholism – “I don’t know why I’m so drunk!” “Well, Alan, maybe it’s the brandy that you just put in your coffee combined with the whiskey, gin, vodka and beer you had earlier” (overheard at a “British Style” pub called the Chaffed Weasel or The Buggered Elephant or something) – and enormous Russians in very small bathing suits. Makes for an interesting day by the pool.


 “I’ll come back for you later, my pretty!” slurred Alan.


You had me at vomit.

The next day we hit the beach. It was a lovely beach, if not a bit crowded. What we didn’t know that it was also a topless beach (for better or for worse, guess which one? I’m still trying to wash out my brain of some images I saw).

IMG_1616Not the topless part. You’re welcome.


Swanson on the beach!

We’re off to Spain at the end of the week. First stop, Sevilla! Portugal’s been great but it’ll be a nice change to move on.

2 thoughts on “Castles. Caves. Beaches. Ants.

  1. Ha ha. I remember cycling through Europe with my family when I was the same age as Elray and we stopped at a beach in Denmark. Everyone was naked. I bought an ice-cream cone from a naked man with suspenders that were holding a large ice box designed to look like a caterpillar. Wha? No lie. I’ve never been the same since.

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