Saturday, 19 August 2017

Lisbon – Travel Diary


It’s time for our annual mother-daughter trip. Every year we pick a city to visit, this year we decided to go to Lisbon. It’s London every second year anyway, so we wanted something special. Lisbon and Kopenhagen were on top of our list. A lit of friends and family lived Lisbon, so we decided to listen to them ;).

Monday, August 7:

Our flight was at 12.00. so we had plenty of time in the morning. After a coffee at the train station, we took the train tot he airport. There we had to wait in line a bit, to drop-off our luggage, but it didn’t take too long. We headed to security right away, bought a little sandwich, browsed through the stores and then waited at the gate. The flight was a little delayed, but we landed in Lisbon at 14.30 pm. Luckily, we gained an hour. The landing was awesome, we saw parts of Lisbon and of course also the ocean. It was a bit shaky too, but that was due to the wind. We took the Aerobus tot he city centre, which I really recommend. It’s way cheaper than a taxi and the have good stops along the way. After checking in at our hotel (NH Collection Libardade), we headed to to roof top, where they had a pool and we got a free cocktail. Who can say not o that?! Then it was time to hit the city. We just walked down the main street Avenida Liberdade, down to Rossio. On the way there were already some trams, tiles and beautiful houses. The entrance of the train station is very pretty and there is a Starbucks right there. My brother went to Lisbon last year for a Champions League game. He didn’t really have time for sightseeing, but he recommended a restaurant to us. The tricky thing about it: He didn’t remember the name, he just explained it on Google street view. After going into a Lisbon store, we had dinner at “il Mulino”. It turns out it was the right one ;). The food was delicious and we had a great waiter, called Christin. He’s half Italian, half Brazilian and he even offered us a Limoncello in the end. Afterwards we went back to the hotel, traveling is exhausting.






Tuesday, August 8:

While having breakfast at Starbucks, we discussed what to do. The first stop took us to Rossio, a big “piazza”, very pretty. Then we headed to the Elevador Santa Justa, where we had to stand in line to get up. We bought a daily ticket for the public transport first, which makes it cheaper. The standing in line was a bit tiring, but we made it eventually. We didn’t realise before that we could have walked up, because this part of the city is called Bairro Alto. So there was a whole new area to discover, the view up there was great too. There were more pretty houses and cute squares up there. We stopped at a Tapas restaurant to have lunch. Then we explore the Bairro Alto a bit more, found the main square, some shops and the trams. Afterwards we walked to the Miradouro (viewpoint) Santa Catarina. The view there was fabulous. Right next to it we stopped for an iced tea at the Pharmacy museum. The weather was still windy and actually not too warm, so we enjoyed sitting in the sun. Then it was time to take the tram #28. It was packed, which was a pity, but that’s normal in Lisbon. We got off at the cathedral and went inside. We then walked along the tram lines up to the Miradouro Stanta Luzia. I really liked the view up there. From there we walked to the castle Sao Jorge, where there would have been another great view, but the line for the tickets was too long for us. So we decided to walk down to the city again. On the way we stopped for Pasteis de Nata, a traditional sweet desert there. They were absolutely delicious. The walk took us via Rua Augusta to the Praca do Comercio, my favourite square in Lisbon. It’s huge, there is so much to see and it’s right by the water. We then looked at the shops of Rua Augusta, walked around the area and in the end had dinner right by the Santa Justa Elevador, at a restaurant called Bellalisa. After that it was time to go back to the hotel, we walked 15.5 km that day and really were exhausted. What really was impressive, were all these little surprises, when we just walked up a street, we discovered a lot of beautiful places, we didn’t even plan to see.








Wednesday, August 9:

On Wednesday we got up early and had breakfast in the room, because we had to be at our meeting point at 8.30 am. We booked a guided tour to Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais for that day. Our guide Joao picked us up and we were joined by an American women and a couple for the tour. Our guide was fabulous, his English was great and he knew a lot. We couldn’t have wished for a better guide. We quickly stopped in Queluz to see the Palacio National. We learned a lot about the Portuguese royal family, their history and also the big earthquake in 1755. Our first stop was Sintra. Sintra is full of palaces, the highlight being the Palacio da Pena. It’s so pretty, with it’s colours and tiles. The view is impressive as well. It’s actually called the Portuguese Neuschwanstein. Not surprising, because the king, who built it was originally from Bavaria. We then drove to the Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of the European mainland. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stop and drive along the coast, because the wind was too strong. We headed straight to Cascais, a lovely town by the sea. It’s actually a place, where a lot of Expats live and also the people from Lisbon come to relax. It’s full of beaches. I didn’t really like the village to much, but it was still great to see. Then the tour was over. We quickly stopped at the hotel and then checked out the stores on Avenida da Libardade. Then we took the Elevador da Gloria up to another viewpoint. Unfortunately, we couldn’t really enjoy the view, because they were doing some construction work. We decided to get room service that night, which was a really good decision.








Thursday, August 10:

On Thursday the weather finally changed and it got a lot warmer. We once again had breakfast at the hotel and then headed to Belem, a kind of suburb of Lisbon. There we visited the Torre de Belem first, which actually looks like a castle, but was actually used to protect the city. The view onto the river Tejo, the 25 April bride and the Cristo statue were fab there. Just a little walk away is the discovery monument, which was very impressive, so big and full of all these discoverers. There is also a big world map right there. I just loved that place. At the Torre we already bought our tickets for the Jeronimos Monastery, where we went next. Luckily we didn’t have to stand in land and went straight in. This was so beautiful. There is so much detail in the architecture, I could have stayed there all day. After this cultureal morning we went to buy the Pastais de Belem (the other ones were actually better and the staff in Belem were not friendly at all). We had lunch and then took the tram back to the city, to the Cais do Sodre, another pretty square, right by the water. There are a lot of cute restaurants there and the famous TimeOut market is located there as well. From there we took a taxi to the Centro Commercial Colombo, it’s right by the Benfica Lisbon stadium. Unfortunately, we weren’t really impressed with the shops and went back to the city, where we look at a pretty house from the inside. We actually discovered it, when my brother tried to show us the restaurant. It’s called Casa do Alentejo, it has a restaurant inside, it’s full of these beautiful tiles and it’s just so pretty. Since we were close to il Mulino we had dinner there again. Our waiter was there again and he was so happy we came back that he offred us another Limoncello and asked us to come back the next day.














 Friday, August 11:

Friday was our last full day in Lisbon. After breakfast we walked down to the tram 28 line and took at to the Miradouro do Senhora do Monte. The view up there was absolutely breathtaking, WOW! You can see the whole city, the Cristo statue, the bride, just everything! We then took the tram back down and had a drink at the Praca do Comercio, there are some lovely restaurants down there. Since we promised Christian to come back, we went to have lunch at il Mulino. Christian really spoiled us there. Came with extra fruit, another drink and more. The rest of the afternoon was spent by the pool on the rooftop. The water was really cold, o I just put my feet in. After that we had a lovely dinner at adLib, which was opposite our hotel. That was very yummy.




Saturday, August 12:

On Saturday we just packed, had breakfast, checked out and headed to the airport. We enjoyed some shopping there and then flew back home.

We really enjoyed our trip to Lisbon. The city is full of surprises, so pretty and I really fell in love with all these tiles. I will write a guide to Lisbon as well. So keep your eyes open for that. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Art of Hiding – by Amanda Prowse

Original Cover
My own copy














The blurb:

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?
Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.
Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

This book follows Nina McCarrick and her family and starts with a real tragedy. Her husband Finn is killed in a car accident and now now is left alone with her children Connor and Declan. Of course these boys suffer as well and they miss their dad a lot.

Things get worse, because Finn had a secret. They have to move out of their family home, the boys have to leave school and Nina has to find a job. That’s not easy though and most people are not on their side. With her sister Tiggy’s help they fin a way, but they have to move away.

Tiggy’s and Nina’s relationship is not easy, things have been tense ever since Nina met Finn. The two of them finally get to talk properly and Tiggy opens Nina’s eyes. Nina grows with every chapter and learns a lot about her past, but also things for her future.

This is a very poignant story about love, family, grief, loss, friendship and much more. I really enjoyed reading about Nina and her sons, these scenes were by far my favourite.

This is not my fave Amanda Prowse book, but I still loved it! She always manages to include all the feelings and emotions, it’s close to life and she touches controversial and delicate topics every single time.

Another touching story, wonderfully written and full of heart!

Rating:




Amanda Browse on Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse