We're close to two months here as of July 23rd and though we haven't run out of things to do in Setúbal by any stretch, we're still feeling the urge to explore further afield. It's time for us to visit Lisbon, the capitol city of Portugal for a day-trip. We're still waiting for the delivery of our car, so the name of the game is public transportation. Portugal's public transport system is decent, though definitely not in the running for world's best. We are able to walk to either of the two main stations in Setúbal within 12-15 minutes to pick up their light-rail trains. The most direct way to Lisbon has you go to Barreiro from Setúbal, transfer to ferry boat, and ferry across the river Tagus to the southern bank of Lisbon. The trip takes ~90 minutes from end to end, and though I wouldn't want to do it as a daily commute, the trip is pleasant.

Lisbon itself is the second oldest city in Europe (after Athens), predating much of the rest of Europe by centuries. As such it has an incredible amount of history, and fabulous sites to explore that have stood the test of time. On this particular trip we slept way too late and didn't get on our way until 11am. "No matter" we said, this is the first of many trips we'll make to the capitol.

The ferry unloads right near the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon. This Praça is very large, nearly 600' x 600' and is usually packed with everything from tourists taking photos, music shows, and fake Oakley vendors. It also was the location of the assassination of King Carlos I back in 1908. We had lunch at one of the slightly overpriced Italian restaurants lining the edge of the square, and headed to our ultimate destination, the Castle of Saint George.

Castelo Sao Jorge is in a commanding location on the highest of Lisbon's seven hills. The views are unmatched. From here it's possible to see vast amounts of Lisbon, as well as both the longest bridge in Europe (Vasco da Gama bridge) and the bridge modeled after San Francisco's Golden Gate (April 25th bridge). Across the river you can see the Sanctuary of Christ the King statue, and if you squint, you can just see the mountains of the Arrábida near our home in Setúbal.

The castle beautiful, with several high-walled towers, and even the remnants of a moat. The grounds are home to a "muster" of peacocks, and yes I just looked that one up.

The kids destroyed all theoretical invaders with the large number of cannons facing the skyline while Erin and I enjoyed an Aperol Spritz.

Thursday is a big day for the family. Our car was delivered! We bought a 2015 Renault Grand Scenic. In Europe this would be classified a van, but American's would disagree. It's not dissimilar from our old Subaru Forester in size, except that it has a third row of seating suitable for contortionists and small children. Given this will seat 7, we should be able to take road trips in one car with grandparents when they arrive. We opted for the 1.6 turbo-diesel for a little extra power, and the manual transmission is the standard offering here.

We are very excited to take day trips, and didn't waste any time planning our first one: Sesimbra. To get there from Setúbal we first had to make our way through the Arrábida Natural Park. There are a couple of different roads through the park, and the most popular winds along the high and steep coastal cliffs. The landscape here is outstanding. On a sunny day the cream colored beaches stand in stark contrast to the turquoise water and blue endless sky. Pictures do not do this place justice. On the way we pass by a couple of overlooks as well as the convent of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida (Our Lady of Arrabida).

The drive to Sesimbra only takes 40 or so minutes. We make our way through town and soon find that much of the town is one way traffic and furthermore quickly discover just how busy a beach town can be at the height of the season. The street becomes a thin ribbon of pavement between long, well attended beach and a row of restaurants, pubs, and shops. People are drinking and enjoying themselves, walking dogs, playing volleyball and tension goes up as we try not to drive over groups of people arbitrarily crossing the street. I miss the only reasonable parking ramp on the main strip and after 5 minutes of looking for non-existent street parking, we conclude the ramp is the best option. Everything is one way, so we have to make a giant loop through town and through the beach scene again.

In the parking ramp we feel immediately validated in our decision not to buy a car any bigger than the one we have. We just squeeze in under the max height, the corners in the garage leave very little room to turn and the width of spots had Steve climbing over to the passenger side to get our of the car because of a concrete pillar. Quintessential Europe!

In other good news the Vitoria FC Setúbal (our local football [soccer] club) schedule has been released. We are hoping to get to the home opener on August 20th!

Family movie night:
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Family average rating: 9/10)

Highs and lows:

Highpoint Lowpoint Learned this week
Steve Getting the car - it gives us a lot more freedom Getting bitten many times by an unknown bug Sizing bedding in Portugal is tricky
Erin Going to Lisbon and getting our car so we can do more day trips! Henry getting sick The phrase “que fofo” which means, “how cute!”
Nora Going to Sesimbra and getting strawberry juice at the beach Not getting to go to the Obidos medieval festival There is such thing as strawberry juice!
Henry Going to Lisbon and making a new friend at the Castelo de São Jorge Getting sick and missing the Obidos medieval festival I really miss my friends in Colorado
Junie Getting a stuffy at Ikea and mom got a heart shaped potato chip I changed my mind about which stuffy I got and mom and dad wouldn’t let me switch. But now I’m glad about the one I have They sell stuffies at Ikea!

Steve and Erin

Week 7: July 23rd - July 29th