Our approach to planning the Portugal trip, I will admit to you, was a little sloppy. We came back from Peru in December feeling manic. We tried to plan an Italy/Croatia adventure for August, which is the perfect time to get out of Phoenix, but we couldn’t make the flights happen. So then, we tried Portugal in May, and it worked. We spent about a month thinking we would go to Morocco as well. We’re going to Madeira, which is off the coast of Africa, so we thought it would be easy to hop on over. Well, to get to Morocco we would have had to fly back to Lisbon. We were looking at only about 32 hours in Fez. I really want to spend more time in Morocco, so we’ll dedicate a future trip completely to it.
That decided, and our races picked, we looked for places to sleep. John found our Lisbon hotel lx boutique on Tripadvisor. We booked it, and later it showed up on Conde Nast’s 2011 hot list for Europe. We’ll stay there a total of 4 nights, though they are spread out: our first and last night, and a couple in the middle. We’re hoping it will be a nice home base.
Lisbon: lx Boutique Hotel
We looked into staying at the race launch point in Porto Moniz, but all the hotels were booked, and I have to say thank goodness since we waited a few weeks, and a package for Reid’s Palace came up on Luxurylink.com. This is an Orient Express hotel so the service has already been impeccable. The concierge has made my dinner reservations, arranged a car on the day of the race, and promised to pick us up at the airport in a limo. Since I haven’t been in a limo since prom, this is going to be fun!
Madeira: Reid’s Palace
Back to the continent, we are going to take several days to drive from Lisbon up the coast to Porto. I’m interested to see the two cities, since Lisbon was devastated by an earthquake in the 1700’s, and Porto was not. I wonder how much difference that will make in landmarks and architecture? Our first stop on this drive up the coast is Obidos.
Obidos: Casa d’Obidos
Also on our drive, we’ll stop in the town of Coimbra where I can’t wait to stay in this elegant manor.
Coimbra: Hotel Quinta das Lagirmas
We are running a half marathon in the Douro Valley, so we wanted a retreat where we could relax afterwards. When I emailed and inquired about rooms, I got a sweet note from Ursula, the owner. She said “It’s hard to believe our little half marathon made its way to Arizona. Sometimes I feel like we live at the end of the earth.” Well, I can’t wait to see her end of the earth. And soon, I will!
Pinhao: Case do Visconde de Chancelerios