|Subject: Portugal 2003 Trip Report - Guincho, Cascais and Estoril|
GUINCHO, CASCAIS and ESTORIL
On the way we drove out to Azenhas do Mar, a lovely beach area which really must be lovely in the summer#only one guest house is apparent on the ocean which has a large spanse of open beach along the main road#Seems like a relatively untouched and quiet spot for a relaxing vacation. A natural stone pool at the ocean's edge is a feature here.
Then we drove out to CABO ROCA, which has a lighthouse on the most western point of Portugal..several tour buses stopped by for photos and the gift shop.
Is home to one of my favorite accommodations: the 5* Forteleza de Guincho housed in a very bland looking building on the ocean (you can't judge a book by its cover). Once inside tho, the vast high ceilinged lobby decorated to the hilt with fine, expensive period furniture interesting floral arrangements beckons one to enter and explore.
A lovely grand staircase invites entrance to the second floor lodging iand we stopped in to view the rooms and enjoy the tremendous ocean view from there; rates are $$$ but would have been worth it had we not wanted to see things closer into town which would have necessitated driving back and forth to this a little-bit- out-of-the-way spot.
But, we lingered in the comfortable lounge area while enjoying a drink and the ocean view # a pleasant respite from moving along.
Years back when we dined here, I dubbed it the Home of the Bare Peach; once again Mom ordered a fruit dessert in the form of a peach which was delivered by the formal coated and white gloved server on a lovely plate which he set before her. Then, he picked up the peach, cut the top and bottom off, lifted it off the plate and rubbed it with both hands. Setting it back on the plate, voila! The skin just lifted right off to bare the plump peach # a very gourmet presentation.
BOCA DO INFERNO
Just north of Cascais is a popular tourist attraction consisting of whirling waters viewed thru rock formations; many vendors harp their local wares.
Is a bustling city right along the ocean with good shopping and trendy stores, not to mention excellent restaurants such as Casa do Frango where Dom enjoyed the chicken but I chose an excellent Bacalhau a Nota. We then walked down to the local beach where certain days during the week the actual fish pull can be watched in the afternoon as fishermen come in with their catch, transfer to small boats to debark and then give their wives the nets to mend for the next day. We missed it since it was the weekend, but I vividly
remember the experience of past visits. Again, cafes galore around the city and some very first class hotels, names of which escape me.
Known as the Gold Coast area, highlights here are the old elegant famous Palacio Hotel and the Casino de Estoril situated amidst well planted gardens.
We were thrilled with Pico Pau, the pensao I learned about in my internet browsing. Run by an English wife and Portuguese husband,
both of whom spoke English very well and were extremely friendly and cordial. Perfect location, a bit of a walk up from the Avenida
Marginal and very updated and clean. Me and my tile fetish:
interesting frame of tiles decorated room doors! It has a very good restaurant by the same name and served breakfast in a cheery room. We still think there was a problem with the price charged (an unbelievable 35E) since that listed was higher and would have been well worth it.
We stayed here one night before heading to the Algarve for two weeks; then returned the car to Cascais and walked back down to Pico Pau for our last two nights in Portugal. During this last visit we danced to a (not good, but red tuxedoed well-dressed big band) in the Casino lounge after meandering around the gaming rooms (no 4E entrance fee upon presenting passports). Several games were new to us # but no craps tables; we were told by those who know that they once had them but the Portuguese did not like the noise and rowdiness which might accompany. That took the lure away from Dom for certain but the slot machines all over got my attention and $ as well.
Finally, we saw the greatest stage show at the Casino, called Egoista#an interpretive musical dance review which covered twelve areas of life, among them: Man, Woman, Love, Death, Happiness, Politics etc.It was extremely well done with appropriately designed costumes and experienced dancers; I'm sure it would be Broadway caliber..and for us, another bargain since we opted for the Sunday night show which included two drinks each at a cost of 12 ½ E each! Splits of champagne no less..another winning finale to our trip.