This year we’re spending New Years with brother-in-law B, soon-to-be-sister LP, Mr. M’s cousin Bash, and Bash’s lovely girlfriend Jess.
And the six of us have somehow decided that 2013 should be welcomed in Lisbon, Portugal!
While Portugal somehow never made my list of Top 100 Places to See (no sugar-coating that one), I’m still pretty darn excited. In case we haven’t yet met, here’s a Law of Physics you should know: Me + Place I’ve Never Been Before = Pretty Darn Excited.
Besides, I figure the miniscule amount of Portuguese I crammed into my head whilst in Brazil this August is as fresh as it’s ever gonna get.
Because we’re traveling as a group, my planning is a lot less army drill coach (I shall be leaving my clipboard and whistle at home) and much more go-with-the-flow. Mr. M is amused by the idea that I can “chill out” at will. Whatevs, old man… I guess I am still me, which explains why I have a few well-planned side trips up my sleeve.
*You can’t go to Portugal and not visit Porto, the area from whence Port wine hails. It’s kinda the primary thing I imagine doing on my laidback holiday: sippin’ on port and watching the ships go by.
*The Alentejo region of Portugal is studded with these gorgeous, medieval castle-towns. It’s also the birthplace of 50% of the world’s cork! (Isn’t that crazy? Half of all cork made comes from the middle of Portugal!) Jess and I are determined to find one of these cork tree forests and stroll through it because… well… where else can you stroll through a cork forest?
*Portugal is also home to vineyards producing vinho verde (green wine), which obviously must be sampled. This vacation is going to turn me into a lush. I suppose a tipple-heavy trip is appropriate for New Years, right?
*And, of course, we have to visit the nearby, seaside towns of Cascais and Sintra.
Not to take anything away from Portugal, but I’m even more excited for our layovers (that’s not a phrase I use too often). Because direct flights were too expensive, we’re stopping in London on the way out and Amsterdam on the way back… and staying for a day in each! I’m so excited… I’ve never been to London (refer to My Personal Law of Physics above), not even to Heathrow on layover.
So readers & world travelers… any ideas on what to see, do, or eat in Portugal? Or London or Amsterdam (keeping in mind we’ll only be in those two cities for 24hrs or so)?
I would love to hear from you! What are y’all doing to ring in the New Year?