From Lisbon to Brighton to Bangkok!

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Balcony views

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So much graffiti, love it!

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Botanic gardens in Lisbon, a small oasis of calm

I know, I know…  I have said it before.  Time flies!  Here we are in Bangkok but before I launch into the delights of being in this humongous city, I will have to go via Lisbon and Brighton where we had a fabulous time reuniting with family and friends.

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The talented nephew!  What a voice!

Lisbon is such a beautiful city.  We had not been there for quite some time and I fell in love with it all over again.  I’m not sure what it was.  Going to Portugal, in particular, Lisbon has always brought too many sad memories and a feeling that I wanted to get out of there. This time it was different; it was a beautiful and happy stay and I wish I could have stayed longer.  We got off to a good start with a great Air B&B flat and plenty of family visits.  One of the highlights was to see my nephew sing and perform with his group Seconda Pratica at Sintra Palace.  An absolutely stunning and special evening.

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No trip to Lisbon is complete without a visit to Belem where the original Pasteis de Nata are still made!

Lisbon has certainly changed, it is more dynamic, more creative and there is a lot more to do. Beautiful food in great restaurants, strolls around the old town but the Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology (https://www.maat.pt/en/about) was one of the highlights of our visit.  A stunning old power station on the river bank which retains many of its original features and equipment and also showcases modern art installations.  Great fun and it is free!

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I’m watching you!

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One of the ways to cross the river in Lisbon

The light exhibition was visually great fun and the map of the world showing which countries have electricity is shocking.  Check out Africa!  We were indeed often in the dark in Tanzania.

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One place I have always wanted to visit was Tomar, north of Lisbon.  Tomar was built inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo which was constructed under the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the late 12th century.  It was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction and it is well worth a visit.  In the 15th century, Tomar was a center of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ.  The Convento is nothing short of spectacular and really takes you back in history.  I just love walking around old places where you can “feel” the history!  I will not bore you with details but if interested have a look here http://www.conventocristo.pt/en/.

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Dining hall

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A window from a window!

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As we were in Tomar we could not leave without visiting the famous Castelo de Almourol. Almourol is a medieval castle, located on a small islet in the middle of the Tejo River. This castle was part of the defensive line controlled by the Knights Templar and the area is also very beautiful to visit.  The only way in and out is by boat or swimming if you prefer. It is a peaceful place with wonderful views and gorgeous villages.

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On the islet

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This is one thing I love about Portugal, the history and the beautiful old buildings, ancient villages, fortified towns…  Obidos here we come.  An historical, walled town very close to Lisbon.  Cobbled streets, colourful houses and ginginha (cherry brandy) served in little dark chocolate glasses which you eat when our drink is finished. Delicious.

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Got him where we want!

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He was not trapped for long….

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Up on the walls

Being in Portugal was relaxing and a good introduction back to life in the west.  It was incredible to be in a city after 2 years in Moshi, to see shops, variety, culture, cars, so much activity and people walking so fast!  It was enjoyable and fun and I can not wait to go back. The thought of going on to the UK is not so enticing but Brighton here we come, let’s hope the weather is not too cold!

Although all this moving about sounds terribly exciting, it is also very unsettling and confusing.  Have we done the right thing?  Will we like the new place?  Will we miss the old place?  Will the kids be happy?  Blah, blah, blah….  We go round and round in circles and the anxiety before the move goes up and up.  Being in Lisbon was great but going to the UK means that there is paperwork to sort out, more boxes to pack and the anticipation of waiting for the departure date.  Still, friends await and we are excited to get there!

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Joshua is enjoying having plenty of food!

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What strange people!  So good to see friends and have a laugh, good food and hugs. Wish I had taken more pics now…

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Thank you to all friends who put us up, lent us their houses and made us yummy food.  We miss you all already, please come and visit us in this beautiful country.

I was extremely lucky to have been in Brighton for my 50th birthday and it did not even rain for our annual birthday picnic.  Great company, good food and lovely presents.  I feel very lucky and loved, thank you dear friends.

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From Primary to teenagers!

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Walk on the downs, glorious weather

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Marianne trots away happily…

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In her element!

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And so it goes, three weeks gone.  Happy times, sad to leave again but before we go I leave you with some Capoeira shots!  See you next summer.

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The time has come to leave once again.  Bangkok here we come.  No idea what to expect but ready to get there.  watch this space!

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