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Trip Report 6 Day 'Girls Trip' in glorious Portugal with Mom and Friend

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I just returned from a great 6 day ‘girls’ trip with my mom and her friend (J) to Portugal! We were so lucky weather wise – 30+ degrees everyday, not a cloud in the sky!

Some background – I live in the UK and of course this does not please my mom, who lives in Western Canada. So at least once a year she tries to come for a visit. My dad visited us in May when we did our Northern UK trip so this time around it was just us girls.

The cast - I am in my early 30’s and my mom and her friend are in their late 50’s

My mom and J have been best friends since I was 3 years old so she is like my 2nd mom. This is her 2nd time to Europe (the first being in 1990), but both their first time travelling by themselves. I had originally suggested a week in an apartment in Lisbon; however they had it in their heads that they wanted to see some little towns around Portugal instead. Sounded good to me!

The plan – mom and J to travel to Portugal via London on Thurs 8 Oct and I would meet them there Fri 9 Oct after work.

We got a great deal for our hotels and car rental through http://www.pousadasofportugal.com/

We spent 2 nights in Setubal in Pousada Castelo S. Filipe which is located up on the hill in the castle, 1 night in Evora at the Pousada dos Loios, right beside the Roman ruins of the Temple of Diana, 1 night in Ourem/Fatima at Pousada Conde de Ourem which is also in a castle on the top of a hill overlooking the valley, and finally 2 nights in Sintra at a guesthouse called Casa do Valle.

We rented the car through the same website and got a deal for 4 nights in pousadas plus a 5 day car rental for €800 – although that included a car upgrade as we needed room for luggage, so it came to about €263 each. The guesthouse worked out to about €70 each for the 2 nights.

Hubby (Bikerscott) and I usually travel on our stomachs…well my mom and J are not foodies, so we traveled on our livers! We ate at very basic places and enjoyed plenty of the delicious Portuguese wines!

The trip was not without its ‘adventures’. I hadn’t driven a car in 2 years since moving to the UK, and I hadn’t driven a manual shift since 2003 so when I was designated as driver for the trip I (and Bikerscott) was a bit stressed when all they had was manuals. Of course we got a bit lost, had some interesting bus rides, and all ended up…well I will keep that surprise for the end!

More to come…

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    Day 1 – The Great Travel Day (8 Oct)

    Mom and J were travelling from Western Canada to Lisbon via London so they left on 7 Oct and made it to Lisbon around 6pm 8 Oct. Now both of them live in a small town and are not very experienced with large cities so I was a bit worried about them making it to the hotel on their own. To prepare them I sent them an itinerary with instructions for taking the bus from Lisbon airport to Oriente station and then onto Setubal, where they were staying the first night.

    Yes, it would have been easier to take a cab, however this was going to be a budget trip as they are both retired and on a ‘tight’ budget. Fair enough…these are the trade offs.

    So they headed off on the bus after asking for directions several times. They made it to the pousada after dark and missed the bell to call for a porter at the gate so they ended up dragging their large suitcases up many flights of stairs.

    Rule 1 broken – if you can’t carry your own suitcase you have TOO MUCH IN IT!

    Sigh…but they ended up making it just fine. In fact, they must have made quite the impression on staff because when I called and asked to speak to their room I asked for my last name as I had made the booking…well the guy started laughing and said ‘oh you mean ‘mothers last name’ party – they are in the restaurant!’ Hahaha…at least I knew they had made it ok.

    Hotel website: http://www.pousadasofportugal.com/portugal/pousada/setubal.html

    Day 2 – Jamikins Arrives

    OK, this is the day I have to pick up the car and drive. No problem. I can do this. Cant I??? Lets just say I had a stressful day!

    My flight was out of Heathrow and I work at Canary Wharf, so I took the trek on the tube right after work. Was already checked in and so had a bite to eat before the flight and then took off. Very smooth flight into Lisbon airport. Ok, now I have to drive. I can do this, I can do this….

    Picked up my luggage, some cash and headed to the car rental place. I can do this, I can do this.

    Went out to the garage (I can do this…) and got in the car…started it up without stalling which is always a good thing…and took off!!! No problem at all…I guess it is like riding a bike! I CAN do this! Once outside the garage I pulled off and set the satnav for Setubal and I was off!

    The roads in Portugal are great. I took an A toll road across the huge bridge and headed for Setubal. I found the pousada with no problems and was met in the parking lot by my mom and J, and a nice porter who carried all my things up the beautiful room.

    Lets just say my mom and J had been enjoying the Portuguese wine and were well on their way when I arrived shortly after midnight. We ended up staying up well into the night chatting and catching up.

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