Sunny and joyful trip

Today I’m going to write a really long note, but it’s because I want to share a lot of pictures with you.

At the end of last week we returned from our Portugal - Spain trip. We spent really great time, I would like to go back there even now!

We started our holidays in Lisbon. We arrived after midnight, so we started visiting interesting places next day in the late morning.

Lisbon is quite small city (with small cities nearby, which are not a part of the capital of Portugal, but they are in Lisbon metropolis, so there are very good connections between those cities).

I was shocked because Lisbon is a very clean city. When I traveled in Mediterranean countries in the past the most of small streets and streets far from the city center were dirty and stinky. Here is the opposite - no rubbish, chewing gums thrown out on the street, no stench anywhere. Portuguese take care about their city, they want to live in a nice place I think. Additionally every night the municipal services are washing the streets with the high-pressure water. It’s really very positive!

You have to know, that there is a lot of charming small streets in Lisbon (locals think, that the most beautiful buildings are these with colorful tiles). It’s worth to venture and get lost for a while in these thin passages, small streets and alleys with a lot of steps :)
Tiles are also on bigger underground stations - it looks really nice :)

In the strict center of the city there is a lot of tourist attractions, which you have to see if you’re in Lisbon!
The first (and I think one of the best is) Santa Justa Lift - it’s a lift which you can use to go on the place located few streets higher (Lisbon is a city with huge terrain denivelations).

There is also great view point on the top, you can see a wonderful panorama of the city.

Second place which amazed me is a fountain, which looks like a church organ. It’s located on the Martim Moniz Place.

Very popular is also a car near Ascensor da Glória. Going with this car takes few minutes, but in my opinion it’s worth to use it :)

I really loved the Estação do Oriente - it’s a railway station. The architecture of this building is sensational - it looks like light and fragile building. This station is huge - there are stops of a lot of city trains, underground and long-distance trains.

Next tourist attraction is located really near to this station - the Telecabine Lisboa cable car.
There is a wonderful view from the top - you can see the bay and the Vasco da Gama bridge - it’s very long bridge, it has more than 17 km.

There is also aquarium close to the cable car south station - we didn’t have enough time to visit it, because we spent in Lisbon only 2 days.

When we were looking around via small streets we found a very interesting shop - Lisbon Duck Store. You can buy there bath ducks for kids. It’s so huge choice of these ducks, that we had a problem which one to pick for Maja. I think everyone will find the nice one.
 On this photo you see the only one wall with ducks, there is the second one on the other side with the same quantity of rubber ducks!

I’m licensed crazy cat lady, so I found also a store with ‘cat’ word in the name A Loja do Gato Preto - it’s home stuff store, some of them are also with cat pattern ;)

There is a lot of restaurants and cafes in Lisbon, but the best are far from the city center. Of course if you visit Lisbon you have to walk around the Praça do Comércio place, but when you want to eat something delicious, you can’t pick any restaurant close to the place.

You have to know, that the most of the Mediterranean countries have siesta time. Almost every shop is open from 9 or 10 am to max 2 pm and after a break this shop is open again from 5 to 9 pm. And it’s the same with restaurants - the kitchen is open up to 1 pm and after siesta it’s opening around 6 pm.
Portuguese got used to drink a coffee and eat something sweet in the early morning, next they have light lunch and in the evening they eat late dinner.

Coffee in Lisbon is really delicious. I can recommend a coffee store FÁBRICA COFFEE ROASTERS, which serves wonderful latte and tasty hot sandwiches. It’s very friendly and climatic place, where you can sit with friends and enjoy the taste and nice atmosphere.

You should also try traditional sweets Pastéis de Nata if you travel to Lisbon - you can buy it almost everywhere. I ate it in Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata and it was really gorgeous!

In Lisbon there are also markets - the biggest one - Time Out Market offers hot and cold dishes and also ingredients.

The capital of Portugal is a port town, so they have fresh fish and seafood. If you come here you have to try it, even if you’re sure, that you don’t like it! I like shrimps with sweet and spicy sauce the most! They didn’t taste rubbery like in Warsaw.

Sangria is also something, you have to try. It’s alcohol drink with a lot of fresh fruits inside. Portugal and Spain are famous of fantastic sangria - I can agree with this, it’s really good, but too strong for me (but I have really bad tolerance for alcohol) ;)

I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t go by the ocean for few hours. There are few beaches near Lisbon city, we picked the most popular in Cascais town. We had perfect weather and water in the ocean was warmer than in Baltic Sea :)

After Lisbon we flew to Madrid. Our flight was very early, so at 9 am (local time) we were in the capital of Spain.
The first positive thing I saw just after we departed - each one traveler can use free medical care at the airport. You can use it only the day you arrive or departure.
I had no idea about it until I had a situation, that I needed it.
I got infected by something and I had swollen lymph nodes on my neck. It wasn’t comfortable for traveling, so I went to the pharmacy on the airport, I hoped that they’ll advise me something, maybe some medicine etc. And I got information, that I should go to the airport doctor.
I got antibiotic and next day I almost didn’t have any symptoms.

Madrid is a bigger city than Lisbon, so we decided to book hotel farther from the city center. It was better quality in lower price. We spent an almost hour to get from the airport to our hotel, we went by bus. I was surprised how nice amenities for parents are inside. In the bus there is a huge space for the stroller (actually, it’s possible to carry 2-3 strollers) and a car seat for babies, which are in baby carriers and slings.

And from the first day we visited each one interesting and touristic place - some of them are very popular, and some of them are not. I think I liked Plaza Mayor the most, it’s located nearby city center.

Also Debod Temple is really worth to see in Madrid. This temple is a gift from Egypt government, for help in saving temples in Nubia. We didn’t go inside, but if you’re interested in ancient Egypt you should probably go.

Very close to the temple, just next to the Manzanares River there is the biggest park in Madrid and the cable car station. We decided to go by cable car, because we didn’t have enough time to walk there. It would take a lot of time and we had only 3 days in Spain, so we wanted to see more places.

And again the same situation in Madrid - in siesta time everything is closed. That’s why we had to organize visiting in the middle hours.
For breakfast we tried traditional delicacy called churros - it’s thin fat snack dipped in chocolate. We decided to try it in San Ginés Chocolateria restaurant - I didn’t like the churros, but I think it’s not my taste.

If you travel to Madrid you should also go to at least one market - there are always fresh fish, meat, fruits and vegetables. We were buying there a lot of things to eat while we were visiting interesting places - it was hard for us to not to eat almost whole day like local people - we have very different meals time.

It’s also worth to go to Parque de El Retiro park - there is a really charming palace there - Palacio de Cristal.

And of course a lot of cats!

It’s always the same - when I travel somewhere I meet cats. These were quite timid and they didn’t want to pet them, but they didn’t despise the pate, which we bought on the market to eat in our lunch time ;)

They ate a whole piece of pate! I think they were happy about that, because each one minute of feeding there were more cats around me. They didn’t want to go outside the bush, so I don’t have a lot of good photos.
Anyway - cats were cute and well cared - their fur was shining and some of them were really fluffy and fat ;)

And if I’m talking about cats - at the end I’ll share with you some pictures from the cat cafe (actually not a cafe, but the shelter) - La Gatoteca.

I really like the idea of this place - everyone can come and spend some time with cats - play with them, pet them, accompany with daily activities. If someone falls in love with some cat, he/she can adopt it.
There is no snacks and hot drinks there, only some cold drinks which you can buy before you go to the room with cats.
I think it’s a “business class” shelter - no boxes, cats have a lot of space, colorful toys, soft bedding, scratching mats and shelves to lie on. The visitors are there for cats, not the cats for the visitors.

I think I liked Meili the most - she looks like Amaya! She was asking for attention all the time, she wanted to pet her and lied on my laps and purred. I think she’ll find her own home soon. I can’t believe that anyone won’t fall in love with such a friendly cat! I keep my fingers crossed for her and of course for all those cats living there.

Well, I promised you to write a little bit about Nutka, but I have already written very long note, so I’m going to write about her next time ;)

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