After a busy few days exploring Lisbon, it was time to slow things down for our final 2 nights in Portugal. What better way to wind down than with a glass (or 10) of wine? We drove an hour east of Lisbon into one of the country's main wine regions: Alentejo.
Other than a quick visit to the historic town of Évora (lets face it, every place in Portugal is "historic"), we spent the vast majority of our time getting in some R&R at L'AND Vineyards. When on vacation, we're often so hyper-focused on maximizing our time, we forget to just disengage and relax. My European co-workers call this the "American syndrome". They say that when Americans visit Europe, we have a tendency to try and visit 10 countries, 25 cities and 100 churches all in 1 week. I'll be the first to admit that I've been guilty of this.
Thankfully, places like L'AND make disengaging so easy. The property (while just slightly rough around the edges) is beautiful and contrasts nicely against the acres of surrounding vineyards and rolling hills. Considering this was a 30th birthday celebration, we decided to pamper ourselves a bit with some time at the spa, a private wine tasting and dinner at the resort's Michelin-starred restaurant. Our nights were spent playing cards, downing more wine and peering up at the perfectly clear, starry sky.
As I mentioned, we also spent one morning in the beautifully preserved medieval town of Évora. A few fun things to check out include:
- Capela dos Ossos: a creepy but fascinating chapel entirely decorated with human skulls and bones
- Sé de Évora: While the cathedral itself isn't that jaw-dropping, the cloisters and roof of the cathedral (which you can walk on) are definitely worth visiting
- Quiosque Jardim Diana: We loved all the tiny outdoor kiosks in Portugal, where you can get your fill of coffee, puff pastries, cocktails and local gossip. This one just so happens to be ideally situated next to Roman Temple ruins.
Well, that's it from Portugal! As far as 30th birthday celebrations go, this wasn't the wildest or most raucous. However, getting to explore a new place and spend quality time with some of your closest friends (with only a few arguments!) is priceless. I wouldn't have done it any other way.