It’s been a while since my last post, and that’s mainly because I’ve spent the summer in England where, incidentally, there isn’t really a summer. But just before I went away, I had a friend visiting me from Poland, and we went on some adventures. Some were further afield, while others were closer to home.
One such closer to home day out was in Cascais. Anyone who lives in and around Lisbon will know Cascais pretty well. It’s the little seaside resort at the end of the train line. A haven for expats and holiday makers from all over, it’s picturesque, the birthplace of the famous Santini ice cream parlours, and has a lovely, relaxed vibe to it.
However, one of my favourite parts of the city is the old citadel. Originally built in the 15th century, it was occupied by the Spanish during the reign of Phillip I, by the Napoleonic French in 1807 and it suffered signifcant damage in between, in the colossal 1755 earthquake. Finally, between 1870 and 1908, the citadel became the offical summer seat of the royal family and a grand restoration project saw it renovated to its former glory. Indeed, it became the first building in all of Portugal to feature electric lighting in 1878.
This was not my first trip to the citadel – probably about my fifteenth, in fact – but it was the first time I noticed that the tower was open to visitors. I’ve been trying to establish whether I somehow managed to simply miss it or whether, as I think, it had not been open before. Either way, as I reached the heart of the citadel and the wall overlooking the marina below, I noticed that the tower was open and was delighted to find that it was also free to enter. So we decided to take a look.
There were some staff from the tourist authority inside the tower, who gave us some leaflets with information and showed us the way to go, in a typically friendly way. So, we clambered up to the top and were met by some really incredible views of the whole area.
So, whether you’re familiar with Cascais or not, I strongly recommend climbing the four flights of stairs to the top of the tower and taking in the view – while the summer sun still lasts!