Last night, we went out to a fabulous dinner to celebrate my sister in law and her husband’s wedding anniversary. The restaurant was set in a former convent (they’re all over the place here!), wonderfully decorated in a rustic, earthy yet very tasteful and upscale way.

Our table was in what was previously the cloisters, under arched roofs, with candles and potted vegetables growing on our tables. Dinner began with tapas, many of them, plate after plate of small yummy things, so many that we were already full by the time we ordered our main courses.

My favorite part of all though, the part that made me feel like this was a truly Portuguese experience, was that people also lived in the upper floors of the building. So there we were, eating incredible food in this beautiful, peaceful courtyard, looking up at the sunset above us… and seeing laundry hung out to dry on the walls opposite the restaurant.

When the power went out about two hours into our meal (luckily after we’d finished!), the upstairs windows showed flashlights reflecting wildly off the walls, and people came out onto their balcony with a laptop and a headband of glowing red lights to provide them with illumination.

To me, this was far more Portuguese than any of the food or wine could have hoped to be. Eating dinner at an upscale restaurant in a nunnery surrounded by people’s clean socks and T-shirts. That, my friends, is Portugal.

We’ve also taken a couple of (relatively) early day trips recently, including one to Obidos on Tuesday:

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And on Monday, we went out to explore the Botanical Gardens:

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