We drove from Faro to Lisbon, about 200 miles, much along the coast but more over very hilly terrain. Given that Portugal is about as big as Pennsylvania and has a population of 10.6 million, the ride took about six hours.

It was worth every minute. I’d waited my whole life to experience Lisbon and thrilled at first view of it.

Lisbon has 547,733 people; Greater Lisbon has a total of 2,821,876. 26% of the Portuguese people live in Lisbon.

Friends of mine in Atlanta had urged me to visit Sintra, a stunningly beautiful mountainside village that slopes down to the sea and Cascais Beach village and ride on to Estoril, another affluent beach town.

We continued on along the ocean and followed the road up the mighty Tagus River, the longest in Portugal, to Alfama where the port city began.

Lisbon, with its numerous hills, expanses of water, and population size, reminded me of San Francisco.

The buildings cling to the hillsides creating post-card-like scenes.

Commerce Square is one of the most popular gathering spots in the city.

Fountains and status in the plazas produce feelings of grandeur to visitors.

Sintra is dramatic in that one minute the visitor is high up in the mountains enmeshed in forest then veers down a street and discovers an adorable village and the ocean.

The Sintra Castle is a beautiful and whimsical structure.

More Sintra – the cathedral with the two hydrangeas.

The natural park of Sintra – Cascais.

Estoril Beach.

Cascais Beach.

Historically, the Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in the city. The Fama Restaurant has been in the family for four generations.

I witnessed a Fado Museum in both Faro and Lisbon.

Our Hotel Sofitel Lisbon was located on Liberadad Street, a broad boulevard with a park-like median.

I admired the adorable little carousel in Cascais Beach village.

Lisbon is an Atlantic climate and the lush vegetation reflected that.

The first of two murals that caught my attention. They are a block apart.

Our Iberian adventure was coming to a close. Our last stop was Porto and I wondered about it. To my delight, it would turn out to be a smaller and older Lisbon.