A stop in the Costa del Sol

Cascais, Portugal

With a slight headache, we caught a taxi to the airport this morning to pick up our rental car. Neither of us can drive stick, which left limited options. In fact, only one agency (a German company called Sixt) had a car to offer — a hot blue Opel Corsa 1.2, an engine, we would learn, that might have had another life in a tractor or lawn mower.

Our destination for the day was Cascias (pronounced Kush-kaish), a town that has skyrocketed from sleepy fishing village to a popular summer destination for the residents of Lisboa. In most major capital cities, escaping to the beach and ocean can make an afternoon’s drive. In Portugal, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the Costa del Sol.

We parked and checked into Hotel da Vila, a super colorful place in the heart of the old town.

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The receptionist pointed us toward a lively pedestrian drag nearby where we found a touristy seafood restaurant with outdoor seating. A grilled piece of swordfish and bottle of water later, my hangover had magically vanished.

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An Audi-sponsored regatta race was wrapping up on the waterfront, so we walked down to the shore to check it out. Charlotte, with her impeccable fashion sense, wore just the right outfit.

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Although town and the marina was bustling, many of the shops were closed since it was Sunday. So we settled for walking around, resting with gelatos on benches and enjoying the warm sun.

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Our dinner at a local Thai place was questionable — was there tomato sauce in our pad thai? — best to just stick with the local cuisine. But sunset drinks at the uber-trendy Farol Design Hotel, with its whack chandelier and sweeping views of the Atlantic, proved the perfect nightcap.

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Really. Perfect.

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