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Just back from Lisbon and I can't speak highly enough of the place, even though I learnt only one word, 'obrigado'.

According to the tram tour commentary the city enjoys more than 260 days of sunshine a year.

The temperature this week (26oC) was slightly higher than the seasonal norm and it was very pleasant indeed.

We didn't do very much, apart from eat and drink. Fish and meat dominate the menus but several restaurants offered a fusion of Portuguese and African cuisine.

I also developed a liking for vinho verde, the national wine, and Branca, a local beer that came served in a glass within a glass, which helped keep it cool.

Our hotel was in a tourist hot spot, next to the castle, but with only 14 rooms and a private terrace it provided the perfect oasis from the crowds.

It was also very quiet, most of the time. There were some noisy neighbours – a pair of peacocks, both male, who strutted around displaying their plumage whilst squawking very loudly.

The hotel – like the castle – was at the top of a series of steep and increasingly narrow cobbled streets.

There are lots of hills in Lisbon so the best way to see the city was by tram – not the modern, bendy-bus style tram but the tiny old-fashioned sort that managed to squeeze through the tightest of spaces.

This was the first time I'd been to Portugal since 1971 when my family spent a two-week holiday in the Algarve.

(Ironically, given this week's news, my sister and I were taken out of school for the full two weeks!)

Anyway it won't be the last time I go there. The flight from Stansted was two and a half hours. The journey from airport to hotel was another 25 minutes but given the temperate climate and relaxed atmosphere I can't think of many better places to spend a short holiday or long weekend.

Warmly recommended.

PS. Just catching up with a few things, notably the fallout from the Royal Society of Public Health 'investigation' into the sale of e-cigarettes to non-smokers by vape shops.

As several bloggers have commented, neither the RSPH nor the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) come out of this very well.

If I can be bothered I may add my own tuppence ha'penny worth later.

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