5/10/12- Made it through customs in Madrid without a hitch and landed in Lisbon around 4:15pm local time. We grabbed some cash from the ATM, found a taxi and made it to the hotel just in time to crash on the bed for a few minutes. The room is very small but very unique. I love the setting and modern stuff they put in here. Now it’s time to venture out to the streets while it’s still sunlight and check out some of the sights while we are still awake.
Got some food and felt rejuvenated enough to keep going. Walked around the Baixa area and continued onto the water front which was so relaxing. As we walked back towards our hotel the sun was setting bringing the night life out in full force. We were entertained with a lady singing Fado music, street dancing, musicians, the works. We even had a taste of Sangria at the open air market located not far from our hotel and found a great souvenir for our trip wall back home. So far Lisbon has lived up to my expectations and more.
Upon arriving back at our hotel the clerk showed us around the place. First bringing us to the top floor where there is an excellent view of the Castle Sao Jorge (which we will be going to tomorrow). Then he showed us some of the other more prestigious rooms they have there. What I love the most about this hotel is the little artistic touches they do. Each hotel door is painting differently which looks really cool by the way and even though it’s small I find it very comfortable. Not including the bed which was as hard as a rock. Hey, when you are tired you just don’t seem to care much.
5/11/12- Our first full day in Lisbon. Woke up around 8:30am with only once getting up for about 30 minutes in the middle of the night. Not bad for adjusting to the time change. After breakfast our first stop was the Castle Sao Jorge. We tried to find a tram to bring us to the top as it was an uphill climb but I soon found the path wasn’t that far away. So we just walked it. Only took maybe 20 minutes of walking and not many steps to worry about. Of course the food we had fueled our fire a bit. The castle is not in use and not really anything we haven’t seen before but it did remind us of the Great Wall of China as we walked along the highest points. Come to think of it many things here in Lisbon remind me of other places. The rooftops are like Florence, the bridge is very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge and I can’t help but picture myself in Venice again as I walk the beachside. Very strange.
We soon found the tram to take us to the other side of Lisbon in the Belem area. We boarded the tram expecting to pay with exact change but found no one there to take our money. So we just sat down and got a free 20 minute ride across town. Saved about $8.
There we found a very nice pastry place that has this awesome custard filled tart that is absolutely the best I’ve ever tasted. The recipe has apparently been around for hundreds of years and Lisbon is famous for it. After a brief stop at Starbucks to rest our legs we hit the shore once again to see the Tower of Belem. We briskly walked through as we still wanted to hit the Monastery on our way back before it closed.
Before leaving back to our hotel we had to stop by the pastry place once again to get 4 more tarts to bring back with us. The bus we took back (and yes we paid for it this time) was so crowded that we were surprised the driver kept letting people on at each stop. 20 minutes later we finally make it back to our area of town. We hit the train station for a second to check the train schedule for Sintra leaving tomorrow and finally arrived back at our hotel for a few hours rest.
Before the night ended we decided to venture out one more time to see the night life. After all it is Friday night. Everywhere we went I kept being asked if I wanted hash or coke. I think it’s my long hair again that is getting all of the attention. We ate a late dinner and call it a night.
I tell you I really enjoy Europe. I wish I could make my own country with American freedoms and European simple values.
5/12/12- Woke up early again around 7:30am feeling good and ready to tackle the day trip to Sintra. Little did we know how much of a day it would actually be.
We ate breakfast at the same restaurant as the day before. We tried to go to McDonalds for a quick bite but they were not open yet. It worked out just as well because this restaurant serves the best naturally squeezed orange juice and coffee. The toast is very nice and buttered as well.
After breakfast we take the 40 minute train ride to Sintra and begin our journey at the main Palace. It was only a short walk from the train station and right in the center of town. The palace wasn’t too bad. They allowed photos with no problem and was fairly easy to walk around. We then take the bus over to the Palace Pena. This is where the adventure began. The bus went uphill quite a ways and was fast about it. By the time the 15 minutes was over my stomach was all up in knots. It took several minutes to recover before moving on.
Once we felt better we bought the tickets for both this and the Castle not far away. There was also an extra fee for transportation to the palace which jacked up the price even more. Oh well.
The grounds here were amazing to look at. Only problem was this place didn’t accept photos inside. I took some anyway when I could. There were cameras in every room so I was paranoid they’d try to tell me to delete so before I exited I took out my memory card. Turned out to be unnecessary as no one approached me about it.
Lastly, we walked the 5 minutes to go to the Castle. We didn’t realize we had to trek another 10 minutes up and down hill to get to the entrance. It was starting to remind me of the Great Wall of China all over again. Even the views from the mountain top brought back memories. But we made it through. Sharece took a rest at one of the benches as I walked to the top of the castle and back.
Our legs are extremely tired now. Two palaces and a castle are quite a bit to do in a short amount of time. So we took the bus back to the center of town and celebrated with a nice pastry called a travesseiros. Ah man was it good. We finished it off with gelato type ice cream. As we took the train back to Rossio station Sharece’s return ticket didn’t scan properly. She tried to tell the guy at the counter and he was no help at all. With the train about to leave I was able to scan my ticket twice to open the door for her but she was late getting through and got smacked by it as it closed. She was not very happy with that situation. But we made it back to Lisbon exhausted, hurting and scrapped up.
My feet were so happy to have made it back to the hotel. One trick we found is our feet love cold concrete and rocks. So when we can we take off our shoes and let the cold refresh them. It feels so good! Now it’s time to get some sleep and prepare for our 4am wake up to get ready for our plane trip to Rome tomorrow.Edited: 14 May 2012, 11:16