A night of Poruguese Fado

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 1
Arrived early in the morning and with no map was relying the the directions I had written from the web. Upon arriving at the bus stop was greated by a call of you were in Morroco. Unexpected. Appears that Melanie remember seeing me in ChefChouen where I spent 5 days. She hadnt organised any accomodation and asked if see could tag along to the hostel I was going to.

Had to wait for the metro to open and then headed to the hostel. Took a while to find the place since it didnt have a sign. In the end only reason I found it was because I saw a girl who going into the building where I thought the hostel was, asked her about the hostelcand thankfully found that she worked in it. When looking more closely at the buzzer for the 3rd floor I did notice the hostels name next to the bell but inside the door leading into the hostel once again had no name.

Nice hostel with a homey feel and not to many people. Ended up heading up to the local castle and stopped off at the small (campared to others) cathedral. Nice castle with nice views of the city. Also seems like english is a bit more common here than in Spain. Also along the way to the castle visited Portuguese Museum decorative Arts which had some interesting pieces related to daily life.

From the castle wandered around town a bit in the Baxia and Rossio areas. Lots of interesting buildings around the place. Also found the street trams running around the place quite quaint.

Given it was a nice day, decided to end the day with a trip down to the San Jose Beach where Iwent for a swim. While there wqas sand on the beach and it was packed with people, the water unfortunately had less sand and more rocky outcrops that needed to be navigated.

Day 2

Caught a train out to Sintra with Melainie to visit the palace and castle that are located there. Took the loop bus up the hill towards the palace. Interesting building and can be seen in the photos. Wander around here for an hour or so before heading through the forest back to the road. Lot of Lichen growing on the trees and it was quite a nice walk.

Next planned to bus it to the castle but the bus was full so decided to walk it. Once again wandered around the castle which was pretty much in ruins except for the surrounding walls and a few towers. From here headed back to town where Meleainie did some shopping. While sehe was doing that decided to walk into a shop and was offered the chance to taste test some port and an almond liquor.

The almond liquor had a squeeze of lemon in it which made it really nice to drink. Got into a dicussion how the port tasted like tawny port port in australia and was told that it wasnt real port. Real port only comes from the region around Porto. Guess its a bit like the arguement about calling something champaigne. The name nots associated with the fermentation process but rather the region the grapes come from. Wonder if they'll for people to use a name shuch as fortified wine instead of port.

Ended up having dinner at the hosel with Melainie and two spanish girls who were the only others staying in the hostel. Melainie wanted to go see some Fado and I decided to tag along. Seems like some festival is happening in the town given all the decorations around the streets. It was late and since most places charged a 20euro entrance fee (for 3hrs of which 2hrs had already passed) we kept looking for a while. Luckily we saw some people heading into a small pub and decided to follow.

The place was packed but were lucky enough to have the owner of the plaqce fid us some seats. Got to see the show for the price of a beer. Appears that this is the place a lot of fado singers come after a night of performing in other places. Quite enjoyed teh show and saw about 4 singers do 2 songs each before heading back to the hostel.

Day 3

Spent the day wandering around the town. Started at Monastary Dos Jeronim since I have found that the monastaries seem to have some of the more interesting architecture and historical pieces around the place. More like museums. Next headed to Ajuda botanic Garden which had what seemed like a normal collection of botanic garden plants on the top terrace and a manicured garden on the bottom terrace.

From here continued through the suburbs to Mirador Montes Claros for som different views of the city. From here had planned to get the train across the bridge but failed to find the station. Decided to catch the train to the ferry terminal and cross the river here. Unfortunately this meant I had a longer walk to reach Monumento de Cristo Reios (statue of christ) but guess the views of the town from the other side of the river were worth it. This part of town also had a different feel to it. with the world cup being on found a lot of Brazilian flags up around the place.

Headed back to the hostel and once again went out to the same fado bar to see another show. Lots more singers tonight and a couple with a really strong voice. even recorded a few performances for posterity. The place was warm and Melainie called it an early night since it was making her sleepy. I ended up hanging around another hour or so before calling it a night.

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