Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jul 04, 2008

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Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Sunday, June 22, 2008

We arrived in Lisboa, Portugal after a full Iberia flight from Madrid. Fortunately it is only a little over an hours flight. We are staying at the Sofitel Lisboa which is very centrally located. Having checked in we went for a wander around to get our bearings and see a bit of this part of Lisbon. Lisbon is a very hilly city, obviously quite old with a unique architectural style. It is hot and sunny here - the Avenida Libertade where the hotel is located is a lovely green, shady avenue. A few photographs of Lisbon follow.

23 June 2008

Travelled up to Sintra today - which is in the hills above Lisbon and listed as a World Heritage site because of its beauty. They are not mistaken.

There are three main places to visit - the village of Sintra which has a royal palace, the ruins of a Moorish Castle high above Sintra and the Palacio Pena - another royal palace high above the Moorish Castle.

The hillsides are covered in lush green forest and dotted with villages and small palaces. In the distance you can see the towns on the plain leading into Lisbon, and Lisbon itself in the distance.

24 June 2008
Stayed closer in to Lisbon today and went to an area called Belem where there are historic buildings and also museums. Saw a great modern art collection called the Berardo Collection at the Centro Cultural de Belem. This is a modern building - quite plain from the outside but very interesting within.

A selection of the day's photographs follow (as usual)...

Having finished in Belem we came back into Lisbon and went up to an area called Bairro Alto on one of the cable car things. Great views over Lisbon from this area. We ended up just above the hotel so wandered back down the steep streets to the Sofitel.

We ate at a great restaurant called Eleven which is situated at the top of the Parque Eduardo VII which is at the end of the Avenida da Liberdade and looks back down over Lisbon to the river. The view as the sun gradually went down was stunning - the old city, the Castle, and the historic buildings all looked fantastic. The sky above the opposite shore in the distance varied from pale blue to a soft pink colour. It was one time when you wished you had your camera, but of course we didn't. Here's a picture taken later ...

25 June 2008
Awoke to another beautiful Lisbon day and set off to explore the Castelo de Sao Jorge - great views in all directions over the city of Lisbon.

Very steep climb up to it though! From there we wandered down hill to the Se Cathedral,
then down to the Metro to catch trains to the Parque das Nacoes - the site of Expo 1998 and close to the Vasco da Gama Bridge.
The first part of the bridge is quite simple and beautiful, and the total bridge seems to go on for kilometres into the distance across the water.
It was very hot at the Parque das Nacoes so we were ready to head for home mid afternoon and cool off in the airconditioned room.

Went to a restaurant in Bairro Alto for dinner and had a Portugese dish which was a porridge-like, bread based "mush" with prawns. It was very tasty (at the time).

26 June 2008
We decided to have a quiet last day in Lisbon and after a slow start went to the Museo Calouste Gulbenkian - the private collection of a wealthy Armenian which was left to Portugal.
It is an amazing collection including ceramics, textiles and rugs of Islamic, middle eastern, far eastern origin, French furniture and clocks, amazing silverware, medals and coins, ancient Greek artefacts, religious art, paintings and a smattering of masters. It was well worth the visit.

We then wandered off and took a few more pictures from the Parque Eduardo VII (previously mentioned),
and after a quiet afternoon had dinner at a local seafood restaurant before retiring to the hotel with a bottle of Portugese rose (to watch Russia play Spain ... can you believe it)! Espanha leads 3 - 0 as I write.

Off to Helsinki tomorrow.
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