Final Stop - Lisboa

Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
Trip End Feb 25, 2010

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Somehow made it to the airport on time even though my cell alarm didn't go off and I overslept after not getting in till 7 am. Anyway here is a little summary of the last few days in Lisbon aka Lisboa:

Flew in Tues, found the hostel which was in a great location right in the middle of town, and just a few blocks to the river.

Awesome place, the best of all the ones I've stayed at actually. And its funny that the second best one was the very first one in Bangkok.  This place was more like a big house, always something going on, and the people that ran it were awesome. The main guy was Portuguese but spoke 4 other languages. Also really loved hard core underground American hip hop for some reason which he would randomly rap to all the time. Pretty funny in a Portuguese accent. Had different day trips you could go on and something going on every night. Met a lot of great people from all over.

Tues I just walked around town, saw this famous castle (St George`s) and the Se Cathedral, and a great area with a view of the city called Miradouros. There was also a parade for the end of Carnival thru town.

Lisbon reminds of me a cross between Barcelona and San Fran. Cobblestone streets, a lot of old churches and buildings Barcelona style, but also steep windy streets and old trolleys like San Fran. Also has what's considered to be a "sister bridge" of the Golden Gate bridge (25 De Abril Bridge) going across the Tagus River, so I guess I wasn't the only one who saw a SF resemblance.

Learned that most of the city was destroyed by an earthquake, tidal waves and fire in the early 1700s, so except for a small area of town (Alfama) the rest was rebuilt after, so most of the buildings are from the late 1700s or 1800s, unlike a lot of Europe.

Tues night they did a wine tasting at the hostel with all local Portuguese wines, went out and had a traditional plate of rice, beans, sausage and fried banana, then a bunch of us went out to an area called Barrio Alto.  Had some absynthe, which is served everywhere even though its illegal in the states.

Wed I went on an all day tour organized thru the hostel with 7 other people I was staying with. Our guide was hilarious. Looked like a member of a punk group from the 70s and drove like a maniac. Which kept us awake because the Fado music didn't. He had to repeat everything he said twice, once in portuguese and once in English. Except half the time it would be ten minutes later when had moved on that he would remember to say it in English. Luckily a French dude sort of filled us in along the way.

Took us outside of Lisbon to a town called Sintra, went to a place called Palicio Nacional De Pena, which was the King and Queen's summer home for centuries.
Also went to Quinta De Regaleira, which was a palace and grounds that a wealthy former lawyer decided to take 14 yrs to completely renovate and transform back in the 1800s. Crazy place, has underground tunnels everywhere, passage ways under the church, areas that you had to climb windy staircases to be able to access. Not sure what the point was but it was cool.
Then went to a few more places: Cabo Da Roca, which is the western most point in Europe, Guincho Beach which is a big surf spot in the summer (huge waves) and a spot called Boca Do Inferno in Cascais.

Thurs a few of us explored an area of Lisbon called Belen, saw the Belen tower, went to the strangest museum I've ever been to, and also ate these pastries that are famous at this place in town-constant line all day long. Really good though. The hostel did a Piri Piri chicken dinner and Sangria, like rotisirrie chicken with a hot spice rub. Jmo would have been all over it.

Friday I had pretty much seen what I wanted to in town so a few of us just took a ferry across the river to see the views, walked around and chilled outside since it was actually sunny. Fri night the hostel did a Petiscos night and wine, which is their version of Spanish tapas. Manchego cheese, olives, smoked ham, and different chorizos that one of the guys cooked on a little grill right in the living room.  Last night so a bunch of us hit the town. Amazing how late everything stays open.   Great spot to end my time in Europe.


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