Less but more

Trip Start Aug 25, 2006
Trip End Dec 15, 2006

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Lisbon had a lot to live up to after Porto, and I would have to say that it fell short. It's a nice place, a fair bit bigger than Porto, but obviously it cannot replicate what you get from a town like Porto. I mean that it was easy to get around. Not too large, but not too small to be boring. Little things like lack of internet, like almost at all, slight increase in prices, two-fold increase in number of bums asking for money or selling drugs all amongst much more up-market stores which drive away the smaller, more accessible and perhaps friendlier cafes. Although I would say there is a lot more to do in Lisbon in it's monuments, statues (a big fuck off Jesus across the river, trying to achieve the effect of the one in Rio I guess) and improved night life, like I said, it's just not as accessible as Porto.

Our hostel again was really nice with just the right number of people and even more to do, in a good area close to everything. We pretty much spent the 2 days we had here walking around all day, checking out what there is around the place. The weather was crap again though, providing some of the most vicious rain i've ever seen. Our last full day saw us head out to Sintra, which is a small town about 40ks west of Lisbon. Like Porto its town centre is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is also surrounded by hills which are host to a Moorish castle hundreds of years old, and the Pena National Palace which was very colourful with some pretty cool architecture, and a view out to the coast which is the western most point in mainland Europe. The walk up, down and around the hills was pretty cool. Very green as can be seen in the photos. A little touristy, but still bearable.

Back in Lisbon we went for a walk along the river Tagus, saw the 25th of April Bridge and a relatively large port complex. It was built from '62 to '66 and initially named the Salazar bridge, but after the revolution in 1974, they renamed it after the day of the revolution. We wanted to walk across it but apparently winds are too strong and it's a bit over 2ks long so pretty useless for any pedestrian usage and we weren't allowed. Luke got all excited when we saw a big electrical power museum but alas, we found it was shut until November. There is also Europe's longest bridge in Lisbon; the Vasco de Gama bridge at a little over 17ks long. We saw this on the way into town on the bus. I didn't realise the significance of it at the time. That happens a lot. You see something mad but aren't aware of its significance until afterwards.

Metro in Lisbon is very modern as well, but not quite as brand-spanking-new as Porto's. Seeing as Portugal has a big naval history, it's not surprising that there is a lot of naval infrastructure. Our walk along the river westwards also brought us upon some interesting structures like the naval museum and numerous port areas.

I guess we didn't stay long enough in Lisbon to really check the place out properly, but I figure it can't have much more cultural stuff than we've already seen and I think we prefer smaller towns in Portugal than large sprawls of infrastructure like Lisbon.
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