Trip Start Mar 13, 2009
Trip End Mar 15, 2010

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Flag of Portugal  , Algarve,
Sunday, March 22, 2009

As we are finding Western Europe quite expensive (this is not a surprise) we are moving rather quickly through the countries. Tomorrow we will take a bus from here, on the Mediterranean coast of Portugal, to Sevilla, in Spain.

But to backtrack.
We arrived in Lisbon on the morning of March 18, after couch surfing and St. Patrick's Day craziness in Ireland. We were able to check in to our hostel (Black and White) but not stay and sleep as we would have liked, so we set off to explore the city. Lisbon is an incredibly old and beautiful city - clues of its oldness are everywhere, from the stone work on all the walls, the cobbled tiles and streets, the tiny archways, and the tile. Everywhere the tile, in beautiful pictures, designs, and motifs. Every building, street, and alleyway is beautifully tiled like it was in a palace.

The first day we didn't find much except that Lisbon is a pretty confusing city, but getting lost is a good way to get one's bearings if one has no where to go. A nap and a good night sleep later, and we were recovered from the Guinnesses.

The next few days we spend exploring the city, reveling in its 'oldness' like I mentioned.We visited an area of the city called Belem, where there is a really old Monastery built by monks, and beautiful parks and gardens along the water. Lisbon is on a bay (I did not know this) and therefore does not look directly out onto the Atlantic. There is a bridge designed by the same guy who designed the Golden Gate (although personally I think it looks more like the Bay Bridge) but it is a beautiful span, and when we left we got to go across it on the bus. Also, we visited an old Castle that used to be the fort of Lisbon - we went the wrong way getting there and walked up Way more hills and steps than necessary, but it was a gorgeous view of the city, there were peacocks in the castle, and  over all it was worth the climb.
Another area we took the subway to (Lisbon has Amazing public transportation) and we felt like transit rockstars, navigating it all in a language thats like Spanish, but not quite. The area was called the Parque das Nações, which is another waterfront area more in the North of the city. They have spent a lot of money on fountains, grassy areas, and silly art to line this area, and it was really fun to walk around taking it all in. There was even a sky ride type thing, which on our budget was out of the question.

We also had a drink with a guy from couchsurfing who couldn't host us but wanted to meet up for a chat - and then we met with his sister for coffee in Albufeira! How fun!

Nice people, nice hostel with a kitchen, and a good bar area (everyone just stands out on the street in front of the bars drinking and talking)  made us sad to leave Lisbon, but it was time to move on, and so we boarded a bus and headed south 3 hours (its a small country) to the Mediterranean Coast to a smallish town called Albufeira.

Albu is a nice city, but it's really set up for British and Scottish people on holiday, or who live there for the winter, or who come down to get crazy for Stag parties. So aside from meeting with Claudia (our CS friend's sister) we didn't do much around here. Our hostel has a kitchen, so we've been cooking all our meals (way cheaper than the 'tex mex' restaurants around here) and the weather hasn't been super beachy, so we've walked down there, but not spent much time at the beach.

So it's time to move on to Spain before heading south to Morocco. Portugal, it's been real.
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