Europe, Portugal

Lisbon and Sintra

Well, I knew eventually I wouldn’t be able to keep up with one blog every day and here I find myself waiting until I leave that specific city for a new one before I decide to write a post. I do this for several reasons: 1) Not every day is super eventful enough to write an entire post about. 2) Some days are long and I just dont feel like writing and 3) We’ve had difficulties with wifi in certain Airbnb’s making uploading photos difficult and take twice as long. Some downsides to this are forgetting specifics of each day and summarizing my thoughts on that place. I really enjoy explaining everything and describing it in detail to bring you into my eyes as much as possible. To be honest, some places just aren’t exciting enough to write about, which is why I posted my big city blog yesterday. Im starting to feel repetitive when it comes to the cities and I’m constantly using the same adjectives for different cities. So bear with me for now guys, I will update as much as I can when I feel it worthy of a post — there is always both my Facebook pages (my travel and personal) if you want a day to day follow as I always update with my photos, check-ins and status.

Okay, for the update, Big city Lisbon. This place reminded me a lot of Barcelona. It was beautiful and busy with streets coated in towering buildings and slender crossroads. Old European architecture that never gets old directing you skyward towards a view overlooking the city. A sea of burnt orange roofs split by infinite teal ocean. Each turn filled with busy walking streets lined with cafes and restaurants cooking up sausages and BBQ chickens, offering up the traditional dish or pastry to any tourist that’ll bite. You could walk through this city until your feet were covered in blisters. We saw and did all of the above and the 3 days we spent there were plenty for both of us. We didn’t do any walking tours this time nor did we go to any museums or historic sights, we just….walked. We took photos and stopped occasionally for a beer or food when our feet began to hurt. The sidewalks are so uneven in Europe and elevated cobblestone that I find my feet tend to hurt quicker than usual, I trip a lot more than normal as well.

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Side streets in Lisbon
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View of Sao Jorge Castle

 

These big cities aren’t short on sketchy individuals approaching you in very busy tourist areas waving around a small bag of weed to purchase and offering up some heavier stuff when you dont take them up on their first offer. Mark seemed to be quite the target for this. We couldn’t walk 20 feet in Lisbon or Barcelona without him being asked.

We landed in Lisbon on a great weekend with lots of festivities going on to keep us busy, which is a nice change from just walking around a city. We were lucky enough to attend Lisbons Beer Festival, Patio da Cerveja. Although it was half the size of the one we have in Edmonton but still with enough to keep you entertained. Maybe a little heavy on the Coldplay for my liking but a great experience none the less.

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Lisbons Beer Festival — purchase your glass for 3 euro and tickets at 2 euro each on top of that

 

 

It was a must to walk through the interesting LX Factory downtown Lisbon. Two perpendicular streets with endless restaurants to choose from and plenty of places to stop for 2 euro beer or sangria. Walking along the streets you coming across some pretty amazing street art, some painted and some 3D built to encompass a 20 foot wall made of what looked like recycled scrap materials. Pretty amazing to turn a corner and see a stunning work of art like that, it really brought character to this walk through and might have been one of my favourite aspects of the city. There are cute and quirky little side shops you can dip into to purchase a souvenir. So much along these two roads to keep you entertained makes a definite must to visit in Lisbon. We were feeling indulgent and of course had to try the specialty hotdogs and pig roast along with the cheap drinks before the beer festival, gotta have that full belly before drinking more right?

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Specialty hotdog from LX Factory’s ‘Dogs’
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20ft street art made of recycled scrap material
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Europe sure loves these artistic city name signs

This city is quite simple to get around, city buses are just 2 euro per person one way and if you have a rail pass like us, trains to Lisbon and Sintra are actually included so we never paid a cent for trains while there which is a huge plus! My only warning is all the stations seem to have security gates that you need to scan a card to get in and out, but because we get it for free we dont have a scan card so what we have to do is when we want in or out of a station we have to press a button to link us to the desk to ask them to let us through. This proved to be extremely difficult for many reason. First off — they never answered the SOS page when we pressed it even though they were sitting at the desk and late at night no one is working to even let you through. What we found though was that every station had a friendly local willing to use their scan card to help you get through. So we may have stood around waiting like idiots but we never waited much longer than 5 minutes before someone offered to help us through. Frankly I believe they make it as difficult as possible to drive you to pay for the scan card. Ya, not happening!

 

Sintra is another place to add to the list if heading this way. Its extremely beautiful but yet another massive tourist attraction. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Center which means it is completely protected and under the law cannot be changed or altered. The entire town is in its original state and completely run by tourism. Its so beautiful to walk through the side streets and gardens but expect to pay a hefty price on food and entry fees. Here’s an example: for Mark and I to take a 10 minute bus to the castle, go inside and come back down it would have cost us 30 euros all together. This comes out to about 45$CND. Now, I’ve seen some pretty amazing castles and cathedrals in my time spent abroad and I have paid my fair share of entry fees for those deemed worthy, but, no where in my searches lead me to believe this place was even close to getting that kind of money from my pockets. So, we were happy to skip it. This is a place to pop in and leave if you’re on a budget, if not go wild! But I just didn’t feel this place was worth spending that kind of cash to see. But there is a huge difference between “touring” and “traveling”. Im here to travel as a backpacker, not as a tourist. So it all really depends on the type of trip you’re taking.

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Sintra
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Garden in Sintra
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Fountain in Lisbon

Well after two exhausting travel days we have arrived in San Giuseppe Italy, a hop, skip and a jump from Genoa. I will update you guys as soon as I can but I can assure you — most of it will be about food. I have been waiting for this for too long! Love you all ❤ Thanks for reading.

 

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