Lisbon and Sintra
26.04.2013 - 30.04.2013 19 °C
Started my trip taking a bus far too early in the morning/late at night from Granada to Madrid where my attempt to sleep on the bus left me feeling a little bit off but enjoying life none the less Very random but the Madrid airport bathrooms had the scent of pink bubblegum, you know the kind that is 6 feet long or something and in a giant roll like a measuring tape. I stepped off the plane in Lisbon and out to the entrance to see my dad standing there with a flower -- best father of the year award already won but a sweet surprise. Reminded me of every time he would come down for my birthday and meet me at school with a bouquet of flowers. We took the metro to our hotel and I passed out for at least an hour so that I could be a functioning human being again.
Lisbon reminded me a lot of San Francisco, there a old trolleys climbing the hills all around town and a bridge that looks very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge but is called the the Bridge of the 25th of April.
We spent the grand majority of our time walking up and down, over and across all of the city. The neighborhoods were the best part (along with the pastries of course -- the pastry that is famous in Portugal is called Pastel de Nata which is a flaky dough with cream in it, nom nom). There are three major neighborhoods: Baixa, Barrio Alto, and the Alfama. We had a delicious first lunch in Barrio Alto of a salmon salad for me and a rabbit burger for my dad.
I think that my favorite thing about traveling is honestly just walking around and getting to know a city. It isn't really an event but I feel like it is the most real, if I can walk around a city and know where I am going because I recognize the area I have such a feeling of contentment. On our walk down from one of the many lookouts over the city, we walked past a building that had the XX blaring from a window and I couldn't help from smiling. You have to enjoy the simple things in life, and be happy in every moment.
We had a delicious dinner of arroz de mariscos which is kind of similar to paella. We spent a lot of our time going into random churches that were beautiful, my favorite reminded me of a sunflower with yellow, pinkish, and orange colored marble. The church even had flower decorations on the ceiling. My dad and I were commenting on the fact that even in tiny little towns that he has been visiting on his travels they have magnificent churches.
We spent Friday and Saturday walking around Lisbon, and then took my dad's motorcycle to Sintra to spend the night on Sunday. Now I want to just go live on the beach, do yoga, learn how to surf, and ride a motorcycle around. Yes this does sound a bit fantastical, but it was so beautiful just staring at the waves on the back of my dad's motorcycle with the wind beating us from side to side. We stopped on the way at a kind fancy place, and had a tasty lunch -- obviously we have been eating well while traveling. The view was amazing, staring out at the deep blue waves touched with white, and crashing upon the golden, sandy beaches.
Sintra is super cute. Our hotel was great, with a view that looked out over a glimmering patio. I also thought it was a fun coincidence that the guy who worked at the front desk was named Domingo and we happened to be there on domingo (Sunday).
The city is tiny but it has at least three palaces that we could see.
We walked around town the first night and had both of our first port -- in PORTugal which I thought was appropriate.
The next day we went to the Pena Palace; which is quite the wild mix of colors and shapes. It is half goldenrod and half a maroon/purple color. Cool to see how everything had been preserved, but I cannot imagine living there because everything was so incredibly over the top.
We returned to Lisbon on Monday and stopped at the Westernmost point of Europe, Cabo da Roca, and the wind nearly pushed us off the edge from how powerful it was. Spent the night at the same hotel, went out to dinner where our waiter spoke a modest 6 languages... but that wasn't many because his father was a translator in Washington DC and spoke 10. We went to a bar before walking back to our hotel that reminded me of Portland, because of its weird hipster vibe. It was very dark inside and the lamp shades that hung from the ceiling were plastic cabbage or lettuce leaves.
Tuesday I had to say goodbye to my papa at the airport, but then flew to Madrid and spent a few hours wandering around exploring before meeting up with Alice to go up to the Basque Country. A second spring break was an excellent idea!