Published: July 13th 2006July 8th 2006
Soccer gone Mad
Like other cities around the world, the city of Lisbon has cows littered around tourist attractions.
We caught a red~eye from Rio to Lisbon via Madrid and were glad to have had a few days of sun behind us and looking forward to (3) months of it going forward. Lisbon is a beautiful city and it exceeded our expectations with its comfortable size, different districts, trams, and narrow coblestoned streets. It had been a while since we last visited a European country and hence we had forgotten about the Fee Gauging -they charge you to get to the attraction, to see it, to leave it and if your so unlucky you even have to pay to take a dump. Stayed in a nice residential (Dom Sancho I) centrally located within minutes of all the sites.
All that being said, Lisbon is an incredibly beautiful city and it is easy on the eyes. It is made up of (7) hills which make getting around the city very fun as you jump on and off the trams, while whinding through the narrowest of streets. The districts of Alfama and Bairra Alto provided endless examples of narrow streets, cafes and pracas (piazzas). From the Castle de Sao Jorge, views of the entire city are great and catching the No.
28 tram makes for an enjoyable ride.
Not taking into account that we are converting the Bush-War devalued dollar, the cost of things here are expensive relative to what they cost in North America - a Lonely Planet book with a price stamped on it of $25 & 15 Pounds, costs 30 Euro - it makes no sense. Portugal as a country has made leaps and bounds since joining the EU but outside of the touristy areas, of which Lisbon is obviously not one, capitalism does not seem to be the order of business. Appearing to still be stuck in the past, which for the most part is great, there are certain aspects which drive one mad. The lack of consumer choice and the lack of drive to please the customer is a telling tale that capitalism has a long way to go to reach its potentail here. Incredibly, internet has not reached the city of Lisbon and was an issue of conversation among all the travellers we spoke to. There are very few internet cafes in the city and all the hard drives are locked away, making it difficult for travellers to burn cds, download pics, and other
Palacio Nacional da Pena
The main attraction in Sintra
information - obviously they haven´t been able to handle the crime from their immigrant flow.
We did a day trip to Sintra, a 30 min train from Lisbon. It is a beautiful wee town with the Palacio Nacional da Pena and the Castle dos Mouros being the main drawing cards. We took a train from Lisbon to Lagos, so as we write this block we are currently in the Algarve enjoying the beautiful beaches and warm very dry weather. Here capitalism thrives and there is no worry about the 21st century amendities.
One thing has become very evident to us during this trip, we are bad luck for the home team´s chances of winning the World Cup. While visiting Argentina, Brazil and now Portugal the home team has been knocked out of the tourney.
We will send a less detailed blog from the Algarve shortly.
There are more photos below