78 days of travel and we finally arrive in Portugal......Lisboa and Sintra first!

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November 17th 2019
Published: November 22nd 2019
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Getting on the tren (train) hotel at 9:30 in the evening, there is confusion as to why it was mandated by the ticket seller that we each required our own dormitory. There are two bunk beds per room, and so between the two of us, we have four beds. Chris comes to visit my sleeper, and we enjoy a picnic. (bottle of wine, some clementine oranges and some cheese actually) Am thinking I’ll be put to sleep by the gentle motion of the train, but instead it is very rock and roll, as I am directly over the wheels.

Landing in Lisbon, PORTUGAL, the weather is warmer, and so some clothing can be shed. A nap is required. Being Sunday, all the shops are closed and it is a good time to wash clothes. At the laundry mart, Chris ends up assisting others with following directions, holding bags open to stuff dried clothes into, and providing a kiss on the cheek as they leave. A great job for him.

The sidewalks are created using broken ceramic tiles, and rather than being flat, there are many valleys and mounds in the walkways which are especially slippery when wet, or covered in leaves. These stones are brutal on the feet.

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and during WWII, remained neutral with an open port. This provided a gateway for 100,000 refugees to flee Nazi Germany.

Portugal produces 50% of cork in the world. Other industries include textiles, oil, cement, and footwear. (Portugal Live)

The hotel manager recommends we travel to Sintra today as it is sunny. So, it is back on the train. This is a city full of palaces and castles. Of course there are long line ups to purchase tickets to view these beauties. Chris does not do lines well. Walking down one block, we meet a tour guide Mateo who offers to take us exactly where we want to go. Mateo is from Argentina so we discuss many things about life here versus life in Argentina. So glad we met Mateo, he also becomes more than a guide, he becomes our friend. Perfect.

Stopping in Pena Park, the smell is intense and pleasant as eucalyptus trees are prevalent. We see and touch a cork tree. Through the trees is the magnificent view of the Castle of the Moors revealing an Islamic presence. The double military walls perched on mountain cliffs provide protection and insulate pathways. The image resembles a miniature version of the Wall of China.

One of the Seven Wonders of Portugal is the Pena Palace. Perched on top of the Sintra Mountains, this Romanticist Castle shimmers in the colours of yellow, red, and grey. Gorgeous.

Mateo returns us to the downtown core and we head to the restaurant for bacalhau (cod). Portugal has produced salt cod for 500 years. Time to head back to Lisbon. Sintra is a must see as it is very unique and historical.

Ciao Mateo, muchas gracias por todo!

Additional photos below
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23rd November 2019

Glad you enjoyed sinter. When Gwen & I went to Portugal we stayed in a very old B&B that had a view of the Pena castle. The day we took the bus up to the castle all passengers had to go to the back the bus because it was skidding on the wet cobble stones & was having trouble going up the steep hill. We loved Portugal

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