Portugal.....finally some sunshine and cheap food

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May 2nd 2013
Published: May 19th 2013
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We flew to Lisbon from Dublin on the 23rd April. Arriving we caught the metro into the town centre and walked 100 metres to our hotel. We were staying right in the heart of Lisbon. First impressions were great, it was sunny, warm, bustling with people and street performers. Lisbon is a hilly city similar to San Fran in the US. It is so similar it modeled the Great Golden Gate San Fran bridge and build the same one in the heart of the city. It has beautiful buildings that were situated on the hills, houses all nestled into one another all had terricoter roof and painted white....for a city once voted one of the top desitinations in the world to visit it was certainly living up to expectations.

That night we meet up with freinds from Lauras University, Kirsty and Sam and had dinner with them and planned the week we had ahead. We had 3 nights in Lisbon and 4 nights further south in Lagos, the beach townside and the gateway to the Algaves.

Our hightlight of the time in Lisbon was the visit to Castle and Palace which is in Sintra about 45 minutes train ride out of away. Sintra is dotted by royal retreats, estates, castles and buildings from the 8th and 9th century, which many of them have been completed in the 15th and 19th century, we visited two of the most well known ones which attract thousands of tourists each year.

1. The castle of the Moors which is situated on the tops of the hilltops over looking all of Lisbon.

2. The Pena National Palace situated on the top of a mountain overlooking Sintra. Its a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19 th century romanticism in the world. One of the seven wonders of Portugal. As seen in photos the sight of the palace where incredible and even the inside had some of the original furniture left when the palace was purchased in 1889 by the Portugese state who then classified it as a national monument in 1910 and transformed it into a museum and now is known as a UNESCO world hertigate site.

We had again some great meals in Lisbon and Sangria. Again finding these finds came down to Trip advisor reviews and were relatively cheap compared to UK. Yay.

• Beers were 75 cents Euro
• Main meal for around 10 - 12 Euro
• Accomodation was around 25 Euro per couple.

There national food was great but the winner was their custard tarts the Portuguese are reknown for. Laura enjoyed one a day with them costing 1 Euro.

From Lisbon to Lagos its around a 4 hour train ride. We arrived and carried our bags through the little town to find our accomodation. Not knowing we arrived on the weekend of one of the medievil festivals taking place. After settling in to different hotels the four of us all met up and explored this medi evil mestival which locals all dressed up and so much effort had gone into the stands selling everything from Swords to Sangria, Nutella Crepes to leather shoes from the old ages, jewellery to hot roasted nuts.....and what not better than having a real castle with walls surrounding the entire city as a festival back drop.

Once again meals were very cheap and often they were large and filling. Day 1 we all explored the beaches near by with cliff walks all along the ridges. We took a 30 min boat ride around the Algaves and saw the huge rockface formations that the locals had created visions from. Although the guide spoke no English he pointed out rocks that they saw similar to a type of animal.

We also hired a car and headed to Faro for a look. After four days of fun with Kirsty and Sam it was time to pack our bags again and head back to Lisbon where we were due to catch our first overnight train to Madrid, Spain. Good Bye Portugal we are glad we came and hello to Spain.

Additional photos below
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View from LisbonView from Lisbon
View from Lisbon

If you look closer you can see the copy of the Golden Gate Bridge

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