Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lisboa, Portugal

This past weekend I went to Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal.  It was a pre-planned trip through a company called Forocio, so I paid one fixed price for everything.  I knew two people going on the trip before leaving: Asad and Maggie.

The bus left rainy Madrid probably around 2.30 Friday afternoon. First we went 2.5-3 hours north to Salamanca to pick up some more people, then made the trek to Lisboa.  We got to Lisboa around 12.30am Madrid time, 11:30pm Lisboa time.  The group was split between two hostels; I stayed in Lisbon Old Town Hostal (which btw, if you ever find yourself in Lisbon in need of a place to stay, I'd highly recommend it).

 My room at the Lisbon Old Town Hostal

After people got settled into their rooms and freshened up a bit (about an hour after getting to the hostel), the group headed out for a bar crawl organized by the program... where we ended up just going to one of the three bars on the itinerary.  Oh well, we worked up a sweat dancing.  There were lots of Puerto Ricans on the trip... and boy do they have energy!  We walked home in the rain around 3/4am (Portugal/Madrid time), but others stayed out later.

Waiting outside the hostel before the bar crawl

Saturday we started off the morning with a walking tour of different barrios in Lisboa.  We somehow lucked out on weather and had sunshine that day.  Some photos:

We split up and had an hour to find lunch, then at 2pm we bussed to el Monasterio:

el monasterio

Next stop was Sintra, a gorgeous little town that was green, green, green!

Then we headed to Cabo da roca, the westernmost point of the continent of Europe!  They actually sold certificates as souvenirs that stated you have been to the westernmost point of Europe.  Asad bought one, but I thought pictures would be proof enough.  It was gorgeous:

Then we bussed to Cascais.  The Puerto Ricans tried to get the wave going on the bus:
 In Cascais, lots of people went for ice cream, but since I am unable to consume it, I watched the sunset on the beach:

I was so exhausted by the time we got back to Lisboa - Saturday felt like two days - but alas, dinner! We got to the restaurant a bit after 11 I think.  Soup, salad, meat dish, and bacalao dish (typical Portuguese fish), desert (ice cream... had to pass it up again), and bread 'n wine.

The group was then bussed to a discoteca, but I was so exhausted I just went home to sleep.  And I don't think I got back to the hostel until around 1.30 or so.

Sunday morning packed up then loaded up the bus and stopped at la Torre de Belem before heading back to Spain.

As you can probably tell from the first video, the Puerto Ricans loooved to sing on the bus. It was entertaining... until you were trying to sleep, and they somehow still had energy to be dancing, singing, and clapping.  Was pretty funny though, because when you're as exhausted as I was, and the singing continued, you could only laugh:

I always end up making new friends while traveling, usually in the hostels, but the nice thing about this trip was that all the new people we met from the trip are all from Madrid (minus the 8 or so from Salamanca).  Thus it will be easy to make plans to hang out again.

And as always, the complete photo album is up on my shutterfly site.

PS - if anyone's interested, here's Maggie's post about the Lisbon trip.  I forgot/left out a bunch of details that she remembered/included, so if you feel like reading another perspective, go for it.  I'd link you to Asad's post, too... but he hasn't written yet! (tsk tsk)

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