Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sintra and Cascais

This morning we headed to Sintra about 30 minutes from Lisbon. It was actually really nice to get out of the city and into a little pueblo. Small but amazing...we took a bus up to the top of this mountain in the forrest to this 19th century castle. Pena Castle.
It was built by one of the rulers of Portugal in the 1800's. It was really cool to see a more contemporary castle, it was almost all covered in really cool mosaics. Inside they had a bunch of rooms with all the original furniture. Incredible! The queen had about 5 rooms just for herself all really lavislhly decorated. I wish we could have taken pictures....even the maid's quarters were amazing.

The view is not bad either! The king had great taste.

This is Ty(Australia) and Lauren (New Orleans) who I met yesterday. Excellent travel companions.... we pretty much had the perfect day. From here we went and had lunch in the old town.
I think I have a picture like this from every country I have been in, but I still can't get over how beautiful these little walk ways are. I had this traditional Portugese plate....basically hash browns with cured, salted cod in it. Probably the most filling meal I have ever had....didn't get hungry for hours. From there we took the wildest bus ride ever. We think the driver must be a retired Nascar racer.....hardly any brakes were used during the whole windy ride and when people wanted to get off they had about 2 seconds while the bus was still rolling. Quite an adventure....which got us to the beach in Cascais....
Beautiful beach, and exactly what I needed....just to relax in the sun. The water was pretty cold to get in but felt really refreshing. So we pretty much just laid around and slept on the beach all afternoon. Dreamy!

And then back to the hostle in the Baxia district, all the streets here are pedestrian streets with this really beautiful decorative tiles. The hostels here are really amazing, besides just being clean, they are actually really nice. For example, they had crepes with nutella, fruit, bread and cheese and cereal and juice for breakfast this morning. Fantastic. Plus there is just a fun group of people that are staying here. I have met lots of really nice people from all over the world. Traveling alone really is tough a lot of the time but days like this are when it pays off. I met Ty and Lauren and they were great travel friends I never would have met if I wasn't here by myself.

We got some dinner.....even though I still wasn't hungry since lunch and then went to listen to some traditional Portuguese music called Fado. It is a lot like flamenco but sadder. They say it is because all the men were always at sea, so they were lonely. This place we went seemed really local as well. A bunch of old guys singing with their friends. Really an amazing day.


Jaime said...

DENISE. Can I just say that I love you? I'm so glad you're doing this blog - it's fun to see all the amazing things you're seeing and to live vicariously through you for a little bit (and to remember some of the things Josh & I saw when we were over there last year - like mary kings close and bath and the giants causeway AND the carrick-a-rede bridge - I can't believe you did that one, too!). I would totally be your traveling companion if I could! :) It sounds like you're meeting some awesome people though - I hope the rest of your travels go smoothly! Miss you lots! Stop by Philadelphia on your way back to the states :)

Reags said...