Loving Life in Lisbon, Portugal

After our field hockey tour in Lloret de Mar, Spain, Kristyn and I took our geographic location as an opportunity to travel more, rather than ride the 30 hour bus back to Bangor.

Our flight took us to the delightful city of Lisbon, which exceeded our expectations in every way. We met up with our other friend from exchange, Alana, who was meeting us in Lisbon after doing some of her own travels in Spain.

Our first day in Lisbon led us to the town of Sintra, which looked like a page taken from a fairy tale. The cobblestones lining the streets combined with the whimsical architecture was nothing short of magical. The town is approximately 30 minutes from the city centre, and under 10 euro per person, by train.

10322733_10152356553672158_8041101929531429982_n 20140411-192650After wandering around the initial town area for a while, we tucked into a late morning snack at a local bakery. I tried the local delicacy, called Pastel de nata, also known as a Portuguese egg tart.  I’m not a huge egg tart fan, but I found it pretty enjoyable. After all, when in Rome, right?

10155955_10152356553762158_1605856514112039062_nWe then ventured up the mini mountain to check out the castles, the Moorish castle and the Pena castle. Being student travelers on a budget, we just could not justify paying the 13-14 Euro it was to enter the castles. So, we admired the castles and views from the outside.

10155652_10152356553797158_6555608538200661921_nThe next day, Alana left us and Kristyn and I set out to explore the city of Lisbon. First, we headed up the cobblestone streets to a viewpoint by the famous Lisbon Tram 28. The streets were something I’d have dreamed about and fit the bill perfectly as charming European side streets.

20140412-190821 10314752_10152356553987158_8037542033516940209_nAt the viewpoint, we got a top-of-the-hill view of the tram and our first overhead view of Lisbon. It was stunning! I was particularly in love with the red roofs and white buildings that seemed to comprise every building in the city. Some artists were also selling artwork at the top of the viewpoint.

10253964_10152356554182158_4193241945633848108_n 10177310_10152356554102158_364208150141468452_n 10154143_10152356554132158_1703555936486959245_nAfter our first trek, we we thirsty for more. Since we hadn’t paid to see the castles in Sintra the previous day, we took it up to St. George’s Castle, the best view in all of Lisbon. It is a bit of the trek to the top of the castle but we enjoyed every second, particularly the street art that greeted us on the way up.

20140412-191115The views from the castle were stunning. This was the closest (besides maybe Neuschwanstein castle) to my imagination of what I pictured all castles to be like when I was little.

10259907_10152356554347158_4194899830731350591_n 10255112_10152356554307158_3533483946827707426_n 10153270_10152356554562158_4989786212740436706_n 1239711_10152356554287158_3373598955765144989_nAfter a couple hours of putting in our historical dues to the city, we treated ourselves with the usual: gelato! We looked over a beautiful view of the city as we enjoyed our ice cream in peace and happiness. 10013517_10152356554732158_2612334925935397874_n 1902885_10152356554812158_474357546294118144_nOn our walk back to the hostel, we again, enjoyed the quirks and quarks of this unique European cities. We stopped “just to look” at many bakeries, and toddled around an antique flea market for a bit on the main road.

10294332_10152356554932158_1727188797217666011_n That’s Lisbon! A great spot to visit if you’re in Portugal, and a perfect opportunity to use the city as a gateway to the real jewel in that country: the Algarve!

Note: this post is a recapture from when I studied abroad for the year during 2013-2014. It was rewritten to enhance the included media and writing quality for this blog. The original post can be found here.

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