Last day in Lisbon

I think I walked more today than I ever have in any other single day in my life. I woke up relatively early and hopped on the train to Sintra, which is a beautiful little town about 45 minutes outside of Lisbon by train. There are about 5 different palaces and castles to see in the city, but during the course of the day we only ended up seeing two. There was just so much to see!

Before we saw any castles, we went and sampled the queijadas, which are another pastry that is a specialty of Sintra. I mentioned before that Europe smells like exhaust and cigarette smoke, well now I’m starting to associate the smell of pastries with Lisbon, there are just so many pastry shops around here.

After the pastry shop we decided against taking the bus up to see the moorish castle and instead began what ended up being an hour long hike up the mountain. It began innocently enough on paved roads that had a pretty steep incline, then went to a huge flight of stairs, some incredibly steep cobblestone roads and the majority of the hike was through the forest. The stairs were made out of pieces of stone and you had to keep your eyes on your feet the entire way up to make sure you didn’t break your ankle.

The moorish castle was amazing. It was the remains of a castle built in the 8th century, that is all now heavily covered in moss and is a mere remnant of the huge structure it used to be. The interesting part was walking along the castle wall, which I heard over and over again that looked a lot like The Great Wall of China. It was just incredible and not only had views of the city of Sintra, but you could see all the way back to Lisbon and the Atlantic Ocean.

After the moorish castle we saw the Pena Palace and the gardens surrounding it, which really was more like a forest. The Pena Palace was really something different. It was built in 1869 and it was so huge and elaborate and tacky that you just had to laugh. I can’t wait to put of pictures of this one! It was filled with the furnishings of the royalty that occupied it at the turn of the century, which was actually quite interesing to see. Being the troopers that we are, instead of taking the 30 minute not-so-difficult circuit around the grounds, we opted for the 90 minute somewhat-taxing circuit, which took us to the highest point of the mountain range at 530 metres above sea level.

Every path that we seemed to take was uphill, and not just a moderate uphill, I’m talking a leaning into it, high kneeded, heavy breathing uphill. My feet are still aching. I’m relaxing in the hostel now, having a beer, getting ready to get to bed so I can get up early tomorrow and catch my flight home. I’m getting the feeling that my body is going to be in a lot of pain tomorrow on the plane ride home.

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One Response to “Last day in Lisbon”

  1. Slava Says:

    Hmm… for some reason I thought you were going to Madrid on this trip.

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