Sunday, October 20, 2013

We're going home

Lisbon airport

I was up half the night as the hostel was very noisy they were blasting music until 2 am. I went to the bathroom middle of the night and were met by a couple being “friendly” and I got glared at come on people this is the bathroom…get a room.

I was awake around 6 am and hurried to shower before it was taken then I finished packing and went down to eat the stuff I bought the day before then I asked if the guy at the desk could bring my suitcase down and he said no problem he was  very nice. I went out about 15 mins to wait for my shuttle rather be early than late. It arrived on time and off to the airport, it turned out to be really close.

Jeronimos Monastery


Rossio Station

Be arriving so early I was able to check in quick and then looked around the shops and then finally found a spot to sit and read awhile.  I then saw it was time to board the plane.

A woman got on the plane the right away she standing in row ahead of me waiting for husband she kept announcing it (she had the exit row where there is a lot of leg room) and someone went to put their suitcase up in the bin over her and she said no I am saving that for my husband he’s coming she kept arguing with the guy he could put his carry on up there, she kept putting her hand up.The man went and complained the purser came and told her it did not her overhead, it did not belong to her and they argued the purser put the man’s case up there. Then she saw someone she knew ??? and she said this crew are crappy and bossing me and she went on and on the purser was still near and heard it and walked over and said stop talking about my crew like that and she said I was NOT talking to you I was talking to her. He was not happy. 

More arguing back and forth (he was firm but not nasty) made her sit down. He walked way and she was calling him a Nazi and Gestapo and got up again and kept saying my husband is coming. Well the purser came back with a stewardess and told her to stop it or he’d have her off the plane then the stewardess said your DRINKING and she is yelling no I am not just water. She finally sat down and the husband came and she kept saying how crappy she was being treated and went on and on about the luggage now he has not been there so he believes her it’s about the lack of luggage apparently when they checked in with no luggage they were given a hard time. So now the purser and stewardess come back and the husband starts about the luggage and the purser said this is not about luggage this is about how she was talking about my crew. She starts whining and husband got pissed at her and told her shut up then they threatened to take them off the plane and he says no please she will be good, they walk away and he was yelling at her.

So then they are back and told to move they don’t want them at the exit row so they are moved 2 rows back to the other side she put her shawl on her head and scarf on her face and passed out. She came to about an hour before landing and I can hear her again turn around and she is arguing with the purser again I heard food and heard him say you were sleeping  thinking she wanted her meal?? This went on and on and the purser was LIVID (but calm talking) and went and called for the police. Well they were going to escort them off the plane when we landed we were about 30 mins late they told us to sit that was about 10 mins and then they said we could leave so as we got off the plane the cops were there 6 of them guessing they decided not to delay us anymore. The purser apologized to me and I said hey not your fault.

I had to run for my flight as did not have a lot time to do it I had to go through passport control and that was a long line  I was lucky to get through a special security line or I would have never made it my luggage did not make it and it is going to be delivered in the morning.

I will miss Portugal is one of the nicest places I have visited, Lisbon was nice but it was Sintra that I loved the best followed by Porto.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Finished Finished Lisbon

Torre De Belem

My last day in Lisbon and I had a place I wanted to go and that was to Torre De Belem which is a World Heritage site it is considered one of Lisbon most famous landmark sin the Tagus River. The only way to get there was via tram #15 I asked at my hostel how to get to the tram and I was told to go Figueira which was adjacent to Rossio station, I remembered seeing it and finally located it, not far from my hostel.  I headed over but I was at a total loss as to where the tram would leave from and finally asked a policeman who pointed out the location.  I went and got in line and then the tram finally arrived it was not the small one car but a long 2 car so we all fit. It was a bit of a ride because they did not go straight along the river but down other streets too.
Jeronimos Monastery

The tram stopped by Jeronimos Monastery and I got off was in a need of a toilet so spotted Mickey D and went in and then I went in search of a something to drink I found a place selling Pepsi yea and they put it in a glass and I sat inside and drank it. I then took some photos of the monastery and then decided to head off to the Monument of Discoveries that I could see in the distance.  As I walked over I came across the Torre De Belem garden and walked around that a bit I then spotted an ice cream vendor and quickly got a “feast” and carried on towards the monument, to get there you had to walk down stairs and across on a passage under the highway. I finally arrived at the monument and was amazed by it, it was huge and there were various “people” on the side among them Ferdinand Magellan and Henry the Navigator.  I then walked over to Torre De Belem but once I got closer I had to go back and walk around the water that was not visible until you were close.  It was a bit of a walk but I finally got there, I decided against going inside because there appeared to be a lot of climbing and I did not feel up to it think I was feeling the effects of my walking tour the day before.  I did take photos and found a place to sit and just admire it, people watch and rest. I then slowly headed off in search of a toilet they had signs and finally found it had to pay but oh well. I noticed there was a boat tour so I walked over the next boat was leaving in moments and it was one way not round trip I want not ready to head back yet as it was not yet 2 pm and seeing the next boat was 4.30 I thought maybe.  I then passed The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar where 2 soldiers were on guard and I watched their back and forth walking for a bit it was beautiful memorial. 
The Monumento Combatentes Ultramar
Monument of Discoveries

Love the face

I decided to head back towards the monastery walked over a bridge this time and down a street and got to see another part of Lisbon.  I decided to go in the church and look around some and snap some photos. Then I came out was feeling tired and hungry I had spotted a place that had kabobs so walked over but there was a line a mile long. I walked towards some other places and finally found another place that sold shish kabab so I went in and ordered it was so good and filling, and I really enjoyed it. I came out and realized I was just too tired to walk all the way back to where the boat was leaving from as I would have to either go under the bridge again or over the stairs and either way that meant a lot of climbing and I was not up to it.  I decided it was time to head back to Lisbon I was going to rest a bit and then go out and explore some more in the area of my hostel. 

I got on the Tram back to center of Lisbon and I was on it for maybe 10 mins and suddenly we were told to get off the driver kept yelling FINISHED and we all were like WTF?  We got off and everyone was wondering why I thought maybe I picked the wrong Tram 15 that they did not all end at the center.  Everyone was confused and we were all pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I said is this a strike as I saw a TRAM go the other way and everyone get off. We waited for the next tram going in the direction but everyone got off to. So now it was what to do obvious it was some kind of strike as the streets were full of people  walking this is an area where there would hardly be anyone. I knew that if kept along the waterfront I would be eventually be where I wanted but I also knew I was too exhausted to go that far, I was guessing about 5 miles and that was too much for how I was feeling I walked bout ½ hour before I spotted some police officers so I asked if there was a strike or something and they just laughed I asked how to back to Rossio station and the one said there was a train and that is still was running and pointed the station down the street which was about another 20 min walk.  I got there and the line was very long then I had trouble using the ticket machine and someone showed me. It was a bit of a wait for the train finally got it and it was only 2 stops to Cais Do Sodre and I could by a metro ticket there being confused I bought a train ticket instead of a metro then they guard said I could go and try and get my money back and being no escalator I said heck with that and went to put money on  metro ticket however the machine jammed my ticket and in the only way I could get one was to just go and buy a new ticket and pay full price at this point I was too annoyed and since I knew how to get from Cais Do Sodre to my hostel I decided to walk I went a different route and saw some different areas.  Well once I was above ground again saw Trams running so thinking it was either a short strike or because I was near the April 25th Bridge where I later learned there was a march.  Looking back if I had just spent a little more time in that area probably would have missed the strike

Friday, October 18, 2013

Walking the Alfama District

I am back in Lisbon and at the hostel it's been up and down last night people came back by 3 am and woke me up carried on till almost 4 am, I finally hit the wall and they stopped. I decided to take the free walking tour you just tip at the end what ever you think it is worth. I had breki which was crepes pretty good and some coffee. I went to my room and caught up on things and read since the tour was not leaving until 10.30. There were only a couple of people for the tour but we were leaving 6 more showed up. 

The guide was good and she knew her stuff  the tour was of  the Alfama district of Lisbon. Lisbon's old town goes back to more than 1,000 years in the Morrish quarter of Alfama, which is Lisbon's oldest neighborhood. Like other Arab towns, Alfama was laid out in a maze of narrow, twisting streets and blind alleys with roofs that nearly touch either other to afford protection from the hot sun.  The walk was really uphill and downhill and I told them I am coming but I had to go slow down hill because my bad knee feels pressure going down. I really lost them at times but I would find them again around a bend, and sometimes members of the group would look to see if I was coming. We went up to a view point Miraduro de Santa Luzia we could see Lisbon quite well from this view point, even though it was cloudy it was clear. After the walking tour I decided to head out for awhile and hop the metro and choose a few areas to explore.

view from Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Música Tradicional de Portuga

 Cricket and I Alfama walking tour
outside someone's house

Coraco da be Alfama

I decided to visit Estrela Garden (Jardim da Estrela) which is located across from the Estrela Basilica it is considered the Central park of Lisbon. It was full of beautiful statues and palm trees and various other plants, even a banana tree also ponds with ducks and a cafe too. I walked through the park admiring the views and then I walked across the street to the Basilica, a man asked me if I wanted to visit the took so I bought a tickets somehow I thought there was an elevator NOT  I had to walk up the stairs and there were about 12 flights of 11 stairs each. I took my time climbing and got to the top where I had some good views I snapped photos of the Towers and by the clock. I headed down and went through the basilica. I then walked back to the park to the cafe by a pond got a pepsi and sat and enjoyed it and watched the ducks and relaxed. I had seen a bus marked Restauradores which I knew was the metro stop near my hostel so I walked to and checked the bus stops until I found where it left from and top the bus back, beat the long walk back to the metro.

Bell Tower

Looking inside Basilica from the roof

Up on the Roof

Estrela Basilica

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Saying goodbye to Sintra

Final day in Sintra and after breakfast I checked out but left my luggage in my room and decided to go to to Quinta da Regaleira I had seen a sign so I knew It was close to town.  I headed up the hill and then finally found it a bit further than

I thought and because of lack of sidewalk had to be very careful walking and on the watch for cars. I paid the admission and headed in I looked at some of the ground first walking around there was quite a lot of walking and climbing. I went inside the chapel it was really very small I even climbed up to the balcony for a view down hardly worth it. The chapel looked a better on the outside than the inside. I then headed into the mansion and I was totally disappointed it was pretty much full of nothing just empty rooms and some information of what was there once,  I had expected to see furniture etc so it was disappointing.  I started to feel very warm as I walked though and then sweating as I walked through the rooms I actually thought I might be coming down with something.  I finally gave up and went outside and saw a little café where I treated myself to a “feast” to try and cool down.  I then decided to walk through some of the grounds trying to follow the map which was confusing, I did see a woman fanning herself and she said it is too humid, so that was what was wrong with me since it was a cloudy area and not exceptionally warm I did not realize it.  I decided I had enough climbing and decided time to head back into town and then back to my hotel.  I got my suitcase the owner was kind enough to take it across the street to train station he even asked if I needed help with the ticket but I told him I had bought round-trip.  I was heading back to Lisbon and I really hated to say goodbye to Sintra.
On the grounds

Quinta da Regaleria

I arrived back in Lisbon and the hostel was right there at the train station. I checked in and got a tour the guys name was John and he  was very friendly. I then headed out to look around a bit and search for something to eat after checking a few places I decided a buffet place was the way to go. The meal was decent, I had chicken and plenty of salads  and I also had a sangria.  

Chapel Quinta da Regaleir

Inside wall mural

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Queluz Palace Amazing

Breki time again and down to the cafe again I was given the "throne" chair and I was served the rolls and coffee (really loved their coffee) and ham and cheese today my dessert was piece of cake not as wonderful as the cream cake but very good.
lovely breakfast
I decided to go to Quelez Palace (The 18th-century Queluz Palace Garden, built by King Pedro III) today as heard it was beautiful and they weren't kidding took the metro from Sintra to Queluz and then walked it was hard to find as there were signs pointing the way but they ended and did not go all the way. I saw a couple who were trying to find it they didn't speak English but they finally got instructions and motioned for me to follow them.  What can I say gorgeous first toured the palace and was just awestruck. I walked through the beautiful rooms with beautiful chandeliers each more beautiful than the other. I then went outside and there was a woman with an owl and she was having him fly from one area to the other on cue and I heard her tell someone she was teaching him English I stood and watched and asked if I could take a photo she said yet and then she told me by the cafe there were more. At one point when the owl was flying he went right over my head scared me. I then went to cafe had my sandwich I brought along with some pepsi and took photos of the owls and enjoyed the weather. I then walked the grounds and was in awe I had the perfect day and the sky and clouds were unreal these photos are untouched it was just how it looked. I just could not believe the beauty of the place and how lucky I had such a good weather day.  I was amazed I was there for hours but I did not know the time and I knew they closed by 4 and I was also very hot so I finally decided to leave and head back to Sintra.

I looked in some shops and caught the metro back to Sintra. I walked around some I really wasn't hungry despite no dinner, what can I say when I travel eating is second to me. I decided to go to the cafe part of my B and B and have a brownie which they covered in warm chocolate and a pot of tea. The girl working there was from Mozambique but had been back and forth between there and Portugal. She was excited I was from the US and especially NY but I explained I was quite away from New York City she wants to go to America because it is the land of the free. I just loved the way she said Buffalo and it was good chatting with her she offered to take photos of me on my throne.

Summer by John Cheere
Neptune Fountain John Cheere (1709–1787).

Quelez Palace is known for its Rococo Style

  Rococo, less commonly roccoco, also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century artistic movement and style, which affected several aspects of the arts Versailles-like palace is the country's finest example of Rococo architecture.\commissioned I 1747 summer residence of the royals

Mars on the right