Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Ok, not strictly relevant to the premise of the blog, but I went to Lisbon a couple of weeks ago and thought some people might be interested in seeing some pictures of my travels (or may be not?). So here are some highlights:-

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sun setting over Lsibon, taken from Castelo de Sao Jorge
 We timed it just right we we vistited Castelo de Sao Jorge, the sun was setting and there was hardly anyone else there. The lights of the town were starting to turn on and it was peaceful and atmospheric. You can scramble all over the walls and battlement, with no regard to the health & safety restrictions that would be imposed in England. Lisbon is really hilly, and it can be a trek to get up to the castle, we got lost several times, but the view is worth it.

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tiles on a residential building in Lisbon
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bookshop in Alfama

The above bookshop is typical of the buildings in the region, many of them were covered in geometric tiles. Portugal has been hit hard by the recession, a lot of the buildings were dilapidated, but it gives the place a shabby charm.

There is also tons of graffiti in Lsibon, I liked the artistic or political art, I wan't keen at all on the tagging. People's homes and national monuments were tagged, and it made the buildings look careworn and abandoned.
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street art in Lisbon 

If you a history fan or interested in architecture, go to Lisbon. The city and surrounding area, particularly Sintra, has some beautiful castles, royal palaces and monasteries.
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ruins of Carmo Convent 

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what every good library needs- random mummified children from Peru! Picture taken in Carmo Covent 

One of my favourite palaces was the royal summer retreat, Pena. The architecture is such a mismatch of styles. It on a massive hill overlooking Sintra, so they views are lovely. Make sure you stop by the cafe and enjoy an ice lolly. It's on a sunny roof terrace and is the perfect spot to view the palace and surroundings.
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Pena Palace, Sinta. 

Sintra was described by Lorn Byron as a 'Glorious Eden". The town is a 40 mins train journey from Lisbon, and I really recommend you make the trip.
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My favourite part of the whole trip was our visit to Quinta de Regaleria. The gardens are magical, we had so much fun exploring all the grottos and turrets. The initiation well is amazing. We jumped across stepping stones, stumbled through a pitch black cave and appeared behind a waterfall. Then we explored the caves again, before materialising at the bottom of a well. We climbed the circular staircase and exited the well by pushing a concealed door in the brickwork. I felt like I was in Harry Potter. 

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Initiation well, Quinta de Regaleria 
Being a vegetarian I found it difficult to eat in Lisbon, but if you eat fish you should have no problem. The city has a port, so there is plenty of fresh sea food. One local delicacy, I really enjoyed was pasteis de natas, I ate a huge quantity of these tiny tarts. 

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Pasteis de nata
Best eaten when they've been freshly baked with your morning cup of tea, pateis de natas are creamy custard encased by flaky pastry. I really need to get a recipe and try to make some, as I developed a small addiction to them on my holiday. 

If you're in the mood for adventure, I highly recommend taking a Segway tour. It was incredible amounts of fun, and David, our guide/instructor, was lovely. Poor bloke had to drag me all around the hills of Lisbon as I was absolutely rubbish at steering. If he let go I'd start rolling into traffic or turning in small circles.     

If you're thinking of visiting Lisbon, and would like some tips or want more info about the city, let me know.    

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