I am back again with part 2 of my journey to Portugal! Saturday morning we awoke fairly early and made breakfast in our Airbnb. We lucked out with the weather and were surprised to see partly sunny skies instead of the forecasted rain. The view from our Airbnb was amazing and I had to snap a few pictures.
After a quick breakfast, we gathered up our things and headed out to explore the city of Lisbon for the day! The buildings feature light colored pastel colors and some are decorated with amazing graffiti. Not to mention their are ferry cars that run throughout the city which reminded me of San Fransisco.
Our first stop was a visit to Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta which was constructed in 1755 and completed in 1875.
We then entered Praça do Comércio which is one of the main plazas of Lisbon near the Tagus River.
We walked a past the plaza and had a great view of the Tagus River and the Ponte 25 de abril bridge which my friends and I colloquially refer to as the Golden Gate bridge because it is so similar in appearance. In fact, the design of the Golden Gate was modeled after this bridge in Lisbon! Who knew?
After enjoying some sun and breezes we began walking toward the main train station in Lisbon because we wanted to make a trip to Sintra which is a beautiful mountain town. I snapped some more pictures walking through the streets of Lisbon.
We finally made it to the train station and were surprised to find that there was a beautiful viewpoint of the city.
After admiring the view we stopped by Starbucks quick to pick up some refreshments for the 40 minute train ride. A Starbucks worker asked us if we wanted to sample some hibiscus tea and treats and we had a nice conversation with him about Portugal and how we were studying in Spain. Something I have really enjoyed about Europe has been getting to meet new people and learn about their backstory.
Finally we boarded the train and made our trip to Sintra! Once off the train we decided to take a small car called a Tuk-Tuk up to see the castle Palácio da Pena which was the main attraction in Sintra. All five of us climbed into the little Tuk-Tuk and we had the most amazing ride up the mountains. Our driver made it fun by swerving back and forth and it provided us with the most amazing views of the city. The journey made me feel like I was driving around a south American jungle instead of a Portuguese mountainside. The hills were so lush and green. Simply breathtaking.
Once at the top of the mountain we bought entrance tickets-my advice is by the park entrance ticket and not the castle tickets (which are more expensive) because you essentially get to see most of the castle with the park tickets.
We started off by making a short hike up to see the castle and we admired all of the beautiful green scenery.
Finally we got our first few looks at the castle.
Majestic isn’t it? Shortly after we entered the castle.
The Pena Palace has a mix of styles including Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance.
We walked to a higher spot in the castle and saw some amazing views.
The castle’s history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of the hill above Sintra. According to tradition, construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
We also walked through this super beautiful engraving showing a depiction of a mythological triton, symbolizing the allegory of creation of the world.
On the other side there was an amazing lookout spot… we had to take some pictures.
The castle left us in complete awe and wonderment as we made our way back down the trail. Our Tuk-Tuk driver met up with us again at the bottom and brought us to a restaurant for lunch that he recommended.
After lunch we hopped back on a train to return to Lisbon. Once there we stopped at a café for more pasteis de nata and sat outside.
We explored around the city a little more afterward. We ran into some live street music which was enjoyable and also stumbled upon an art store and studio. One of the artists and owners named Pavel was super awesome and explained to us his process of making prints. He spend the large majority of his time carving the print into wood and it is especially difficult because he has to work with the grain and also think about the image in a negative form. His prints were super impressive. He also told us that he liked the idea of having an open studio because normally museums are only accessable for the upper-class because they can afford the entrance fee. However, he wants art to be available for all people. It was really inspiring to hear from him and his perspective as an Estonian artist living in Lisbon.
Here is his social media information and I highly recommend checking out his work.
After our long day we returned to the Airbnb for some rest and a filling dinner of pizza before we went out to enjoy some of the Lisbon’s night life.
The next morning was quite rainy but I managed to snap a few more pictures of Lisbon before we had to catch our plane back to Madrid.
Overall, Portugal has left me with wonderful memories to cherish for years and I intend to return at some point to explore further.
Worry less and smile more.