Lisbon, Portugal

Much like Porto, the hostel (Easy Hostel) in Lisbon was great. Although I only stayed there for two days, I enjoyed it and even had the chance to relax a little, which was a welcome change from the frenetic travel I knew would greet me in Italy.

One of the things that made me smile en route from Porto was the speedometer in the train, which is pictured here. The train was flying and its performance stands in pretty stark contrast to the crumbling passenger rail infrastructure in North America, and the pokey trains of eastern Europe. It was neat when the rail line approached the major motorways, and we flew past all the cars, which were speeding along in their own minds.

Upon arriving in Lisbon, I tossed my bag at the hostel and immediately boarded a train to Sintra, to see Moorish ruins and the accompanying castle. The castle and ruins were interesting and the city of Sintra was also really pretty, with a sculpture-lined street and a nice botanical garden. I think it’s possible to take a bus of some sort to the top of the mountain, where the castle is perched, but I, of course, opted to hike up the serpentine road and trail. After visiting Sintra, I found a health-food store and bought some delicious seitan and tofu empinadas, which I ate with some ice cream. Yaay!

On my last day in Lisbon, I took the tram to Belem, one of Lisbon’s western suburbs. Besides wandering around the area and taking in the sprawling Monastery of Jeronimos, I also visited the Museu Coleccao Berardo (The Berardo Collection) to see a terrific Le Corbustier retrospective, titled The Art of Architecture. It was magnificent and included many models of his works, and original pieces of furniture.

After spending the afternoon in Belem, I hopped on a bus to the airport and then began waiting for my EasyJet flight, which was delayed by two hours. Ugh.