Monday, 5 October 2009

Portugal - Lisbon and OPorto

19th - 24th Sept

We flew into Lisbon and stayed for 3 nights. We did a lot of walking around Lisbon, I guess because we were fresh from our holiday from our holiday in the UK so we saw quite a bit of the city.


Our hostel was right in the centre of the city and was really good (they even cooked eggs or crepes to order for breakfast). We walked up to the Castelo Sao Jorge which is a fortress above the town and gives quite a good view across the city. We also visited Cristo Rei which is a large statue of "Christ the King" on the opposite shore of the river which Lisbon is on. It resembles a similar statue in Rio, and is 100 metres tall. We took an elevator to the top and snapped a few photos of the town.

Christi Rei, Lisboa

Before we left on the train for Porto, Kerry had time to get a haircut at the barbers across from the hostel. This was hilarious because the barber couldn't understand English so there was lots of hand gestures and pointing to scissors and clippers etc, while two old ladies who worked there looked on laughing at us. He ended up with the only 'style' the barber knew, which was a side comb over, nice!

The old area of Porto is built on the steep banks of the river Duoro and the train passes over this as it arrives so you get a great first impression. Of course after trudging up and down the hills a few times looses it's charm pretty fast. Our hostel was central, right next to Torre do Clerigos which is a church that you can climb to the top of, it gives a nice view of Porto. There was some kind of University initiation/orientation week going on so there were groups of kids being marched around the city chanting, singing, dressed like idiots, and being made to do strange stuff in parks. The older students were all wearing the Student's uniform of long black cape and black suits, which is a little creepy looking, and there are all sorts of weird rules and traditions that go with wearing the outfit like the first year students can't look them in the eye unless addressed by them. I can't find anything on google about it either, v strange.


Porto's wine cellars cover one side of the Duoro opposite the old city and we managed to visit a couple of, them, Ramos Pintos and Sandeman, splitting the tours/tastings with some lunch and a bottle of cheap plonk. The tours take you around museums/cellars etc. giving you a history lesson and telling you about how they make the wine, they finish with a tasting. We tried some white port which we've never had before and a tawny or two.

Sampling the wares, Sandeman Cellars, Porto

More photos here: Lisbon :: Porto.

Next stop, Vigo in Northern Spain.

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