I had a long weekend at the beginning of December just before all the stress of finals. I traveled with Amanda and Amy to Lisboa, Portugal which was absolutely amazing. It was so nice to take advantage of being in Europe where you can travel to other countries in the EU for relatively cheap. Spain and Portugal are neighbors of course, with many simlarties, but so many differences as well. Lisboa is on the coast, in the central/slight south west part of Portugal. The time change was actually 1 hr behind from spain, so it was 8 hours not 9 hours different from the pacific coast at HOME.
We traveled on wednesday early early morning from Oviedo to Madrid, and then Madrid to Lisboa. The rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing in our hostel and buying groceries because we lucked out with our accomadations. We were suppose to stay in a hostel, with 6 bunks, and a bathroom, but for some reason the lady really liked us and she put us in a room, no extra charge, with a kitchen and living. Now if you have traveled and stayed in hostels this is unheard of!!! Most hotels dont even have a kitchen to cook in. We decided the first night to save money and buy groceries for dinner and then make lunches for the next day. We thought we could only stay in the luxurious room one night because the lady said she wasnt able to do any switching around for the next couple nights, but the following morning we came to the reception desk, prepared to move, luggage in hand, and she told us we could stay in the same room! we were thrilled!!
On thursday we went to Sintra which is a town about 30 mins from Lisboa. It was an experience getting there because we learned that there are seriously 6 different types of transportation in Lisboa and Lisboa is definately not a walking town! Its much like San Fransico where everything is hilly and super steep. In addition, the streets are hazardous cobblestone and i felt that i was always looking down to make sure i wasnt stepping in dog poop!
Anyways, after taking the metro and then two different trains to Sintra (not very expensive, but a little bit time consuming), we explored the little town with so much character and beauty. We visited two different palaces (Palicio de Sintra and Palicio de Pena) We thought Palicio de Sintra was the main, big one, because it had the name of the town in it, so we went to it first, but it turns out Palicio de Pena is enormous and you could spend an entire day in itself exploring the palace and its many attractions (gardens, courtyards, etc). We were able to see the palace, but it was getting dark and didnt have time to see anything else. We ate dinner in Sintra at a French restruant and treated ourselves to an expensive meal....of course it was expensive, it was french! We split two main dishes for three people, a bottle of wine, bread, cheese, olives, the works.
Next we headed back to Lisboa and got rest for another fully day of exploration in Lisboa. The following day we went to see St. George´s Castle in Lisboa. We went to this famous Pasteleria that has small creme brulle type pasteries that are to die for. You add powdered sugar and cinnamon on top too! Thats what the place is known for and apparently they arent just famous in Portugal, they are famous everywhere. The place is called the Pastleria de Belem. We met these girls from our hostel the day before and they recommended us going, they even told us they were going twice. We thought to ourselves we will go once, but obviously we wouldnt go to the same place twice....We sure were wrong. This place was so amazing, the following day before we left to catch our flight, we went back in the morning and ate there again! Plus we got a box of 6 to go for our friends that we were meeting in Madrid!
On Saturday afternoon we caught a flight back to Madrid but it was delayed almost 2 hours!!! UGG. By the time we took a bus and the metro to our hostel in Madrid we were ready for dinner. We met up with our friends staying in Madrid and found a chinese restruant to eat in. Our friends had been in the Madrid the last couple days and they told us about their crazy adventure the night before. I nearly died when i heard what they did. Everyone reading this probably wont appreciate or understand where im coming from but trust me, when i found out i was a day from doing what they did i was so jealous! They were exploring the city streets of Madrid when they saw a poster for Common (this famous music artist/rapper in the US). They found the ticket office and turns out the concert was that night and the tickets were still available, only 27 euros!!! Anyways, it was general admission, surprisingly, since Common is super famous. If you know who Kanye West is, that might give you an idea of who Common is because they have done songs together before. So my two friends, Nikki and Ashely, not only went to the concert but randomly were pulled back stage after and hung out with Common and his whole crew. They were practically front row at the concert, even were pulled up on stage dancing on the speakers! And this concert wasnt small! It was huge! I was so happy for them, but i couldnt believe i missed it! Now thats a great story, especially since it happened in Spain!!!
Anyways, saturday night i went to bed early because my flight back to Oviedo was at 7am. We had to take a cab to the airport because the metro stopped running at 130 am and didnt start again until 6am. I thought that was really strange, since Madrid is an enormous city, and lots of people go to work earlier then 6am! I flew back with Nikki and Ashley because Amanda and Amy were spending an extra day in Madrid and getting home on Monday. I didnt want to spend the extra money and i had 4 finals and a paper coming up that week so i knew i needed most of Sunday to study!
Portugal was a great experience. I will post the site for the pictures below. I wish i was able to take more photos but my battery died on my camera and they are super expensive here so i will try to get more photos from my friends and post those as well!