We got up fairly early on Monday morning and headed out to a small town called Cascais, on the Coast of Portugal. When we got off the train we found the bike hire place and managed to get 2 bikes for free. We weren’t given a map of the city, so we just decided to ride along the water until we found something. As the bike’s were hire bikes they were only one speed, so it made riding up hills pretty hard. Cascais is a very nice town, people were very friendly. We rode our bikes all the way along the water to The Mouth of Hell (Inferno something in Portugese), it is caves in the side of a cliff. Really amazing views. There were lots of fishermen there… We then kept riding around the water until we reached a hill which we decided we wouldn’t go down (because we didn’t want to have to go back up), so we turned around and took our bikes back… We were starting to get sore legs and hungry. We tried to find the beach, but there was no real sign of one, there was a really little one, but we didn’t think that it was the one they were talking about. When we arrived to take our bikes back, the lady wasn’t there. 2 Irish ladies came up and starting chatting to us about our trip and talked about theirs, they were really nice. We then went looking for something for lunch. All the pubs we went into didn’t serve food and the restaurants were really expensive. We had a look in some small shops then decided to look at some other restaurants. We’ve been told to eat where it is busy, as that means it is the good food, but we found a place that was next door to a really busy place, and the price was right so we ate there. The food was really great… both of us had problems finishing our meals (but we did). A few people came to look at the menu but got turned off as we were the only people in the restaurant. The waiter/door guy was chatting to us and saying that he is in a bad spot and he is the only one in that area that has a licence to sell food. The food was really good and really well priced, we felt bad for him as the guys in the restaurants next door were stealing all the customers and noone had a chance to go past to his. After our lunch we headed back to the train station as it was getting late. When we got back to Lisbon to hung out in the common room and chatted to the Aussie guy Tim. We then made some dinner and had a few drinks. That night we watched a movie in the hostel common room.
On Tuesday we decided to head back down the road to Belem to see a castle we missed the day before. This time we were going to take an old tram even if we had to wait all day.. Or go somewhere else. We found a tram that went near where we wanted to go, a bit out of the way, but at least we got to ride the old tram. The tram was really fun. It looked like the driver had a dial that she used to speed up and slow down. We got really close to some cars parked on the road, it really amuses me how close cars park to tram lines.. We had to walk about 2km to get to the Castle. This castle was practically in the water. When we went to buy tickets we gave the lady out Youth Cards (there was a youth price on the wall for 1.60). So Kath gave her a 10euro note. She then gave us back 2euros (adult tickets were 4 euros each) . Kath said to her no we are youth and showed the lady her card again. So Kath gave the lady back her 2 euro and the lady gave Kath back then 10, and Kath said 2 tickets, and the lady started shouting at us and pointed inside and kept going on. So we got in for Free… We still aren’t really sure why…Nonetheless we were in. The castle was really cool and quite large. It had one of the most narrow stair cases I have seen yet. It was quite dark in the staircases and there was only one, so people were going up and down and there was barely any room to move. We had a fair way to walk out there so we were quite exhausted (and sore from riding the day before), so we headed back to the hostel, we had to change hostels as the one we were in was booked out. So when we got back to the hostel we collected our bags and headed around the corner to “Home” Hostel. This hostel smelt a bit funny. We were in a 4 bed mixed dorm, we had an old man that was in our room and he snored really loudly.. It was an awful nights sleep for me. The mattress’s were also springy… They did however offer free washing service, so we put in our dirty clothes and they were washed and dried for us in the morning.
Yesterday we headed out to Sintra for the day. The plan was we were going to get so tired that we would just fall asleep on the train really easily. So we caught an early train out to Sintra, it took just over 40mins to get out there. When we arrived we got a map of the town and decided which sights we wanted to see. The lady in the information area told us to take the bus, but we decided to save money and walk. It was about 1.5km into the city. The first thing we decided to do was walk up a mountain to see the Moorish Castle at the top. We thought the climb might have been slightly easier then what it was. It was a bit of a challenge at times, it was about 1 km of stairs and gravel. When we reached the top we were exhausted. We got our tickets into the Castle and realised to actually be able to see anything you had to climb about 100 stairs. So we hiked up the stairs. The views from the top was amazing, you could see all the way across Sintra and all the other palaces and castles around. It was quite hazy so the pictures don’t really do the area justice. We then climbed back down that tower and up the one on the other side. This also offered amazing views of the city.. It was really high up there. After recovering from our hike up the hill we decided to start our decent down. It was much quicker going down the hill then it was coming up. When we got back into the town, we went towards the Quinta da Regaleira. This was one of the most amazing sights I think I have seen yet. There were gardens that had a palace, chapel, grotto, caves, waterfalls, fountains, a lake and more. As I am a big whimp of dark places we didn’t go through all of the caves that went underground the entire area. The caves that we did go into were amazing, one led to the bottom of a well, one to a waterfall and the other to an unfinished well. We had a great time exploring the area. One disappointment for me was that there was meant to be a aquarium, but all the glass had been smashed (we don’t know if it was on purpose or if someone vandalised it). Kath dragged me into some of the tunnels and I am glad she did, it was really worth it. The Palace had great detail on the outside and the inside was full of sculptures and paintings. On the 3rd floor, we entered into a library room, and the rest of the floor was pitch black except for a information board in the rooms. It was quite scary and we didn’t understand the purpose of it being so dark. Needless to say we didn’t spend too long on that floor, it was just creepy! After we were completely exhausted from exploring the gardens and palace we walked back to town and had a sit in a cafe and had a juice. It was enough to get the energy levels back up to walk to the train station. The train ride back to Lisbon was quite relaxing. Kath nodded off a few times. We picked up some dinner from the supermarket to cook in the hostel before we went to the train station that night. We made our dinner when we got back because we were starving from all of our hiking.
We hung out for a few hours then went to the train station. Lisbon train station is full of creepy old men and dodgy looking people. We had 3 hours to kill at the train station so I thought I would sew up our pencil case as it broke again, on the otherside this time. This old man came and sat down near us and stared at us. He watched me the whole time I was sewing up the pencil case. So we packed up our stuff and left the waiting area and went to our platform. When we reached outside Kath told me that the guy was winking at her and blowing her kisses. I’m glad we got out of there…dirty old man!
We watched some trains get washed and hooked up to other carriages. Our arrived quite early, but they had to stock it, so we got on about 40mins early. We were in a crampy train again. We set up all of our stuff and then got ready to sleep. The police and immigration people came on the train to check everyones passports. Noone got hauled off this time.
Neither of us got much sleep, so when we finally arrived in Madrid, we were glad to be going to a private room. We found the hostel and they let us check in early. We found an Irish pub that we decided to eat at. We had a huge meal for lunch. Then on the way back went to the supermarket to pick up some supplies. We are now in our room, Kath is having a nap, I will wake her up soon so she doesn’t stay awake all night…
We are taking a plane tomorrow night up to Barcelona, then we have 3 days there, then Monday night we are off on a bus to Paris.. I’m looking forward to going there, I am especially looking forward to seeing the Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower and tasting some French foods.
We hope everyone is enjoying themselves and taking care of each other.
Love Cindy and Kath