Friday, November 21, 2014

Portugal Part IV - Lisbon & Sintra

Welcome to Lisbon!
And welcome to part IV of my travel documentation! 
The fourth destination was finally reached, the capital of Portugal. We had the best weather, you could imagine - around 24°C, blue sky and sunshine pure - real holidays!
During the first day, we ranged through the winding streets of the old town, climbed up to several view points, staring into the distance, and enjoying an amazing view over the whole city: On one side you saw the beautiful red bridge, crossing the ample river; after turning around, we spotted churches and castles, as well as traditional houses; on the other side, a mix of modern, classic and historic tenements, as well as block of flats and abandoned ruins.
Mainly we were walking by foot (when a met a funny native who was willing to be photographed), but sometimes it was absolutely funny to take the tram, felt like a roller coaster, driving very quickly up and down, up and down, shaking from one side of the trams hallway to the other one, when the road bent sharply (although I tried to clutch very tightly). Still, it was absolutely funny and one of the main attractions for tourists. 
On the second day, we drove by bus to the other side of the city, crossing the beautiful red metal bridge, seeking to climb a very photogenic view-point near the bridge. We left the bus one bus stop too late, so that we landed in the suburbs. From this day on, I totally recommend every tourist to visit the suburbs, if you want to meet nice natives, good and cheap restaurants and becoming the attraction for the natives. Anyway, after dinner we went up the hill to see the bridge, but before we could see the bridge, a huge Jesus statue caught our attention.
Waiting for the blue hour for perfect picture conditions, I asked some other photographers kindly to borrow me their tripod for a short while. Owing to their generosity, I could finally take an unblurred picture during the night. After some mosquito invasion we decided to go back home. 

The plan for our third day was, to leave the city towards the small prestigious village called Sintra, where you can find huuuuge parks, hills and above all absolutely stunning castles. Our original plan was, to visit all of them, until we realised that we need to take a bus to reach at least one of them. We instantly agreed to discover the most prestigious and colourful palace, the Palacio da Pena. Unfortunately, I constantly have bad luck visiting castles or historic places. Always...really always, they are under construction. Somehow that's really frustrating: All this effort and even a high entrance fee. So I didn't feel any inspiration to take a good picture, if the main facade is covered by building lot scaffolds. Sorry for that! 
But still, the park surrounding the castle was even more beautiful, with its own microclimate, allowing unique plants to grow there, so that you find a mix of enormous trees, colourful flowers and bushes, as well as palms. Very beautiful! 

During our last day, we finished our sightseeing tour in Lisbon, walking through Belhem, drinking coffee in a native (of course) coffee bar. In this district you could definitely find historic and stunning monuments and buildings, but somehow, the sun was too hot this day, so that I was really longing for the bus towards the last district we wanted to visit: The Vasco Da Gama business district, with modern buildings, but most of all the Vasco Da Gama Bridge, the longest Bridge in Europe. Actually, I think that the shot of this bridge is on of the best of the whole journey. I'm very contented with it. We definitely discovered lots of places, had lots of fun and good food. But of course, the journey had to go on! ;)  

PS: Also some funny picture of me as an exception, taken & edited by my girlfriend on her phone. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Portugal Part III - Obidos

Leaving Peniche behind us and heading towards Lisbon, we spontaneously decided to stop by in Obidos, a small village completely enclosed by medieval walls. The main attraction was the village's spirit, suggesting that the time stands still. Lovely small souvenir shops selling some handcrafted products and sometimes quite antique items were eye-candy as well. Another personal favourite were the colourfully flourishing tendrils on every corner of the contorted village streets.