I had a few days off on my own so I thought that it was about time for Portugal. It was may 2015 that I went, so coming out of winter I was hoping for a place with a bit more warmth. I booked myself into a hostel and tried to use TAP airways with staff travel. This was a horrible time to travel to Portugal as TAP had pilot strikes going on, and they were the main carrier to Lisbon. So I struggled to get to Lisbon and out of, back to London. But I had 3 days to spend and I wanted to make the most of it. The afternoon that I arrived I just wandered around the city and trying some of the foods that they had to offer. Mostly the Portuguese custard tarts. That night I spent in the hostel for dinner. We sat in a large group setting with lots of sangria going around, so I met a few lovely people there that night.
My first full day I spent the morning on a walking tour, which went for about 5 hours. This was a great way to see the city and also meet other travelers. We walked from Rua Costa Do Castelo to Alfama, which has great panoramic views. I loved the old colourful buildings and the easy vibe to the city. There were lots of small streets and old bookshops to get lost in. This night I met up with some people who I had met earlier to go for dinner and find a spot to over look the city at sunset.
I also spend a day in Sintra. You can get the train, it’ll take about an hour. It’s a resort town in the foothills of the Sintra mountains. I hiked up the mountain to reach the castle of the Moors. This took about an hour. There are a few paths and signs along the way but there aren’t many people on the trails. You can also choose to get a bus up, but I found the hike so beautiful and rewarding. From the castle I walked to the Pena Palace which probably took another 20-30 minutes. The palace was painted with bright colours and was truly unique. It has wonderful history and beautiful gardens, which I got lost in a few times. Finally I made my way back down to the town, where I sat outside and enjoyed some food before heading back to Lisbon on the train, exhausted.
That was the last night I spent in Lisbon before heading back to London the next day, having to deal with the pilot strikes again.