we got to lisbon last night. i had enough time to drop off my bags and make my way up a very steep hill to a little bar where the rest of my traveling group had already started unwinding. five minutes later i was slinging back a shot of absinth and wondering if this was real life. the hangover the next morning was proof that i should've had dinner first.
i was surprisingly not head over heels with lisbon like many others were. i was expecting rich history and old europe like i remembered in eastern europe. but here, it was much more modern. the highlights of the city were the beautifully tiled buildings in the old city squares and some of the pavilions. namely, alvaro siza's pavilion - how can you make concrete look like it's been draped between two walls like that?
while lisbon is one of the oldest cities in portugal, due to a devastating earthquake in 1755 (followed by a horrible fire which destroyed most of the city, and a planned demolition of the old medieval areas) a lot of the city has lost most of its historical architecture. the city is interesting however, resembling san francicso with its very own golden gate bridge replica (by the same engineer / architect) and rolling hills.
the next day we took the coastway up one hour to sintra, a much smaller metropolis, built on steep hillsides and rich with 8th century moorish castles and 17th century palaces, fully equiped with the original furniture, tapistries, and such. if you ever thought that those fairy tale Disney Land palaces wereonly for cartoons, you haven't seen Pela Palace. it comes with its own draw-bridge, fog (i'm serious - it was creepy to be on top of a
very steep hill, in the fog, waiting for a dragon to come out). and interestingly enough, the ONLY map of the castle itself is found on a dungeons and dragon's website.