Friday, June 13, 2008

Portugal travel letter: around Lisbon

My third day in Portugal starts very slowly. Today I’m gonna head off to discover the surroundings of Lisbon, but I can’t get out of the Traveller’s House before noon. I guess I should´ve slept more than 5 hours after last night’s bar crawl, which was good fun. I wasn’t as drunk as most of the group but I had the good company of Missy and Joao.

When I finally do get out of the house I head to the picturesque little town called Sintra. It reminds me of some of the small towns in southern France, especially the one I visited on my way from Cannes to Monaco…can’t remember its name though. Another guy from the hostel, Adriano, has advised on where to go and what do eat in Sintra and I do pretty much everything he’s told me to, which includes eating 2 very tasty and extremely sweet pastries – the pastries seem to be all I’m eating around here.

I also walk around Quinta da Regalia, a strange and mystical place with palaces, gardens, secret caves and wells and even tennis courts from olden times. They say it has symbols and elements of alchemy and freemasonry but I only find this out later However, it does get the mind running free. Take the well of initiation, for example, I can just imagine that at some point this could’ve been the sacrifice spot, with the sacrifice taking place at the bottom of it, with spectators standing on the stairs, looking down with their faces masked.

From Sintra I head to Cabo da Roca – now this is the westernmost point of continental Europe, one of my main soul searching destinations, so I try really hard to think about my life and if there’s anything I wanna change in it or do I like it the way it is…however, all I manage to think about is that I’m really-really tired and that I’m cold, because it’s extremely windy and I’m not dressed appropriately. Well, that much about soul searching then.

From Cabo da Roca I head to the seaside town Cascais. Ideally, had I left Lisbon earlier, I would’ve gone to the beach here, but since it’s rather late I just take the train back to town, where I join 5 American girls to dinner in a nice little place called …(have to look it up and add later). I have squid. I try to give Americans the benefit of doubt and during this trip I do meet several very intelligent and nice exceptions, but what am I to say if after talking about Estonia for quite a while and establishing that we do have our own language there, the girl next to me still goes: “That is amazing! I didn’t know Estonia was a country!” I mean, if you don’t know it, but have learned from the conversation already, you should know better to not say it out loud.

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