Spring Break Part 2: Portugal

Bono-giorno!

Portugal: Lisbon

After departing the beautiful French Riviera, I navigated alone (and successfully) to Lisbon.  I’m not sure what my expectations were for this trip.  I didn’t know much about the city, but I heard how colorful and beautiful the buildings were.  One of my favorite parts of traveling to all these new cities is seeing the culturally unique architecture.

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My first day in Lisbon was spent on my own since my travel companions had a later flight.  With no data left, it was nice to wander around off the grid.  I kept close attention to my surroundings to navigate back to the hostel later on.   I learned quickly that’s it’s true what they say: the buildings here are so beautiful and colorful.  Had it been sunny in the couple days we were there, I know the rich colors would’ve screamed out to me even louder than they already did.

If I had to compare Lisbon to another city, I would say it’s like a European San Francisco.  Maybe that’s because of the cable cars chugging up the hilly streets, the mild weather, or perhaps because of the fog that rolled in off the bay.  But it too was like no other place in so many ways.  One of the most beautiful parts of the city was the colorful tiles placed piece by piece on the buildings.  Some crumbling, some in tip-top shape.  Yellows, blues, greens, purples, pinks; no pattern was the same.  It is something I will remember vividly.

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But the color expands beyond the architecture.  Art is everywhere here. From graffiti on walls to stacking stones at the beach.  Every corner I turned, I found myself whipping out my camera to document more street art.

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Portugal: Sintra

Less than an hour by train from Lisbon is the magical town of Sintra.  I never heard of this place until several people commented on my Facebook post saying I needed to go here.  This is the best advice I ever took.

Sintra is a real-life fairytale.  I still long for more time in this beautiful town.  Anyone who knows me should be aware of my obsession with Disney and fairytales; I finally lived it, but far too briefly.  I was awestruck by the view as we zigzagged up the mountain to the Pena Palace; something in my bones told me this place was made for me.  The winding roads were nauseating as the bus driver whipped around the corners, but the view out my window was worth it.  The woods were a deep, rich green; huge, towering boulders were covered in moss; there were ivy vines crawling up the trees and wrapping around old, stone walls.  I would not have been surprised if I saw fairies and sprites buzzing around.

Once off the bus, we walked up a path through gardens that led us to Pena Palace.  I’ve never been to Disney before (???? K), but I don’t think they could ever replicate the fairytale I experienced as I stood before the towering, vibrantly colored Palace.  This palace was easily the most colorful building I have ever seen in my life, and it would be extremely hard to outdo.  The yellow, red, purple, and blue colors were so vibrant, it looked fake.  Boy, did it photograph well, too.

The palace overlooked magical gardens and the ocean in the distance.  This town was somewhere I belonged; I hope to return one day to witness the other parts of Sintra I didn’t get to explore.

Thanks for the memories, Portugal.

Ciao for now!

Xxx,

Natalie

 

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