Portugal Trip Report

Oct 3rd, 2004, 04:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 44
Portugal Trip Report

Hi Fodorites,

I just returned from a two-week trip to Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos, Coimbra, and Oporto. It was an amazing trip and as you might imagine I had a wonderful time. While I was away I sent periodic emails to friends and family as a sort of electronic journal. I have included the entire series of emails below for your information. Read on if interested, but I warn you this is very long!

Entry 1: Back Alley Lisbon

Well here I sit in an internet cafe in the Barrio Alto district of Lisbon. Obviously, there were no serious mechanical problems en route and the planes did pretty much what they were supposed to do. I will say though, that I have decided I am not fond of Heathrow airport. It is extremely busy and confusing, and those of us who might not have quite been sure what we were doing, were treated rather poorly by the overworked and stressed-out staff there. But aside from that, smooth sailing.

So far Lisbon is extremely cool. Despite my fatigue, I boldly pressed on and walked a couple miles through the city (note: this city is right up there with San Francisco when it comes to crazy-steep hills). I was more or less trying to meander my way to the Barrio Alto becuase I heard there are lots of bars here. That sort of thing always gets my attention.

I heard correctly, as it happens. This place is weird though. Its all super dark, narrow, winding alleys and back streets. The atmosphere is sort of sinister, with graffiti all over the walls, garbage in the street, and tough looking characters darting futively around shadowed corners. One of these offered to sell me some hashish. But then all of a sudden you will hear a babble of voices, and come accross a modern, well-kept bar with young professionals or students milling around drinking beer and laughing. Then its back into the shadows.

Don't get the wrong idea, though. This place definitely has character. I have a feeling that if I had sufficient time to get acquainted with it, I might really like it. This internet cafe is squeezed into the back corner of a trendy little bar. The guy next to me is drinking a whiskey and soda, by all appearences.

One last note: on the way in, our pilot had to approach the city from the west due to the wind direction. This meant that we came in low and fast approximately 50 feet above the buildings. What an amazing view that was! It was all red tile roofs and green trees.

Oh well, gotta get out and find may way out of here. I seem to hear a cab calling....

Entry 2: Lisbon Day 2 and Sintra

I don't really even know where to start. This trip has been just incredible so far, and shows every sign of getting better. Yesterday I woke up around 10:00am (missed breakfast, bah) and began trekking accross the city. My destination was Castille de Sao George (St. George's Castle) which is on a high hill not far from the river. It was a healthy hike, but well worth the effort. The castle has clearly been rebuilt and is pretty much in perfect shape. Perhaps a little fake and touristy in that respect, but it was beautiful and there were some spectacular views over the city in all directions. It was also (perhaps due to the thick stone walls) very peaceful and quiet, with the sound of the wind whooshing through the plentiful evergreens overlain by a guy who was playing classical guitar in the courtyard. He even played "Moonlight Sonata", which had the eerie effect of making me feel like I was being propelled back in time. It was not crowded, and the sky was deep blue and crystal clear. What a great experience.

After the castle, I walked through the Alfama district (it more or less surrounds the castle) and checked out all the little shops. Fortunately the shopping instinct is not strong in me, and my wallet didn't suffer much. I decided to take the electric tram to the Torre de Belem (Tower of Belem) and therefore I needed to cross the Baixa (pronounced bake-sha) district, which is also famous for the shops and restaraunts there. I soon discovered that the Hashish Salesmen like this area. I was accosted no less than three times by different middle-eastern men trying to sell me drugs of various sorts. They approach holding shopping bags and say "Hashish? Hashish?" They're very enthusiastic about it. They don't like to take Nao for an answer...you almost have to threaten them to make them leave.

Anyway, made it through ok and then went on to the Torre de Belem, which was also very cool. You have to pay three euros to get in, but it was worth it. There are narrow spiral staircases to get to the top, and multiple levels where you can stop and look around. The view was great from the top.

Skipping forward (there are people waiting to use this machine), today I took the train to Sintra. My planning did not take into account the extreme steepness of the streets, or the fact that they are narrow and rough (cobblestones). Let me tell you, dragging my silly suitcase for a mile up super steep narrow streets with cars whizzing by was not my idea of fun. If I had known what I was getting into, I would have paid a cab fare. But it was all worth it when I got to the historic center. What an amazing place! It sort of reminds me of a small new england town in some ways, but with European style houses and a thriving tourist industry. Yes, it is a little touristy...but the key is, that somehow they have managed to carry it off in a way that isn't tacky. No neon or "fainting goats" here. Thank God.

There is a gigantic Moorish castle sitting up on top of a small mountain just outside of town, so I will probably go up there tomorrow. The hike looks rather invigorating...sort of equivelent to Cadillac Mountain, for those of us who made that climb. Cadillac Mountain with a ruined castle on top. I could take the bus, but I need the excercise.

This hotel is by far the fanciest I've ever been to [note to Fodorites: Tivoli Sintra-best hotel on my trip]. It has marble statues in the spacious foyer, which also has dark-stained hardwood floors. I haven't seen the room as yet; they are still cleaning it. Meanwhile I am availing myself of this free internet service. Very cool.

Well, I should get going. I'll report in later.

Entry 3: Moorish Castle and Pena Palace

Lets see, yesterday after my last email I decided I needed some excercise, so I started walking up the winding road that leads from Sintra to the Moorish Castle. As it turns out, the walk was so interesting I really didn't want it to stop, and the next thing I knew I was at the castle. I'd say it was a couple miles, or roughly one hour's walk. And boy, what a walk! The road is super narrow and twisty, with many switchbacks. On the left (going up) there is a high stone (or in some places concrete) retaining wall. On the left, there is a steep slope dropping away into the valley. The whole thing is densely forested, and overlain with a great feeling of age. It was a sort of mossy, pondering silence...if that makes any sense to any of you. This was especially noticable toward the end, in the vicinity of the ruins. It may all just have been in my head, but I could really FEEL the age of the place. It was a walk I'll remember for a long time, I'm sure.

Anyway, the castle was partly in ruins, but from reading the little plaques that were placed here and there throughout the area, I gather that much of the original castle (dating to the eleventh century) was rebuilt by one of Portugal's kings during the 19th century. I got so I could tell where the original stonework was...there were distinct differences in style. There was still a bit of the original castle left to enjoy. I really took my time and wandered around exploring all the nooks and crannies.

This morning I took a tour bus to the Pena Palace, which is famous for its crazy mish-mash of architectural styles. I gather that various notables have added on and changed things over the years, until now there's a little bit of everything. Photography is not permitted in the interior of the Palace, which was unfortunate. It was extremely cool. The interior spaces were apparently left just as they were when the last king left in the mid-19th century. It was like a time machine. It was fun to stand in there and pretend you were a king living back in those times. One thing I noticed right away is that they didn't go in much for the Zen approach to decoration. There were no blank spaces, no empty slots. There were TONS of silver and ceramic pieces, as well as paintings, statues, heavy drapes, and the most intricately carved furniture I've ever seen. I don't think it would have been a comfortable way to live, despite the opulence. One room had been carefully painted to create the illusion of extra spaces (alcoves, niches, etc) so that it looked bigger than it was...kind of like those apartments that mirror a wall to make the apartment look bigger. But this was much more interesting and effective.

Well, for all of you who are working right now, sorry about your luck. I'll be having a Cerveja and contemplating where to have dinner. Later.

Entry 4: Obidos

Well I arrived safely in Obidos this afternoon and spent some time walking through town and along the 15-foot thick stone wall surrounding it. That's one of the many things I enjoy about Europe: the litigation hasn't gotten out of hand; consequently, tourists are actually allowed to walk along the tops of forty to fifty foot high walls. There is just an open edge on the interior side, with no fence or barrier of any kind to prevent a fall if you are stupid enough to not pay attention. It was lots of fun, too, with some great views out over rural Portugal.

Speaking of rural Portugal, as I sat on the train today and watched the countryside go by, I noted a certain uniformity in Portuguese architecture. ALL of the buildings are off-white or yellow stucco with red tile roofs. I haven't seen a single asphalt roofing shingle since I got here. As someone on a travel website once noted [Fodorites: that was this website, actually], the whole country is like one big creamsicle, all orange tiles and white walls.

The beer here is limited to a few national brands. I learned early on that if you order a "Cerveja", they invariably nod agreeably and bring you something called "Super Bock", which isn't a Bock style beer at all; it's a Pilsner. But never mind, because it's very malty and I find it to be pretty darn good. In a little bit I'll try it again, just to make sure it hasn't changed. Someone has to be the watchdog, right?

Tomorrow I'm off to Coimbra for a couple of days. I'd send some pictures of Obidos, but the internet cafe here is not set up so that I can upload pictures. Oh, well. At least it's free (supposedly it is a European Union pilot project of some type).

Entry 5: Obidos Day 2 and Coimbra

I have slowly come to realize a truth about Portugal: they have some really annoying flies here. They don't bite, but they buzz around your head in a very persistent way. It's enough to drive you nuts...and they are particularly bad in Obidos for some reason. I have developed an evil but effective response to this problem: it works sort of on the same principle as chaff used to foil a radar-guided missle. I simply walk real close to other tourists, and the fly gets confused...and inadvertantly acquires a new target for its insectile ministrations. Yes, I know it isn't very nice. But hey, it works!

Yesterday I spent the morning in Obidos, did a little shopping, hung out in the Pousada (it is in the castle that always appears in postcards), and drank some cerveja. The guidebooks are right: a couple hours is really enough to see Obidos. But I didn't mind the overnight...it was cool to walk the walls after the other tourists left. In the mid-afternoon I caught the train to Coimbra, which is referred to as the "Oxford of Portugal". They have a very prestigious university here, and a compact little town (mostly pedestrianized) FULL of shops.

Coimbra is a lot less of a tourist destination (although there certainly are tourists besides myself) and the people speak far less english. Everywhere else I've been up to now has had side-by-side Portuguese, Spanish, and English menus at the Cafes. Now I have to rely on Rick Steve's "menu decoder" to order. Its good though, because it really forces you to learn. Not to mention the prices are much better.

This morning I went to nearby Conimbriga, where some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the Iberian Peninsula are. I had to get up early to catch the once-daily bus, and missed it. But then I discovered that the municipal buses also go there, so eventually I made it. Boy was it worth the trouble! The place is amazing. There are walls, partial buildings, carved columns, intricate mosaics, and a segment of a Roman road. I took lots of pictures. Incredibly, some of it dates to the first century, and none of it is younger than 1800 years old. And yet...there are only a few ropes and arrows to keep tourists and sightseers at bay. They simply rely on your good judgement not to go walk on the ruins. Now, THERE is something they don't do in the states! And probably for good reason, sad to say...

This evening I plan to go to a "Fado" house (Fado being the "Portuguese Blues") and have dinner. I think it may be a tourist trap, but what the hell, I'll give it a try. Tomorrow afternoon I'll take the fast train to Oporto.

Thats all for now...

Entry 6: Oporto

It seems I planned this trip very well; just about the time I begin to feel a little bored with a town, I hop on the train and go to the next one. Plus, the train is a very nice way to see the country. I really feel like I've seen a lot of Portugal from the various train windows en transit...

Yesterday morning in Coimbra, I went up to the University and wandered around the campus. Most of the University is located around a central square with a clock tower (referred to as "the goat" by the students...not entirely sure why) and there is a great view out over Coimbra from the open side of the plaza. Since I hadn't bothered to join a tour group I was not permitted inside the Library, which is supposed to be incredibly fancy. From the brief glimpse I got through the door (right before an annoyed guard slammed it in my face) it appeared there was an awful lot of tile work and ornate carving (both stone and wood). I sort of wish now that I had joined that tour group...but only a little bit.

While I'm on the topic, I have decided there is nothing quite as annoying as a tour group...I can REALLY understand where tourists get a bad rap. Yes, I do realize that I am also a tourist (and by all signs, annoying to the locals at times), but there is just something about tourists in large groups that pushes the whole thing over the edge of common decency. Like the bus to get to the Pena Palace outside of Sintra. I have never seen a group of adults act in such a childish fashion. It was all about "Me First!", to the point where the bus would be coming to a stop, and the mob would just push up into the boarding door while it was still moving. I saw a man almost get his foot crushed as he frantically tried to cut off another tourist. Its nuts!

Yesterday after I saw the University at Coimbra, I got on the train and came here to Oporto (which the locals just call "Porto"). This is a truly scenic city, with the Duoro River separating Porto from the Vila Da Gaia (where all the big port houses are). The buildings rise in a sea of red tile roofs up hillsides on either bank. Although they are not used anymore for transporting port, there are these narrow, swift-looking little sailboats moored in the river on the Da Gaia side. They look very graceful and each has the name of a major Port House painted on it, with a long steering oar angled out behind. I took lots of pictures.

This morning I walked a few kilometers to the Grahams port lodge and got there just as a two large busses were disgorging. The main shopping and reception area was soon flooded with people. It was cool though, because they were all Spanish and therefore they were taken through in three large groups for tours given in that language. Since I was the only English-speaker, they gave me an individual tour! I couldn't believe that they would spare a tour guide for just one person, but they were extremely cool about everything.

While on the tour, I saw a massive store room with rack upon rack of port from various vintage years. It appears we are in no immediate danger of running out of the 1977 vintage, since I observed something like 500 bottles sitting around in temperature-controlled storage. There was also a good supply of 1963, but they told me they will not sell anything older than the 1975 vintage to people coming through. I couldn't get a good answer as to why, though. I guess maybe they want to hold on to the old stuff (I can understand that!). In a museum-style display case, they had bottles dating as early as 1870.

After the tour, I got to do a port tasting. I tried a white port (slightly sweet and served chilled) and then a 1996 Malvedos Port (so named because all the grapes used to make the port come from the Malvedos Quinta, or vinyard). For a € 5.00 charge I also got to taste 1980 and 1991 Vintage Ports. I even asked for and received a sample of the 20-year tawney port. I was a bit wobbly when I got out of there, but very happy overall with the experience.

Afterward I walked back to my hotel on the Porto side of the river, dropped off some goodies I'd purchased, and spent some time walking around town exploring. Tomorrow I plan to check out some of the other port lodges and I also want to see if I can get out on the river; I think they do boat tours.

Entry 7: Last Night in Portugal

Well, I've come to my last evening in Portugal. Today I took the Alfa Pendular "tilting" train from Porto back to Lisbon. This was a new and interesting experience for me. The train travels at 220 km/hr and banks into turns. It was weird at first to feel the whole train tilt like that, but the ride was very smooth and the trip took only 3 hrs instead of 8 (which is the time in which the interregional trains make the trip, mostly because of all the stops). Plus, trains are super cheap in Portugal because the government subsidizes them. Athough not the case with the AP train, I usually ended up spending more on the cab fare to my hotel from the train station than I did for the train rides themselves.

As I have mentioned to some of you already, I have become heartily sick of Portuguese food. All of the cafes have the exact same menu, to the point where they could trade and no one would know the difference. It was getting to the point where, when I started to feel hungry, I would also get frustruated and angry due to the extreme aversion I had begun to feel toward my only food choices.

However, today as I was wandering around Lisbon, I came accross an advertisement (pasted to a utility pole) for an Indian restaraunt. Suffused with ineffible joy (you really just can't understand how happy I felt...no, you have NO IDEA how ready I was for any kind of food other than fish, sausage, or rice and beans) I instantly dropped everything else and went on a search mission. The ad had a little map, which turned out to be wildly inaccurate. It took an hour or so, but I eventually arrived and ate my fill of Chicken Tikka Masala. It really wasn't spicy at all, and the chicken did not have that nice Tandoori charcoal-smoke flavor it usually has, but it seemed like heaven on earth to me.

Yesterday in Porto I took a bus out to the Solar do Vinho do Porto (or its called something like that) which is a nice little bar run by the Portuguese Port Wine Institute. They have something like 200 different ports you can try in a living room atmosphere (think nice plush sofas and glass coffee tables) with an incredible view of the Rio Duoro. I tried a glass of Taylors 40 year old tawney port and a glass each of Grahams and Taylors 20 year old tawney (so I could compare).

As it turns out, this was another place that was hard to find. The weird thing about Portugal is, these ritzy places will be hidden way back in the dingiest and dirtiest alleys you can imagine. You will be absolutely certain you took a wrong turn, as you step over piles of garbage and meander through narrow and graffiti-covered alleys, then all of a sudden there you are. I think the fact that I had to hike from the bus stop allowed me to see many things that most people just whiz by in their cars...so as you see, this is not always a good thing!

Other "Portugal Peculiarities" include the following:

1) Stray cats. Man, there are a LOT of feral cats slinking around the cities of Portugal. They are all scrawny and flea-ridden and run at the first sight of people. Sometimes it takes a while for the whole herd to flee, as they seem to run in packs (families?) of ten or twelve. Its sort of sad.

2) The flies. I mentioned the flies before, but I noticed another peculiarity yesterday. I was lying on my bed in the hotel watching a pair of flies that had gotten into the room. Unlike the houseflies here, these Portuguese flies can hoover in place. They also appear to be fairly territorial, since the two flies in my room would hoover for a few seconds (perhaps two feet apart) and then one would suddenly dive at the other, which would just as suddenly veer away to avoid the first fly. They repeated this performance over and over again...it was actually sort of entertaining. Of course I'm fairly easy to amuse.

3) Poiseuille's Taxis: much like a non-compressible liquid flowing through a tube, Portuguese taxi velocity appears to vary inversely with cross-sectional area of a street or alley (or at least the linear width of the street). The narrower the alley, the faster the Portuguese cab drivers seem to want to go. I got a lot of use out of the "oh, shit" handles on this trip.

4) Has-been rock bands: I always thought this was just a joke, but some bands apparently really are "big in Europe". I saw advertisements for Whitesnake posted in downtown Lisbon, for example (the "Still of the Night" tour!).

5) The toilet system on trains. The first time I went to the restroom on a train, I was somewhat surprised upon lifting the lid to discover the railroad ties blurring by below. Yup. Whatever goes into the toilet, falls right onto the tracks.

Thats all I can think of at the moment. Now, I need to get to sleep; tomorrow will be a long day of travel. Its been a great trip, and definitely a learning experience...

[Note to all with the fortitude to read this far: I apologize for all the mispellings of place names, but I was usually in hurry at internet cafes and didn't bother to check them. Hope you enjoyed all this...]
Person_X is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 309
HI Person,

Thanks for the report. I'm planning a trip to Portugal in the spring and we want to do it by public transportation. Nice to know it can be done!

Also, thanks for the warning about the steepness of the streets. I'll have to warn by travelling companions to start training for them now!

Patti is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
Very nice report--especially for those using public transport.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 04:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 44
Well, for those wanting to travel by train, let me just say a few more things:

1) One mistake I made was to assume that taxis would be available at each train station. This is true at larger train stations but not necessarily at smaller ones (Obidos, for instance). Actually Obidos is a very remote station and it almost looks abandoned. It also happens to be on the other side of the city and quite some distance from the hotels. I think the taxi drivers in the area know when the trains arrive and wait at the station at these specific times to see if anyone will need a ride...but I wouldn't count on it for every arrival. I got lucky...but I'm not sure what I would have done if a taxi hadn't been there.

NOTE: Rest assured, there are TONS of taxis available at the Lisbon, Sintra, Coimbra, and Oporto train stations.

2) The train timetables and schedules available on the internet at www.cp.pt leave out a LOT of trains. For example, according to the website there is only one Interregional run daily from Oporto to Lisbon (and this is at midnight!). In fact there are about ten. You also have the option of taking the faster Intercity or Alfa Pendular trains (vastly preferable). So, it is fairly safe to assume that you will have more departure time options than you might be led to believe after reviewing the website. When you get to Portugal, stop by any station or a Tourismo and get the timetables from the attendent. These are much more helpful.

Having said that, I noted that Obidos is kind of off by itself on a lonely spur of the railroad system, and the options are much more limited there. And, always keep in mind that weekends and holidays have a reduced number of trains running.

3) Train Fares. The fare from Lisbon to Sintra was less than a Euro. From Sintra I took a train to Cacem (a short hop) and then at Cacem I got a train to Obidos. The fare was about five Euros. In general, unless you are making a very long journey, you can expect to pay less than 10 Euros for IR trains, and up to 20 Euros for AP. With Alfa Pendular you also have the option to upgrade to First Class for an additional 10 Euros (this was for a trip from Oporto to Lisbon, by the way). I have no idea if First Class is worth the extra ten Euro; I rode regular and it was perfectly comfortable.

4) A map showing the various train lines is available at the www.cp.pt website. This was the most useful thing I downloaded from the site. It shows which lines go where in PDF format.

Hope this information is all useful.
Person_X is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 05:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 167
Thanks for your report - it brought back a lot of memories.
Note to Pattie re public transportation. It's not necessairly easy. We took a bus to Obidos from Leira and it made 30 stops before we got there (full of school kids)! We had hardly any time om Obidos before we had to catch a return bus (no one at the Leira bus station spoke English - there was confusion as to where to even catch the bus - in fact, it was bedlam at the station).
On another bus, to Nazare, no one gave the other English speaking couple on board a hint that we'd arrived there (including the bus driver whom they'd told they wanted to go to Nazare) - and I saw no sign that said Nazare. Fortunately, my husband and I realized what was happening so told them to get off there.
suzy is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,833
Loved the report, especially the famous vacuum-cleaning flies ("these Portuguese flies can hoover in place")

Where did you stay in Lisbon/Sintra?
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 02:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 44

I stayed at the Miraparque Hotel in Lisbon. This hotel is located near the Marquis de Pombal circle. I actually stayed there twice (at the beginning and end of my trip). I think this hotel is slightly overpriced for what you get, but it was a perfectly acceptable and clean three-star.

In Sintra I stayed at the Hotel Tivoli (don't get this confused with the much more expensive hotel located in the palace). I think this was the best hotel I stayed in during my trip. It was a little pricey, but well worth it. They have free internet available and they actually included some crepes and jam with their breakfast, which was a nice addition to the typical stale-rolls-and-cereal you get most places.

At Obidos I took Bobthenavigator's advice and stayed at the Estrelegem do Convento, which was also very nice.

At Coimbra I stayed at the Hotel Astoria. I didn't really like this hotel. It was very dark and dingy.

At Oporto I stayed at the Hotel Da Bolsa, which well-run, clean, and relatively cheap. However, the room was TINY. I felt like I was in a closet.

Hope that helps.
Person_X is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,079
Person X -- Love your trip report. I have been looking at the Miraparque in Lisbon. How much was it, that you thought was too much? Also Is it a little far from the old part of Lisbon? Also what breakfast did they provide. I am interested because we may stay there for several nights.
Kristinelaine is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 03:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,079
Person X -- Love your trip report. I have been looking at the Miraparque in Lisbon. How much was it, that you thought was too much? Also Is it a little far from the old part of Lisbon? Also what breakfast did they provide. I am interested because we may stay there for several nights.

Kristinelaine is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:18 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 53
Thanks, Person X. Great information to help me plan our 2005 trip!
travlbum is offline  
Oct 7th, 2004, 02:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 44

I booked the Miraparque using expedia, for an average cost of $118 per night. The service was professional and smooth, and the rooms weren't bad. I think the only reason I was thinking it was a bit overpriced was that I actually paid only a little more to stay in the Hotel Tivoli in Sintra, and I liked that hotel a lot better. Then again, I'm a sucker for marble statues and polished wood floors.

I guess when I really think about it, the Miraparque was fine for the money. I'd stay there again.

To answer your other question, and assuming by the "old part of Lisbon" you mean the Alfama, yes, it is a bit of a hike from the Miraparque. I did a lot of walking on my trip and didn't mind it (I definitely need the excercise) but it might be easier to ride the bus. There are bus stops right at the Marquis de Pombal circle, but I'm not sure which busses stop there. Sorry I can't be more help with that.

One other note about the Alfama: it surrounds the castle and if you plan to walk through this district, get your hiking boots and be prepared to climb some steep streets! It is also stunningly easy to get lost there, especially when you have a poor sense of direction (like me).

About the breakfasts: they serve dry museli-style cereal and provide a pitcher of milk; also, they have crusty Portuguese rolls, and a tray with ham, cheese, and something that might be salami. On some mornings they had pastry, but this wasn't every day. There was orange juice and coffee to drink. Keep in mind though, that this was pretty much what I got in all the hotels I stayed in. I don't think there is much difference in the breakfasts no matter where you go. One exception was the Hotel Tivoli in Sintra, which served crepes and marmalade in addition to the aforementioned.
Person_X is offline  
Oct 7th, 2004, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,079
Thanks so much for the detailed answer, Person X!
Kristinelaine is offline  
Oct 7th, 2004, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 499
The best advice I ever had for touring the Alfama was to get a ride to the top and then just start walking down. Of course you'll get lost, but as long as you head downwards, eventually you will find your way out.
vcl is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:49 AM.