Back to 1866

Trip Start May 02, 2007
Trip End Jun 18, 2007

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

I'll back up just a bit and finish off Madrid before time-travelling to Lisbon. On our final day in Madrid, we took the palace tour, and it ended up being the one day of the month where they have a military band play for about an hour in the huge courtyard. Lucky, right? Well not really, since they closed the palace for almost 3 hours during that time, so we had to wait to see everything. All in all, it was on about the same scale as the palace at Versailles, which is definitely saying something! It was not nearly as large though.

The following day we left Madrid to drive to Lisbon. Driving was absolutely terrifying, especially since we had a standard, which Dad has not driven in over 30 years. A couple of stalls and some horn-honking later, we made it out to the highway and drove for about 6 hours before arriving in Lisbon.

Lisbon is probably best described as an old-school San Francisco. Driving into the city, you drive over a bridge that looks exactly the same as the Golden Gate Bridge in SF, since it was designed by the same guy. Then there's the streetcars, the hills, and the architecture style that is really like San Francisco's grandpa.

Our apartment in Lisbon was no exception to the rule. It was built in 1866 (before Canada was even a country...), with 2 foot thick walls, old furniture, etc. I wasn't much of a fan, but it was alright since we pretty much only slept and ate breakfast there.

In Lisbon we wandered around as usual, saw a pretty impressive monastery, some monuments to the explorers, and a castle on top of a hill. The highlight for me was that there happened to be an international downhill mountain bike race that day, which was really fun to watch. The streets were packed, and the starting gate was up in the castle, which we had paid to get into. I got some really sweet pictures, especially when we were right next to a jump with a 15 foot gap over a car. Lisbon is definitely the ideal city for the race, with the cobblestone streets and endless hills.

We also took a day trip to some coastal resort towns in the Cascais area. The beaches were crowded, but our guide book told us not to swim in the water because of all the pollution, so we mostly just walked around.

Our last day in Lisbon was rainy, so we just had a quick walk around near the apartment, and then left on the 3 hour drive to the Algarve area on the south coast of Portugal (basically the Mexico for British people).
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