Early this morning, approximately 4 am, I, Ryan, got up to use the bathroom down the hall. At least I tried to get of the room to go down the hall for a while, but I was thwarted by the old school Portuguese door lock for about 10 minutes. The key is one of those classic long brass kind with the fancy end and big teeth on the business end. Looks really cool, works really terribly. Eventually, after doing the same thing for 10 minutes, I was free and able to walk down the squeaking old wooden hallway to the bathroom before going back to bed for a little while.
The night before we had packed all of our stuff up into our bags so that we could move into another room in the official hostel section of the hostel, as our room was booked. So after our little breakfast of bread and jam we walked over and told the current desk staff that we were here to check into our other room. Well after some confusion we learned that whomever had booked our previous private room no longer had a reservation and it was in fact still free. So we decided to just stay in our private room with the nice view of the plaza/praca. So we checked back in, to our room, picking up our keys from the little drawer we had left them in. Moral of the story, check to see if you’re room is available, BEFORE, going to bed and packing all your stuff up again.
Following this little morning musical rooms we headed out to catch the train to Sintra. We did this by walking east into the Baixa and then North until we made it to Rossio train station. Once there we told the ticket guy where we were going and he gave us two of the green transit passes with our return tickets now on them. We had tried to get the transit passes the day before but given up as the machine was too complicated and the English wasn’t clear, but now we had some to help make the rest of transiting around Lisbon and area cheaper. They cost .50 € each and are good for a years time, or less if the little computer chip in them stops working.
Once on our train, which was fairly easy to find as there are signs everywhere telling you which train to go to, we sat down in the dark. That should have been a clue though. After a few minutes of us sitting there along with another couple from somewhere else in Europe a Portuguese woman came in and told us something in Portuguese that essentially translated to you can’t sit here, move. So we all got up and moved farther up the train to sections that actually had the lights on. In hindsight, it was probably a separate train parked right beside the dark one so it all kind of looked like one long train. Finally seated in a proper seat our trip through Lisbon and some surrounding area to Sintra began. The view was all right, nothing overly spectacular. It looked the same as most train rides around cities in the world, lots of walls, lots of graffiti, periodic views of the city around. It was nice to see a bit of the difference between the old tourist area and the more modern suburbs and the more run-down, low cost suburbs. Overall the city still looks rather nice compared to places like Africa.
We chatted briefly on our train with an old couple from the USA. They had apparently come over from New York on a cruise that takes two weeks so you can adjust slowly to the time zone changes. Aside from the whole cruise part, the slow adjustment sounds nice, particularly since I’m waking up at 4 am and fighting to stay awake at 3 in the afternoon. Apparently when you are retired you have 5 weeks to spend traveling by cruise ship and touring around your destination 🙂
There was a little tv up in the corner that the ladies were watching quite intently. First it was some sort of talk show with a dance troupe doing what seemed to be hip hop, but not really. It was rather hokey but they seemed quite into on camera. After that was a news broadcast that involved a lot of horses and tractors moving down a country road in what appeared to us to be some sort of parade? We asked our cafe ladies and they told us that it was a festival in the farming region.
Check out the next post for details about the Moorish Castle and the Palace of Pena, two really fun and interesting places. These are must do attractions if you’re in the area.
– Faas-Track Travel