A Travellerspoint blog

Lisbon and its walking!

Lisboa

semi-overcast 15 °C

Another randomly timed entry, so lets begin where I left off!

Madrid, our final day here, very upsetting as it's such a beautiful place but as there wasn't much time for any major activities we decided to walk around the Spanish streets and take them in one final time. We strolled from our apartment down through Sol, to the Royal Palace and through the Plaza Mayor one last time, but walking makes you hungry so from here we set out for lunch, this was a very debated topic as neither of us could decide upon a place until we agreed upon Mecardo De San Miguel which is lisbons oldest covered market. Now when we got there it was another debate about what to eat as you can find anything here, but it was decided meat was the way to go and thus shaved ham and mini chorizo was purchased and no the photo does not do it justice!

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So we boarded the overnight, 9 hours of comfort is what I wish it was, but neither of us got much sleep, we'll I would have until the police woke me up ... Bloody border control.

So here we are Lisbon, the Capitol of the Portugese Empire. As we unloaded from our train and exited the stadium we found it extremely foggy and damp from recent rain so we weren't expecting sunshine and rainbows but that soon changed after we woke up from our nap after arriving at our apartment. We were greeted to a wonderful afternoon by Lisbons weather and Judit our Hungarian tour guide from Lisbon's chill out free tours who gave us a private tour since we were the only couple to show up.

Judith's tour took us all around Lisbon, from roofless churches, to elevators, to churches with roofs, and many more of Lisboa's iconic sights but for me the highlight of the tour is by far the view of the sunset over the Lisbon skyline as we entered the area of Santa Maria church and the highest point of Lisbon. It was a wonderful tour and honestly too much to write about so ill leave you with some pictures :)

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Now the next day was intense, without that coffee after dinner I may have well fallen asleep on the way home!

Anyway, Sintra was our destination, about 40 minutes out of lisbon. This place is stunning to simply put it, Sintra is where the national palace and some other castles are placed and its a wonder how they got everything up there to build it, as it has steep hills and not just one! This place just kept going horizontally and vertically, but the tiresome walk was very much worth it as the views we got were breathtaking. Unfortunately though as soon as we got to the Moorish Castle some very heavy fog rolled in making it impossible to see about 15 metres infront, so we quickly moved on to the national palace. This is where most of the Portugese Royal Family resided from the 1850's onwards, it to was a wonderful sight and well worth the walk as not only did we get to see the wonderful exterior but also majority of the interior was open for viewing.

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You could say the walk back down would have been easier, if we didn't get lost that is!

Can't forget the food
Day 1 involved the best steak is Lisbon so they claimed, and it certainly did live up to its reputation!

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Day 2 (which we didn't get photos of) was a traditional continho which is a small restaurant usually run by family, this one in particular was run by a couple so only had 2 staff and around 20 seats, the idea is to order a couple of dishes and have the in succession, similar to the Spanish tapas.
Round 1: black pork suckling with bell pepper jam ... Yum
Round 2: scrambled eggs with a chicken sausage thing, had a special name not even going to try to remember it!
Round 3: pork stew ... This was incredibly I can't even describe how good it was
Round 4: beef dish with a curry like sauce, very tasty and goooood
Round 5: the walk home!

That's Lisbon so far.
Obrigado

Posted by abirckel 16:28 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Ola Señor

Madrid

semi-overcast 10 °C

Ok so last night we went on a tapas and wine tour so bear with me this morning!!

We took the train from Toulouse at around 8 in the morning and between 4 trains we arrived in Madrid at 6 so a long train ride one would say. But hey we're in Madrid now so it's all good.

When we arrived I was doing the directing,so of course we got lost about 4 times before finally finding the Main Street we needed, so when we finally arrived at our new home for the next couple of days, we were greeted by Aitor, with his below par English he showed us around his lovely apartment which is huge it just kept going, and then finally to our room!

So what does everyone want to do when they just get of a long haul? If you had said shower ally would have said you were right but no the right answer is eat ofcourse, so we set out, only to realise that about 90% of restaurants here don't open for dinner until 10, but luckily we found one based of the recommendation of our host, and he must know his food cause it was amazing. We had the mixed paella to share and this time it was beers not wine! The paella was superb to simply put it and Ally found her new favourite beer!

Unfortunately we didn't bring the camera for the food (sorry James)

Now it's the first day in Madrid, but so far with our experiences the best tours of the cities are always the free ones as 1. There free and 2. They have to work for their tip! So we found a pretty popular one known as Sandeman who does tours all over Europe, but anyway we started off in the Plaza del Mayor where the king and queen used to live and watch the events and bullfights below!

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It's now full of Christmas markets

From here we moved through the streets of Madrid, seeing what they call the ugliest church in Madrid, the oldes restaurant in the world and much much more

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That tour took out our morning so we were hungry, Churros and hot chocolate!

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So after a break it was time for out Tapas tour.
We met in the Puerta Del Sol, the centre of Madrid, and it was packed, could hardly move around, but luckily we found our guide.
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The group we had was awesome, in particular our 3 new besties from London who you will hear about later.
The first bar we were served what I would say was an alcoholic apple juice and it was awesome, to eat we got blue cheese, fish, chorizo. The fish was amazing
Now we moved onto the next one was The Museum of Ham it was cool
Here we got beer and ofcourse some ham
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Now it was on to my favourite El Lacon, this is where we had paella the night before as well.
We're we drank beer and ate Tripe, black pudding, some more fish and the highlight of the tapas the thymus gland of beef, it was amazing!!
From here we met at our final bar where we sat down and enjoyed some seafood and a beer

But you think it ended there, the English boys, the German and us decided it would be an excellent idea to go out and drink some more so we did!
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The next morning after a late wake up we went of to the Royal Palace. Words cannot describe how amazing it is on the inside, but they wouldn't let us take pictures, but I sneaked one in for you all.

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The Palace is the biggest in Europe for floor space and trust me it's huge, the detail put into the rooms we walked through is amazing, and then the royal armoury, we saw the armour of Spanish knights and generals, sadly no photos, you just have to come and see it!

Now the highlight for me so far: Santiago Bernabeu
This is where I finally got to see a European football game!

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Forgot to mention before the game we met up with our new Londoner friends for some drinks and also after to watch the Barcelona vs Athletico game at a pub, then ofcourse it was on to more pubs and bars like true spaniards!!

And I'll leave you with the amazing meat platter we ate at the bar last night just to tease you a bit!

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Posted by abirckel 02:58 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

The Pink City

Day 4 - 6

semi-overcast 2 °C

So the last couple of days have been uneventful but very relaxing!

We came into Toulouse by train and found ourselves in the middle of a cute French town which they call the pink city. On our way to the temporary home we strolled down a beautifully lit street full of wonderful shops and no joke about 6 Zara's, the street was full of Christmas lights and just overall very charming!

When we arrived at where we were staying we found it to be the cutest 18th century attic!

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After a day of relaxation we decided to continue to theme and head out for dinner.
Lets just say it lived up to French reputation, I had a foi gras pâté to start followed by a cassoulet of duck and Toulouse sausage while Ally had rolled salmon with capsicum anchovies and eggplant and for a main grilled fillet of beef with pomme frit (potatoes)
Then we shared a dessert which had something to do with mandarins which was also amazing.

The restaurant was a bit too fancy to take photos unfortunately!

The next day we decided to wake up early and see the sites of Toulouse, Of which there aren't too many!

We started with the Pont Neuf, which is the main bridge of Toulouse, also it's oldest withstanding many invasions

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The view of Toulouse

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Now we were off to St Micheal Basillica, Toulouse's main church.
This was very surprising as I didn't expect it to be so nice! And a building we saw on the way.

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And then finally it was place du capitole where we strolled through the Christmas markets.

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Next stop will be Madrid! Very excited for some paella
Thank you for reading

Posted by abirckel 04:06 Archived in France Comments (1)

Top of the Tower to Les Invalides

Day 3

overcast 4 °C

Bonjour from Paris on our final day here, but don't worry we will be back!!

Today we planned to get up early and go to the Eiffel Tower and climb it ... Well that didn't happen, after talking to the parents on Skype we found it to be a bit later than expected. But we headed out for the most known French monument.

Again we walked there in the morning as it was only 20 minutes from our apartment and when we arrived we expected to have a long wait but thanks to the cold, it was relatively short. Took us about 30 minutes to reach the top but it is very much worth the wait! You get to see al of Paris at once, it was breathtaking.

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Now that we had finally climbed the tower, we decided were in Paris we have to see at least one museum, we decided on Les Invalides the war museum of France where you find the great history of French warfare. The building itself is amazing let alone what you find in there, adorned by an amazing gold dome, windows shaped like knights and beautiful gardens to admire.

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So when we arrived we wonder through the the grand doors and into the wing where we find the many horse regiments of the French army, now this is the point where I know my mum would be yelling at dad saying why they didn't go there, sorry dad! But to put it simply they were awesome.

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Now we moved onto the wing where they held all the history prior to World War 1, it was amazing to the weapons, from there guns to spears and there uniforms, but we also got to see the array of uniforms and instruments used during these eras as well.

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Then it was the world wars wing, this was your typical part of any museum so much to report back here, but after that was the first emperor of France then Infamous Napoleon Bonaparte and boy do the French love this guy, all I can say is wow! Such a big tomb for such a small guy!

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Now after the museum we were tired, so we decided to take a break back home, from here we thought going out for dinner would be a nice touch, so we found one close by that had good reviews and spoke English, so we set off, now the dinner was amazing is what I probably would have said but we got lost on the way and couldn't find it, so we settled on a fresh baguette with some meat cheese and some wine to top it off!

Photo of the day goes to my attempts at selfies on the Eiffel Tower
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Posted by abirckel 22:50 Archived in France Comments (0)

From the Champs Élysées to Montmartre

Day 2

overcast 4 °C

Today was a full day of walking so as you would know I'm exhausted!

We started off the day by walking from our apartment to the Luxor Obelisk to meet our walking tour guide!!
We got there a bit early so we bought our first crepe, with Nutella of course.

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The view from our street

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Paris' oldest monument the Luxor Obelisk

So our walking tour led us around to many famous areas of Paris, including the champs élysées, probably the most famous boulevard in the world but what many don't know is that the street next to it Avenue Montaigne is the more luxurious shopping street of Paris, this is where Dior opened his first shop. Now Alicia was drooling over every second shop (thank god it was Sunday so they were closed) but I only knew about 2 stores!

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From here we set off for the Tour Eiffel, on the way we stopped at many museums and monuments taking in the history of them all, the finally the Eiffel Tower, it had been teasing Ally this whole time as it towers over the Parisian skyline but she finally got to see it, we didn't climb it today as we were very busy but that will definitely be another day.

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So now we relaxed for a bit and took the excellent Parisian metro towards Montmartre, which is the highest point in Paris.

After arriving at our destination we walked out of the station and we found the famous or infamous Moulin Rouge!

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We had a another walking tour, but had a couple of hours to kill until it was time, so we went for a walk through Paris' lovely red light district, luckily we found a lovely boulangerie to eat, where we had our first French hot chocolate, cake and baguette ... I how ever ended getting one with fish (don't ask) yes it was gross, so I ate some of Ally's which was awesome!

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Now it was time for another walking tour, this tour was amazing, hearing about all the absinthe drinking bohemians to the artists to the priests and monks of the area, the guide covered all the history he could as we walking around the hill, we stopped in many locations where we were showed where some very famous paintings were done and who had done them, we had a quick break outside Paris' last vineyard where we had a chat about beer and wine in French culture. We slowly climbed this incline taking in the scenery as we did, after a stroll through some Christmas markets we found ourselves out front of the Sacre Ceour and with one of the most breathtaking views of Paris. We then strolled back down to the bottom where we bought some croissants and a baguette and took the metro home, where we ate and drank some good wine again.

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And that was only day Two!! Europe is going to be amazing

Now photo of the day goes to the erotic museum in Montmartre: what a wonderful chair!!

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Posted by abirckel 20:00 Archived in France Comments (1)

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