Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lisbon (3/19 to 3/23)

Overall, I loved Portugal. I had some of the best seafood I´ve ever tasted (if only mussels were all that fresh, instead of the rubbery salt lumps served elsewhere), enjoyed the castles in Lisbon and Sintra, which were straight out of a fairy tale, and to top it off the neighborhood of Bairro Alto was full of hip boutique shops and tons of trendy bars.

The city is built on a bunch of tall steep hills, which have cute bee-yellow trans snaking up and down the narrow streets. The sidewalks and squares are a work of art, black and white stones set into the ground by hand to form patterns and designs. The church and monastery in Belem is unlike anything I´ve ever seen The cloister had beautiful intricate stone work with unique central figures topping each arch, and the church had a high stone ceiling with a spiderweb like design supported by slender tall columns that spread out at the top like trees.

The nightlife was something else, the clubs don´t open till 2 and party into the morning. I met 3 girls at Lux, the big nightclub on the waterfront, two sisters from New Zealand and their German friend. We stuck together for support against the aggressive and brutish men who tried to hook up with girls regardless of age difference and despite a lack of a common language to converse in. A couple of the charmers I met were an Algerian who knew almost no English and followed me until I escaped to the bathroom, and an Aussie who claimed to work for Goldman Sachs in London. He said he caught a train to Lisbon for the weekend without any luggage or place to stay, and called me a "Lying American, Just Like George Bush" when I refused to make out with him after talking to him for 5 minutes.

All in all, an enjoyable and memorable stop.

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