Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sintra Wednesday

The first time I had ventured to Sintra, I had gone with the amazing tour company We Hate Tourism Tours. They had  a van and guided us into Sintra and took us to the Monserrat Palace, a beautiful palace in Sintra that has won awards for it's gardens. This trip to Sintra, I was on my own. I really wanted to see more of the beautiful palaces,  in this magical place. I woke up, ate some waffles at the hostel before walking over to the Rossion train station and took the train to Sintra. It was a rather straight forward journey and soon I had arrived. I picked up a ticket for the bus that would take me up to the Pena Palace, my destination for the day.

Arriving at the palace, I paid for my ticket and declined the little bus that could take you to the door of the palace in favour of hauling myself up towards the palace. The normal price to enter the palace and gardens is €14 but as I arrived at "happy hour" between 9:30am and 10:30 am I got in for €1 less.  When I finally reached it, I was blown away by its beautiful colours and architecture. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Graffiti Garage in Lisbon

One of the things I had noticed by walking around Lisbon was the amount of graffiti the city had. You found some art on every wall you came across in the city. I really quite enjoyed it as it was artistic not just a random spray of paint. I had read about a parking garage that was filled with graffiti on every floor and found it at Chão de Loureiro. At its bottom is a supermarket and inside is a lift you can take to get up to St Georges Castle. As I was coming from the top part thats where I started. Going from floor to floor to the bottom.

It felt a bit weird to be wandering around a parking garage snapping photos then going down the stairs to the next level but it was an experience with the different graffiti on display on each level.

The one above blowing the bubbles I would say is my favourite. It is truly a painting on the wall.

I was alone in the garage until I reached the bottom where I came across a few guys also taking photos of the art. The bottom portion of the garage seemed to be a mix of all the artists from each floor.  If you are in Lisbon I would recommend checking out the garage if you are in the area. It doesn't take too long and I would suggest taking the lift to the top and then going down to avoid having to walk up the stairs. Unless you like stairs, then take the stairs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Paris Walking Tour

On our first day in Paris, Jamie and I headed over to Place Saint-Michel to do the Sandeman's New Europe Free Walking Tour. I had wanted to do this tour the last time I was in Paris in March but my mother and sister were very tired and we decided to do our own walking tour. This time around we were tired after an early flight into Paris and lack of sleep but we got it done. I am a big fan of Sandeman's tours. I always enjoy learning more about a city and to get a feel for them.

I've done tours in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Lisbon, and London. That's seven tours. In Barcelona and in Lisbon I went on their other paid tours as well. I feel they give great tours and haven't been on a bad one yet.

Starting in Place Saint Michel, we were lead by our guide Alberto, a lovely transplanted Mexican who had a love for France and its history. He told us all about the history of France and its Kings while guiding us through Paris. Our group was rather large but with the help of a mic, we were able to hear him quite well.

Leaving Place Saint-Michel, we walked over to Notre Dame where we learned a brief history of how it came to be its amazing self and how at one point the people of Paris wanted to destroy it and build a new church but Victor Hugo saved it by writing about the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I am not sure if this is true but it sounds nice enough.

We walked along the banks of the Seine, admiring the fluffy white clouds and blue sky above. We had really lucked out with the weather.

We reached Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine and learned a bit about its history from Alberto.

Alberto told us about the love lock bridge in the distance and how it had to be dismantled because the weight of the locks was destroying the bridge. It lost its status as the international love lock bridge. People have been placing locks on Pont Neuf as well. Alberto told us that French men who date international girls use combination locks so when they break up, they can use the lock again. Not sure if this is true but it would make sense. Locks are expensive.

Alberto talked to us about King Henry IV and how he was a happy king and the people liked him very much until he was murdered. He talked to us about equestrian statues and the way the hoofs of the horse represents how the rider died. With one front hoof raised and one back hoof raised representing that King Henry IV was murdered. Wikipedia says the hoof position symbolisms are just myths so I'm taking this with a grain of salt but King Henry IV was assassinated.

The tour led us to the Louvre where we admired the glass pyramids and learned how the French were not too pleased about these modern structures being placed amongst their beloved Louvre museum. We learned how the Mona Lisa became a famous painting after it had been stolen from the museum in 1911.

The tour ended in the gardens of the Tuileries near the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. It had lasted around three hours and I found the pace to be quite good. We had chances to rest our feet on several occasions. I'm very glad I finally got to do the Paris tour and enjoy a nice walk around the city while learning about its past and history.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Recap: October 11th

This week has been a bit hard for me. I had a few very low points but I seem to be picking myself back up. Called my dad today and skyped with my sister for two hours. It was nice to talk to them both. I very much miss my family with them being so far away.  My week has not been very exciting. I seem to always say that. I never travelled anywhere. I just went to and from work. I plan to make some soup tomorrow night. I went to the walk in clinic on Friday for an issue with my foot and they recommended I go see a GP which means I need to find a GP. Adulting is sometimes so hard.

People keep asking me if I have any travel plans coming up and I do not except for in March when I flee the UK for Spain. I am still trying to plan my route and trying to see if it will be a long holiday or a very short one.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Recap: October 4th

Back from Paris on Wednesday! I had an amazing time in the French capital with Jamie and Kevin. Jamie and I arrived on Saturday and Kevin arrived late on Sunday. We enjoyed a walking tour, Notre Dame and all its 400 steps, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the gardens, the parks, the streets, the food and Disneyland. We went to Disneyland on Monday and had a truly amazing time. It was a lot of fun. It makes me want to visit Florida and California. Someday! 

On Thursday Jamie and I attended a Europa League match between Liverpool FC and FC Sion. Despite Adam Lallana scoring four minutes in the game ended in a draw. It was a bit quiet in the stadium so that was a bit disheartening. Today is the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton. I really hope Liverpool come out on top.

No plans right now for further travel. Just trying to do overtime and save up some money. Need to find time to go to the dentist and pay for a filling. Life is tough but got to have fun while you can.