A Travellerspoint blog

April 2011

Lowenbrau Beer Fest

16 April 2011

sunny 60 °F

This weekend quenched all our beer fest desires. A bunch of people from my unit went to munich for the night and hit the Lowenbrau beer fest. I must admit I'm not really one for those sort of things but this one better than I expected. Tickets and a table were reserved so we weren't squashed against each other and the food and beer came quickly.
Lowenbrau beer fest

Lowenbrau beer fest


About half of the group dressed in german attire which was also good fun. Curt got to debut his leiderhosen. By the end everyone was on their chairs which seems to be what the germans do as they drink more and more.

The fest had some sort of strong man type competition and then everyone in the crowd voted for their favorite girl in the drindl. Then on went the 80's music for all to enjoy.
I can check the block on a beer fest now and call it good!

Posted by ErinDriver 11:36 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Pena Palace, Sintra

10 April 2011

sunny 73 °F

first views of Pena

first views of Pena


Sintra and Pena Palace is one of those places that I have seen in the books and magazines and wanted to view for myslef. Inside Lisbon is the tour company who actually gave us a tour to Sintra. The Drive was about 45 minutes out of town and in the through a woodlined drive. The tour dropped us and the other 4 passengers off at the entrance and we were allowed 2 hours to explore the castle.
me at the palace entrance

me at the palace entrance


entrance to Pena Palace

entrance to Pena Palace


pena palace walkway

pena palace walkway


It is very unique and we managed to tag along with a different tour group for an explanation of the palace. It is still left as if the family may come back tomorrow with bric-a-brac every where. The place is beautiful but has the feel that it is not that far from livable. They even actually had working bathroom facilities. And we finally heard why all the beds in these type of places are so short. The royalty believed that it was bad for your health to lay completely flat so they would sit up in bed.
Curt and his kingdom

Curt and his kingdom


Pena Palace again

Pena Palace again


artwork at window

artwork at window


Sintra palace view

Sintra palace view


pena palace door

pena palace door


pena palace

pena palace


After touring the castle we are dropped off in downtown Sintra for lunch and whatever else we want to do for an hour. Lunch was okay but not worth mentioning.
tiled window

tiled window


Plenty of shops were open despite the fact it was Sunday.
ginja

ginja


We went into a shop with Ginja which is the big drink in Portugal. They think it is so good that if something is pleasing to them they say "It is better than Ginja". The drink has a cherry flavor and the idea is to pour a little in the small chocolate cups. You take a sip from the cup and then eat the cup and the rest of the drink. It tastes like a chocolate covered cherry.
Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca


Next stop on our tour was Cabo Da Roca on the cliffs. It is the westernmost point on the European continent.
Cabo de Roca

Cabo de Roca


The wind here was so terrible a few minutes was all we could handle.
cascais beach

cascais beach


Back on the bus we head to our last stop which is cascais. We have another hour here in the beach town that has a similar feel to Portofino or Monaco. It has a fancier feel. We had an appetizer and took a few pictures before it was time to head back.
Boy dancer

Boy dancer


Dancer in portugal

Dancer in portugal


On our way back to the van we passed a group performing a dance along the street.
horseshoe entryway

horseshoe entryway


Back in Lisbon we take a nap before our big night of Fado.
Clube de Fado Restaurant

Clube de Fado Restaurant


Our reservation at Clube de Fado was for 2030 which is the earliest possible to eat. I have codfish which is popular in Lisbon and Curt had a beef and pork kabob followed by homemade chocolate cake. At 2130 they have the Fado group come out. Fado is the folk music of portugal and the portuguese guitar accompanies a fado singer. Clube de Fado is supposedly the place where popular artists perform. Most of the music is allegedly sad with a focus on lost loves of missing home. The group played four songs and then the lights would come up again for the waiters to do their work.
Fado singer

Fado singer


Then another 4 songs would be played with a different singer. I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would but you don't get the full sadness of the songs when they are performed in a language you don't understand.

Posted by ErinDriver 11:38 Archived in Portugal Comments (1)

Good Tours and Bad Tours

9 April 2011

semi-overcast 70 °F

Square in Lisbon

Square in Lisbon


1000 this morning we are standing at the pick up point for the We Hate Tourism Tours that I booked through hostelworld.com. After 30 minutes of waiting I figure out how to call the company and they tell me that the tour started at 0900. Hostelworld advertises the wrong time and they sent an email to everyone who booked through them yesterday. I explained to this lady that I am traveling and not checking my email but she didn't see to care. My next opportunity to take the tour would be after we had departed.
Lisbon elevator

Lisbon elevator


I was crushed because my whole purpose for the flight to lisbon (vs. Ryanair flight to Porto, POrtugal in the north) was to see Sintra which is a 40 minute drive from the city. Luckily Curt was thinking and remembered an information stand not far away. We were able to book a trip to Sintra for the next day. Unfortunately we had now wasted half a day in Lisbon.
Alfama tiles

Alfama tiles


It was cold so we headed back towards the hostel to get our jackets. On the way we passed a tile shop run by a local woman. Our plan had been to hit the flea market but she warned us against it. She said locals don't go there and it can be lots of stolen merchandise with pick pocketers.
Rio Coura Restaurant

Rio Coura Restaurant


Instead we head to her recommendation for lunch - the Rio Coura. It is a family owned restaurant with fresh fish hanging in the windows.
cataplana

cataplana


She advised the cataplana which is a sort stew with a great variety of fish, oysters, shrimp and potatos. The flavor was excellent and washed down with a Alentejo wine.
canon at castelo jorge

canon at castelo jorge


Up the road was the Castelo de St. Jorge so we strolled around and took in the views of the city. From here you could see the replica of the statue in Rio de Janeiro and the bridge modeled off the Golden Gate Bridge.
mans best friend looking over Lisbon

mans best friend looking over Lisbon


This castle was made for the military and to house the elite in the case of a siege.
Castelo de S. Jorge

Castelo de S. Jorge


castle stairs

castle stairs


Curt had a craving for nacho chips so we were trying to find some when we found ourselves at the flea market. We ended up walking through and not finding anything of interest. I also was not nervous or feeling like I was in a place I shouldn't be.
castle peacock

castle peacock


This peacock was hanging out outside the castle.
Exhaustion and a headache hit so a nap was in order. For dinner the hostel had a BBQ of pork and chicken. I got nauseated and had to go back to the room to sleep it off.

Posted by ErinDriver 11:13 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Lisbon, Portugal

8 April 2011

sunny 83 °F

View from Alfama district

View from Alfama district


The temperature change was not as dramatic for this trip but we still went from about 70 degrees in Germany to about 85 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Lisbon

Lisbon


I had read several places that the taxis at the airport are quick to rip off the tourist so being good little travelers we went to the information desk and bought a taxi voucher for 23 euros. This could be more than you would pay in a regular taxi but you are taking your chances.
View from hostel

View from hostel


About 30 minutes later we show up at our hostel – Alfama Patio Hostel. An lovable and shaggy big black dog is the first thing we see going through the gate so immediately I love it. The place is decorated very eclecticly from the local flea markets. Our room is basic but clean and soon we are off to explore.
trolley cars

trolley cars


Curt wanted to walk down by the water which is an easy route following the tram line in the road. Obviously these streets were made for the days before the automobile.
tiled walls of Lisbon

tiled walls of Lisbon


We pass tons of tiled buildings and it is a beautifully broken down city.
window view

window view


I snap photos all the way to the water where we stop and have some crepes with fruit. Once again I have come to a place where they do not eat dinner until 8:00 at night.
statue in Lisbon

statue in Lisbon


The hostel dinner offerings are so cheap it seems hard to beat. Dinner is outside at picnic tables and consists of red wine, spinach soup with bread and tacos. It is deliciously and including 2 beers is only a total of 14 euro. I love Lisbon!!!! We have great conversation with other travelers before heading back to our room.
View over river Tejo

View over river Tejo

Posted by ErinDriver 10:51 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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