The overnight train to Lisbon was good. I had a couchette in a cabin with 4 bunks again and this time they were all occupied. Once again this method of travel yielded great travel companions. One of the fellows in our cabin sleep a lot, while the rest us got to learn about one another. We actually ended up with some unplanned extra time to talk, because our train had mechanical troubles and it took almost an extra 2 hours for the trip. Unlike the Paris to Madrid trip, this one seemed like it spent more time stopped then actually moving.
One of the guys I talked a lot with on the way to Lisbon was an older fellow from Munich and the other was a younger fellow from Lisbon. Both of them spoke English reasonably well.
The older fellow, Klaus, recently retired and he spends a lot of his time on real long walks, like 800 km long historical pilgrimages walks. The younger fellow works for the Portuguese government doing ecological studies. He is based out of Lisbon.
I found out from Klaus what that demonstration in Madrid was all about. He followed it from a distance to see how the police and demonstrators would interact. It turned out it was a peaceful demonstration by a bunch of younger folks protesting the lack of affordable housing in Madrid.
Once we finally got to Lisbon, I went straight to the hotel I wanted to stay and checked in. My GPS device worked great this time. It helps when you program the way points correctly. I spent a short while at the hotel getting cleaned up and publishing my update for yesterday (May 15) which you probably already saw. After that I went for a late lunch.
The location where my hotel is at is quite decent, however there's a couple things around here that are annoying. First or all there are a bunch of outdoor restaurants, which is great, however you almost can't walk by a single one without getting harassed to stop in and eat there. Naturally that just drove me away. I instead when to a more laid back place. However, what was annoying there was while I was eating all kinds of people kept coming buy trying to sell stuff (eg sun glasses) or asking/begging for money. I can't believe the restaurant allows this sort of thing to go on.
After lunch I headed to the Alfama neighbourhood very near to my hotel. The Alfama neighbourhood is one of only 3 that survived the 1755 earthquake that level Lisbon and killed nearly a quarter of its people. I spend a lot of time just waking through the Alfama neighbourhood, but I also stopped in at the Castelo de Sao Jorge in the center of the neighbourhood. It's on one of the higher hills in Lisbon providing great views of the city. I also checked out the Praca Do Comercio, the Placio de Independencia and Convento do Carmo (a church destroyed beyond repair by the earth quake).
Here are a few photos from today.
The view were the train sat this morning for nearly an hour and a half undergoing repair. I think I heard they changed the locomotive.
My two travel companions.
Notice how the corner of the building was modified to make room for the street.
The next series of photos were taken on the Castelo de Sao Jorge.
View to the south west.
The church destroyed by the earthquake is in the center of the image. I went to the top of that structure that kind of looks like a tower just in front and to the left of the church with its roof missing.
Placio de Independencia.
View to the north west.
A portion of the castle. That tall thing on the tower in the center of the picture is kind of a periscope. It has a couple mirrors which allows it to display the image seen by the lens on the top, which rotates 360 degrees, on a large screen in a room below in the tower. This room was closed today, so I didn't have a chance to see what it looked like.
View to the south east. The train station we arrived at is just to the left of this picture down close to the shore of the Tejo River. Yup, that's right, it's the same river that surrounds Toledo on three sides.
Interesting windows here just like in Spain and France.
The streets are almost setup like switch backs you would find in the mountains.
An old trolley car.
Just one of many little shops that fill the neighbourhood.
A close up of the church destroyed by the earthquake shows where they filled in some of the huge gaps left after the earthquake in order to stabilize the structure.
A view of the castle from the tower structure mentioned earlier.
Tomorrow I will spend the day doing more site seeing in Lisbon, then in the evening I'll catch another overnight train back to Madrid. Let's hope this one doesn't break down, because once I arrive in Madrid I only have about an hour and a half to change train stations to catch the high speed train to Barcelona.
Like my previous travel days, this will likely be my last update for a day or two.