Thursday, February 19, 2009

LISBON Portugal: Fatima & Sintra

I sent out the full journal to date; if you’re interested in that and didn’t receive it let me know and I’ll add you to the list.  It was about 13 pages with no photos; I attached it as a document to download.

We arrived by airplane on Tuesday morning in Lisbon, Portugal about ten in the morning and settled into The Lisbon Lounge Youth Hostel in the center of the old downtown only a few blocks from the waterfront just before noon.  It is only a few years old and very nice.  Mary and I are in a mixed dorm of six on the third floor; we decided to take out what we need and leave the large suitcases in the luggage room.  Since we were awake most of the night we decided to spend the day here at the Hostel working on our computers and relaxing.  We did eventually go out about 7 pm for a stroll around the area and a view of the beautiful bridge that stretches across the bay; it looks just like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  We ate dinner at the Hostel with six others for a very reasonable price and also really got to know some of the people staying here.  Mary and I are the only ones over 40 years of age so it’s a young group.  We have guests from Japan, Morocco, Australia, Romania, Ireland and Great Britain.    

On Wednesday we enjoyed breakfast and then headed for the Metro to the Bus Station where we traveled by bus for an hour and a half to the Catholic Shrine of Fatima.  We spent two hours touring the site that stretches for about four city blocks from the old Basilica to the new conference center at the far end.  That building has several halls, one of which will seat over 2500 people for Mass.  The esplanade can hold a million people and is twice the size of St. Peter’s Square in Rome.   Millions of people visit this site every year that was made famous by the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1917 to three small children. 

Arrived back in Lisbon and visited the church built on the birthplace of St. Anthonio of Padua who is the patron saint of finding lost things.  We stayed for the Mass that was in progress as we arrived. 

 Dinner was a toasted sandwich and then we enjoyed the evening in the Hostel with all of our new found friends.  They all get a kick out of the traveling grandmas!  By moving our webcam around we were able to show our husbands how nice this place is when we talked to them on Skype this evening. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This morning we left for the train to Sintra about 9 am.  Found it without too many problems saw a grocery store along the way and stopped to purchase bananas and some yogurt drinks for later.  The train took about an hour and we were soon in the beautiful mountain town of Sintra; the place the royal families used for centuries to get away from the hot summer weather in Lisbon.  We walked to the Palace National from the train station; a slight slope that took about twenty minutes.  There we discovered that this was closed for renovations.   We then found Bus # 434 that does a circular route from the train station to all of the palaces and back.  We got off at the wrong stop on the mountain and the girl said we could either wait for the next bus or walk the short five minute walk of about two hundred meters…we walked….big mistake.  But we did eventually get up the hill and enjoyed the Palace of Pena; the summer home (a former Monastery) for the royals until early in the 20th Century.  

You’ll note in the photos I have a case of hives today…I think an allergic reaction to too much citrus acid in the Airborne we’ve been taking frequently for cold prevention.  Hopefully that will be much improved by tomorrow.   Only on my face and one hand so have ruled out bug bites. 

 Arrived back in Lisbon and our Hostel about 4 pm and now we’re in for the night; eating dinner here with the other guests.


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