October 25, 2003 GMT
Hello Portugal !!

Okay, it is October 25th and we have made it to Albufeira in the Algarve. Ahhh, sunny and warm and ocean and ....... tourists.

But I well get to that.

After leaving Salamanca (a city we both liked) we head for Portugal and a city called Coimbra ( pronounced queembra) We decide to stay in a chain hotel near the centre of the city. We arrive a bit late in the day and just crash in the room. This city has a bit of a rough feel to it. Not sure why.

It is Thanksgiving in Canada and D and I are missing our families and friends. After about 4 months on the road we have yet to find a place as nice as our home. I guess most folks feel that their home towns are the best. We both phone home to say hello to the families on the day. Not sure if this helped as we both feel kinda low. Next day we can't seem to find the supermarket. Things are not going well. We talk about how we feel and come to the conclusion that we are just a little homesick. Weird after so much time has gone by.

We wander around Coimbra, check out the university district and discover something that will be a theme for Portugal. Every city seems to be built on a hill. Or several hills. Coimbra is not a bad spot, I think I just got a bad first impression.

A word about driving in Portugal: Maniacs. That is the word.

After a little planning we decide to head for a town outside of Lisbon called Sintra. Just to remind you, it is built on a series of very steep hills. Nice spot, lots of trees and palaces and castletype deals. Moorish invaders blah blah blah. You get the idea.

Sintra is good for a base to see Lisbon. Has a skytrain sort of thing that takes you right downtown for about 1.25 euro.

First day in Lisbon offered hash twice and almost had some drunk expose himself on the train. Ahhh just like home!!! I almost shed a tear. Lisbon is built on a series of hills (go figure) and has brutal traffic. We find a bookstore and see some sites.

Next day we find the giant mall and watch 2 movies back to back. We have not had any English language for weeks so the movies were great. Pirates of the Carib. and League of extraordinary Gentlemen. Go Sean Connery Go!!

Our hotel in Sintra is in an old manor house. We loved the look but hated the fact that the entire place was damp. Not to mention the ants.

On to the Algarve. The ride down was very long in high winds and thunderstorms. Arrived very tired and needing a drink. Found our place and we have settled in.

This is a very touristy place and after so little English we are a little shocked to hear all the accents from England and Germany. The whole place is set up for all the package tours.

Will update again soon.

Posted by Patrick Harkness at October 25, 2003 01:57 PM GMT
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