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Good Times In Lisbon

We are having a great time in Lisbon. It is an excellent city.

We have been walking our feet off. Thursday, we rode a tram car to the far end of the city, then walked all around the neighborhoods there. We were looking for a specific church, but this city is difficult to get a bearing in, especially because there are so many large hills, and the roads are curved along the contours of the hills. We were mostly successful in getting ourselves lost, which worked out well. We ended up finding the church we wanted to find, but the search was the best part (entry was 4 euros each, which doesn't fit our budget well). We walked around the windy, cobblestoned streets to the point of exhaustion, then walked back to the hostel across the city. Yesterday, after exploring a few churches and a museum, we jumped on a tram that took us out to the little suburb/neighborhood called Belem, where there are several interesting attractions. For example, the Torre de Belem is particularly picturesque; it looks a bit like an enormous chess piece. The Jeronimos Monastery is also pretty amazing. Belem is known for its custard tarts, and we were enormously pleased to find a shop where we had a couple of them as well as some coffee for 3 euros.

Given our daily budget (half of which goes to our hostel), it isn't particularly surprising that we cherish finding good deals. For what we have spent so far, we have seen and done a lot of things. Funny how having a tight budget encourages you to look for the free and cheap things to do. For example, we went downtown yesterday to a shop that had wine tastings for free. All we had to do is fill out a survey (they were all Portugese wines), but as backpackers, time is on our side, so we had no problem sitting down to put some marks on a sheet of paper for what ended up being a decent glass of free wine. (Note: wine is particularly cheap in Portugal, more so than beer, so a good bottle can be as cheap as 2 or 3 euros. Still, free is free.)

Tomorrow we are going to a little town near the coast that is apparently "fairytale like," called Sintra. I am going because there is a really interesting Moorish castle. Also, many museums and other places that charge entry fees (most places, at a going rate of 4-6 euros) have free entry on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm; we're going to check out a palace while we're out there. We might also check out a few nearby places, although the bus tickets to those places may exceed our budget.

We did so much yesterday and for so little that we were just pleased as punch about our budget. So, to celebrate, we went out for dinner at a nice, decently priced restaurant. We ordered well-priced entrees, which would have kept us under the budget. However, we didn't realize that the appetizers (the plates of fish, the olives, the cheese, and even apparently the bread) are added up and placed on the tab, costing us an additional 10 euros. We were so sad that we had to get a beer with another American, and really blew the budget at that point. Tragic. 

Every day is a new attempt at the challenge of keeping a tight budget. It's fun.

Until next time, be safe.



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sounds absolutely amazing! enjoy!!!

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