With as much sleep as can be expected when sitting upright on a train, we arrived in Lisbon, with many people having raved to us about their adventures to Portugal. Now that we've done it, we certainly don't disagree.
Our hostel was similarly hyped, having won awards for best hostel in Europe in the past few years. After checking in, we took a look around the centre of town and its unique tiled streets before venturing up the hill to the city's castle. This area was probably one of the nicest in the city and immediately made us see why people loved this place so much. The steep hills were well serviced by Lisbon's amusing little trams which are all of about 10 metres long.
A look at the Praça do Comercio, one of the largest squares in Europe, also confirmed another thing we'd been told about Lisbon, that being the large number of drug dealers on the streets. Walking through the square a greasy looking character would open his hand with a few packets in his palm and say 'hash, grass, coke, what you want?' or something along those lines. And that was the third time in the first hour. Another occasion even saw the desperate young guy follow us all the way up a hill asking about where we were from before offering again, and upon rejection, coped with it by continuously asking us 'oh, what, are you weak man?'.
After a nice cheap dinner from a cafe (with an avid Geelong Cats supporting Aussie working behind the bar) we attended the first of many events organised by the hostel, a Portugese wine tasting night.
The next day began with a walk up the Avenida da Liberdare to the Parque Eduardo VII which runs up to a huge Portugal flag overlooking the city. The park and flag was eerily reminiscent of Parliament House in Canberra, albeit minus a building. In the afternoon we made the trek to probably the most frequently visited attraction in Lisbon, Pasteis de Belem, known to have the best Portugese tarts around. And yes, they were fantastic, although they've been making them for 173 years so have had plenty of practice. The whole area around Belem and the harbour was very picturesque while as usual we felt compelled to check out the fishermen and see if they were catching anything. Unfortunately they spoke back in Portugese and we are still in the dark there.
Back to the hostel activity that night, and it was a bar crawl around the nightlife district of Lisbon. For a Tuesday night it was surprisingly lively, which our guide said was typical of Lisbon really, with many people out and about on any night of the week. The bars were a bit strange, although maybe we just couldn't get over how many played various Shakira songs, sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish or even Portugese.
Day three saw us head to Sintra, a very common day trip to see the Moorish castle ruins and Pena palace which sit atop a mountain with spectacular panoramic views for miles.
In the evening, the hostel put on a Portugese roast chicken night, with the chicken varying in level of spicyness. This could have been better explained by saying 'we put a dash of piri piri sauce on this bit, and a whole bottle on this bit'. Regardless, it was damn tasty.
The following day we went out on a limb and booked a random tour with a local company to see some sights south of Lisbon. Luckily, despite our randomly finding it online, it was an awesome and jam packed day. We paid a quick visit to Setubal, a city south of Lisbon, where we saw some, or one, interesting local character - http://www.offexploring.com/barack/albums/setubal-sesimbra-arrabida-daytrip/8121905
The rest of the day included drives up the surounding mountains overlooking the area, a look at some hidden, small yet amazing beaches, a seafood lunch in the fishing village of Sesimbra, a winery visit and tasting, a visit to Castleo de Palmela before finishing off at Cristo Rei, the statue of Christ overlooking the city of Lisbon (as copied from, er, 'inspired by' Rio de Janeiro).
Having thoroughly enjoyed Lisbon and the surrounds, to the point of it being our favourite stop so far, we said a sad farewell and headed south to Lagos.