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NOS Alive'17


It all started few months ago, when Depeche Mode announced they will play in Cluj. I missed them last time when they were in Bucharest and I was determined not to miss them again. From curiosity, I've checked were else they will be playing and from all cities, Lisbon appeared highlighted in my eyes. I wanted to go to Lisbon for quite a while. This is how I learnt about the NOS Alive festival. Meanwhile, I discovered other bands from the lineup: The XX, Alt-J, Bonobo, Glass Animals. In the end I bought a 3-day ticket.

Day 1 - The arrival

I flew to Lisbon with Tap Portugal and I was impressed they were offering pillows and blankets to all passengers for a more comfortable flight. As I arrived early in the morning, I had a few hours to explore the surrounding area before check in at the hotel. At the first sight, I was a little bit disappointed. I had in mind a different image. I found old buildings and deteriorated. The colored tiles are making them look a little bit nicer.
These tiles have a name, azulejos and date back from 15th century.
Colored facades on a street near the place I stayed

Shades of green, blue, pink predominate on the facades of the buildings

Most of the streets are narrow, downhill and uphill. The walls are painted with graffiti. The pavement is annoying, because it is slippery even when it's dry. I do not recommend wearing sandals.  

While wandering around, I reached to this view point, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. There are a lot of viewpoints all around the city. 

Elevador da Glória. 

There are a lot of funiculars. I didn't took any. I preferred to climb or to descend the slopes by foot. I like challenges and it was not easy to go down or up on these streets. I wore sandals and they were slipping on the pavement. 

Graffiti are very common here. You can spot one at every corner. Some of them are interesting. 
After walking like this for a few hours, I went to check-in and have some rest before going to the festival. The night before I didn't sleep too much and I needed a power nap.
It was not a good idea to get to the festival venue by bus. It took me too much, due to traffic jam. The next days I went by metro and train.

This is it!!! 
Unfortunately, I missed Alt-J because I got late and the queue to enter the festival was big. Oh my God! So many people. I was a little bit overwhelmed by such crowd. I stayed for The XX, The Weekend and Bonobo concerts. I really enjoyed their live performance, but I like more to listen their music while relaxing at home or while focusing at work.

Day 2 - Discovering Lisbon

After a few hours of sleep I woke up more enthusiastic, eager to see what other gems are hidden out there. My algorithm was very simple, I was choosing something that looked interesting near me and went that way, and so on. 
I have no idea what's the name of this tree, but its flowers are beautiful and have a nice scent. 

Park Campo Mártires da Pátria
Yes. Those are ducks and chickens. This image led me to the legend of the Rooster of Barcelos. The legend tells the story of a dead rooster's miraculous intervention in proving the innocence of a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death. Therefore, the rooster became one of the symbols of Portugal.
My first objective was to get to one of the many viewpoints from where you can enjoy the panoramic view.

To get up there I had to climb a lot of stairs.

Miradouro da Nossa senhora do Monte
The view was worth all the effort. And I didn't stop here. I wanted to see more.

That meant more stairs to climb.

Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen
Once again the view didn't disappoint me. On the left side of the photo it's Castelo de S. Jorge, which became my next target.

Paste-colored buildings decorated with flowers.
I started to get used with the local flavor. Lisbon does not impress the eye through grandeur. No, what makes it beautiful is the deteriorated aspect.
I spent a few hours at the castle. The fortification is very impressive and massive. The castle was built in the mid-11th century, during the Moorish period. It was used for military purposes. Eleven towers still remain.

Window view from one of the towers

You can walk from one tower to another and have a complete view of the surrounding area 

What a majestic sight! No wonder they chose the hilltop for surveillance.  
I left behind the castle and went downhill towards Tagus river.

The descending can be as difficult as the ascending.

Fish stew and a glass of green wine.
Yes. The color is not green. Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine that originated in the historic Minho province in the far north of the country. The name literally means "green wine," but translates as "young wine". It may be red, white, rosé and it's sligthly sparkling.

My day through Lisbon ends here. The night continued with Foo Fighters and Parov Stelar playing at the festival. That was the longest night. I went back to the hotel at 5.30am.

Day 3 - Chilling at the beach

The day before was very exhausting, so I decided to cool down a little bit. Cristina suggested me to try one of the urban beaches near Lisbon. The clouds didn't scare me and I took the first train to Estoril. 
Market flea on Av. da Liberdade
On my way to the train station I came across a flea market with handmade jewelries. It took me ~40 minutes to get to Estoril by train.

Praia do Tamariz
The water was too cold to swim, but I enjoyed the sunbath.

Praia da Azarujinha
Back in Lisbon, I went for the last night of the NOS Alive festival. Depeche Mode started playing songs from the new album. I enjoyed listening them, but I enjoyed even more when they played old songs like "Enjoy the silence", "Never let me down" or "Personal Jesus".
When they played "Enjoy the silence", the audience was enthusiastic and sang along with the band. 

Day 4 - Gems of Portugal

I chose to spend my last day in Sintra and Cascais. I started with Sintra. There are a lot of mystic places to visit in Sintra, castles, gardens. I chose to do Pena circuit which included Castelo dos Mouros and Parque e Palácio Nacional da Pena. There are two options to get uphill: hiking or taking a touristic bus. Because I didn't have too much time at my disposal, I chose the second option. I would have preferred the first one. I want to get back there for a couple of days to hike and explore all  pastel-colored villas and palaces.
Stone path leading to the Moorish castle

Path offering panoramic view 

Sintra from the cliff-top Moorish Castle

Stone path inside the castle

Path in Pena Park

I wonder where this stairs will lead me

In background, on a high rock is Pena Palace
The grounds surrounding the palace are amazing and have a lot of mysterious paths. I would enjoy a treasure hunt there. I didn't dislike the sunny day but I bet a cloudy day makes this place more enchanting. From Sintra I headed to Cascais with one stop in Cabo da Roca, westernmost point of mainland Europe.

“Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa…” [Here, where the land ends and the sea begins…] – Luís de Camões, Os Lusíadas

The Cabo da Roca lighthouse, overlooking the promontory towards the Atlantic Ocean
From Cabo da Roca I continued the trip to Cascais where I stopped for a walk on the seafront.

All the commute extenuated me but it was worth it! I would do it again, the festival, discovering the city and surroundings, maybe accompanied next time!


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