December 18, 2011

Lisbon. October, 2009

This is a train station. Can you believe it? It’s right in plain sight, right off the Praça de Restauradores. But the first few times I went looking for the Rossio station, I walked blithely by it, thinking this was something more fanciful. But no, this is the hub that offers trains between Lisbon and the towns west to Sintra. Designed at the end of the 19th century, it’s a Romantic recreation in the Neo-Manueline style, and was originally designated the Estação Central, the name that still remains carved into its facade. Inside it’s a lot more slick and modern (there’s even an art gallery), but no less confusing. I’m still not sure what we purchased (or how) that got us through the mechanical gates and onto the platforms to board the car to Sintra, that fairytale UNESCO World Heritage village an hour or so from Lisbon that’s beautiful, yes, but a little too sanitized for my liking.

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