I’ll just start by saying outright: Lisbon is HILLY. That’s it. It’s a lovely port stop and we had fun, but if you are going to go sightseeing alone, you need two things to keep you going: a compass and comfortable shoes for climbing hills.
We had the compass (great for the gazillion times we got lost) and had only okay shoes. If I hear our parents were going to Lisbon, I’d tell them to take a bus tour! We did read that the city was hilly, but didn’t still didn’t expect to find how hilly. The bottles of water we carried were so much needed. And wow, the one street we decided to explore and walk up was a much steeper and harder experience than climbing Lombard street in San Fran.
The shuttle bus dropped us off at the Praça do Comércio. And we took a walk up through Rossio Square, up an extremely steep street, explored a city library archives, to the Igreja do Carmo (Carmo Archaeological Museum) and then back down through Baixa, then took another rambling climb, first toward Castelo de Sao Jorge (which we didn’t go to), and a windy around and around walk in Alfama before stopping for lunch, and then rushing back to take the last shuttles back to the ship. We covered a lot of ground walking. It would have been much easier on our legs to have taken some public transit, but we really didn’t have time to figure any out!
Some wonderful parts about Lisbon: the place while full of history, it was not touristy in atmosphere. Even the most touristy areas still had the elements of life and that the place is still residential. On the day we were there, we could explore streets and find local people going about their everyday business. Some streets we went down (or rather UP!) were empty, and there was a lovely peaceful feeling as you explore. Around tourist sites, there are public washrooms underground that are free, and well kept. The one near the Sé Cathedral also gives you an underground view of the church foundation.
The touristy city center is small enough that you can explore most of it in a few days. We did squeeze in an amazing amount of sightseeing for the time we had.
We had time to take in a much needed relaxing lunch near Portas do Sol e Santa Luzia to rest up. G tried the local famous dish of sardines. I had a trout and while the spot was touristy, the drinks were refreshing and cold, and we had a good time even though it was sunny and hot. The food was delicious with a very nice homemade quality to it.
G needed to have the Portuguese tart in Portugal and we stopped while he had an espresso and a tart from a coffee bar. Such an European experience of standing up at the counter for the quick snack.
While there are plenty of nice sights to see outside of the city, we didn’t have the chance to go to any of them. However, from our ship, were were able to see both the 25 de Abril as well as the Cristo Rei monument.
The only regret from Lisbon, we didn’t do any shopping at all. We thought we had so many more ports to go and we were just exhausted. Alas, we didn’t know we were going to have to spend all our Euros in Barcelona.
Coming up, All the food, and our last stop, Barcelona!
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