Note: This post is from April, 2015
We were all excited about our trip Portugal, but the first day didn’t start so well. Yes, since I had written this down, I feel like I have to complain a bit. But if you’re interested in what Lisbon has to offer, just scroll down! :)
We arrived in Lisbon Wednesday evening. The flight went quickly even though we had a stopover in Vienna. But from Vienna to Lisbon we got our seats on different rows… Well, doesn’t matter that much, it was a short flight. Also there was no vegetarian food for me, of couse… There’s never. So now I don’t like Lufthansa so much.
We arrived in Lisbon quite late around 21 and took a taxi to our hostel. The taxameter was on 11,50 euros, but then the driver wanted to charge us 19 euro because we had luggage with us! We got to see the chart were it says that yes, it costs like 4 euros for luggage, extra 3 euros for airport etc etc. So well. We paid that.
We stayed at Passport Lisbon Hostel, right in the famous Praça Luís de Camões. But we couldn’t find the entrance…. We were just outside the number 36, and it was a just a regular door to an apartment building, with a code, and we did not have any code… So we stood there for a while until some other girls were going in to the hostel, and followed in. The elevator was so small we couldn’t fit our two together and our packback… So we walked up to the reception, which was also super small. We checked in and bought a beer there to bring up to our rooms, hehe, well worth it after all the floors we had to walk up!
We got in to our room and it was…… not as expected. Sure we are not luxury-travelers or anything, but the hostel looked really cool when we looked it up on booking. We got a room just next to the kitchen, and we had a private toilet but it was outside our room, so we had to go out in the hallway to go to the toilet.. .Which means you have to get dressed if you want to pee in the night. Well well… Also not that big deal.
But then the room was very basic, everything I had seen online that made it look rustic and awesome on the pictures actually just looked rusty and dusty in reality. We did not have a working night lamp, our night stand was broken (it was a book screwed into the wall that has broken, so it was just a book on the floor now), there was NO furniture at all – basically just a bed and you had to put your backpack and your clothes on the floor… no balcony (most of the rooms have a french balcony), we only got 1 really thing pillow each… And on top of that it was super hot this nigh (it was really unnecessary for us to bring so much long-sleeved). I didn’t manage to fall asleep until 6 in the morning. Buh :(
Next day we woke up when the hostel started serving breakfast, since we could hear everything in our room. Not that much of a breakfast, yoghurt, cereal and white bread with cheese. There’s some construction going out just outside so it was not so pleaseant sound at when we had the window opened. We started by asking the reception to fix the light in the room and to give us a few extra pillows, there was no problem with that at all. Then we took a couple of chairs from the kitchen ”borrowed it” to have as furniture in our room, haha.
THEN, FINALLT, the adventure began!
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, it has about 550000 habitants. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world, actually older then London, Paris and Rome by centuries. It’s built on 7 hills, so you are almost always going either up or down :)
Our hostel was in the Bairro Alto (the upper town), in one of the hills in Lisbon.
We walked down towards the water and the neighbourhood Baixa (lower town). We could se the big Christ on the other side of the water, we had also seen him from the flight yesterday. The Monument is in Almada on the other side of the river Tagus, it resembles de Corcovado monument in Rio De Janeiro and was built after the second world war as a memorial of thanks that Portugal was spared of the destruction of the war.
It was beautiful down by the water, nice walking areas, boats, people walking everywhere… It reminds me of Spains coast.
Within 15-20 minutes three different guys asked us if we wanted to buy Marijuana/Hash/Cocaine. We were quite chocked first, but we got used to it. I don’t know if it’s because of my dreads or Duilios curly hair, if we are a young couple, or if they just ask everyone. Haha.
It was a sunny and super warm day, about 30 degrees. Not that very common for being april! Of course we found some Swedes in bikinis in the small beach by Praca do comercio, haha.
We visited a lot of small artisanian shops.The daughter of one of the managers in a small shop we visited painted a drawing and gave to Duilio. So sweet :) She spoke spanish because her father is Peruvian. We kept walking around for a few hours along the water, then we needed to cool down and eat something, so we walked all the way back and then sat down at Café Vitoria in one of the main streets the city center.
Lisbon is full of trams, cars, there are constructions everywhere, half torn down buildings, but it feels safe and very homely. But yes, the traffic is horrific, I would NEVER drive here! There are cars and trams coming from all the sides! Haha
There’s a lot of traffic everywhere, but there is a few main streets in the center that are closed and only to shops and restaurants so it was peaceful there. We ordered fried potatoes and vegetarian crepes and tried Pera de gallinha and some other portuguese thing, and I ordered a medium beer which was huge! We were enjoying our selves so much this first chill vacation days with hot weather, haha.
We went to visit the famous Castelo de São Jorge, a hilltop fortification that you can see from wherever you are in Lisboa. On our way up there we passed some really cool streets with plenty of beautiful street art on the walls. Loved it!
The last bit we took the elevator up to the Colina. The entrance fee to Castelo had gone up to 8,5 euros per person. There was a lovely view from there, you could see the whole Lisboa in front of you. Apparently all the houses have orange ceiling! I couldn’t stop singing the intro song to the series Weeds ”Little houses on the hillside” when I was there, haha.
But anyhow, the proper Castelo de S. Jorge wasn’t that much of a big deal – I know it has been there for a long time and lived through Visigoths in the 5th century, Moors in the 9th century, Christians in the 12th century, royals from the 14th to 16th centuries, and convicts in every century.. But now it’s pretty much just stones. You could walk around there above the walls and inside, but it wasn’t that special inside.
We went home for a quick shower and then just walked outside our hostel – just in the square ”Praça Luís de Camões” – to join the Free walking tour that had their meeting point there :)
It was quite a big group – and guess what – ONLY spanish people!! Duilio was the only one that wasn’t from Spain. Haha. Since it was easter – all the spanish had a few days of do travel in the areas around, and they all got here to Lisbon. We heard spanish eeeeverywhere.
Our guide was funny, he really loved his countrys’ food and music, but hated its politics. We discovered a lot of new places, around in Bairro Alto, Chiado and Alfama.
Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, it was the largest part of the city during the Islamic Invasion of Ibera. Increasingly, the Alfama was inhabited by fishermen and the poor, and it continues so to this day. We got to hear about the Great Earthquake that destroyed almost everything in the year 1755 – except for Alfama, thanks to its compact labyrinth of narrow streets and probably because it’s built on firmer rock. Alfama is cozy and historical, old buildings mixed with Fado bars, restaurants, small shops and pracas. And yes, you can easily get lost there ;)
While there we tried Ginja de obidos, a liquor not to far from here – so good! We also listened to the traditional music Fado. After a few hours of walking around the tour ended and we watched the sunset from the roofs of Alafama. Then we were hungry!!
We walked around in Alafama to find a good but cheap and not so touristic place to eat, that also had something vegetarian. Most of the waiters didn’t even bother to look at us or invite us in, or even show us the menu.. We probably looked to poor to them and they were out after more spending tourists. Well… F them – so we kept walking and walking until we found a cute little restaurant – called ”Almargem” very close to the Cathedral – and the waiter was lovely! He showed us the meny and in portuguese of course, told all about how it was made and what was in it. It was a great service!
They had the typical portuguese course ”Caldeleira” in a vegetarian option – and it was soooo good! Duilio had som Bacalao, a fish which they have everywhere here and can cook in about 4000 different ways, haha. We were surprised that you pay for entrances (different cheeses and bread) since we didn’t request them and they brought them just like that to the the table, so we thought it was free and was super happy about it and ate it all – but that was not the case… Haha. It was around 8 euros. And since we had a very nice experience at that restaurant, we didn’t mind paying that either, it was good cheese and bread :)
Then we went home for some good sleep.
Next day; BELEM! I will tell you in another post, this is to long!