Helllooooo all you lovely blog readers! I hope your afternoon is going well!
I’m back for part two of my Madrid/Lisbon trip and to give you illiterate plebeians the photos that you crave!
So we left Madrid on Saturday afternoon and arrived in Lisbon in about an hour by plane, which was really nice (easyjet was a surprisingly nice airline for the price). There’s a metro line runs directly from the airport into the city, which was absolutely wonderful and easy to use. However, the ease of navigation in the city ended there. Dear God, Lisbon is a strange city. The streets run diagonal and in circles and the street signs are not posted clearly at all. What’s more, there are hills EVERYWHERE. Coming from Sevilla, which is practically the flattest city in Europe, I was not prepared for this. By the time we made it to our hostel (which took far too long), I was sweating. SWEATING. Carly was not happy.
But things got better once we were inside. The guy running the hostel helpful, fun, and cute, and our room, albeit it had 10 beds, was really nice. Emily and I were starving, so after putting our stuff up, wiping the sweat off our bodies, and putting on deoderant, we went to a local fish restaurant that was highly recommended to us (that was oddly named Casa da India).
YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BUDDY. Maybe it was just because I was starving, but that was honestly one of the best meals that I had while being abroad. We also had a fun experience with our waiter, who didn’t speak any English or Spanish. There was a lot of pointing and smiling and terrible Portuguese accents.
Emily wasn’t in the mood to go out, but I reminded her that we were only going to be in Lisbon for one night, so we hit this set of streets in the city with a lot of bars and music and young people. The night was …. eventful….to say the least. Amongst the fun characters were met was an Italian man that was far too old, two Dutch guys that had some pretty skewed views of the U.S., and a couple American girls that bought us drinks. But I’ll spare you the *boring* details of the night and fast forward to the next day.
We went to Belém the next day, a historicallly religious area of Lisbon (the name Belém is actually derived from the Portuguese word for Bethlehem). There we browsed around some markets,
walked along the river (or the reever, as the cute hostel guy called it with his Portuguese accent),
and toured the chapel in Jerónimos Monastery.
My Grandma was just visiting my family this week for Christmas, and while I was showing her pictures of my time abroad, she pointed to the picture of Jerónimos Monastery and said that she remembered going there when she was in Lisbon over 30 years ago! I thought that was pretty cool. Synchronicity, man!
We also tried the world-famous Belém pastry, the “pastel de nata”. Unfortunately we ate it so fast that we forgot to take photos — it was that good, people! Imagine plasma french toast wrapped up in a crispy crust and sprinkled with cinnamon. Here’s a random photo I found on google, but please understand that this does not do it justice:
We went to the most famous pastry shop, Pastéis de Belém, where the line was hella long, but the pastries are sold pretty much all over the city, and I’m sure they’re just as good at the other places.
After a nice lunch (which Emily kindly paid for, seeing as my wallet was *still* stolen), we made our way back into the center of the city and walked around for a bit, and then made our way to this lookout point that we had heard good things about.
It took us forever to find it. We had to stop and ask several people along the way, and the language barrier didn’t help. We ended up walking through the culturally Indian neighborhood of the city and stopped seeing women on the street, so it was a little disconcerting to be surrounded ONLY by men.
But, after climbing some of the biggest hills since Granada, we made it to the top of the lookout!
I honestly have no words.
That terrible quality pictures does not even compare to the view. Seriously. Emily and I sat down and just stared over the city for a good half hour (maybe longer … we lost track).We didn’t talk. We were in a trance, mesmerized by the lights and the shapes of the curvy city. When we left to walk back down into the center, we were still completely silent. I’ve meditated before, but never to that extent. I literally felt like I was on drugs, people. It was just …. peaceful? But more than that. I don’t know. I feel like I’m Siddhartha, trying to describe his epiphany. Just know that it was awesome. It was incredible. And I’d definitely go back to Lisbon just to experience that again.
We spent the rest of the night just wandering around the center of the city. We watched some street performers (with amazing voices!) for a while, and walked down to the water for a bit. Then we made our way to the bus station to catch our 6 hour bus back to Sevilla, which was NOT fun. Ummm, guys, I thought it was an unspoken rule that when there’s someone behind you, you don’t recline your seat on public transportation. WHAT GIVES? Everyone had their seat reclined. And I’m 5’10”, people. I’ve got some long legs. The bus was tiny and smelled strange. I didn’t sleep at all. Just stared miserably up on the ceiling and prayed for it to be over. An unfortunate end to a wonderful trip.
**sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, guys. Lisbon was absolutely beautiful and I honestly just forgot to take photos when I saw pretty things!!**
Lisbon rating (out of 10 stars): 9
Would I go again? Absolutely! I’d pay for it!
Best part: The look of the city — everything is stone, the buildings are old and rustic-looking. It has a cool vibe!
Worst part: The hills, although I will admit that the city wouldn’t be the same without them.
Overall impressions: My second favorite city while traveling (after Brussels). I really don’t think I spent enough time there and am looking forward to going back some day! It’s a city, but has more of a “town” vibe. There aren’t tons of cars everywhere, and everything seems sort of … quaint. And there are so many different sections of the city, like Belém, the waterfront, the area where the lookout was. Walking through Lisbon for 30 minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve just walked through 3 or 4 different cities. The look of the town also reminded me of San Francisco, with the hills and the trams.