• Day59

    Lisbon: Love or Leave it

    September 26, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    After nine days in Madrid it was time to move onto Lisbon (Lisboa), flying budget, bargain basement EasyJet. At least with budget airlines you don’t have people in first or business class taunting you with their special meals and drinks, their oversized seating and extensive leg space. On budget airlines, or Socialist airlines as we like to call it, we’re all equal, we’re all cramped like battery chickens, we all have to purchase everything as an extra. What we didn’t pay for was a plane full of sniffling, sick people. Anyone got some Glen 20 disinfectant.

    Lisbon, famous for its hilly terrain and pastel coloured buildings, was our home for a brief stay of three days. The three days involved a lot of mountain climbing, probably more than was required, due to Google Maps. With Lisbon’s narrow streets and Google Maps inability to locate us accurately on the GPS, we ended up in places we didn’t want to be and to get back on track often meant backtracking down Mount Everest to take the correct path and ascend the mountain again.

    Our accommodation was situated high up on one of the mountains, about a 30 minute walk from the historic city centre. There was no need to go to the gym (except everyday was leg day).While you can take it easier and take public transport, it isn't as integrated as it needs to be, and in some areas the streets are so narrow you have no other option but to walk. Apparently previous governments neglected the public transport system, but in more recent times there have been some improvements. We did wonder whether the mountainous terrain was responsible for the mobility problems of many of the residents who walked the streets with walking sticks. Mountain climbing sticks would do a great trade in Lisbon.

    All the climbing was briefly forgotten over a good meal and a drink. On our first day, we had lunch in the historic city centre, near the shore. It was a rustic place down a narrow street, hosted by a Portuguese woman who spoke no English and we spoke only a few words of Portuguese (olá, obrigado). While not an old woman, she was hunched over, presumably from having to walk up the cliffs of Lisbon her whole life: the hunchback of Notre Lisboa.

    At first, we thought we might be able to understand a little Portuguese; it looks like Spanish and we could understand bits and pieces of the signs. But no. Portuguese sounds nothing like Spanish, other than a couple of words: olá. Luckily our Air B&B host spoke perfect English and we could easily converse with him.

    Within the three days that we were in Lisbon we managed to traverse most of the city, much of it on foot (and up hills). After getting our bearings, we took off to visit some of the popular tourist attractions, such as: Belém Tower, the old medieval fortress; Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument dedicated to the famous explorers that left from Lisbon to discover distant parts of the globe; São Jorge Castle; and Jerónimos monastery, where the famous Portuguese custard egg tarts originated (although Jason refuses to believe that they weren’t invented by the Chinese). According to Jasonpedia, like Wikipedia but information sourced from Jason’s world, the Chinese invented the custard egg tart thousands of years ago [citation required]. We also explored the many squares, churches and monuments of the city, taking a trip in one of the old trams.

    It seemed every other tourist had the same idea, as we all squashed on to a rickety tram that weaved its way up and down the steep hills of Lisbon and the congested city centre, narrowly missing parked cars. In the end, we didn’t end up getting to experience the scenic views and instead only got views of tourists armpits or heads. At the end of the day, anything is better than staying at home doing the same mundane routine each day.

    Next stop: Berlin
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