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Lisbon

Next stop and another great city in this part of the world.

sunny 12 °C
View Semester Break, pt. 2 on kmclean's travel map.

Our next stop on our trip with Mom and Dad was Lisbon. We arrived kind of late so didn’t get to do much our first night, but we managed to at least get out for some wine and cheese. We spent the next three days touring around the city and the last night we ended up staying out way too late, but we all managed to crawl into the taxi early the next morning and make our flight to Barcelona.

We went to a little restaurant in the Alfama district where we were staying on our first night for a bite to eat. Portuguese wine and cheese must be this world’s greatest kept secret. I’ve never heard anything fantastic or special about them, but it turns out they’re the best I’ve ever tried. We didn’t have one bad wine our entire time there. The food was also delicious, but to be honest my favourite meals were all at the Spanish-style tapas bars. Eating one delicious bite of 12 different things is definitely my favourite way to eat. Besides the food, though, there are a lot of other things to see and do.

Everything we saw was really interesting, and it’s a great city. On our first day it was a little rainy, so we took the tram 28 all around the city to try to get an idea of the main sites. It runs in an around the older parts of town, going near the sé cathedral and the castle. Lisbon is a really neat city with a lot of hills, so the tram was a little easier than a walking tour, which we skipped in this city. That night we went to a little restaurant for some food before we went out to see some Fado music – something typical of Lisbon, I’m told. You’re definitely supposed to eat at the same place to listen to the music, but reviewers say that all the places with great music have bad food, and vice-versa, so we broke the rules and went to a place with great music. We ate first, though, and just had dessert and wine at the Fado club, enough to add up to the compulsory €15 per person minimum charge. The music was great, though, and really something different. You sit there with your food and every ten minutes or so someone comes out, sometimes accompanied by a guitar or two, and sings for you. It’s really loud and deep, definitely worth seeing if you’re ever in Lisbon.

We spent our second day in Belem to see the Monastery, the Maritime Museum, and the Belem tower. Usually I’m not so into military or maritime history, but there was a time when the Portuguese navy was definitely something worth noticing. The museum was great, and like the monastery, free since we went before 14:00 on Sunday. There’s also a cute restaurant out that way with excellent sea food and even better service, although we may have just been lucky and got the best waiter on his best day.

On our last day in the city we went up to one of the lookouts, the “miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara”. It’s at the top of one of the hills so you can really get some amazing views. There were also a ton of artists and artisans at the top selling their work, and we came across one photographer and one painter whose work was really excellent. Both Mom and Dad and Mike and I bought a few of their pieces. Some of my favourite souvenirs from our trips are the art works you can pick up on the street for unbelievably cheap prices. At the top of the hill near the lookout there was a really great Argentinian restaurant we tried on a whim, and ended up staying for a while on their terrace to enjoy the view. Since we had kind of a big lunch we did another tapas-style supper at a little cave restaurant right around the corner from our apartment in the Alfama district. We stumbled across it the night before and went in for a few little plates of cheese, sausage, and whatever else, and it turned out to be great. The food was perfect, not to mention the local wine right of the casque at €6 per litre… not bad. Anyway, we ended up talking way too much and staying out way too late, something I think we all regretted when our alarms went off the next morning at 5:30 to catch our flight to Barcelona. When in Rome, though, right?

Anyway, we all made it to Barcelona even if we were a little beat, and now we’re looking forward to enjoying yet another epic city. We had the best time in Lisbon, and I would definitely recommend it. You could probably see all the main sites in two days if you really rushed, but four or five days in a city like this would be great so you could really enjoy the food, the wine, and the music.

Posted by kmclean 12:32 Archived in Portugal Tagged music lisbon portugal fado

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