Tania and I arrived in Lisbon yesterday after travelling on three trains for eight hours at a cost of only fifty euro. First impression from the taxi window when arriving in Lisbon was that it needed a coat of paint. It was also overcast which we were unsure if it was due to smog or fog but after 24hrs we are really impressed with this old and vibrant city.
The weather HAS been overcast in the morning and by lunch bright and sunny. Not too hot but certainly as we are further south, is warmer than we have experienced but it is summer.
We have seen a few of the sites walking around but the highlight was this mornings Segway tour through the old town of Alfama. Lisbon was all but destroyed in the earthquake of 1755 except for a small section in Alfama which has retained the original old town feel. So most of downtown is post 1755- yes that is termed new!
We are staying in an eclectic and very funky hostel in the downtown region of Baixa. This area is the heart of the modern city, with a grid of 18th century streets, full of shops of every kind, running down to the River Tejo.
We also caught a tram to Belem, a popular riverside suburb, where most of Portugal’s maritime explorers set sail to discover distant lands. There is a magnificent Monument to the Discoveries that was erected in 1960 and that you can get great photos from the top including the world map at the base. Belem is also famous for its hot pastel de nata, essentially a custard cream tart, which we were told they make around 20,000 a day (50,000 on festival days!) Not too bad to eat but I’m a chocoholic (Hi. My name is Michelle)
We will do a free walking tour tomorrow organised by the hostel and then a day trip to places with Palaces and beyond on Friday. So Lisbon has so far lived up to its hype and I’m pleased we are discovering the magic within.