Going to Lisbon was something we had planned and paid for in the spring. My husband had a conference and I had decided to join him. Even though it was already paid for I was not sure I was up for a holiday, but hey, everything was set, so off we went.
I am sure that if I visited Lisbon with a lighter heart I would have fell in love with the city. I am sure my posts will not be able to do it justice, but I will take you on a little armchair tour of the city and some observations that I made along the way.
So we got to the city Monday the 19th, and Lisbon, of course, was experiencing a very big heat wave. It was even hotter than Madrid that day! But we were not going to let that stop us, so we hopped on the metro and came downtown.
Lisbon is compared to San Francisco often, as it also has a lot of hills, is on a bay, had a big earthquake and has a still working cable car system. You will notice hills in almost every one of my photos. Despite the presence of hills Lisbon reminded me, shockingly, of another US town with working cable cars. Would you care to guess? I will give you a hint, the city that is reminds me of does not really have hills, but it was also hot, laid back and by the sea. I will tell which city and why tomorrow.
Look it is the castle of São Jorge on a hill! We forgot to go up there for a look. We will try another time, the view was supposed to be amazing.
One of the the first things that I saw after coming up from the metro was this sign (on the building, click to enlarge).
As you scroll through these photos be sure to look at the ground. The streets, the sidewalks, parking lots and plazas were all paved with these little square stones. Mostly white, with designs in black.
City hall, I think.
This was the train station. What a train station! It also had a Starbucks. Maybe this is uber-American of me, but as a non-dairy person I appreciate Starbucks for it's soy options. That being said I think that, the last time I was at one, I was in Plymouth, UK.
I had convinced my husband to but tickets for one of those Hop-on hop-off bus tours of the city. I am still not sure if it was a good idea. The temps were about 38C or 100F and there was not a/c on the bus. It was nice is you were in the open air portion while the bus was moving, but I needed plenty of sunscreen.
A view looking down from the top of Parque Eduardo VII towards the bay.
An Aqueduct we passed.
The Belém tower standing regal in the estuary.
Lisbon has those trees that the tree-like cell phone towers are based on. I did not think that they were real!
We did not have any problems communicating to anyone in English. It was amazing. I had heard that would be the case, but I did not believe it. I had only learned how to say "thank you", and "do you speak English or Spanish" in Portuguese. More of them Spoke English then Spanish, and it was really easy to get help or buy things. Even in the non touristy areas we were able to get dinner or buy sunscreen from a pharmacy. I am not saying that you could discuss world politics, not that I tried, you just can't be alone (i.e. not on a tour) in Madrid without knowing Spanish. I seemed to be able to read most signs in Portuguese, and the urge to speak Spanish to everyone was strong.
Later in the day we walk from our hotel to the University, on the way we past this strange sculpture in a park (Jardim do Campo Grande).
Some Gargoyles at the University of Lisbon.