Our First Europe Trip…. (The Lisbon Edition)

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lisbon-6All I have to say to start is that Lisbon is a cool city. I prefer it over Barcelona. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, English is practically their first language (sadly), and it is full of beautiful sites.

Lisbon started off really well for us. We got there in the evening, and got checked into our awesome hotel, the Lisbon Short Stay Apartments Baixa (our room was the one with the giant face on the black and white wall). They give you complimentary drink coupons to use to get you into their bar…. We had a great view of the street below which was a nice change from the other hotels we had stayed at on this trip.

We needed dinner so we dropped our stuff in our room got changed & then headed down stairs.

The first thing we did was order our drinks followed by our dinner. Their food was magnificent, I got a Mediterranean salad that I thoroughly enjoyed (so much, that I ordered it our last night). I don’t remember what Brad got, but he did like it… Next, we ordered the “fish bowl”. It is literally a fish bowl that filled with dangerous boozie magic! It drew a lot of attention from other Patrons… People stopped to ask what it was.. We even ended up sitting next to a charming German couple and had some great insightful conversation, as far as I can recall. I remember looking to Brad at one point and saying that we could out-drink the Germans… We ordered a 2nd fishbowl at my command. That was a mistake.. A big mistake. I remember ordering a pizza, and enjoying it… but I also remember laying on the bed & telling Brad to bring me the trash can because I thought I was going to throw up… I don’t recall if I did or not that night, but I know that I did throw up several times the next morning. I could not hold anything down, including water… Until Brad brought me a pastry… Finally, I was up. I was struggling, but I was up. I was showered. I was dressed. TIP: One fishbowl is plenty…. plenty!!! A 2 fishbowl hangover is no way for any man to live. 

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lisbon-22We decided to wander the city and see what was out there… It was torture in the beginning. Walking around a hot city while hung over has to be one of the most painful things I have ever endured, but I pressed on and followed Brad along the winding streets of Lisbon. It truly was worth the pain… Well most of it was. We started our journey in the Praca do Comercio, a beautiful square surrounded by shops and tasty restaurants. We followed the coast road that was for cyclist & walkers and were greeted with some familiar faces… Pac Man & friends!

3Along this winding road we got some great views of the island across the way and boats going back and forth. But it truly started to get better as we moved back into the city. The first site was the fun colorful tiled rainbow wall (above).   Once we got more into the neighborhood areas we got to see the beautiful tiled buildings.  However, one of my favorite parts of the trip was still to come…

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Wandering aimlessly through Lisbon we found this beautiful cathedral across from beautiful Jardim Da Estrela.  We didn’t go in, but we did wander in to the park. It was truly a life saver considering my state of being. We were hungry and thankfully there was a quaint cafe next to the pond which was full of life. birds playing, fish jumping, and turtles who just coasted through the water. 

Because of my hung over state all I could stomach was french fries. FACT: Potatoes are an AMAZING hangover cure… Whether it’s fries, a baked potatoes or mashed potatoes… They solve the problem.  The fries were basic European style (steak fries in the US), but they were exquisite.  The water, the fries, the shade and the wildlife was exactly what I needed for a quick recovery.  You can see pictures of the gardens here below:

We had some incredible views on our walk. We had walked up hill to our discovery of the park, and then got to head back down to the hotel and coast.You can’t but wonder who has walked in and out of these old homes, and what ships have sailed in and out of the harbor ports. There truly is a sense of beautiful history throughout the city.

lisbon-28That night we wanted to just relax and continue to explore. We got an easy and quick dinner on the streets near our hotel, and then decided to wander up to Sao Jorge Castle. It’s another walk that should not be taken lightly. At first I was a little hesitant because the streets were so dark, but I soon realized that we were not the only tourists exploring that night. NOTE: There is what seemed to be a big drug issue in Lisbon. We were approached several times (near our hotel) by middle eastern young men who were trying to sell us drugs. It can get a little frustrating because you get approached over and over, and they will interrupt your private dinner in attempt to sell you narcotics.  The exploration was a lot of fun. It was cool to see the city below through the cracks between the buildings.  The golden glow of the upper city surrounding the fortress/castle was truly enchanting. I wanted to continue and keep exploring, but they do close it up at a certain hour, which was sad. But I knew we would be back in the morning for great views and plenty of things to see. 

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The next morning we were up on our way to adventure, we stopped for breakfast sandwiches and then began our climb back up to Sao Jorge Castle.  There are some great sites to see on the way up and down: Beautiful vines coat the walls, and you can find “artifacts” from different eras.
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Much like most European castles and fortresses, this one is also quite large. You do have to pay an entrance fee, but the price is reasonable. ….The views alone are worth it. It was a lot of fun to walk along the castle walls, and to see the Portuguese flag flying from each small tower. You feel so small as you walk along top, and you get a thrill going up and down the steps that have no hand rail.

In the center of the castle grounds there was an Avian display of a variety of hawks and owls. Some  people did not find this amusing because they did not like seeing the animals “tied down” They had room to hop and fly from spot to spot, but by no means had full freedom. For a small cost, you could take your photo with one of the birds; we naturally opted out of that option.

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One of the main attractions for tourists seemed to be the peacocks. There were many. All over. In the motes, on the walls, in the planters… everywhere… Males & Females all just minding their business & probably hoping for a snack from a tourist… TIP: Don’t feed the wildlife… It creates bad habits for all parties involved. 7

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Aside from the lovely peacocks, it was also great to dive into Lisbon’s history for the day. It was great to see the vast views of such a beautiful and culturally rich city.  I also loved standing on the moat bridge next to the giant thick stone walls. You can’t help but think of all the people and all of the time that it took to build such a magnificent structure.

The only bad thing I have to say about Lisbon, is the area we stayed in did not have a beach… Just an ocean “outlook”.  But realistically… Day 3 in Lisbon was too cold for the beach, and on Day 2 I was way too hung over… but all that barfing would have ensured that I would have been a hottie in a bikini!! Also, I felt like we could not find Belem Tower… I didn’t get to see it and that was a great disappointment. Truth be told, I just don’t think that we walked far enough….  We walked along the water’s edge for what felt like miles (it was probably the head that misconstrued how far we felt we walked), and we just never got to it. So it is on the list for the next potential visit.

LESSONS LEARNED:

1) Don’t drink too much in new 6.JPGcities… It makes exploring miserable. 


2) Embrace the unknown, but do it wisely – use your street smarts, not your book smarts.

3) Staying in the heart of the city is way better than outskirts.. Pay a little extra for the convenience… and the culture. 

4) European weather is far more inconsistent than Arizona’s

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The Compulsive Traveler

out to see the world, and snap beautiful photos while doing so.

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