Lisbon, Portugal

We made it to Lisbon a couple of days ago. I’m not sure I was ready for how big and loud a city can be after being in a very quiet beach town. Lisbon is by far one of the liveliest cities I have ever visited. It feels very artsy and I’m sure a big party scene at night. I do like walking the old streets of Lisbon and trying to see where the locals live. Lisbon is one of oldest European cities, however the earthquake in 1755 destroyed about 85% of the buildings and killed thousands of people.

The city is built on 7 hills. To help navigate all of the hills, we have been taking trams and elevators. The trams are very crowded and we usually have to stand but it is better than walking up every hill. There is a lot of graffiti in the city but I think it gives good character. The city feels very safe and everyone is very friendly here. Everyone speaks good English and I almost forget that I’m in a different country because I’m always speaking in English.

My favorite walk was through the old part of town by the castle. One house had birds sitting outside singing. Most people have their laundry outside drying. There is a big festival in June so most streets have plastic garland hung. I’m amazed by the beautiful tile on buildings and the stones on the ground. Pictures just don’t really capture how beautiful the individual streets are.

Today we checked out a different neighborhood in Lisbon. Belém is about 5 miles from where we are staying. Since the weather was pretty perfect this morning, we walked there. They have a nice trail along the river. It was nice to see everyone out riding a bike and running on the trail. I would go for a lot of runs on that trail if I lived here. Belém is where the famous Portuguese pastry Pastel de Nata started. We waited in the line that was a block long to get the original pastry. I feel like everything we did today was wait in line because we then had to wait in line for another 30 minutes to get a sandwich to go. Instead of walking the 5 miles back, we wanted to try a tram. We opted to wait for the more modern AC tram…but once we got on, the AC wasn’t working. The tram stopped after a couple of stops and told everyone to get off and we had to run to a tram that was waiting for us that had the AC on. Luckily we ran ahead and got a seat because the tram was packed full of people. One of the reasons I wanted to visit this neighborhood was because there was supposed to be a nice botanical garden there according to our hotel. Once we got there, a sign was posted that it had been closed since October 2018 for restoration.

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