Lisbon, Portugal tiles

Lisboa, Portugal | Second Stop

I expected Lisbon to be beautiful, and not only was I was greeted with beauty, but also with kindness, and an openness and warmth I hadn’t felt in other cities. I spoke none of the language but found the sound of it soft and welcoming as I wandered the winding streets. I want to go back.

The City

View of Lisbon. Took this shot during the 3-hour walking tour.

View of Lisbon. Took this shot during the 3-hour walking tour.

The only reason I spent time in Lisbon is because my flight landed in Lisbon, I’d heard it was beautiful, and I found a hostel with a good price (Lisboa Central Hostel – free breakfast with delicious pancakes, milkshake Mondays, informed/knowledgeable staff).

Just really liked this sign.

Just really liked this sign.

I wanted more information about the city other than “I heard it was beautiful”, so I looked into free walking tours and settled on Lisbon Chill-Out Tours based on their reviews. The morning after I arrived, I met the tour guide Gabriella at 10am, and for the next three hours I learned over 5000 years of Lisbon’s history, saw evidence of the 1755 earthquake that killed 2/3 of the population and leveled over 80% of the city, saw changing of the guard, toured different neighborhoods, got restaurant recommendations, took pictures at a free lookout point – she was amazing. After the tour ended, she offered individual recommendations for any of us on virtually anything. She knows Lisbon.

Lisbon is such a beautiful mix of colors, residential buildings, and historic sights.

Lisbon is such a beautiful mix of colors, residential buildings, and historic sites.

I loved exploring Lisbon on foot. When I arrived, I was too exhausted to see much, but I did walk down to Praça do Comércio and explore a bit of the path by the Tagus river. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining brightly the entire time I was in Lisbon.

Praça do Comércio - the largest plaza in Lisbon

Praça do Comércio – the largest plaza in Lisbon

Alfama was my favorite place to explore. The winding, narrow streets and steep hills; the tiled buildings and limestone sidewalks characteristic of Lisbon; laundry hanging from lines and balconies; open doors and windows; small, inviting shops; the warm sounds of a language I didn’t understand but felt somehow welcomed by – it was quiet and calm and beautiful. I found myself wandering the streets often, drawn to them almost daily.

Stairs lead the way on some of Alfama's steeper streets.

Stairs lead the way on some of Alfama’s steeper streets.

I loved this couple taking pictures of Alfama's tiled buildings.

I loved this couple taking pictures of Alfama’s tiled buildings.

Her red dress contrasted perfectly with the blue tiles on the buildings.

Her red dress contrasted perfectly with the blue tiles on the buildings.

I took a couple short trips outside the city: one to Belém (tram 15 there, but a bus on the way back – the tram was WAY too crowded) and to two of the local beaches near Cascais, Estoril and S. Pedro (train to and from both beaches).

The Street Art

The first bit of street art I saw in Lisbon.

The first bit of street art I saw in Lisbon.

I had heard Lisbon encouraged street artists but didn’t know the extent or the context.

An incredibly tall piece a few of blocks from the hostel.

An incredibly tall piece a few of blocks from the hostel.

The majority of my photos of Lisbon are of the street art. It differed in technique and subject but the magnitude of the art and talent of the artists only added to the beauty of the city.

The Glória Funicular (Portuguese: Ascensor da Glória)

The Glória Funicular (Portuguese: Ascensor da Glória)

Any turn in the city could lead to breathtaking artwork: faces, words, scenes, political statements, and even Elvises on a trash bin.

Simple

Simple

Elvis on a trash bin.

Elvis on a trash bin.

One of my favorites: comment on large oil and gas companies.

One of my favorites: comment on large oil and gas companies.

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Pastéis de Nata

I arrived in Lisbon at almost midnight, so I took an Uber from the airport to the hostel. The first place the driver recommended was Belém, specifically, Pastéis de Belém – where the Portuguese custard tart (Pastel de Nata) was first created. I’ve never been so grateful that I heeded a recommendation. One of the most delicious pastries I have ever tasted. Served hot and fresh, with cinnamon and powdered sugar at every table. I believe I had three. I wanted approximately 57.

Jerónimos Monastery in Belém

Jerónimos Monastery in Belém

I had pastéis de nata several times in Lisbon and although they varied, they were all delicious. I can’t recommend them enough. Especially hot and fresh from the oven. They’re really and truly delicious, and my time in Portugal would not have been the same without them.

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2 Comments

  1. Kim

    Ahhh, love Lisbon, your photos are great. And yes, those pastries are basically the best thing ever in the world.

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