How not to start a trip: morning coffee as your bleary-eyed spouse checks his email and starts saying “Shit. Shit! SHIT!” As he discovers the Royal Air Morac flight for that day has been “delayed” until the next day and the connecting flight to Lisbon from Casablanca will not happen until 2 days later. A scheduled Saturday arrival that is now a Monday (maybe) arrival is not a “delay”, in most sane people’s book. After hours on the phone with an unapologetic Air Maroc and a much more helpful but frustrated (with Air Morac, not me) JustFly agent, we’d no choice but to book a last minute flight (triple the price) to Lisbon on Aerlingus. We at least arrived in Lisbon the day we’d booked our Rent4Rest room and walked off the plane with what is now the most expensive blanket and earbuds we’ve ever owned.
At the airport, we headed to the metro; there was a line for the machines, but Warren went passed the lines and turned left where there was a glassed booth. We were able to purchase metro cards and one way trips to Rossio metro stop from the attendant. The 0.5 euro metro card is actually paper like a business card and about the same size; it is rechargeable so don’t lose it! The metro actually ends at Figueira (fig tree) square – not a fig tree in sight and although the stop is Rossio, it’s not that either. See our write up on Sintra for more info.
Lisbon is a city of colorfully tiled building facades and marbled sidewalks – yep, the kind of stuff we spend tons of money on to put in our kitchens and bathrooms. When Portuguese come to the USA do they laugh and think “you put these tiles in your bathroom?” Tiny staired alleys you can (and will) get lost in, small areas where 2 trees and a bench constituted a park (often a much needed place to rest while gazing upon many more stairs),
laundry lines outside almost every window and murals/graffiti wherever possible.
Rent4Rest, in the Rossio district, was a bit challenging to find (did I mention the tiny alleys and stairs you’ll get lost in?) but was a nice, small, studio style room –
with the skinniest building, double-doored entry (only one door opened) and stairs so don’t even think about walking through with your pack on!
Just south of Martin Moniz metro is a lively park where we happened upon a festival. A dance troupe was performing and we were quite mesmerized by the young boy.
Must sees are:
- São Jorge Castle overlooking the town. One thing that shocked us here were the peacocks in the trees; who knew peacocks could fly! We actually saw one fly down from its perch overhead. Peacocks are pretty but they sound like wounded cats when they vocalize. It also had a museum where they indicated the cobbled marble streets have been around for 5 centuries and that the numerous tobacco pipes they found were at the site of an old hospital – they were told that tobacco was medicinally good for you.
- Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcântara park at the top of defunct funiculars – the street and cars all interestingly graffitied
– with great views of the city and, at least on Tuesday when we were there, it had a small outdoor market and live music. It normally has 2 levels but the lower level was being restored in May 2018.
- Walking near the water with a cement beach, through the commercial district and the only urban elevator.
- Day trips to Sintra and Belem.
- Cantina Baldraca in the Rossio district – inexpensive but amazing Alheira risotto wrapped in cabbage (which I normal despise) and good pizzas and spaghetti carbonara. The “sangria” was not good but the Planalto white wine for 12 euros was great.
Check out the entire Lisbon area gallery here