Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lisbon

I went to Lisbon for a couple of days with Mum & Dad. We drove from the Algarve and it took about 2 1/2 hours on the motorway (toll road and cost about 20 Euros). The drive to the bridge across the river was fine, but after that.......DON'T DRIVE IN LISBON UNLESS YOU ARE COMPLETELY INSANE! We ended up going round in circles even though we stopped twice for directions. Finally Dad got in a taxi and we followed him to the hotel - we'd never have found it otherwise.

We wandered around the old part of town on the first afternoon - there are some beautiful old buildings and quaint alleys but we found the traffic and noise a bit of a shock! If you're interested in museums and churches then I'm sure you'd thoroughly enjoy the place as there's lots to see, and if you like big noisy cities you'll love it! It was a bit of a shock for me to see how many poor souls there are begging and just lying on benches, but I suppose it happens everywhere sadly.

The only part we didn't have time to visit was Alfama, which is where they believe the Portuguese Fado music originates. I quite like some Fado music and would have liked to listen to some in Alfama but maybe I'll have to save that for next time!

On the second day we bought a day ticket on the Carris sightseeing bus tour of the city. You can get on and off as many times as you like and the buses stop at all the most important sights. It was well worth the money (about £15 per person), especially if you're only staying for a couple of days. The buses have an open top deck which allows you to see a lot more - word of warning though, put some decent sun cream on your face or you'll end up like a beetroot, and if you wear a hat be prepared to spend the trip holding on to it :-)


If you stop off at Belém, make sure you try out a "pastel de Belém" which is the famous custard tart. Much to my annoyance I didn't know about it until afterwards as a little custard tart and a nice coffee is my vice when I'm in Portugal.

Belém is the part of town that has the famous Tower, fantastic views of the 25 Abril bridge, and is the part of town where the wealthy and famous have their homes, including the President.

Even though we only had a short stay, we enjoyed what we did and saw. I can't say as I'd rush back though, but then I don't like big noisy cities so that might just be me!

The photos in this post came from www.visitlisboa.com which is a great site for information if you're planning to visit Lisbon.

We stayed at a great little hotel near the Botanical Gardens. It's very simple, clean and friendly, and the rates for Lisbon are very good - Hotel Botânico - they have a few rare parking spaces if you do arrive by car (which is a godsend!) and it's about a 20-minute stroll down into the old part of town. They also sell tickets for the Carris bus trips and the nearest stop is about a 5-minute walk away on the main Avenida. I'd thoroughly recommend staying there, but if you're not too good on your feet be warned it's up a very steep, cobbled hill so you might need a taxi after a hard day's sightseeing or a good meal out in the evening!

2 comments:

lcr soap said...

Didn't spend all your time under the tree then, eh? I would love the architecture and the museums etc, but I can't stand big crowds, or big cities for that matter.Gimme earplugs, blindfold, and rush me into a building, and I'd be fine.

Croap Queen said...

That about sums it up Liz. Unless you're a real townie it's pretty much head down and go. Glad I went though!

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