After a quick jaunt to Dublin, it was back to Lisbon, this time to explore the city with a partner in crime. Upon arrival in Lisbon we were greeted with a beautiful, warm sunny day. Quite the opposite from what we experienced 24 hours earlier.
We checked into the hostel, dropped our bags off and made a bee-line for some Portuguese cuisine. We ended up at this great restaurant called Portugalia on the banks of the Rio Tejo, and had what was probably one of the better octopus dishes I’ve had in my life. It was a cold octopus salad, and the balance of the flavors and textures was amazing. In addition to the octopus, we had a traditional dish known as Shrimp Bread Soup, which was quite nice as well, albeit a little bland for my tastes, but the flavor profile is something I’d like to experiment with myself at home.
After our meal we bought a double-decker tour bus ticket that was good for 2 days. What ended up being an added benefit to the ticket was the fact it was also valid on all modes of public transportation. This easily saved us $10-15 and made moving around the city much easier. I had always looked at the people on the double-decker busses in NYC and didn’t understand why they were riding on them, but after taking these busses in Cape Town, Dublin, and Lisbon. I now understand why, it’s a great way to get your bearings for the city, while getting some historical information as well. Additionally, it adds a transportation option, if it’s convenient for you.
Overall, the city of Lisbon is beautiful, with loads of character. Everywhere you go, you see these intricate handmade tiles adorning the buildings. Old street cars packed with people like sardines ride throughout the city streets. From many vantage points throughout the city you can see the Castelo de Sao Jorge protecting the city. Once you’ve made it up to where the castle is located, getting lost amongst the winding cobblestone streets of the Alfama can easily take a few hours of your day.
We spent a few days in Lisbon, sampling plenty of the local fare and local wines while wandering the streets. The food and wine is very affordable and really tasty. Additionally, there really wasn’t a discernible language barrier, as most people we encountered spoke english as soon as they realized we weren’t adept at speaking Portuguese. I’d definitely go back to Lisbon in a heart beat.