Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Boa Viagem- Lisbon

Last weekend was Carnival in Spain, which for me means puente! So my boyfriend and I decided to jet off to Lisbon, Portugal for a quick visit.

Praça do Rossio

My dad mentioned before I went that the city was like San Francisco...I can see a connection- the city is full of huge hills! It also has a red bridge, and trams to go up hills. Besides those things, it's got a charm of its own. I really enjoyed the visit and the city is beautiful! Here's my list of cool things to do here: 

1. Torre de Belém 
This tower is from the 16th Century and was originally built as a military tower, but was hardly used for that purpose. We went on a Sunday because all museums are free to visit until 2 pm. Luckily we were early or I'm sure we never would have made it out. There was one spiral staircase and it was wide enough for about one person to be on at a time!

This is a rhinoceros. You saw right. 

2. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Monastery)
     This monastery was built in the 15th Century and has some of the most intricate and beautiful decoration that I have ever seen. Every open inch of stone is carved in detailed designs. I have to say it is one of the most beautiful monasteries I've ever seen. 

3. Sintra- Palácio da Pena and Moorish Castle
     Sintra is a little town that is not far from Lisbon. This town has more castles and palaces than any country needs. There were three big castles and palaces to visit and numerous little ones of lesser significance dotted around the landscape. We went to visit two...the Pena Palace and the Castle of the Moors. The Pena Palace is one of the most interesting palaces I have ever visited. It was built with a variety of styles of architecture and the inner court yard has been tiled with a huge variety of tiles. And from the walls of the palace you can see as far as the ocean.

Like this!

 And the Castle of the Moors, which has been around since the 8th Century:

4. Fado
     Fado is a traditional style of Portuguese music that sounds a little bit like someone singing to Spanish guitar. A lot of restaurants have professional singers and you go in and have dinner while listening to the singers. We didn't know much about it but we went to a little place that our guide book suggested called Tasca do Jaime. It was a teeny tiny little place completely packed with people. The best part was that there was no professional singer. The people singing were men that frequented the bar and wanted to sing! The surprise at the end was the bill...we had ordered a small carafe of wine and a plate of ham and cheeses and it cost 25! Later we learned that that was a normal price and we actually got off easily because if you get dinner it can cost up to 50€ a person!

 And here is a short video; it's really dark but you can get an idea of what Fado sounds like!

5. Oceanário
     This was just a big aquarium but it was so much fun! The center was a huge fish tank and the four corners around all had different eco-systems. They also had a really well made exhibit with turtles and it felt like you were swimming with them!


                                           Lionfish...RAWR!!           These frogs are plotting to take over the world.

                                               Sunfish, so weird.                       Otters. Are. So. Cute.

6. Miradouros- Scenic Overlooks
     Being a overly hilly city makes for some great places to look out over the city. There were several overlooks but a couple of them were especially beautiful.

The first night we climbed up to Castelo de São Jorge (which has been around since the 2nd Century BC) where we were lucky enough to catch a beautiful sunset!

     and Héctor tore his pants...


7. Trams and Elevators
     This is also not unexpected in an overly hilly city. There is one specifically famous tram- the Tranvía 28 that goes up around St. George's castle and right around a lot of touristy places. We took 3 or 4 rides on this tram. Also, there are "elevators" which are trams that just take you straight up a ginormous hill. And there is a real elevator! That takes you from Bairro Baixa (low neighborhood) to Bairro Alta (high neighborhood)

                                      Tram in front of Sé Patriarcal                     On the tram!

A real elevator outside!

                                                                        Elevador de Bica

8. Delicious food and not so delicious drinks
     We got a recommendation from one of my boyfriend's friends to go to a restaurant called Uma and order a rice with seafood dish. We tried to go on a Sunday but it was closed, so the next day we tried to go and it was actually open! Now if we hadn't have gotten the recommendation, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have even known the place was a restaurant. From the outside it looked like a storage area. The inside was teeny tiny with as many tables jammed into the area as possible and it was run by an old couple. The rice with seafood was to die for. 

                                                                                                     We ate e.v.e.r.y.thing.

And it was so good, we went back the next day with friends!

 And then we tried a sour cherry liquor called Ginjinha which is good at first and then gets way to sweet and cough syrupy tasting. They have little tiny bars that sell only this liquor! 

P.S. Click on any picture to start a big size slideshow!
P.P.S. To see pictures from my trip to Porto, Portugal, click here!

1 comment: