Brett and I used to talk about possibly moving to Lisbon for a while once we got all the girls launched out of the nest. After a few days here though we realize that as much as we like Lisbon we would have never been able to make it because:
- There are way too many cobblestones! They are everywhere, and there is no getting around them. Add in all the hills and steps and my bursitis and my knee are not happy.
- I don’t think we could ever understand or speak Portuguese even if we studied it every day for the rest of our lives. All we can say or understand right now is obigado/obrigada (thank you).
Still, we are having a wonderful time so far in this friendly, beautiful city in spite of us still suffering from colds, which have now settled into our chests (along with sore throats).
We awoke on Thursday morning to pouring rain and heavy winds which made it impossible to get out of the apartment other than for the most basic needs. We did manage to walk to a nearby supermarket although not without our umbrellas being blown inside out more than a few times, and both of us getting soaked. We spent the rest of the day doing laundry and getting some planning done inside our cozy apartment while the storm raged outside.
On Friday morning though there were blue skies and warmer temperatures, so we got up and out to explore around our neighborhood (Bairro Alto). We ended up walking all the way down to the Praça de Comércio to get a closer look at the mighty Tagus River, and on the way home we stopped in a local bakery for some delicious coffee and pastries. I have to say that Portuguese pastries are amazing! And, affordable, too.
Lisbon is decked out for Christmas from head to toe. Decorations are up everywhere, Christmas music can often be heard, and shop windows are filled with seasonal displays. They really get into it here!
Yesterday morning’s weather looked like a repeat of Friday’s, with blue skies, so we walked over to visit Castelo de Sao Jorge and then take a ride around Lisbon on the #28 tram. We took two seven-story elevators up to get to the base of the castle. We learned there are all sorts of ‘secret’ elevators around Lisbon as well as trams that do nothing but bring people up from the bottoms to the tops of hills or back down, but many people still do it the old-fashioned way, walking up and down the hills.
The castle was extremely beautiful as well as interesting, and provided many, many beautiful views of the city. The castle itself reminded us of the ones seen in picture books, with its moat and a bridge crossing it, many battlements, and easily discernible living spaces inside the castle walls.
Afterwards we finished at the castle we hiked down to catch the #28 tram at the Martim Moniz stop which is one end of its route. Brett almost didn’t make it on the tram with me thanks to some incredibly pushy young tourists who came from the back of the line to the front and shoved him out of the way. We rode the tram for quite a while, admiring the views and the many gorgeous tiled buildings and murals. Our original plan was to ride all the way to the other end of the line and then back, but we ended up getting off in our neighborhood and walking home after deciding we did not want to deal with another hoard of tourists getting back on at the other end. We were also feeling a bit worn out, and the temperature was dropping more than expected making us feel chilled (and we had also both started coughing again).
In Florence we ate gelato every day; here in Lisbon we plan to eat a Pastel de Nata (egg custard tart) every day. Our host was right, there are both good ones and better ones, but even the merely good are delicious!
We’re taking today and tomorrow off from any major sightseeing – neither of us feel very well and we are afraid of getting sicker before our big travel back to the U.S. begins on Thursday. There are things we can see and do close by in the neighborhood, there’s always laundry to take care of, but mostly we’re going to rest, relax and hydrate and see if we can get ourselves feeling better than we do now (which is pretty miserable).