We are in Lisbon for only a mere 4 full days because of wonderful invitation to stay with our friend Federico as he was here for work. Living with our motto “yes people” when he invited, we of course said “YES please” and so here we are.
We dragged Federico along (by dragging, I mean he tied up his shoes and was the first out the door) for our first day of ‘doing nothing and something’. Here’s our first day in Lisbon in pictures via the English word: selfies!
The BEST thing about Lisbon is hands down the Portuguese people! We honestly face little language barrier and when we did, it was best handled in a very Portuguese way, as we discovered in Azeitão: We walked into the winery, José Maria Da Fonseca Vinhos and asked the woman where to eat. She told us her favourite place, so off we went. In the front of a small coffee shop, we explained we wanted lunch, then got directed through a small side door, out into a court yard filled with picnic tables, down into a small open door inside and told to sit down at a communal table with 10 men enjoying wine and lunch (probably in that order). When we didn’t know what they were offering, the man gently grabs my elbow, ushers me back outside to the grill and said ‘what you want, show’. Now that’s how lunch is served to non-locals and the language barrier solved! By the way, it was THE best salmon – yes my fellow Vancouverites – cooked so well, it was like heaven.
Since the bus / trams / train system has not been our best experience… we said “let’s rent a scooter” and off we went for 35 Euro. It certainly helps that we have been enjoying 26-30 degree sunny weather every day and Dave rides a GS1200 Motorbike although not the same bike, it was a fun experience:
What we have also experienced, beyond the people and the weather, in no particular order is:
- Survival of the Mom and Pop Restaurants. Even in expensive downtown real estate, streets are lined with family-owned shops and restaurants open for generations and we have enjoyed a couple of meals in these!
- PONTE 25 DE APRIL – the Portuguese beat the Chinese on knock-offs because they have done a great job on this bridge! Cars on the top – trains on the bottom!
- In fairness they did a pretty good job of knocking off “Brazil’ also with Cristo-Rei
- Although it wasn’t on the list, we added it when we were in the neighbourhood – Cabo da Roca – the western most point on the Continent of Europe. Bonus, we enjoyed the sunset and the feeling once again, of why water matters to us and our need to be near it
- OCTOBER!!!?? and this:
- BIKE PATH TO BELEM @ 7 kilometres along the water, past restaurants, men fishing, people walking and museums. Of course there’s also the ‘e-bike’ that Federico rode so he had bragging rights all day ahead of the two Grant straggling behind!
What we didn’t do:
- FADO MUSIC – all the reviews have good music, shitty food and I didn’t have time for shitty food despite wanting good music
- VINHO VERDE – there is NO excuse for this, save for the fact there was Dao, Douro, Tejo and Península de Setúbal
- SINTRA TRAIN RIDE – because public transportation in this city SUCKS and we refused to line up for close to an hour to buy the ticket
- PASTEIS DE NATA PASTRIES: These pastries are a Portuguese institution, they are custard filled pastries, with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top (I think we drank our calories here anyway so OK to have missed this)
- SANTA JUSTA ELEVATOR – give us credit… on our doing nothing and something day, we 3 walked past this huge line of people lined up in a LONG line in front of a square small elevator building and thought “WTF are they lined up for”… turns out it was this!
Lisbon… you merely gave us a sampling… see you again in March 2017! With love from 2-Grants & 1-Cavestany