Published: May 12th 2009May 12th 2009
We arrived in Lisbon, and it was raining…. It’s an acclimatization stop for us, or so we all believe - from the tropics to the deserts of Egypt and then into the Med and its cold spring weather. On the way in to Lisbon we passed through the straights of Gibraltar and saw snow!!!! on the Spanish mountains. Brrrrrr.
The ship "parked" under the singing bridge.... or as it sounds the verrrrry noisy bridge. This is a metal bridge with a high volume of traffic passing on it.
We took our time getting of the ship, not the usual hurry - we still had to get the shuttle bus into Lisbon, so not too much dilly-dallying.
We arrived in Lisbon and thought - what a disappointment - just the usual European city. - We really are becoming jaded. The city was covered in ceramic tiles… buildings, seats and even the ground. Nice to see on a sunny day, but darn dangerous in the rain. Judi was sliding all over the place and commenting on the number of locals on crutches and the fact that the rain is supposed to fall in Spain not Portugal!!!
We shuffled around the square
the bus dropped us at, chose a street to go down and eventually found ourselves at the seaside. Pondering what to do next and whether to go for a cake or two to cheer us up, we noticed a hop on hop off tram!! Not bus but Tram…. So on we went, and what a great choice that was. It took us all round the older parts of the city, up and down and in and out of very narrow cobbled streets. We decided not to get off, but to stay on for the complete round the city trip. When we got off we headed back along the tram tracks to explore places spotted on our tram journey.
We examined lanes, small streets and shops. Stopped at a small funicular type of tram that went straight up a hill, hopped on and enjoyed traveling up the near perpendicular gradient with walls within arms length on both sides of the tram, with the locals, to the top of the hill. Then we did our usual thing of walking as far up this hill as possible and found a castle on the top.
At this point we were thirsty and hungry, so
decided to have a bite to eat in a small local restaurant just outside the Castle.
The restaurant advertised burgers on its outside wall and as we didn’t want to spend too much time eating - we had castles to storm, we ordered them, and waited sitting in the new rays of the sun in the courtyard. Well we got burgers, or sort of burgers on a plate with rice, olives, shredded carrot, fried egg dripping in oil and a beef patty best described as Birdseye’s cheapest. Strange combination. Well we do pride ourselves on eating the local fair !!!!
Anyway, off to the castle gates, paid to get in and Walla - there was a selection of small streets with nice little eating joints, and cheaper than where we had just been burgered.!! They lead up to the castle gates proper. A nice little hamlet inside the outer walls of the castle.
So we wandered around the castle ruins, viewed the views, tested Judi’s vertigo to the hilt, listened to classical guitar music in the castle courtyard and had a Portuguese ice cream''' mmmmm nice - on a stick!
We then started back down the hill, slipping and sliding
on the wet, newly hosed tiled streets. No rain just clean locals hosing stairs and streets to shine up the tiles.
The route down hill was interesting as we took short cuts that led nowhere winding lanes that brought us to unfamiliar places, steps that were dangerous and architecture that was very interesting to see, however, we eventually found ourselves quite by accident, at the square where we were to pick up the shuttle bus back to the ship.
We had started out unimpressed with this place and ended up just catching the last bus and wishing we had more time to explore further the sights we hadn’t time to see properly.
All in all a pleasant port of call.
There are more photos below