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Published: April 9th 2016
After breakfast we headed out on our bus ride to Lisbon, Portugal. We stopped at a pretty little Portuguese port town on our way to Lisbon, recommended by our bus driver, Mario.
After a little walk around the town and a quick lunch it was time to head back on the bus. We reached Lisbon in early afternoon. It was too early for us to check into our hotel, so went to see the Christ the King statue.
The Christ the King statue was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. It was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II. You can apparently climb to the top of the statue to get a great view of Lisbon city. However, we decided to stay on solid ground because the view was just as good. In the distance you can see the 25 de Abril Bridge, a suspension bridge connecting the city of Lisbon to the municipality of Almada, where we were staying. The bridge resembles the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; however, it was not created by the same company.
After heading over to our hotel to freshen up, we left to explore the historical city of Lisbon. We headed down a main street, Rue Augusta, where there were many brand name stores along the sides. Our tour leader, Nihar pointed us in the direction of the major sites. There was the Santa Justa Lift that connects the lower Baixa Street to the higher Largo do Carmo on the hill. At the end of the street was Rue Augusta Arch. The arch is decorated with statues of historical figures in Portugal. High on the hill was the Castelo de Sao Jorge, where my sister and I attempted to visit that night.
He pointed us in the direction of good restaurants for dinner and with the 15 euro we were given we headed out to explore. We found a restaurant in Praca do Comercio where we tried traditional Portuguese dishes Francesinha (aka the heart attack in a plate) and Bacalhau com Natas. The Francesinha is a mouth-watering sandwich made with a combination of ham, sausage and roast meat covered with melted cheese and served on a hot thick tomato based sauce. It is known for being a
meal to eat after a hangover. I really enjoyed Renata’s Bacalhau com Natas, which was a shredded cod dish with fried onions, and covered with a layer of potatoes and cream. It was possibly the best meal that I tasted on the entire trip, and probably the most fattening. Who knew that Portuguese food could taste so good! We enjoyed our meal with glasses of delicious port wine and green wine.
After dinner we headed out to find the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a Moorish castle that overlooks the historic centre of Lisbon. On the way we heard traditional Fado music being played in the restaurants nearby. Fado is an opera sounding music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics.
The walk up the hill was quiet and eerie. Unfortunately, we reached the Castelo de Sao Jorge too late and it had closed for the night. They were only accepting personal tour groups. So we headed back down the hill to take the bus back to the hotel.
Tomorrow we will explore the Belem district of Lisbon, and then head to Cascais and Sintra on a day trip with the
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