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Published: April 21st 2018
After (easily) waking up at 4:15 am, since we both fell asleep so early last night, we rode in an Uber from our hotel in Madrid to the airport. The one major difference between our travels domestically and internationally is the fact that you have to board a bus to take you to the airplane. It's nice, though, because you have to load the plane up a flight of stairs making you feel like a local celebrity!
Our flight arrived to Lisbon at 7:30 am Portugal time (Portugal is an hour ahead of Spain). We were not able to drop our bags off at our Airbnb until 11:30 am, so we took an Uber to a nearby spot to burn some time. Our Uber driver took us through the narrow hilly streets of Lisbon. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get from the airport to really anywhere in Lisbon - the roads are windy and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to navigating your way through. Our driver had to leave us approximately 200 meters away from the breakfast place we chose in the pouring rain due to a street that turned into a pedestrian walkway (how
convenient), and so Cody and I made the trek down the steep cobblestone downhill in pouring rain. What was a highly rated breakfast spot in the Alfama district turned out to be a small mom and pop shop with a table in the front to stake out in. We had some gourmet croissant pastries filled with sauces, meats, and cheeses, and proceeded to work on some more crossword puzzles for a few hours. We also made a new friend, Albertina! She saw us and our wet suitcases when we got to the cafe, and offered us to put our things in her apartment. Cody and I, being the trusting individuals we are, agreed. Albertina then had some errands to run a little later, and even left her apartment keys with us. At 11:30, our Airbnb was not working quite as efficiently as we would have liked to obtain our keys, but we managed to check in around 12:00. Our meeting spot versus where Airbnb/Google Maps told us the Airbnb was were about a five minute walk off, but with the help of random strangers we managed to find where we were going. 😊 Before departing the cafe, Albertina had us
tour her apartment and we even met her husband. Our few hours in the cafe were better because of her - and we got to practice some Spanish/Portuguese with her as well.
Our Airbnb is awesome. We have a full kitchen, washer, and all the other amenities you could ask for. It's also right in the middle of the Alfama District, the Fado (music) and food district of Portugal. We first hit the flea market, which had very...obscure items up for sale. Cody said it was basically was everyone's junk drawers emptied out onto the nearest tablecloth, Portuguese style. Cody wouldn't buy me anything, so we moved on. We went to the Sao Vincente de Faro Monastery and Museum. The Monastery compared to Italy is much darker - this is due to the colors used within the church coupled with less natural lighting via stained glass. While the church had marble and gold, it wasn't nearly as elaborate or ornate as the Italian architecture, either. The Museum consisted of cisterns, religious artifacts, conch shells, tombs, azulejos (which were displayed as fable tile stories), and the bell towers. A cistern is a water reservoir designed to catch and hold rainwater.
The structure in the museum dates back to the 12th century. They had 38 fable stories throughout the museum, and we took down notes on one of them:
"The Tale of the Iron and the Child" As a man was about to leave for a long journey, he left his neighbor 100 pounds of iron. Upon his return, the neighbor said to him "A mouse came and ate all of the iron you had left me". To teach him a lesson, the man kidnapped the liar's son and upon being asked for his whereabouts, said "Why, an owl carried him off." The liar stated that he did not think an owl could carry his son away. The man replied that if he thought that a mouse could eat 100 pounds of iron, it is not unreasonable that an owl can carry off his son. The liar gave back his iron and the man gave the liar's son back.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Monastery. There was plenty to enjoy, and neither of us have seen anything like the fable exhibit before. From the top of the bell tower we saw the Castle of
Sao Jorge from the distance and decided to trek our way over there. Not having internet, we based it solely off of where we thought we were going, and made it. We happened to go to the Castle the day of an archery competition, so we were able to watch people dressed up in medieval costumes partake in an archery contest. We also learned that archery is not viewed as a masculine sport, which is why women were allowed to compete hundreds of years ago. It was considered an exercise apt for women because the shooting stance is both elegant and graceful. We walked through the castle grounds, which were built between 700-800 AD, and took a tour through their archeological site. We learned that there is a lot of Islamic (Moorish) influence as well as Phoenician influence in the Portuguese culture. The castle itself is a Moorish castle. We were able to see many views of Lisbon from the top of the castle, and view ancient house foundations from hundreds of years ago. What started out as a gloomy rainy day turned out to be blue skies and sunny day while we visited the castle - the views of
Lisbon and the coast were fabulous!
We next took a self guided (aka getting lost) tour through the streets of Lisbon. We walked into different shops, passed cafes, and walked the steep brick hilly roads. We found a place to stop for dinner in the Alfama district about a 5 minute walk from our Airbnb. However, when we started the "Tour de Food" of wanting a meal and to sit on an outside patio, we managed to walk over 45 minutes in a solid loop before finding this place. The food was delicious! We had antelejo soup (kind of like a Portuguese rice tomato soup with an egg on it that you had to mix in when your received it), cod cakes, sausage cakes, sautéed mushrooms and bacon, and octopus in a garlic sauce. Kelly's favorites were the antelejo soup and the sautéed mushrooms and bacon. Cody's favorites were the octopus and the antelejo soup. On our way back to our Airbnb, we stopped for some Port wine to enjoy in our hotel room, because you have to try Port wine in Portugal!
The forecast looks pretty gloomy for tomorrow, so we're looking into inside activities to do
throughout Lisbon. We're hopefully going to listen to some Fado music as well tomorrow night!
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