Friday, 26 April 2013

The realities of sightseeing in a big city

Lisbon is an interesting city, it is vibrant, noisy, cultural and very easy to fall in love with but it also does not feel like there is any harmony between the lived in Lisbon and the touristy Lisbon. There are alot of tourists and it feels like the locals tolerate them and want to make money from them so therefore it is very hard to experience the real Lisbon. Most people we met were lovely and they all loved Jasper's blond hair and were keen for a chat - especially when he was wearing his Messi soccer shirt!

We decided to get up nice and early and jump on the famous 28 tram just down the steps from our accommodation. It was crowded and perfect ground for pickpocketers but we were fine.

We got off at a viewing area and Jasper wandered over to have a look. I was only a few steps behind him but by the time I caught up he was having a bracelet made for him by a man from the Senegal. Jasper was fine but it did catch him and me by surprise. The guy was fine though and we ended up each getting a bead bracelet.

We carried on our walk enjoying the wonderful views.

We ended up back in the Main Street and decided to get back onto the tram and do a loop. We ended up waiting ages to get onto a very crowded tram. We thought the tram would just loop around but instead we all had to get off at the top of the hill and queue up to come back down again. We waited ages for another tram all while trams on the other side of the road were stationary so the drivers could have a smoke.

Eventually one came and we got on taking us back down the hill. We went and did some souviner shopping and then headed back to the apartment for lunch, rest and to pack.

The last thing on our list of things to do in Lisbon was the castle. Even though it was just behind our apartment we had to go right around the hill to get to the entrance but after a few false turns we made it. The castle was amazing and our Lonely Planet guide book had not really recommended it nearly enough. It was build in the 11th century to house military troops and was not meant as a residence for the royal family. It has 11 towers which are quite outstanding and also very high - not great for my slight fear of heights!

We were all starting to feel in need of a rest so found a bar within the castle walls where they spoke a bit of Maori! We all got a drink and some of the yummy Portuguese crispy French fries.

It was still a bit early for dinner so we had a look at a few more sights including a great tree and a great cathedral.

It was only 7.30pm and we were struggling to find anywhere for dinner so walked down the hill then back up again and eventually found a nice restaurant with a great view and tourist prices. We were all happy though to get some food and rest our weary feet after a long day of walking.

The restaurant entertainment!

A view over the restaurant bar.

We headed back to the apartment to prepare for our early flight home the next morning.

Lisbon is a beautiful city with so much culture and amazing sights and despite the economic downturn and the hoards of tourists (not even high season yet) it won us over.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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