After enjoying the sights of Prague, we flew to one of the oldest cities in Europe: Lisbon, Portugal. In case you missed my Prague review, click here.
We arrived at the Humberto Delgado International Airport at around 9-ish in the morning. We were surprised that we actually didn’t have to go customs. So, we went directly to the taxi lane, and went straight to the Empire Lisbon Hotel, which by the way, is an excellent hotel. It is close to the metros and only fifteen to twenty-minute walk to downtown Lisbon. Aside from that, the hotel offers free breakfast. If you are on a budget, like us, free full breakfast is a great deal.
Since it was too early to check in, we decided to leave our bags at the counter. We were ready to experience Lisbon!
To be honest, I was kind of disappointed at first when I saw Lisbon. The streets looked dirty. The streets are made of uneven, white tiles, which got dirtied over the years. I could not help myself, but to compare the cleanliness of Lisbon to other European cities that we’ve been in like Prague and Barcelona.
However, my first impression quickly changed. The mellow vibe of the city, the amazing architecture of buildings and historic places, and the delicious food made me like Lisbon. For the record, in all of our trips in Europe, we had our BEST meals in Portugal.
We strolled downtown Lisbon on our first day, and here are the sights:
At the Rossio Square
At the Praca do Comercio.
The famous Santa Justa Lift: one of the oldest elevators in Lisbon, and probably in the whole of Europe.
And Portugal trip would not be complete without drinking a glass of sangria. It was refreshing!
We went to the Belem area on our second day.
This is the Discoverer’s Monument in honor of the Portuguese Explorers like Ferdinand Magellan (who discovered the Philippines) and Vasco da Gama during the 15th and 16th century.
And this one is the Belem Tower. It used to be a fort and the gateway to Lisbon.
And this one right here is the Jeronimo’s Monastery. Sadly, it was closed when we went. It was fun to take pictures outside anyway.
And the monks from the Jeronimo’s Monastery actually created one of Portugal’s finest: the pastel de nata. It is a custard tart with a mochi-ish (Japanese dessert), cascaron-ish (Filipino dessert) creamy filling in the middle. They served this for breakfast everyday at the Empire Lisbon Hotel.
We also went to the Vasco da Gama Mall, to which I ate bacalhau. It is a salted cod fish, it stunk to the core (LOL), but it was delicious.
Of course, we also went to the famous Vasco da Gama Bridge
On our third day, we went to a nearby city called Sintra. It’s a little less than an hour train ride from Lisbon. The place is filled with majestic castles. It is like a fairy tale. It is beautiful!
This is the whimsical Pena Palace. It is on top of the mountain. We were just in awe of the beauty of this place.
And apparently cannot stop taking pictures after pictures.
And one more.
After nearly four hours at the Pena Palace, we walked down to the nearby Moorish Castle. It reminded me of the Great Wall of China.
Hans is a GOT (Game of Thrones) fan, and I have read somewhere that for the next season, they will have some scenes featuring this castle, so, Hans was stoked.
The thing that scared me at the Moorish castle is that it didn’t had railings on some of the stairs!
On our way home, we rode the TUKTUK (a tricycle) to go down. Well, what happened was, we were pulled to the side by the Portuguese police. Apparently, they were doing random checks. And guess what? Our TUKTUK driver, a woman in her late 40s, also a smoker, did NOT renew her license! We got stuck on the side of the road for forty minutes. She also got fined 60 Euros. I felt bad for her, but she gotta follow rules.
When we plan our vacation, we usually allocate one day as the “relaxation” day. This is to make sure that we are not burned out from all the sightseeing. We decided to check out downtown Lisbon once more.
They have obelisk like this everywhere.
Lisbon is a wonderful city. I highly recommend it to anyone. Before, I wondered why people were raving about it. Now, I know. Or at least, I have some concept about it.