Saturday, 10 February 2018

Lisbon, Portugal (Double Tree by Hilton – Lisbon, Fontana Park)

Today is the first day that I’m feeling healthy again and now ready to begin exploring Lisbon in earnest. Very much a relief! The sun is out in-full and calling me outdoors. But first, time for breakfast! Today there was a guy with his guitar entertaining us while we ate. Tried not to put too much food on my plate – still a little cautious in that regard.

Before long I was walking toward the Santa Justa Lift, located near the Tagus River just before it empties into the Atlantic. Google say it is a 30 minute walk down there, but I’m planning to take my time while walking through the neighborhoods along the way. There seems to be something to see around every corner and the closer I get to the river, the older the buildings become.

Spring is around the corner. Evidence!

Many buildings have decorative facades

Walked by a park and saw a variety of birds freely walking around. They seemed to be used to people. But free-roaming chickens in a big city?

After walking down a few steep and winding streets, I eventually found myself at Rossio Square, which is the popular name of the Pedro IV Square. One of the main squares of Lisbon and has been so since the Middle Ages. From there, the lift is a few minutes walk away. (The last picture below shows, in the background, a picture of the top of the lift.)

Once I got to the lift I expected a long line, but was pleasantly surprised that there were only 50 – 70 people in line, give this was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. And so I joined the queue. While waiting, I started speaking with the women behind me, since they seemed friendly and spoke English. Turns out they are from Ireland. We talked about the harsh weather they’ve been having over the past few months. Nice to have someone to talk with while waiting and they were interested in my travels.

Before long, after we paid the admission for a ticket, we were allowed to enter the elevator (lift). Each of the two lifts holds about 20 people. Once you get on top, you have a 360 degree view of the older part of Lisbon. You can see for miles. I took plenty of pictures while up there. What a great place to be introduced to Lisbon!

Rossio Square

After leaving the lift, now it was time to find a barber to cut my hair. I haven’t had it cut for at least three weeks and it was looking scruffy. The first place I went to said the wait would be an hour, so I found another place that could take me immediately. It was named, “Figaro’s Barbershop” and a bit funky with a mounted deer head on one wall.

From the looks of other clients and examples of the haircuts they provide, I was more like a one-off for them and was interested in what I would get charged. Was very satisfied with the haircut and my tab was 25 Euros. A little steep, but was glad to have my hair (what I have left) under control.

On the way to the barbershop I saw that I was close to the river, so I walked down a street that lead to an arch with a large square beyond.

Arco da Rua Augusta (completed in 1875)

Comercio Square

After taking a few pictures I found a place to have tea and perhaps try one of the local custard tarts. Prean and Viktor were going to call me at 4:00 and drank my tea and enjoyed the tarts while I waited. It was the perfect treat and enjoyed people watching.

After completing the call I walked closer to the river and took a few more pictures. Clouds were coming in and caught a picture of the clouds, sun, and the 25th of April (25 de Abril) Bridge.

With the clouds coming in, it was starting to get cold. Time to return to the hotel, but I wasn’t going to walk back up the hill and hailed a taxi. Boy was I in for a surprise! I happened to get the “crazy taxi driver” as he called himself. And he was! He laughed and swore almost all the way back to the hotel, and almost hit another car along the way. It was actually enjoyable, knowing that my seat belt was secure and I was holding on – and that due to the heavy traffic, he couldn’t driver very fast.

After he dropped me off, I decided to get something to eat at the nearby market. I really wasn’t hungry for anything but when I saw a box of Special K (with fruit), I knew what was for dinner tonight. Why not? I also bought some milk too, but was surprised (and had to check the labels twice) that the were only a few cartons of milk available in a store of this size. In the U.K., for example, it takes up a good share of one aisle. Now I had dinner planned!

After a nap and finishing the blog post from yesterday, I decided to have a bowl of cereal. Except, I don’t have a bowl. Fortunately, the water glasses are large and I used a teaspoon provided for the in-room coffee.

Took a picture of the sunset from my room.

Watched a couple of episodes of Orville and also Friends then went to bed. So glad I’m feeling better. Good choice to have cereal for dinner.

Tomorrow I’m planning, weather permitting, to visit the Sao Jorge Castle that I saw from the lift early in the day. I expect more great views from its location since it is located on one of the highest hilltops in the city.



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