Monday, 12 February 2018

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

From looking out the window after I got up, the weather is looking good enough for a visit the castle today. After breakfast I headed out to the castle. Happened to meet a guy (Hugh) with his dog at a nearby coffee shop and we talked for quite awhile. He walked along with me towards the castle since his home is along the way. Even though he is from Lisbon, his English is very good from his years in Australia. We talked mostly about international politics, primarily ethnic integration into new cultures. He also gave me many hints about places to visit. We said our goodbyes and I walked up the hill to the castle. I was originally going to take the tram, but saw the line was very long when I got to the tram stop.

My typical “Hilton” breakfast: Americano coffee, fresh orange juice, scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, and croissants (with raspberry or strawberry jam, if available).

First I climbed a very long (several city blocks) flight of stairs, then walked up and through narrow streets to the castle entrance. Given the height of the hill where the castle sits, it really wasn’t a difficult walk up. And the line to purchase a ticket was a short wait of about 10 minutes. I had done a little research about the castle but read more from the brochure we received with the ticket. The castle, Castelo de S. Jorge, was originally Moorish, before it was captured by the first Portugal king, Dom Afonso Henriques (October 25, 1147).

On the way up I saw an archaeological dig in process. There have been settlements on this hill since 700 B.C.

Picture of one of the castle walls from my walk up the hill:

The views of Lisbon from the castle walls were beautiful from every angle. Below are random pictures that I took of Lisbon from the castle walls.

Interior of the castle:

 

Getting up and down the narrow stairs to the upper walls was kind of tricky. You really had to watch your step. In fact, just walking around the castle’s interior was potentially hazardous. I asked one of the guides if many people have fallen, and she rolled her eyes and said, “At times.” Which told me it probably happens several times during each day.

There is no interior remaining of the palace that was once here. After the earthquake of 1755, not much of the older city remained standing, either due to the quake or the fires that happened afterward. However, most of the castle towers and walls remained standing.

As I was leaving the castle, the ticket line was many times longer than when I first arrived. Glad I showed up when I did. Looks like a 30 minute wait for tickets.

There being no signs that showed how to get back down to the city, I just wandered around until I found the road that earlier brought me up the hill. Google Maps was little help since there are few roads, and those that do exist dead end; unless you know which one to take.

I was much easier to walk down than up – that is for sure. By this time, I was getting hungry again for Chinese food. Google said there was a nearby Chinese restaurant that had received very high ratings from people who have eaten there. When I got to the location, I looked up and down the street and almost gave up until I saw this small restaurant with a small sign, with a few tables and a counter where you order. This must be the place! However, no one spoke English. I could hear they mainly spoke Chinese and perhaps a little Portuguese when a local came in to order. I used Google Translator to translate the Portuguese menu to English.

I ordered Chow Mein with shrimp and carried it back to my table to enjoy. I took my time to eat the meal. I’ll admit, the chopsticks slowed me down. Every bite was delicious and I was full when I left to return to the hotel. I was truly satisfied.

Rather than take a taxi, since I was now an “expert” at riding the Lisbon Metro, I walked to the nearby Metro station instead. I boarded one line to another station, a few stops away, where I transferred to a train that took me to the stop near my hotel. Easy!

Today, I got in over 17,000 steps, according to the app on my phone. That is a little more than 8 miles. Nap? Yes!

It was an early night for me. Though, I did have a couple of small bowls of Special K before I went to bed.

Hugh had made a recommendation for a walk that I could do tomorrow. It starts from my hotel and it heads away from the old part of the city where I have been for the last few days. This route has me go into the hills above the old city.

 

 

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