Yesterday we finished up our short stint in Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal. It was a good time, taking the train there and back, staying a night in a well-positioned hotel, and enjoying the sights around the regions of Baixa, Chiado and beyond. It rained most of the first day (when we were outside), but was quite sunny the second (when we spent quite a while inside). Nevertheless, a great time!
First thing off the train, we got on the metro and went to our hotel. Took just a moment to figure out where the hotel was in relation to the metro, but we could not have been closer. It was maybe 100 meters at most. Okay, we actually walked quite a ways in the wrong direction first, my fault. Dropping our stuff we proceeded on towards Baixa, but the route we took was not the best (again, my fault). We got there, and from thereon things began picking up in the “directions” department.
We did quite a bit of sight-seeing in the areas of Restauradores, Rossio and Praça da Figueira. And quite a bit of shopping for things – like trinkets and scarves (woohoo!) – in Baixa and Chiado. We found an awesome gelato place (I thought their sorbets even better). And we enjoyed a later afternoon snack at the Hard Rock Cafe in Lisbon. Didn’t even know there was one until we came upon it on Avenida da Liberdade. It was just a bit odd having only a little before visited and prayed within the Igreja (Church) de São Domingo! Can you say “stark contrast”?
We mosied our way back to the hotel, finding a mall in the progress (and finding we had come full circle back to our hotel…). The mall had a Starbuck’s with free Wi-Fi for customers, so we took our repose and got our bearings online. We then made our way back to the hotel, took a break from walking to lay down for a bit, and then got up and headed for dinner next door. More gelato ensued after that, and then we crashed to gain strength for another day.
We didn’t get up incredibly early, but in time for the hotel’s breakfast. If you are staying at the Hotel Borges-Chiado, plan to skip breakfast. It isn’t worth it. But the hotel is still quite good, as I can’t imagine a much better position for the price in relation to the the sights, sounds and tastes of Lisbon.
We got on the metro to hit the last stop on the line, at which point we traded for a tram to get to the Museu Nacionel de Arte Antigo. The tram didn’t stop where it was supposed to, but we finally made it to the museum. It has a fairly nice collection, and I must say had one of the best lunch arrangements I’ve ever seen. The outside garden where we took lunch was wonderful, and the food was excellent, too. Finishing off the meal with a half-bottle of vinho verde completed the deal.
We finished up most of the museum, before calling it quits. Kim wanted to see some of the Castelo de São Jorge, so we took a bus and tram combo to get there. And while we did get to peruse a little bit, we really didn’t have time to pay to get in and see most of the sites before needing to head back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head back to the train.
The train ride ended without incident, followed by a simple and cheap Italian dinner at one of my favorite Porto restaurants, Al Porto. Their “Risotto Exotic” is to die for, and their pizzas are pretty tasty. We then headed back to the hotel to crash.