Once upon a time there was big Austrian lingerie company which celebrated its 100th anniversary. On this occasion they wanted to give their costumers a very special present: A free round-trip flight within Europe once you spend 100 Euro or more on their underwear. Of course, as a travel junkie this “scam” got me right away not knowing how this campaign was going to fail. Anyway – long story short – after some discussion I finally got my free ticket to my desired destination: Lisbon! Originally I intended to go in spring or summer, but the travel agency only gave me one option: Beginning of February – take it or leave it! Glad I wasn’t going to Moscow or Oslo, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right? At the end it turned out very well – the weather was nice most of the time and the sun strong enough to get a glimpse of spring. After a comfortable non-stop flight with TAP and a quick subway ride (the airport is right in town and well connected) I checked-in into my hostel which was in Chiado, Lisbon’s chic city centre. The hostel was definitely the coldest part of the trip as there’s no proper heating in Southern Europe. However, I spent most of the time outside exploring: First of all I grabbed a quick seafood snack and walked through the alleys of Bairro Alto, a popular nightlife district. But I was tired from the journey, so I finished the evening rather quietly with a glass of port 🙂
The next day I took the train to Sintra, a UNESCO-classified hillside town, boasting with beautiful castles, great views and lots of history. Back in Lisbon there was a big flea market held on Saturday in the old quarter of Alfama. Going there included a must-do-tram-ride which reminded me a bit of an old roller coaster – the turns are sharp, the ascents steep. Alfama also is home of the fado, a melancholic mix of a guitarist and a female singer, so the neighborhood is cluttered with fado restaurants. The other parts of the city had their own charm too, like the big Praca do Comercio, the promenade along the Tagus River or Belém with the giant Jeronimos Monastery and Belém Tower.
Beautiful alleys of Chiado and Bairro Alto
Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon
Praça do Comércio
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira
The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém
View from Torre de Belém
A Ginjinha, one of the plenty spots to grab a sweet cherry liqueur, even in the morning (and for only 1.25 €)!
Well, unfortunately let me state some negative things too: 1) The cobble stone. It looks pretty, but it rained one afternoon and got slippery as hell! 2) Apparently the city has a drug dealer issue. A dodgy character suddenly jumped in front of me with his hands open, offering his “selection.” But don’t worry the best part is yet to come: The food! As a sweet lover I felt like being in paradise! Literally every corner has a “pastelaria” where they sell the famous Pastel de Nata (custard tart) and other delicacies. The Time Out Mercado da Ribeira is a great place to taste yourself through the variety of Portuguese cuisine in little tapas-sized bites. And to rinse it off, there’s plenty of Ginjinha (traditional cherry liquor) bars which give you a shot for a bit more than a Euro. Any day and night time. Probably the best way to say Goodbye to Portugal’s wonderful capital!