beginning at the end of the world

Hello all family, friends and fellow voyageurs;

After a six hour delay in Vancouver and London, we arrived to our first destination of the year… Lisbon, Portugal.

It took three Metro lines to get us to Alfama, quite efficient but with the flight delays, we arrived well into the night. Alfama is a neighbourhood full of hard working and creative people, we could see that and our driver on Sunday said so as well. We had to drag our suitcases up several steep cobblestone streets, a rather loud process. One person slammed their window as we walked by… we tried not to make less noise, but hey…

The trip door to door was 24 hours, not a record for us, but long enough. We went to bed at 2am and slept till noon and started our 6 hour walk around 1pm.  

We thought we would walk in our neighbourhood, as we had no other plans for the day. 

The National Pantheon was right outside our front door… it is where important people have their death services and buried. We walked around it… not going in.

Lisbon is a city of hills, and so, Alfama is also a place of hills. We walked up the hill closest to us and found, way up there, an incredible look out and saw not too far… a Fort….St. Jorge.

St. Jorge was not a place where people lived, but was an active defence post. Some of the walls were four feet thick and had openings for cannons and people with weapons all around the place… like so many forts around the world.

Our next day in Lisbon, we walked to Barra Alto, specifically to see Pavilaho Chines. This bar was recommended to us by the Lisbon immigration officer who let us into the country. Our entry was a bit odd as this was the only time ever in our travels that we were asked whether we were married or not… we said yes, as that is the truth (last year in August). He then suggested to Don that he might take me to a few specific places to impress me…

The Pavilaho Chines, was interesting… had all kinds of collections in it… from hundreds of GI Joe figures, all kinds of china, model airplanes… lots of red velvet and chandeliers… numerous rooms and alcoves. The area, Barra Alto, as well as many neighbourhoods in Lisbon, reminded us of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The next day… my birthday… we caught the local, above ground metro train to Belem…we went to the top of the Monument to the Discoveries, walked over to the ancient look out tower and sampled the famous Belem pastries… delicious!

We decided to get out of the city and took a tour around the coast… Cascais (a fishing village… but really a very upscale retirement area), the Devil’s Mouth (a craggy lava rock outcrop over looking the Atlantic Ocean), Cabo da Roca (the end of the world… the most western point of continental Europe) and then to Sintra (park and palace of Pena).

The whole day was great. In our tour we 2 people from Switzerland, a fellow from Australia, a woman and her aunt from South Africa, us and our driver, Daniel. It was not too hot and we were able to jump the rocks at Devil’s mouth, walk the trail at Cabo da Roca and climb the 500m to the palace (14 degree incline).

I must say that we loved Lisbon. It was so walkable for us… about 6 hours per day and the buildings were covered in all kinds of tiles… enjoy the photos! Maybe some day we’ll return!

Happiness, Deborah

3 thoughts on “beginning at the end of the world

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