Five Days in Lisbon
My, oh my. This city. If you ever have any inkling of a chance to visit, go! do it! And try to get extra days out of it if you can.. We landed in Lisbon on a Friday. We were scheduled for a flight on Sunday, two days later, but Ryanair moved it. How a flight can be moved by two days is still unclear to us but in no way were we going to complain at having two extra days to celebrate.Our itinerary consisted of five point five days in Lisbon - which included one day trip to Sintra and one afternoon trip to Belém. We trained it up to Porto on the seventh day and had that afternoon plus one full day in the Port region. Then flew out on the Saturday. If you're keeping score for your own trip, it would have been more ideal to have one less day in Lisbon (you could do it in even less, but I'm assuming you're spoiled like us.) and have one more day in Porto. That way, you could head out to the wine country.As soon as we stepped foot into the city, we were impressed. There was a tourist desk as you walked out of the arrival gate (so obvious, right?! why isn't that everywhere?) where we were handed a map and a tourism magazine of this month's events and practical information - like when dinner is, metro info, and closing times for banks/pharmacies/post. The public transport was simple and straight-forward and took us straight to our hotel in the center. Like, I mean in the center. Somehow we blindly booked a hotel with a rooftop terrace in the middle of all the bairro hills with the most incredible view of the city..eye-level with the castle. This actually made the extra days necessary because sitting on that terrace with Vinho Verde as much as we could was necessary. Most days, we wandered around the winding streets, climbing hill after hill. Those things aren't playing around. We earned every meal for the next month, we did.Coincidentally, we landed in the city on 25 April. Forty years to the day, Portugal had its Carnation Revolution and overthrew the dictator. There were celebrations in the squares and huge commemorative photos and descriptions placed throughout the city showing the war. We admired the level of taste through which everything was observed on the anniversary.The colors are everything here. From the terra-cotta rooftops to the blue tiled walls to the hand-laid streets. One afternoon, we met in Rossio Square for a food tour. The guide took us around to various hot spots through Baixa, Chiado, and Bairro Alto, describing the local cuisine and pointing out extras along the way. That's one thing to note. If you're going to do a food tour, do it early in your trip. That way, their tips and inside secrets will help you to plan and you'll actually know which items to order on the menus! Portugal's specialties are Bacalhau (cod fish) and sardines. Not on the tour, but a side recommendation from the guide was Vitamina that we frequented (they're all over the place). They serve these filling salads and juices that were perfect after long days in the heat. We tasted Ginjinha, which is a sort of port + cherry licorice flavor and after being recommended to try it again in a chocolate shot cup in Sintra, we declined. *shudder* You can have it, locals. We're not hard core enough. We took the metro a few stops over to Parque Eduardo VII. It's worth trekking it out there to see the viewpoint. If you stand in front of the water fountain, you can see across the park to the statue of Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo overlooking the Tagus River, which leads out into the Atlantic. The view is framed by the castle on top of the hill on the left. We grabbed lunch from a food truck nearby and sat for a good while.OH! and make sure to visit our friend at Adega do Teixeira. Cutest little old man and his restaurant. He literally spoon fed us our desert when we didn't finish it and kept putting A's hand on top of J's. It was the second time we ate there, we were tight.Up next: A day trip to Sintra. Man, if you thought Lisbon was colorful..