January 9-13, 2015
We arrived in Lisbon early on a chilly morning via our first night train from Madrid. I have never slept well in planes and trains and this was no exception. The train was nice enough, but it took me forever to fall asleep. It was probably three or four a.m. when I fell asleep and Michael woke us up at 6 to prepare to get off the train. Unfortunately he did not factor in the time change, so we were up an hour earlier. That made for a few grumpy Collins members.
We had accommodations set at the lovely Zuza B&B and the owner was expecting us. We grabbed a taxi and found the place on a street that was barely wide enough to fit a car. The B&B was situated in a great neighborhood. Luis, the owner, eagerly greeted us. Our rooms weren't ready yet, but we had tea, coffee and a lovely chat. Luis had been reading our blog. He was enthusiastic and ready to provide us with any Lisbon related detail. He owns a couple of properties and we would highly recommend them to anyone traveling to Lisbon. He even developed an app which we quickly downloaded. It contains every restaurant, store, and tourist site in Lisbon. It tracked the distance to each place from the B&B and it would tell us how to get back to his properties. What a great idea!
Luis had an amazing staff. I credit the daily abundant and delicious breakfast for a couple of the many pounds I gained throughout the year. Luis even made a carrot cake early one morning and served it at breakfast. Breakfast here alone, could keep any traveler satisfied for a good while.
After we got caught up with Luis, we left our luggage and went off to explore the city. We walked all over. I became obsessed with the mosaic style sidewalks, streets and squares. What a beautiful city!
There was plenty to see and do while in Lisbon. MIchael had another contact from his cousin here and we planned to meet him at an outdoor market. It was a brief, but lovely meeting. Our new friend treated us to coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate treats. Delicious.
After the market, we went to the botanical gardens. It was a sunny January day and we enjoyed the walk.
Luis had suggested some areas to visit during our stay. We took the train to the Oreinte station where the 1998 World Exposition was held. It took some time to get there as we had to change trains. There were no crowds so it was easy to walk around and take in the sites. We took a cable car ride and visited the oceanarium.
We enjoyed the oceanarium. It was a bit pricey, but it was a uniquely designed building and it was the type of excursion we didn't do often.
The Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George Castle) is a major attraction in Lisbon. It is situated on a hilltop visible from much of Lisbon. It is also walking distance from Luis' B&B. It is quite an uphill hike, but absolutely worth it. The Moorish castle is from the medieval period. There isn't much in terms of a museum or any real interior to explore. The grounds were beautiful and we enjoyed walking around and climbing stairs to other sections.
After about five days, we left Lisbon to travel north by train to visit two other cities in Portugal. We would return to Lisbon after a week to explore even more of this beautiful city.