Lisbon

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Portugal

Warmer climate is here to stay for a while . Lisbon is the famous Harbor (Belem) where Vasco de Gamma sailed from on his adventures around the world , the first explorer to sail an exhibition from Europe to India.

This city has two Unesco sites , must see , the Jeronimos Monastery , and close by , the Tower of Belem .
We were fortunate to get good advice on exploring this city from good friend Bertrand , who had spent a few years working here at a hotel just outside the city .

Bertrand was very detailed on how to get the best out of the few days we had here , Noel had returned to Ireland for a family gathering , so I was exploring the city for the long bank holiday week end .

The cheapest and easiest way to get to see the majority of the city is to take the Tram 28 , from its commencement to last stop . Tram 15 is also very good but not as many stunning sights . Very cheap alternatives to taking those overhyped sightseeing buses that charges 20 euro plus ., tram only costing around one euro per trip .
The scenic alley ways , churches , old houses , and laundry hanging out of local residents windows are literally brushing off this century old tram as it saunters around the city . Make sure you get up early , I done this trip before 8am and had the whole tram to myself ,just a few locals hopping on and off going to work . Tram 28 commencement , can be found behind Hotel Mondial next to Rossio Square .

Alfama , this area was spared from the earthquake of 1755 , so it’s a village within the city , with buildings are hundreds of years old . Many of the city,s major attractions are around this area . Easy to walk , lots of hills and cobblestone streets as well as breathtaking buildings and churches etc . It is Alfama that inspired many Fado songs , and there are many new restaurants popping up in recent years ,to enjoy a performance of Fado , but most are high priced including dinner etc.

You don’t have to book a dinner to enjoy a Fado show , thanks to Bertrand’s advice , he suggested just book a performance after dinner , average pricing only 7 to 8 euro . Club de Fado is one of the most famous places , need to book in advance he said .

I ended up seeing a Fado show at Nicola Cafe , as Bertrand advised ,I turned up midway into the show , just a few glasses of wine charged .

Fado is a performance that if you are in Portugal you must experience!! . It is ironic that this music in a way is very apt to the current situation not only in Portugal but also in the economic climate we live and most countries we have visited . I thoroughly enjoyed the performance , of this Unesco listed intangible form of music . Although I,m no linguistic as most of you know my levels of Chinese after so many years in Asia , hearing the Fado , one can really feel the pain and sadness in these Portuguese songs of fate.

Belem
Belem , easy to get to, take tram or light rail 15 . Outskirts of the city , a great way to avoid the downtown busy streets . Visit the Monasterio Cathedral , Belem is also the original home , famous for egg tarts as we know in Taiwan or Hong Kong etc , and its the port ,where Vasco de Gammo embarked on his travels .
Portuguese egg tarts are called “Pasties” , you cannot come here and not enjoy a few . Nothing compared to what I have had in Asia .I recommend ” Pasties de Belem ” shop , around since 1837 , claims to be one of the original bakers .

Sunday they have a flea market in Belem ,a great way to browse the afternoon sunshine . Make sure to visit as well the Museu Coleção Berardo which is located in the Centro Cultural de Belém building , admission is free and they have an excellent collection of contemporary Art , as well as temporary exhibitions .

Other must do and must see during your visit , includes tasting Vino Verde wine , try any local restaurnts , dishes are varied ,seafood , sausages , tripe dishes and of course the special Goat cheese selections, with a small port .Food and beverages are economically priced , lunch or dinners can be got well under 10 euro . Breakfast culture is great , fresh expresso coffee and croissant for only 1.50 euro .

Lisbon , can be in your face sometimes , the drug dealers are everywhere in downtown , we counted 15 times being offered in one day . Economic crises has obliviously resulted in more residents begging on the street . All of that said , Lisbon is a safe city , welcoming locals and well worth it especially if on a budget . The city has a great history , and also many museums and exhibitions .

Later this week heading to the famous surfers beach in Ericea , 90 minutes outside Lisbon .

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2 Responses to Lisbon

  1. Chris Wootten says:

    Good on ya Bertrand – great contribution it seems! Hope to see you soon, in Hong Kong possibly?!!

    Aidan, how long are you in Ireland for? I’ll be back to UK twice between now and September and it would be great to catch up

  2. jphone says:

    I have consulted all the great adventure travel writing lexicons and nowhere can I find
    where a round the world trip involves spending almost 2 months in Lismore ,County Waterford. This , the blog that first exposed HSBC as not being the world bank that it pretended to be has now become a non blog!! What’s happenin in Lismore? We all want to know…go on..go on..go on Ted!

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