Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lisbon: street cars, seafood, and seve hills

Lisbon: Street Cars, seafood, and seven hills 

Our last stop in our 16 day European adventure (bittersweet it's been a fun ride). Lisbon is known to be one of the cheapest European capital cities,  and if I didn't come from the uber expensive South of France I would be able to confirm this lol. Yes everything seemed much cheaper given where we just came from. 

Lisbon I swear is the European San Francisco with its 7 hills, street cars, amazing seafood, and even a suspension bridge that resembles the infamous Golden Gate Bridge named the 25th of April bridge. We spent several days in and around neighboring Lisbon cities trying to experience as much of Portugal as possible. We stayed at the Sofitel at the avenida da liberdade, which is apparently where the most expensive real estate is in the city, we did not know this upon booking ( but didn't mind the beauty of the area). Our hotel was a short walk to key areas like Commercial Square, Restoration Square and the Santa Justa lift. The hop on and off bus was a great and cheap way to get around the city, but the tour was quite boring as they did not have a live speaker. There are so many nationalities visiting Lisbon that they wouldn't be able to have English only tours, so understandable but quite blah a sound recording. 

My must see/do/eat

Commercial Square - it is right by the waterfront (huge open area) and has some great outdoor restaurants, scenic views, and at times some random busker entertainment. Other notable squares Restoration and Rossio. 

Santa Justa lift - elevator off of Rue Santa Justa that takes you up to Carmo Square. Very cool looking and neat to be in an elevator constructed outdoors in 1901 I believe. Originally built to make it easier for horses and buggies to go to the higher streets on top of the hills. 

Spend a day in Cascais - there is a 30 minute train you can take from Lisbon that is very scenic (train rides close to the water) to a town called Cascais. It has a beautiful beach and to rent chairs and an umbrella it is only 10 euros (we paid 50 in Mykonos once so this felt like a steal). The town is off the coastline and has some great little shops and restaurants you can explore as well. 

Must visit the town of Sintra and the beautiful Palaces ( Sintra National Palace and Pena National Palace)- you can do this via a guided tour for around 60 euros where you will get an English speaking guide walk you through each palace and room, or you can pay 5 euros to just hop on and off with no guide. I loved the Pena National Palace; what is so amazing about it is everything is original with no replicas made. This was the summer home to the royal Portuguese family, and the architecture has influences from all around the globe including India! Also, when my son walked into the palace he looked up at me with his beautiful big eyes and said " Mommy we're home!" - no lies, I believe I may have brought to this world a past King lol. 

Eat Cod fish - Apparently Portugal has more Cod recipes than days in the year, and according to one of the locals your passport must be stamped that you tried the cod or they will not let you leave the country. 

Try a Pastal de Nata- a flaky pastry with vanilla custard, I think I had this every day sooo delish. 

Take a Tram/street car ride around the city- great views on top of the hills and makes the journey up much easier ( we decided to walk and our legs told us we sucked that night lol).

Spend the evening in Bairro Alto (on top of a hill) - bar hop or check out the late night shops open til midnight, great way to experience the night life of Lisbon. There is a beautiful park that allows you to take panoramic pictures of the city below and all the red roofs!


Toddler Tip #1: Milk is a little strange in Portugal, most places sell a weird powdered formula milk which has a longer shelf life. If you want actual cows milk be sure to say you are looking for "Fresh Milk", be warned not all convenient stores have (so stock up when you see a grocery store).


We had a wonderful time in Portugal, although we were warned that it is a little sketch. We never felt unsafe at all (cops in every visible corner) the only roughness we faced was our very speedy taxi driver from the airport. 

This marks the end of our European adventure, I'll spend this week adding pictures to all of my posts. We had a fabulous time and we are so proud of our son for truly being a Travelling Toddler. On numerous occasions we had individuals from around the globe applaud our sons behaviour and our choice to travel with him so far. Travelling may not be for every family, but my only advice is adapt your child to the life and experiences you want to have. My son on this trip learned patience, flexibility, and most importantly how to handle change (one hotel after the next).

Until next time my readers,

9to5travelgirl and my travellingtoddler

P.S we are saving up for our next adventure which may be somewhere near Asia. Dubai? Hong Kong? Macau? Japan? Time will tell!  

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