There are a few things I will remember about Lisbon. The first of those being: Absolute worst sidewalks I have ever seen! All of the sidewalks are cobblestone. The only poured sidewalk I remember seeing was at the airport. Cobblestone sidewalks, by themselves, would not be bad but it seemed the ground was never leveled before the cobblestones were put in. The only level places I found to walk were the plazas around statues. I kept thinking I was going to twist my ankle every time I left the hotel.
The second thing: Absolute best wait staff of any place we have EVER visited. The event that really sticks in my mind was our second evening out. Julie had found a restaurant named Dom Queijo. Coming from Switzerland we thought this would be interesting because it was a restaurant centered around cheese. The waiter spent 10-15 minutes talking to us about what we liked to eat, and about different wines. He then made some recommendations. I was a little leery, because I was afraid these would be the MOST expensive items in the place, but this wasn’t the case. The food and wine was exquisite! It was also refreshing to pay under $200 for dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We wound up trying this restaurant’s “summer tasting menu”. Six courses of absolute fantastic dishes all featuring different cheeses! The other food item that we really liked was a little tart thingy. It was a Portugese Custard Tart . It reminded me a little of the buttermilk pie my Aunt Lela Bass used to make. I am glad we did not have a lot of luggage, because I would have brought back a couple of hundred, and there goes the waist line.
The level of service we experienced everywhere in the country was second to none!
We did have our first challenge with getting around. The public transportation did not seem as robust as the other places we have visited. The day we went to tour the palaces, between the lack of documentation at the train stations and Google Maps, we wound up getting way out of our way coming back home. We were going to have to wait another 35 minutes for a train so we wound up taking a cab across town to get back to the hotel. I still don’t know how I screwed it up, but Google Maps told us to take a certain train, and get off at a particular station. I followed along in google maps as the train came to each station. Google Maps said to get off, so we did, but somehow the station we were was a long way away from the station Google Maps said we should be. The one thing we did learn was that traveling is a little nicer when you have some disposable income. We didn’t think twice about taking a cab back to the hotel vs being cheap and waiting on trains, etc, to get us back where we were staying! 🙂
Our first afternoon in Lisbon, we got to the hotel, and just took off exploring. We walked down the waterfront, and then we toured an old cathedral that was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. They were in the process of rebuilding the cathedral, but decided to keep it as a ruin and a museum instead. It was a fascinating place.
Day two we visited the National Tile Museum. Earlier I posted about the tiles, and posted pictures from there; so I won’t re visit that, other than saying if you ever go to Lisbon the Tile Museum is a must see.
Day three saw us visiting the Oceanarium, where we saw an Ocean Sun Fish. I had never seen one of those before, and I was simply fascinated.
After the Oceanarium, Julie found a shopping mall. She is a little obsessed with visiting grocery stores in every city we visit. I still haven’t figured out what she is looking for but she buys something in every one. We also had a very visible example of why “World Expo’s” stopped happening. Lisbon was the site of one, and what a waste. A lot of money was spent for buildings and attractions that just are not sustainable when it is over. Kind of like why new cities don’t want to host the olympics any more. The cities spend millions (maybe billions) on venues to hold events, but then when the olympics are over, the venues just sit empty.
Our last full day in Portugal, we left the city of Lisbon and went out towards the coast. We visited the town of Sintra. Sintra is home to two palaces. The National Palace of Sintra:
and the Palace of Pena
These two palaces were fascinating places to see. The visitor truly gets an idea of how important, and consequential Portugal was to history.
This probably a little silly, but the thing that impressed me the most were two white cylindrical towers of the National Palace. The towers look like smoke stacks, and that is exactly what they are, but it is inside the smoke stacks that impressed me. The king that designed that part of the palace made the smoke stacks the kitchens. So when you walk into the smoke stacks, you see row after row of ovens, and stoves. The king used that one kitchen to feed the hundreds of people living in and around each day, so instead of having dozens of small kitchens around the palace, he just built one giant kitchen, and used the ceiling as the chimney for all the ovens. INGENIOUS!
I am glad we finally got to visit Lisbon. We pushed off the trip many times due to CoronaVirus, and then my visit to Florida. I don’t think I want to fly anytime soon, though. I was little worried about catching Corona flying back from the US, but I was A LOT worried about catching something on the plane traveling to Portugal. Swiss filled every available seat on the plane. It just did not feel safe being packed that tight with other people for 3 hours. Sure everyone “WORE” masks, but those are not 100% protection. Especially when people two feet away had their mask off for well over 1/2 the flight because they were eating or drinking, or the one lady that was a couple of rows away, that wore the mask so loose that the bottom of the mask flapped a couple of inches every time she exhaled. :).
We have two small adventures planned. Tomorrow we are spending the day around Zürich, and visiting the King Tut Exhibit that is in town. Next weekend, Julie and I will be spending the weekend at the TOP of Mt Pilatus. Kaylee and I visited Mt Pilatus in January, and ever since I wanted to go back and stay at the top; so Julie and I are leaving next Friday for two nights on the mountain.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. Take care.
WHOOPS! I forgot I included some pictures my son sent. The first few pictures are from a place my Dad calls “Blue Hole”. It is on the farm we have in Orange County, that used to be owned by my Uncle Paul and Aunt Lela Bass. George has always been obsessed with finding a cave on the farms, and his Grandpa finally took him to one! Now I just have to figure out how to keep George out of the cave, because I don’t think it looks very safe, and my guess is that we will probably have to get some kind of excavation permit from the DNR to dig out an entrance! I decided to leave them in here, because the last time I saw a smile on my Father’s face that large, was when Trisha surprised us all with a wedding.