In my humble opinion, Lisbon is completely underrated. When anyone who had been abroad before me found out that I was going to Europe, no one said, “Oh my gosh, you have to go to Lisbon!” If you’re going abroad to Europe or will be there for any reason I am saying to you, “Oh my gosh, you have to go to Lisbon!”
From the moment my friend and I got settled into our hostel and set out to see the city, I was in love. It is beautiful in an old European sort of way and just absolutely breathtaking. Sitting in a delta that flows into the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is my favorite type of city. If I can be near any sort of body of water I am at peace.
We rented bikes and rode them along the water all the way down to the farthest part of Lisbon. We were told that we had to see the buildings down that way and also to try a special kind of pastry. Now, I’m not usually a dessert kind of person, but if you do ever find yourself in Lisbon you have to try the Pastéis de Belém, Belém being the name of the neighborhood. At this point, I’m still not sure what exactly they are, but I think that are little custard filled cups of creamy delight. They were absolutely wonderful.
However, it was quite the adventure to get to Belém. If you do not stay on the bike path you will end up on the regular sidewalk right next to the very busy highway. On said sidewalk there are tram tracks. Your front bike tire will fit perfectly into said tram tracks and you will fall off your bike and nearly to your death, as I did. Looking back, it’s funny. When I looked up from my landing spot on the very edge of the sidewalk to see speeding cars coming toward, it stopped my heart. My friend and I were laughing about it today in class. No harm no foul, I suppose.
We managed to get the bikes returned after several more similar shambly situations, though our butts would hurt for a couple of days at least following that afternoon ride.
That night the hostel we were staying at had a mixer and offered Portuguese tapas and unlimited wine. Naturally we could not turn down such a dinner. It was so interesting as we got to try not only the new food, but we also met people from all over the world who were staying at the hostel and learned so much about the different countries represented. (Side note, if you’re ever in Lisbon you absolutely must stay in the We Love F**king Tourists hostel. I know the name is a bit shady, but the people that work there are amazing and our room was beautiful and clean.)
The next day the hostel offered a walking tour of some of the other neighborhoods in Lisbon so I was able to see so much more of the city. The best part of the tour was going to the highest viewpoint of the city and being able to look out over the red roofs, castle, and river. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a view quite like it and I have done my share of traveling. I honestly cannot put it into words for you all, thought I wish I could. I’ve attached some pictures (which also don’t do it justice) below:
In the afternoon, I went to an indoor food market where several restaurants were available to choose from. Maybe you’ve been to the City Market in downtown Indianapolis, but this was way cooler. I chose for my lunch a filet mignon sandwich with sun dried tomato, pesto, and fresh parmesan. It was heavenly. It had been a while since I’d had a piece of medium rare beef and even longer since I had been able to have a tender piece of filet mignon. I never wanted it to end.
To finish my day, I merely wandered around, taking all of Lisbon in that I possibly could before having to head back to Segovia on a night train. So far Lisbon has been my favorite place and I do genuinely, highly recommend that you travel there if you ever have the option. You will not regret it.