I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write this blog post. I suppose because I’m so hesitant to write negative things about the places that I’ve visited because each city has its own charm, and every city isn’t for everyone. And of course, trips to cities and your impression of them depend so much on the time of year you go, the weather, the planning you did before hand etc. The list goes on!
All that aside, let’s start the review of my first trip to Portugal! When I was in Berlin (Part One and Two blogs are available on my blog), my friends Dylan and Connor messaged me about a last minute road trip to Portugal. With us being about 120km from the border here in Sevilla, and the cost of the car and the AirBnb working out about 100€ each, I couldn’t really turn down 3 days in Lisboa, the capital of Portugal. I had heard amazing things about the city, so I said yes and with that, everything was booked.
The day after getting back from my Berlin Fiasco (read about that drama on blog part two!), we left for Lisbon in a rental car. The drive took about 5.5 hours after getting a little lost and not paying attention to road signs and nearly ending up in Lagos.
Instead of doing a step by step of what we did, I’m instead going to show you my highlights!
São Jorge Castelo
Although we were very very hungover from the night before when we visited this historic castle, it was however very enjoyable. There is plenty to see there (although there is 1000 set of steps/stairs so wear trainers and try not to be still drunk). Entrance was 5€ for students.
We spent an entire day in Bélem. Although upon reflection, there wasn’t actually loads to see and do, it was however really nice to have a wander around. The tower was a personal highlight of the day, although we didn’t go in because our tuk tuk driver told us it wasn’t worth it at all, the view from the outside was more than enough. We then had a little wander around the Jerónimos Monastery and finished up Cultural Centre of Belém. I loved the cultural centre actually, the expositions were very very good and the entrance was free to everything.
Pastéis de Nata
When you think of Lisbon, I think everyone’s mind naturally goes to these little egg cakes. We had them everyday that we were there (the cafe near our AirBnb sold them for 0.75€ or something ridiculous. Tasty and cheap – I was onboard.
Views from the Miradouros
Lisbon is made up 7 hills (and Jesus Christ, the climbing was a real work out and probably half the reason I didn’t love the city – it was so much effort to get literally anywhere in the city) so the views are quite something. I can only imagine how they would have looked in the sun on a summer’s day!
Tuk Tuk Rides
We refused to wait in the line of 243284 tourists to get the tram to Bélem so we didn’t to jump in a Tuk Tuk and I’m very glad we did. It was only 5€ each to get there and the driver spoke English (thank God) and he told us some interesting stuff about the city and the Portuguese language.
So, why didn’t I particularly love Lisbon? I just don’t think it was a city for me. I didn’t get an overly welcoming feeling from the city, there were a lot of men on the streets selling drugs. We walked down one road and was offered drugs 7 times within 2 minutes. Perhaps we were ‘targeted’ because we were 3 young 20 year-old-something guys, but it just made me feel very uncomfortable indeed. Normally when I go to cities, there is a certain atmosphere which Lisbon was definitely lacking. I just didn’t any energy or vibrance from the city. When I went to Berlin for example, there was so much life and such a great dynamic in the city – which I definitely get from Lisbon. Although it was beautiful in some parts, other parts just felt a little tired. I really don’t know how to describe it, it probably wasn’t helped by the only nice thing we ate when we were there was the Pásteis de Nata.
Irregardless of all that, Lisbon was an interesting city with a unique charm that perhaps wasn’t for me. I’m glad I went to visit such an important European city but I don’t think I will be returning anytime soon.