Thursday, January 27, 2011

If You Ever Go to Lisbon...

For my wedding anniversary this year, we went to Lisbon for a wonderful long weekend. Plusses included great sunshine, awesome views, beautiful architecture and landscapes, and a varied urban landscape.

Minuses included the food and the wind.

We got up around our normal time, had a nice breakfast and got everything together and headed out. As our bus turned the corner to pick us up, we realized we'd forgotten a magazine article J's mom had cut out on Things to Do in Lisbon. Sigh. We hopped on the bus and then took the train to Schiphol. At Schiphol it took about 30 minutes to check in. For some reason, with four counters open, it took each counter at least 20 minutes to process the five passengers in front of us. Wow.

Our flight was delightfully on time, and even the meal was pretty okay! Once in Lisbon we checked out purchasing the Lisboa-Card, which is basically a transit pass plus free or discounted entry into museums and other attractions. It would have cost us about €70 for the weekend. Or, for less than €25, we could buy a transit pass and just pay full price for anything we wanted to go into. Unless the weather is truly awful, we usually spend most of our time outside, so we opted for the transit pass.

I absolutely recommend seeing Lisbon on foot and by transit. We went all over the city, we walked through all kinds of neighbourhoods, and I even plucked (and attempted to eat) an orange from a tree in a park. (It was frighteningly sour!)

We did pay for two attractions. The first was the castle Sao Jorge. It was €7 to get in, and was probably a 45 minute walk from our hostel. Straight up! I'll try to find some pics to post as it was just gorgeous. J couldn't get too close to the edge due to his fear of heights, but I got him to take a picture of me where the wall protecting me from plunging to a messy and untimely death comes to just past my knees!!

The second was the Fado Museum, which I was interested in due to my general love of music. Unfortunately, I don't like Fado. :( Fado is folk music, so it's similar in many ways to folk music from around the world. What I didn't like is that it's become very stylized. Fado performers, at one point anyway, were required to perform only approved songs, wearing only approved outfits. Those rules were created to maintain a tradition, but it's too bad, in my view, that the music wasn't allowed to grow and shift and offer a blend of tradition and modern sound to keep the tradition alive. That museum cost €3.

Other than that, there was an amazing shoe store with the most beautiful collection of shoes I've ever seen, at fairly affordable prices. Unfortunately, as with every country in the world, beautiful shoes seem to be made for tiny women. A 6ft tall woman with size 10 (size 41) feet can choose between basic black or basic taupe. Thanks, shoe marketers of the world, for condemning me to fashion-less footwear.

J's favourite things about Lisbon, other than me being there with him, was the view from the castle, and travelling around looking at everything.

My favourite thing was (of course) J. And how surprising the city was. Turning a corner, taking a flight of stairs, a tram, or just looking out the window, was full of new layers and fun discoveries.

We also loved where we stayed! Central location, and cheap cheap cheap!

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