Finally I arrived in Lisbon, the final stop of the hermit phase of this trip, and the only non train voyage on this trip, arriving by plane from Barcelona, as the train connections between Portugal and the rest of Europe aren’t that good.
There is a sleeper train I could have taken from Madrid to Lisbon. I had taken this train previously from Lisbon to Madrid, a night when there were severe forest fires and we ended up having to get off the train in Coimbra, and taking a plane to Lisbon the following day. This time I’m not taking that risk again and just booked the flight straight from Barcelona to Lisbon.
Getting off the plane in Lisbon I needed to board a bus to the terminal then take the subway from the airport down to my hotel in the touristy area. After getting checked into the hotel, I found a British pub nearby for dinner. After all the Irish pubs I had been to in Zurich and Barcelona, I decided to switch up His Majesty’s possessions from Ireland to Britain, and switched out the Guinness for a Gin and Tonic, while watching a Real Madrid game on the TV.
Besides being a British pub, it also seemed that everyone in the pub was British as well. I tried at first using my limited Português to request a table for one, however, the waiter just replied ‘sure, right this way’, well, I guess that ruse is over, they clearly know English better than Portuguese. In addition, all the conversations around me in the bar were also in English. I might not get to practice my Portuguese until the next phase when I head out to the suburbs of Lisbon.
The following morning, I started with a croissant and an expresso, then headed to Starbucks for my coffee, taking it back to my hotel room to do my blogging for the day.
After that I set to head across to the other side of the river, Almeida, one of the places that I had been considering as a retirement destination due to its proximity to Lisbon. However, along the way, while lollygagging on my phone looking at directions to the ferry terminal, I got tripped up by a step, and ended up injuring my right hand in the fall. Rather than just bleeding all over the place, I decided I should probably head back to the hotel and clean myself up.
It is somewhat amazing that I made it this far into the trip without injuring myself any further, given that I had already left for this trip with a sprained ankle, which a month later, has healed up fairly nicely. Never the less, here I am again injuring myself.
After taking a break back in the hotel for about an hour and cleaning myself up, I headed back out to the ferry terminal, actually making it there this time without further injury. The ride across is about 8 minutes, and I got on a tram for the center of Almeida, which for the most part is a lot of condos.
After stopping at a cafe for lunch and beer then exploring the town a bit more, I headed back to Lisbon, and went to the Museum of Beer. Which, isn’t really much of a museum considering you physically consume the product, and there are only three beers on tap. In addition, after paying 1.5 euros earlier in the day in Almeida, a beer at this place was 10 euros. Clearly they’re catering to tourists, as they are in the touristy district of Lisbon, while Almeida is justa suburb that isn’t really on anyones map as a place to visit.
Speaking of tourists, and as one of them. I have found Lisbon to be the most tourist place I’ve visited yet on this trip. They’re everywhere, even more so in other large cities where I would expect to find a large number of tourists, like Barcelona.
In Barcelona, it seemed like most of the people around me were local people. Sure, a lot of them probably were tourists, but there also seemed to be a lot of students in the neighborhood, which makes sense since I wasn’t staying too far from Barcelona University.
Here in Lisbon however, it seems that everyone is a tourist, or is working for a business that supports the tourism industry. And, nobody speaks Portuguese, it’s pretty much all English.
After the Beer Museum, I headed back to my hotel room for a brief siesta, then after 8 headed out again, this time taking a walk down Avenida de Liberdade to Marques de Pombal and ultimately ending up at Bistro 4, where I had a final fancy dinner for the hermit phase of my trip of Octopus Rice. After which, I went completely non fancy for desert and had an M&M McFlurry from McDonalds. Then H headed back down the avenue and on back to the hotel for the night.
The following morning I headed to Starbucks again, which was now in full Christmas mode, featuring all Christmas music. We haven’t even gotten to mid November yet, why are we playing ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham?
I checked out of the hotel, left my bags and was left to wander around for several hours since my AirBNB checkin wasn’t until 4. So, I wandered up and around Parque Eduardo VII and then headed back down the Avenida de Liberdade, ultimately finding myself having lunch at a sidewalk cafe of a caprese salad and a Gin and Tonic.
THen, I headed back to my hotel, picked up my bags and headed to the Cais do Sodré train station, and was on the train to take me to the next phase of my trip, Estoril.