Headed out to Lisbon this week to catch up with my brother who is living in Verona, Italy – it was a good chance to deliver his mail from California as well as spend some time sightseeing in a city neither one of us have been to before. The airport is a small one and easily navigable. Oh and the metro connects right to the arrivals hall. I quickly jumped on the metro – found the hotel, buzzed up to the hotel room and we headed out.
My brother was leading the local touring – but I didn’t have anything classified as a “must do” in Lisbon other than the Port Institute (which we would ultimately end up visiting several times) and then leaving uncontrollably happy. As it was, we found ourselves in a very impressive church and as I was walking towards the exit I was surprised to stumble into Vasco de Gama’s mausoleum – Portugal’s most famous explorer.
Heading out to the nearby Bay I thought I was in San Francisco California for a moment and did a double take. A red bridge spanned the length of both sides of the bay – looking very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge. I realized I was not in San Francisco when I saw that this bridge was a double decker.
The quaint town of Sintra is a neat day trip from Lisbon. We were surrounded both ways on the train by American students ‘studying abroad’ coming over to Lisbon for a long weekend from Madrid. Carefree conversations floated freely and loudly in our train car – raw talk of sex, friendships, drinking and sightseeing. In fact we met quite a few American students all over Lisbon.
The Port Institute is a must visit to put a wrap on a long day of walking the city’s cobblestone steep streets. Waiting at the entrance no matter how long it takes is crucial to stay on friendly terms with the older wait staff. Relax in the company of many bottles of Port on display surrounded by a green decor while sitting on pale white leather chairs. Choose from several hundred selections including vintages dating back 40 and 50 years. Being used to the prices of wine in Napa California – the prices of nearly everything on the menu seemed extremely reasonably priced – even the older vintages. We threw back 8 glasses (good sized pours) before we even knew it.
We stumbled out the door – found a steep cobblestone street with funiculars going up and down, passed a Neon sign for the “Peep Show, Bar and Sex Shop”, worried out loud about getting mugged and finally arrived at the metro to slink in past the closing doors at 930pm. The Lisbon Metro closes damn early, uncharacteristically so compared to International metro standards.