Obrigada, “thank you” in Portuguese, is the one solid Portuguese phrase I feel confident using. Thank you Andrea, for teaching me that one 5 years ago!
Today I headed to Baixa, the downtown area of Lisbon. There’s a bus about 5 minutes from my hotel that goes all the way downtown; a long ride but simple enough. Once there, I noted a few monuments I wanted to see but basically let myself get lost and explore.
Downtown Lisbon is quite beautiful. There’s the same gorgeous architecture, cobble-stone roads, statues and churches as in Spain. Except it seems like every road I chose was straight uphill. Needless to say my calves were burning.
I walked down to the coastline with some delicious chocolate raspberry ice cream. The river is a nice view from far away but as you get closer it’s pretty brown and murky; clearly not the spot for beach-lovers. Lisbon has a beautiful arch (seems like every city does!) and a big plaza onto their coastline.
After walking through the city a bit, I stopped at the design museum. It was free! They had a cool exhibit showcasing a bunch of designer gowns that the designers chose as the one piece to represent them. The other floors had furniture, tools and huge art displays. It was a pretty cool museum and right downtown!
From there, I walked (all uphill again) through a church and to the Castelo de S. Jorge. It was a beautiful area and seemed a lot more natural than other historic places I have been. There were really great views of the river, the bridge and all the buildings of downtown Lisbon. The grounds were all uneven stones with makeshift stairs and path ways. It was really beautiful! If you happen to be getting married near Lisbon I would definitely recommend it for wedding photos. The grounds have a “Secret Garden” feel to them.
The castle itself was cool to look at but there weren’t any rooms or anything to go in. I walked around the inside and then up to the top ledge. My fear of heights decided to kick in so it was pretty terrifying walking around up there. It seemed like a strong gust of wind (of which there were plenty) would push me right over the low wall. Walking the stairs was torturous; my lead legs slowed me down so much I had to let elderly couples go ahead of me!
From there I took a bus back to the main area and ended up in the Plaza Figueira! I snapped some photos of the street signs and then found a nice outdoor restaurant for dinner. I got paella, but it wasn’t as good as the one I had in Barcelona. I grabbed some Portuguese egg tarts to go and boarded the bus back home.
Luckily, the bus to go home had the same number as the bus going downtown and did all the exact same stops in reverse. Unluckily, the final stop was not on the other side of the road from where I had boarded in the morning (despite having the same bus stop name). I figured it had to be close by. After walking around for about half an hour and asking a few people, I finally found a bus driver who spoke a little English. He guessed that I walk down one road, and since it was the only road I hadn’t tried yet, I went for it. After making a few lucky turns I found the place where I had bought my dinner last night! Thank goodness! I knew my way home from there!
Tonight I have to repack my bag, shower and hopefully get to bed early in order to get up for my morning flight. I still can’t believe I’m going home tomorrow. It feels very surreal. It’s as if I just started this trip yesterday! But at the same time, in looking back at photos from my first days in London, it feels like it was ages ago. Three weeks isn’t that long but it’s a long time to be by yourself. I can’t really believe I’ve seen my last elaborate European fountain or breathtaking church of this trip. It still feels like I’m just boarding a plane tomorrow to go off to a new exciting European city to discover. But…I am going home tomorrow. It probably won’t hit me until my feet touch Canadian soil.
Before I leave Europe, I wanted to say a huge OBRIGADA! Thank you to everyone who supported me, gave me advice, lent me things, wished me well, and read along with my adventures. Thank you to all the amazing locals who helped me find museums, get on the right buses and take my photo in front of important landmarks. Thank you to God and the awesomeness that is Europe for allowing me to discover and explore this magical place. I still can’t believe I’ve really been to all these amazing sites! I was on the beach in the South of France! I’ve seen the Crown Jewels in London! I’ve picnicked in front of the Eiffel Tower! I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am to have had all these experiences.
If it wasn’t official before this, it is now: I am diagnosing myself with the travel bug! As sad as I am that this trip is over, I know it definitely won’t be my last. I can’t wait to come back and see all of this again and explore brand new places! I want to do the rest of the UK, Germany, Italy, Greece! And I still have my goal of visiting every continent (minus Antarctica) so Australia and Africa are on the list as well! I probably won’t be going to any of those places anytime soon but I’m excited because I know it will definitely happen. Travel is very important to me. Exploring the world in which I live and breaking out of my Canadian bubble to become a true global citizen is something I really believe in.
So, thank you! And, I’ll be back!
Lisbon Round Up:
Best Experience: walking around the Castelo de S. Jorge
Worst Experience: getting lost on the way back to my hotel
I wish I had known… it actually gets a little chilly at night here!
What I will miss most about Lisbon: I didn’t get to know Lisbon too well but I think I’ll miss the beauty of it all.
Next time I visit Lisbon I want to… see more of it! I want to check out the different neighbourhoods and the islands.
Trip Round Up:
Best Experience: I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one. I guess the overall beauty of everything I saw – from musicals to churches to views to castles – it was all breathtaking!
Worst Experience: probably would still have to be my metro meltdown in Barcelona
I wish I had known… how fast 3 weeks would be up!
What I will miss most about Europe: just being here and exploring. I’m going to miss exploring a new city or part of a city everyday and immersing myself in new cultures and ancient histories. And I’ll miss eating baked goods/desserts for most of my meals 🙂
Next time I visit Europe I want to… see some new places (read above) and maybe bring along a friend!